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Best Cyndi Macmillan Poems

Below are the all-time best Cyndi Macmillan poems as chosen by PoetrySoup members

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123
Details | Cyndi Macmillan Poem

EDUCATED

He reads voraciously

to his young children,
beguiled, somewhat bewildered 
by sweet progeny's relentless 
leaching of his words, his hungry baby 
birds, how their peeps teach.

He reads sporadically
 
to his father, articles from the paper, 
headlines and bylines for his dad 
has cataracts, now, and velum 
hands shake newsprint, make a rattling 
sound, too like the quiver of cloistered 
skeletons,  all those remains, 
                          all those remains.
There is wisdom in comics, he's found, 
bucolic rings so like old church bells,
tutoring fields through fog.

He still tries to read

his wife,
shared history in eyes,
the geography of long sighs, that topography 
of belly,  yes, yes, a theology 
that spills from parted lips;
bless each rumpled sheet, that chemistry 
which repeats poetry, spoken 
                         in a dialect, so rare. 


He remembers reading an encyclopedia 

in the face of a beggar, once, 
prophetical sparks from high brows — 
crossed currents;  a lifetime recorded, 
an unbound edition, A through Z
but when he carefully turned to C,
he'd found a full entry 
on compassion and charity.

Soon, he'll no longer read music notes

through a soft blur, playing guitar 
for one a thousand times more educated 
then he, this twelve year old girl, 
this preteen, dying, her heart 
an open lecture hall, her smile, 
pure academia. May she ever be 
opus angelorum, that reaches, 
will ever reach, far past 
                        mere hospice walls.





Details | Cyndi Macmillan Poem

CHAN


Ghost knight, playing Tolkienesque chords
over common, white noise,

I still hear you, cosmic brother,
strumming the songs of pentagrams 
           from your optical guitar, 

like that scene out of Star Wars,
all were always welcome at your wild bar –
interplanetary troubadours, euphoric warriors
or a ninja geek incognito, a wistful rhymer
         who knew truth seldom whispers,
love is the only real free-artistry,
requiring no discipline, no perimeters,
no limits and no definitions

I still hear you, cosmic brother, 
so alive, streaming a high volume 
of colours, blue still holds a torch for you, 
loud and proud,red engulfs night 
without one regret,

but its your delicate gold, my friend, 
         I can never forget




Details | Cyndi Macmillan Poem

THE POET'S CREED


I will write

Though a warmonger speaks of detonation 
while locusts fly low
and a million birds are culled
and women are sold like sow
and a cross burns      on a lawn


I will write

While fires gut warehouses
and a bald toddler gets more chemo
as a young man is killed for a phone
as an old man is beaten for wanting water

I will write because

some planes do not reach their destination
SARS steals the breath of unknown saints
comets still travel with tails
the hands of sculptors remain lithely strong
jails hold more than the guilty
glory bends oaks, orchestrates crickets

I will not stop writing

Nothing will silence me

Not ridicule or indifference
Not weeping through walls
Not the wail of sirens or a thousand ruby pens
Not criticism or confusion

Neither threats nor lack of understanding 
Neither love nor hate
Neither time nor space

Not even futility 
can steal or still my words, prevent their release

So as snow falls this April morn, dusts 
crocuses as coffee cools , while my family 
sleeps, with tattered heart and reddened hands

I will write

from turrets and tea rooms
under the ruins of forgotten memoriums
upon pretty walls of sanitoriums

Until each dry bone snaps in the crematorium 

But when I am tossed to the wind
My ashes will sail, strangely

And, friend, even there 
I will write, again





Details | Cyndi Macmillan Poem

ROOTS

                                     i am with the roots
                                     of flowers
                                     entwined, entombed
                                     sending up my passionate blossoms
                                     as a flight of rockets
                                     and argument

                                     Charles Bukowski,  Penguin Modern Poets 13 


   _________________________________________





I chose toile wallpaper
in muted blues
since pastoral scenes 
refuse to budge

Pick that, girl,
and you get nothing else

I stood my ground 

Our ninth move,
I only wanted 
the repeating pattern
of that mill

It’s wheel
would never turn

Homes revolved,
doors slammed, 
nothing was ever still

my mother lit sticks 
of manic dynamite 
which drilled holes in walls,
and drilled holes in my father
who lost 
more chunks of himself
every day

Afternoons shuttled me
into corners 
with Bukowski or Plath,
love lesions,
heavy bloodstones,
sponges

Evenings, too, never settled,
the wind stayed up,
tippled glasses,
ripped pages from 
my books

But when hell 
shifted even darkness into fester-reds, 
I crept into pastels...
as untouched as the core of flame,
as motionless as Wedgewood



Details | Cyndi Macmillan Poem

HOSTEL, 1978



On a pubescent class trip,
I became enamored with impossibility.
 
Vanishing verdigris yet cosseted 
the L’Auberge de la Paix,* a work-in-progress .

