Categories
Limericks Poems

Sunday Limericks

The Man Made of Rain
There once was a man made of rain
With lightning bolts in his brain
When he sneezed the sky would alight
Folks would shout with delight
And ask him to do it again!

The Mermaid
There once was a girl underwater
Who was a mer-king’s daughter
She swam in a castle with fish
And lived life as sweet as a wish
Until a fisherman caught her.

The Girl Who Could Fly
There once was a girl who could fly
And so flew across the whole sky.
She saw kingdoms of clouds,
Soared over mountains unbowed,
And winged above golden fields full of rye.

Categories
Poems

Hope

He’s got nowhere to go
Nothing to live for
Nothing left to show
Nothing in his core

He walks like a ghost
Silent, unseen
Like something from the past
That might never have been.

Now the wind in the alley
Blows paper in the gutter
There’s shadows in the valley
And a dark rumbling mutter.

It’s another cold night
In this evil broken place
With unlit street lights
Over every haggard face.

Now here comes dawn
The dangerous night ends again
We start it with a yawn
Then hurl ourselves in.

And there goes the man
Who somehow lost his way
He’s changed and made a plan.
Each dawn is a new day.

Categories
Poems

The Fighter

He came from the world beneath,
Where the rule is to survive.
He had hard fists, sharp teeth.
He rumbled to stay alive.

With nothing to lose
Life’s simple as hell
There’s little to choose
In a place forever unwell.

He was thrashed and scarred
Frightened and scared
Kicked out and barred
He left nothing bared.

One day he fought himself free
And saw horizons unfurled
The way it was meant to be
In this gnarly old world.

He looked around and saw
A healthy place to stay
And marveled in awe
That he’d found his way.

Categories
Poems

The Singer

The singer sat on the curb
With her pick and guitar
And a bit of good herb.

She was raised in a bell jar
But came far from home.
She traveled by box car

And arrived all alone.
She left what she’d known.
Now she’s on the hard street
Eager for the world she’ll meet.

Categories
Limericks Poems

Sunday Limericks

The Sensitive Poet
There once was a sensitive poet
Who had love but dared not show it.
So she wrote her emotions into pages
Then locked her poems up for ages.
What good is love if you don’t bestow it?

The Indefinable World
There once was an indefinable world
Of green mountains and mists that furled
It was populated by people both wicked and kind
By folk who could see, and folk who were blind
And from far off, it was a pale blue dot like a pearl.

The Singer of Songs
There once was a singer of songs
Who sang of this world’s wrongs
He sang of misfits and outcasts
Of lightless futures and broken pasts.
He gave outsiders a place to belong.

Categories
Poems

When Your Back is to the Wall

When your back’s to the wall
And guns point at your heart
Then show them all
You won’t fall apart.

They’ll do their worst
So now you should spit,
Give them a curse,
And the hell with it.

Curse all their mothers
And die with a sneer,
For they are no brothers
And will not die here.

Categories
Poems

This is the Life

He always had time,
Yet stayed on his way.
Counted every dime,
Did not skip a day.

He was well recognized,
Well respected.
He was well prized;
It got him elected.

But the bigger they are,
The harder they fall.
When he smashed his car,
He was wrapped in a pall.

But this is the life.
It holds you near,
Is sweeter than a wife,
And costs you dear.

So we try to stay keen,
As sharp as a knife.
In a world great and mean,
This is the life. This is the life.

Categories
Poems

The Arrival of Autumn

The Arrival of Autumn is a nature poem with rhymes at the end of every other line. It was written in Washington state on September 7th, 2018.

