Unravelling and weaving, sometimes simultaneously

Archive for November, 2014

Gilt

It’s a warm wind
for November,
pushing the curtains back
from the open window,
rattling the bamboo chimes,
tinkling the others.

The clouds scud past,
rushing somewhere,
shadowing the dance
of the pin oak’s branches.

The sun is persistent.

Now and then a bright wave of light
seeps through both cloud and curtain
and lies sentient on the floor
almost to my feet…

nearly
close
enough
to reach me.

There are reasons
I am not immune
to the cold.

The golden glow
teases me
with the possibility
of unseasonable heat
reaching
withdrawing
again and again.

I can move into the beam
if I choose.

I can stay here and know
that my bare toes
would enjoy the spot
warmed before me.

I listen to the chimes
and a far away siren.

The wind has died down
and the sun is winning
one inch at a time.

It will
reach me
even if I am too stubborn
to reach
for it.

(c) RCGA 2014

Caledonia

They call us Picts
the Romans do
because our bodies bear the marks
the swirling symbols of the gods
in shades of blue

From Cat to Fib
we ruled the lands
our kings sat in Uerturio
on thrones of stone with lions’ heads
and iron hands

Across the sea
the traders sailed
to buy our wheat, our cloth, our chains
they brought us priests with tonsured pates
and knights ring-mailed

The Norsemen came
and stole our wives
in long boats wielding axe and sword
their swinging braids wet rust with blood
their eyes like knives

Yet still prevails
a Pictish thread
inside the Celtish Highlanders
whose hearts know Caledonia
is never dead

pict

(c) RCGA

Anne Sexton: “The Truth The Dead Know”

I just joined a poetry group on FB yesterday evening called the Undead Poets Society. As I went over the members list I noticed several friends of friends, and intrigued, I added them as friends. One of them, a fellow from OH, posted this poem by Anne Sexton today, and I felt compelled to respond.

The Truth the Dead Know

by Anne Sexton

For my Mother, born March 1902, died March 1959
and my Father, born February 1900, died June 1959

Gone, I say and walk from church,
refusing the stiff procession to the grave,
letting the dead ride alone in the hearse.
It is June. I am tired of being brave.

We drive to the Cape. I cultivate
myself where the sun gutters from the sky,
where the sea swings in like an iron gate
and we touch. In another country people die.

My darling, the wind falls in like stones
from the whitehearted water and when we touch
we enter touch entirely. No one’s alone.
Men kill for this, or for as much.

And what of the dead? They lie without shoes
in the stone boats. They are more like stone
than the sea would be if it stopped. They refuse
to be blessed, throat, eye and knucklebone.

And my response: This year, I lost my father in the spring, and my fiance accompanied me down state to the wake and funeral. Two months later, we attended the wedding of a boy I half-raised. Two months after that, he suddenly died. There are things I could tell you about how the body settles into cold clay when the breath leaves it, but I can’t ever fully explain how your heart stays alive after it loses what it loves. It isn’t that the dead refuse to be blessed; we just don’t know how to bless them so we can let them go.

Star Stuff

For Adam, On The Occasion of Interring His Ashes

Kind soul
lent to this world
for far too short a time
we bid you farewell

Sweet heart
who walked your path
full of curiosity and joy
always looking to the next hill
the next corner
the next road or river
the next piece of sky

You are free.

You are free and now, truly
the stuff of which stars are made
traveling to destinations
you could have only dreamed of
before

You have reached up
and taken the hand of a long string of souls
who dwell in love forever
and now have you beside them
shining and sparkling
no longer rough
but polished to perfection

a diamond

See now
the light that passes in and through you
will remain constant
allowing you to be a beacon
along the journey home

© RCGA 2014

I put together a program for the service. In lieu of the obituary I had written for the leaflet, I read this poem for him as my eulogy. The music was exquisite, the flow of evening prayer was just as it should have been. I placed cardinals and candles in the windows, and the old rector who knew him chose a special song for the procession to the columbarium. Adam’s ashes were tucked away with his five-year coin beneath the silver bell, and they rang it for him.

Color and Sound

How do you paint a sound?
What color is the cadence
of a voice
the susurration of a whisper
the modulation
of a laugh?

I can easily sketch your face
it is imprinted
behind my eyelids
a permanent tattoo
of light and shadow
down to the slope
of your eyelid
over the shining iris

I cannot quantify
the shade of your sigh
the tint of your murmur
the tone of a deep grunt
the hue of completion

There is nothing
on the palette for that
is there?

(c) RCGA 2014

Petrichor

My life has been
a rain dance
bare feet on dry earth
begging for sustenance
one storm at a time

It has rained
over and over again
it has rained
mainly flash floods
washing away the cracks
in the dessicated soil
running away in rivulets
to somewhere else
accompanied by thunder

When I least expected
a soft shower came
a soaking rain
the kind that lingers
the kind that feeds
all the deep places
and wakes the seeds
so that the grass comes
with the scent
of petrichor

It was gone before I knew it
though I savored the time
standing in the full of it
feeling nourished
washed clean
drawing in deep breaths
filled with the smell
of settling dust

It is my path
to keep dancing
knowing more floods will come
muddying my footsteps
with only superficial solution
because the soft showers
are few and far between
their blessing
fragile as a desert flower
opening fragrant
after its passage

Cactus Flower by Diane Morgan 2011

Cactus Flower by Diane Morgan 2011

(c) RCGA 2014

The Switch

When I brought you home
on a bright spring day
it was for the frolic
the grass stains on our knees
and the sweat

it was not for love

When I brought you home
I was your mistress
I held your throat
in one hand
and your stones
in the other
and I was drunk on laughter

you were my jester

When I brought you home
with your lazy eyes
and your eagerness
I knew you would
be easy
yet I had no concept
in my arrogance
that you would ease me

I thought trust an illusion

When I brought you home
I had no intention
of trading places
with you
If I had been asked
I would have said
no palm would rest
on my head

no one could bind me

When I brought you home
you trembled
in the evening light
intense as the heart of a bird
and I found myself
giving you everything

head heart and skin

(c) RCGA 2014

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