Floorboards slowed gawky treads with furrows.
              Ten feet above, death-row cherubs 
surrendered frail wings, a plaster molting 
advanced by workmen too eager for the plucking.
    
(The curse of romanticism 
is to perceive the imperceptible.)

Home was a bungalow with suburb secrets, 
while the hostel’s curving staircase 
openly tattled on former hosts
and guests who had perfumed stale conversations
while carrying dance cards.
I could almost hear each half-note baluster —
            treble clef handrail, so smooth  —
orchestrating encounters by the front door,
Bonne nuit, mon amour.

Once, a Grande Maison owned by une l’artiste,
then, a hostel for students in the core of Quebec City,
the building charmed with its soft dishabille, 
stripped layers of faded wallpaper, pooling;
the pong of fresh paint and sanded wood
hustled the dame into the times
with ever-going modernization.

Dorm rooms pouted.

I was not interested in tours
with corpses of cannon balls,
toy soldiers arranged on miniature plains of Abraham,
narrow streets echoing battle cries,
remnants of a lost sovereignty...  
the war of 1759
 
Why leave 
those thousand phantom pleasantries,
dusty sofas, freedom halls,
air hockey and air guitar,
             new parlour games.

Upstairs, bunk beds awaited roommates 
or daydreams
and creaked somewhat like nagging history 

Romance was a trompe l’oile, 
              a fading fleur de lys,
I can easily recall the coy throes 
of noisy pipes, closet confessions,
giggling, blameless nights
when ghosts dusted every shifting wall,

               altering even moonlight

 

* Written Aug 24, 2014

*The Peace Hostel, Quebec City
 31 rue Couillard, Latin Quarter, Quebec City

Grande Maison – estate
Une l’artiste – an artist


Details | Cyndi Macmillan Poem

A MINER'S PRAYER

Down in the bowels of Cape Breton Isle
generations of men silently file,
Far from the sun and deep under the sea,
Lord, keep this darkness from shadowing me.

Father mined coal like his did before,
His ghost holds vigils on the tattered shore,
I was but a lad when death set him free,
Lord, keep this darkness from shadowing me.

Black dust stings the eyes then fills my chest,
And this heavy pick won’t let the mind rest,
My helmet lamp barely gives light to see,
Lord, keep this darkness from shadowing me.

These tunnels blind us from all save regret,
What hides in catacombs none can forget,
Dreams unfilled, gas that feet can not flee,
Lord, keep this darkness from shadowing me.
  
Last month an explosion claimed forty lives,
Disciples were made of their grieving wives,
Leave no man behind, a miner’s decree, 
Lord, keep this darkness from shadowing me.

The air is so thick that I can taste night,
It takes just one spark for walls to ignite,
This morning my son joined the company...
Lord, keep this darkness from shadowing me.

He’s a good boy, but I don’t want him here,
He follows my fate, a parent’s worse fear,
Lord, please watch over my large family
and keep this darkness from shadowing me.





to take a tour of a Cape Breton coal mine, to see how dark and dismal the life of a miner is please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bU15pxNdYw&feature=related
Dedicated to my father-in-law, a miner who was electrocuted and survived.


Details | Cyndi Macmillan Poem

CASTING HIS LINE


Casting his line, a love affair,
despite charcoal clouds and damp air,
my father would patiently wait
and trust in his favorite bait
for sweet solitude was rare.

Heaven, to him, was a low chair
by water, mouthing a prayer,
mom would gripe he’d stayed out too late
          casting his line.

Dad’s tall tales were beyond compare,
one pike was no match for a bear,
I miss how he’d ruminate...  
now, his rod I appreciate, 
so I take the greatest of care
          casting his line.




*written Dec 6, 2012


Details | Cyndi Macmillan Poem

SYLVIA

                         
                           It is a terrible thing
                           To be so open: it is as if my heart
                           Put on a face and walked into the world.


                                          Sylvia Plath, Three Women, 1962



_________________________________


Sylvia, ever lucent, ever opaque,

an incongruity, a clever imbalance               
that spins collections her hounds facilitate.  
Failures and fractures she bravely lanced
with noncompliance. Reader, rebuff collars
labeled as forewords, smug introductions, 
for Plath’s voice is tenfold more a scholar 
than those receiving undue benedictions.    
Lofty beggars seek to bookend her words
and that empty space she instinctively refills
with her universe, a mayhem that girds,
unapologetic. Mirror images spill
over margins, searching for identity,
negating preamble, snubbing apathy.   

Negating preamble, snubbing apathy
with language that flickers, catches, combusts,
her volumes of wicks, her lit soliloquies,   
glint behind the stained-glass of trust.
There are those who are not really here,
they wander fault lines then crisscross chasms,
lost pilgrims who easily commandeer
unwary emotions. Some hearts just spasm,                         
pulled by their own nature, their delicacy,
for poetry is a weakness; poets die
between verses. Odes can become elegies.
The thin-skinned hear a snared rabbit cry,
and pray for the moonflower, always closing,
while cursing that page, unmoved and dozing.