Autumn Leaf
Autumn leaf, September 16th, 2018

At the end of summer when the honey drips from the comb,
when the tall grasses wave in the warm gentle breeze,
and the orchards that lie north of the farmsteader’s home
are rich with apples that hang heavy from the trees,
then the shadows begin to lengthen in the southern sun
which sets over a heartland of fields and rolling hills.
And folk feel in their bones that autumn has begun,
a time of black and scarlet leaves, brisker winds, and chills.
It is a time of fog. A time of mists among dells and valleys,
when gourds and pumpkins ripen among the pastures,
and streams flow swift, cold, and clear along the rocky alleys.
Then comes the time for hot tea, woolgathering, and a peaceful book.
Then comes the time when the black cat, its eyes like gold sparked jewels,
leaps from the wooden fencepost, and, with penetrating look,
pads across the tufted grass, past the penned up cows and mules,
on to some destination, secret or lazy or otherwise.
The days grow shorter and dimmer,
until the heavens are lit by starry orbs and the lush moonrise,
and all the earth is silvered by their fair shimmer.

Categories
Limericks Poems

Sunday Limericks

The Girl From Perth
There once was a girl from Perth
Who was forever filled with mirth
She’d laugh and she’d smile
At all that life did beguile
And she made so much merrier this Earth!

The Hungry Mouse
There once was a hungry mouse
Who lived in a very great house
He would eat all of the cheese
As often as he pleased
So he was called a despicable louse!

Carl Linnaeus
Linnaeus was a grand botanist
With an eye as fine as any artist’s.
He knew flowers at a glance
And thousands of plants
So he put them all in a groundbreaking list.

Ferdinand Magellan
Magellan once sailed ’round the world
With a map that lay ever unfurled.
He trusted the moon and the stars
And he passed many hours
Watching the waves as they curled.

Categories
Poems

Silence

Silence flies on an owl’s wings
In the space between the breezes.
It follows the time when the skylark sings,
And waits as quietly as water freezes.

Silence sits and stares;
It makes fools seem wise.
Its pacific calm soothes anxious cares,
And it serves as Conscience’s eyes.

Silence waits in outer space
Amongst the beds of birthing stars.
It grants space terror, majesty, and grace,
And befits its stately powers.

Silence separates the words we speak,
And gives respect to the dead.
It defines the meek,
And fills with sound the pages that we’ve read.

Categories
Poems

Value Your Own Life


When the final sand falls through the glass,
And the land beyond yonder lies waiting,
They’ll count up your money, your exhibitions of class,
And the times you’ve left someone hating.

They’ll measure your life inside of their heads,
With an ounce of forgiveness or two,
Then leave you with the many dead
And compare some of them against you.

And there you will lay
Until no one recalls
How you met every day
And recovered from falls.

So it stands to good reason
That because time always forgets
We must value our own season
Before we descend to the pits.

Categories
Poems

The Glen of Dancing Trees

Mike, an ordinary guy, gets turned into a tree one day. He walks down to the river, and he finds a place upon a hill in a forest clearing to live. He discovers that there are others like him in the glen of dancing trees.

img_8584.jpg

While Mike was standing on the corner
He became a tree.
Why that was or how that was
No one could clearly see.
Mike became a big tall oak
With branches wide and strong
He had a crop of fluttering leaves
For the wind to blow along

Now Mike was not your normal oak
That stays planted in the ground
No, Mike was of the special sort
That goes walking ’round the town
He took his steps with big deep roots
That pulled up pavement as he walked
He stopped the delivery man in his stride
And village gossips as they talked.

Mike reached down with his big brown bough
And scratched the knot upon his chest
From it scampered a small brown squirrel
That had made the hole its nest
Then Mike walked to the river’s edge
Where a young girl read a book
And he leaned out over her shoulder
So that he might have a look

She was reading a classic tale
Of true blissful romance
In which heroes fought with words and blades
And lovers got to dance
And so absorbed was the young girl
In the words on every page
That she noticed not the walking tree
As it passed on towards the glade.

Mike soon reached the forest’s edge
And he entered with a smile
For this place seemed the home for him
And he walked on for a mile
Until he came to a sunny dell
Upon a grassy hill
And because it was the spot for him
He grew quiet and grew still.

Now Mike lives on the hill
Much like an ordinary tree
But on some nights he takes a walk
Past idle oaks and hickories
He goes strolling through the moonlight,
Where he’s brushed by season’s breeze,
And joins his friends who are just like him
In the glen of dancing trees.

