Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tribute to New Songs (for Carol)

I wrote this poem about ten years ago for my sister Carol. Time hasn't diminished it's meaning for me.

For the girl you once were, the music
That got lost in the wilderness of your mind.
Returning again and again to the lost images
Of your own youth, you learned everything
The hard way. Your singing voice
Longed to stretch out
Under this night-painted sky, but
How could such a sleep be sustained
Where time knew nothing but time
In the distilled center of anticipation?

And now it’s the children, offspring
Of some unlearned delight
Of planting heart-seeds
(how you heard that first cry so deeply),
Their hearts full of beginning, worlds
Unfolding in their eyes,
Faces intent on blossoming a flower
Far beyond infancy, drinking from your lips
The one phrase that even your smile
Could no longer contain: everything is possible.
Small fingers poised to grasp this strange fruit
That you tasted and expected to find
Almost too sweet.

It was no single incident.
Couldn’t you put your finger on it?
Their laughter open to the air, every song
Was completed within them. Listen;
It awoke the trumpets in your blood.
Hidden behind petals of sleep,
The forgotten murmuring garden
Where statues play shadow-tag,
And the rain sounds like applause.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pines of Home

I wote this poem for my sister Diane, who was living far away from our childhood home at the time. I recently received a postcard from my friend Leann. On it was a picture of this poem secured with twine around a pine tree, nobly weathering the frost and snow. Leann has vision.

“… a darkness shining in brightness
Which brightness could not comprehend.”
James Joyce, Ulysses

The night ate their shadowsAs fingertip feathers
Of girlhood birds
Startle them out of their firefly dreams.
The pines of home always
Manage to creep inside my ribs,
And you must listen hard
To all the things they don’t say,
While they stand firm,
Sometimes huddled close,
Arms loosely springing out
Like hopes, as they declare
Their deep, wild smell of green embers
To the young moon.
The pines of home
Used to tug at my hair
In turbulent girlhood games
As the mist moved through me
Like a dream within a dream
When sleep doesn’t come easy.

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