While cursing that page, unmoved and dozing,
she corners rigid guides, keeps fingers poised,
synchronicity goes, the flow of typing
disappears, mislaid, that perfect noise
of a carriage return, a sound exclamation.
Joy is inspiration making its way home,
her Olivetti forages like a raven,
gifting found nouns, verbs that glare like chrome,
but love still flits, turns from hoarse requests,
and she longs for more than any man can give
for what snags worn ribbons will not rest,
it emits a strong beat, throbs as it loves.
Bless the bitter of life, all wisdom owing,
curse the open heart, its shadows showing.
  

Curse the open heart, its shadows showing,
for worldly delights take full advantage
of the wounded, their brokenness growing.
Everyday beauty wrings arteries, dredges
chambers with barbs, a prompt disobedient.
Fact, there’s no folder large enough to hold 
elation’s girth, no ink conveniently
on hand to black out depression. So, scold
the yew, its roots and branches reaching,
then poke at petals for being complacent, 
when all the while a candle is preaching
of give and take, surrender, luminance,
So, carefully archive apprehension,
revealing blue veins to tender lesions.

Revealing blue veins to tender lesions
requires much more than a room of one's own,
hours do dissolve, days lack cohesion 
when milk sours and tantrums are thrown.
Solitude is in short supply, loneliness,
however, is overstocked; her mind tugs      
at busy hands for attention, such darkness
contrasts to jammy smiles and sleepy hugs.
Elusive titles whimper each morning,
and short stanzas steep, so desperately,
all the while a manuscript is scorning
her swipes at dry crumbs, cold pots of tea.
A life sheds its months, gallows take delight
as sundials atrophy in the arms of night. 

As sundials atrophy in the arms of night. 
the moon blanches tidepools, suckles sand,
even the face of the clock is pulled too tight
and the new calendar can not understand
that writing is sex, is fresh bread, is air,
that time is a brute, quick fisted, rough,
that weeks come and go without a care
that a marriage vow is never enough
to mend adoration, repossess bliss.  
Words make better lovers, rarely stray,
upon her lips, the impression of a kiss
feels as cold as sheets then melts away.
Paper sops afterbirth, accepts her all:
fossil and seed, shackles and free falls.


Fossil and seed, shackles and free falls,
unlocking visions, defying any cage, 
art resists validity, upsets stone walls  
to scale the scarlet heights of a rampage,
to breach the barricades to euphoria.
She excavates id, bares teeth at ego, 
plays the parts of illusion and phobia
then infuses rhyme with soft indigo. 
Colossus begins to shrivel as Ariel
unmans him, riding hard upon metaphors,
and will remain strong, constant, ethereal. 
but curtailed are epics that still implore  
like the cusp of dream long after you wake

Sylvia, ever lucent, ever opaque.


 

 
* For Craig Cornish


Details | Cyndi Macmillan Poem

LA VIE EN ROSE

Pale blush crinkles in a crinoline,
While coral's heels on tiles astound,  
Fuchsia sighs as the party begins,
But Rose won't make a sound.

Cerise giggles for no reason at all, 
Violet's cackles on temples pound,
Raspberry's whistles simply enthral,
But Rose won't make a sound.

Topaz taps her ring at the symphony,
Mauve's rustles shift hard ground,
and Hot Pink pops her gum, cheekily,
But Rose won't make a sound.


Details | Cyndi Macmillan Poem

HIS-STORY


Behind glass, the street is immovable, 
but shift a pane and its throb unsettles dust 
from books.  There are vignettes 
on open display, hanging on lines beside 
work shirts, skipping down sidewalks 
alongside tots with bruised knees. Long ago, 

he’d given his TV to the Goodwill, 
tired of static, its dumbfounded glare. 
He has his solitaire, a pipe, and well-thumbed 
classics. The view competes, often, with Tolstoy 
and Hugo. He allows the distractions, smiles 
one afternoon at Esmeralda dancing 

on the corner, no hunchback in sight, 
her bangles sent sunlight his way. 
The garbage truck comes Tuesdays, 
carrying Odysseus who ignores Lotus-Eaters, 
but nods to Nymphs. Yesterday, 
at the Nine Muses Café, 

he’d met Captain Ahab, wild eyed, 
back from Afghanistan, missing both legs. 
There are epics told on stoops, novellas 
whisper near bus stops. But there is one tome 
he is fearful to read, a mystery 
that unleashes loneliness. 

Each night before ten, someone plays 
over and over again, Rachmaninoff’s Paganini, 
variation number eighteen. The notes, 
the rhapsody, reminds him of browning pages, 
the worn joker in his deck, her face 
that day as he carelessly 

weaned them of chapters, just left, 
and he is forced to remember the paradox 
between a woman’s thighs, a strength so soft,
each night before ten, he becomes 
waif and thief, each night before ten, 
he is confronted by his-story.
 


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