Categories
Limericks Poems

Sunday Limericks

The One-Eyed Cat
There once was a one-eyed cat
Who was noticed wherever he sat
The folk pointed their fingers at him
And said, “Look, there’s a fighter, my friend,”
For he’d lost the eye while chasing a rat!

A Snoring Man
There once was a man who could snore
So loudly that he woke the neighbors next door.
They grumbled and said,
“I just wish he was dead!”
But he lived till a hundred and four!

Two Young Men and a Weary Maiden
There once were two young men
Who fell in love with the same maiden.
They argued bitterly at the start,
Then they fought for her heart,
Until at last she married their friend!

Categories
Poems

A Most-Forgotten History

Near an old stone cottage lies an old stone bridge
In a grass-covered valley beyond a green ridge.
The bridge spans a river that purls as it flows,
One that makes a fine mist that catches rainbows.

It is a place as tender and as soft as a pheasant
With soft, gentle breezes and pink flowers present,
Where mothers and children can swim and can read
And take the sweet rest that they both need.

But years before in the bridge’s mortar was mud,
Made from mixing dirt and man’s blood,
And the air, now pacific, was then filled with shrill screams
From a man cruelly murdered at this crossing.

It was in the 1700s as he set on his way
Past ripening orchards and stacks of gold hay.
He was riding a young horse and whistling a song
Through dusk’s fabled shadows: black, treacherous, and long.

Beneath the bridge were three murderous men
Who leapt out to greet him with evil grins.
They surrounded his horse with their swords all aglint;
He understood at once their wicked intent.

The thieves acted quickly; they cut at his leg.
The man fell from his horse, and he started to beg.
But the bandits, wicked bastards, they stole his purse,
Then they tortured that innocent till he left this earth.

They made their escape cleanly, and the man died in vain.
He was half-eaten by crows when the sheriff came.
And the sheriff he looked out over that stone-masoned bridge,
And he saw there, far-off, the sight of the ridge.

The sheriff shook his head at the grisly scene,
At the inhumanity of men and the cruelty they bring.
But the years pass on, and the generations forget:
A strong roaring fire dies, and is then again lit.

Seasons pass; centuries pass; the world turns.
The buildings rise and fall; the field grows and burns.
The geese they migrate, and the ducks come and go.
The whales make their journeys far down below.

And at the end of the day, what have we to show?
The human race is alive, that much we know.
Still we circle that fiery sphere called the sun,
And so we shall until our short day is done.

But till then the same places see new faces through years,
The laughter, the weeping, the joy, and the tears.
And the human race at once lovely, cruel, and so cold,
Lives in a most-forgotten history that grows ever old.

Categories
Poems

Butterflies

A poem about the butterfly migration.

A swarm of butterflies in a forest glen
Fly out from the shadows then swoop back in
They fly through shafts of falling sunlight
And the dust motes that trickle from the trees’ great height.

The forest is fragrant with the scent of fresh pine.
Spider webs are strung, gossamer and fine.
Orange mushrooms grow beneath a dead log,
And the mornings are blanketed by a damp fog.

Old elk walk stately along a river bed
As the butterflies flutter around their antlered heads,
And the river goes rippling past the old, quiet stones
While the butterflies make their migration home.

Categories
Poems

A Rural Autumn

The past few weeks, I’ve been quiet on my poetry website as I’ve been working on a murder mystery novel, The Murders in the Endicott Hotel.  I’m happy to announce that it’s finished!  It’s being reviewed by literary agents now, and I’ve started a new book too.  I also now have some time to get back to my poetry!  I’ve always loved nature poems–Keats’ “To Autumn” was one of my favorites when I was young–and I’ve loved paintings of nature.  So here’s an imagist poem about nature and the upcoming fall weather.

A Rural Autumn

As the fall leaves start to scatter,
Amongst the winds and raindrop’s patter,
The cold gusts in from north and west,
And the fields are fertile with the ripe harvest.

The strawberries turn red upon the vine
The grapes grow ready to become a wine
The pumpkins become both orange and round,
While from the hollow, the song sparrows sound.

The mists of autumn blanket the moist mornings
As the mushrooms grow in mud by springs
The dells and the valleys are webbed by streams
And the land glows golden in the sun’s banked beams.

Categories
Poems

Terry the Brontosaurus

Terry the brontosaurus saves the life of a triceratops at a great personal cost.

IMG_7481

Terry was a brontosaurus
With dry and pebbly skin
He ate from trees within the forest
And wore a very merry grin

One day a terrible tyrannosaur
Sighted a slow triceratops
And Terry cried, Watch out my friend!
As the T-rex licked its chops

So the triceratops it ran away
And the t-rex missed his brunch
The tyrannosaur felt angry then
And looked at Terry as his lunch!

Terry gave the tyrannosaur
His very best winning smile
And then he turned his tail to him
And sprinted for a mile!

The carnivore bared his sharp teeth
And started in pursuit
And through forests broad and rivers deep
Terry could not shake the brute

Then at last the worst did happen
As the t-rex caught his prey
On a grassy sunlit little field
In the middle of the day

The tyrannosaur held his claw
To the unfortunate victim’s throat
And said, My dear you’re at an end
For this is all she wrote!

But Terry was a kind creature
And he had a warm and cheerful air
That even the tyrannosaurus paused
Before making the final tear.

Terry gave a big old smile
And the tyrannosaur gave a sigh
Then the brontosaurus stood on his feet
As the tyrannosaur stood by

Then it was that Terry was heard
To address the t-rex and ask,
Don’t you think you’d prefer some leaves
Or some very tasty grass?

The t-rex said, I’ll try with you
Perhaps those leaves are fine
And Terry pulled down a clump of green
That was hanging from a vine

The t-rex tried to eat the greens
But his face blackened with dismay
Why this is the worst food, he said,
I’ve eaten in all my days!

Then the tyrannosaur changed his mind
And he pounced on the dinosaur
He ripped Terry from his tail to his heart
In the way of a true carnivore

So it was that the t-rex dined
On the brontosaurus’ frame
With the smacking sounds and cracking sounds
That were befitting of his name

And as the tyrannosaur licked its sharp teeth
Full of blood and raw proteins
He felt that a good brontosaur
Was certainly much more appetizing than his greens.

Categories
Poems

Whiskey in the Jar

You can sing a song any way you want.  And you can make whatever kind of music you want.  The song Whiskey in the Jar is an old Irish folk tune, and I’ve always thought it was too short.  I always wanted more of it.  So, I wrote a few verses of my own.

IMG_6187

As I was crossin over the snow-capp’d Rocky Mountains
I spied an icy stream a rushin like a fountain
and sittin at a fire was wicked Captain Farrell
he was a’clad in bear furs, and sportin rich apparel.

Now Farrel’s name was known well, from Denver to the waters,
and evil deeds went with it, as blood goes with a slaughter;
there was no act of mercy he’d extend or would belabor,
but he cut off happy days with the sharp edge of his saber.

musha riggum durram dah
whack fol the daddy o
whack fol the daddy o
there’s whiskey in the jar

I stepped up out the shadows with my pistol cocked and loaded,
said, “Give me all your money! And yer leathers n yer coat, man!”
He took off all his clothing, and I left him nearly naked
without his hat or wallet, and I marooned him all unaided.

Captain Ferrell swore he’d kill me, no matter what befell him
I told ’im, “I ain’ bound for heaven, so I’ll see you down in Hell man!”
The coins they were a jinglin and a clinkin, as I headed home to Jenny
they were a sight so rare; they were so golden and so many.

musha riggum durram dah
whack fol the daddy o
whack fol the daddy o
there’s whiskey in the jar

I come down off the mountain and entered to our chambers
Where Jenny looked so invitin that I had to go and claim her;
I showed her all the money, and she said she was my darlin,
that we’d dance through all the nights and go drinkin bright n early!

She started buyin dresses of silks and tasteful satins;
I left my gold in taverns and I soon began to fatten,
I gave my friends all of my money without ever thinkin twice,
and left my pockets lighter in wild games of cards and dice.

musha riggum durram dah
whack fol the daddy o
whack fol the daddy o
there’s whiskey in the jar

And then it was it happened, that I was sleeping sober,
When Farrell tapped at midnight, and he beckoned Jenny over.
She stole away from bed then, a blanket wrapped around her,
And Farrell did with touch and silver tongue confound her.

So my unfaithful Jenny crept back into the chamber
and, taking up my pistols, she hid them with the liquor.
The two-faced scarlet vixen hid my saber in the dresser
before turnin to the captain to let his hands caress her.

musha riggum durram dah
whack fol the daddy o
whack fol the daddy o
there’s whiskey in the jar

When I woke in mornin, the captain’s men were all around me;
I had no gun nor blade and for that they did well ground me.
They took me to the mountains and stripped me nearly naked
and left me on a peak, boys, marooned and all unaided.

So now I do my walkin with feet well cold and frozen
never lookin back, boys, on the path that I have chosen
though I have thoughts a plenty to keep my merry mind full,
for Jenny took my money and that bastard Captain Farrell!

musha riggum durram dah
whack fol the daddy o
whack fol the daddy o
there’s whiskey in the jar

Oh I’d like to find my brother, he’s the one who’s in the navy,
I don’t know where they’ve shipped him, someplace surely warm and wavy,
Together we’ll go swimming on the beaches of Hawai’i,
Oh I know he’ll treat me better than my darlin sportin Jenny!

Some delight in fishin, and some delight in hiking,
Some take delight in warring like a Viking,
But I take delight in the juice of the barley
and courting pretty fair maids in the morning bright and early!

Musha riggum durram dah
whack fol the daddy o
whack fol the daddy o
there’s whiskey in the jar

Musha riggum durram dah
whack fol the daddy o
whack fol the daddy o
there’s whiskey in the jar!

Luke Kelly’s and The Dubliners “Whiskey in the Jar

 

Categories
Poems

The Hopeful and the Damned

 

IMG_9618

We are some of us moths flying into flame,
Burned and burning yet unable to give a damn,
Propelled by a force we cannot name
To escape, to wander this wondrous land.
We set off, in uneven times, with a strangled cry,
despite a prudent fear of the unknown,
There is sure loss of life for those that will not try
To flee the far, far greater peril of the known.
There’s risk in staying still: yawning to death,
Softening, or miserable suffocation.
Such hope for new life and free breath,
Brings us, panting, to the platform of a station.
And God knows we miss some things left behind:
The work unfinished, the plans unstarted,
Sentimental things, a cherished friend so kind,
The people and the animals, the heavenly departed.
But life is short. It is astoundingly, unflinchingly short.
It is but a blink in the universe, here and then gone,
It flashes by so quickly there is little time to sort
The nursery from the hospice, the sunset from the dawn.

Categories
Poems

In Mexico

IMG_6394

Where in summer heat the street dogs laze,
Where coconut trees soak the sun and wave
Where dusk paints the coasts, the sand, and the bays,
And the family spirits talk between graves.

Where the Baja mountains lie capped in snow
Behind miles of desert, cacti, and mesquite,
Before the Sea of Cortez, smooth and indigo,
With shoulders of schist and dust at their feet.

In Mexico, where old men sit and stare,
With rheumy eyes and canes in their hands,
Beneath a sky so heavy it can’t just be air,
Near a dog so haggard it barely stands.

In Mexico, where old women mutter and moan,
In rebozos of black with their hair in a braid,
In the cool of the place where their children have grown,
And where they themselves have wrinkled and greyed.

Where there is laughter and drink, bright lights and bars,
Where the churches need priests, and the workers need pay,
Where there is sex in the night, fights, and white scars,
Where mirrors reflect careworn folk and their hard ways.

Categories
Poems

Sweet Kiss

Here’s another poem from the POV of a serial killer: the villain of my in-progress mystery novel, The Murders in the Endicott Hotel.

441px-Evelyn_De_Morgan_-_Angel_of_Death
Evelyn de Morgan – The Angel of Death, 1880.

 

 

Those who call it the sweet kiss of death
Have not seen people die
The way I have.

There’s nothing sweet
There’s nothing like a kiss
In the deaths of the people
Whom I kill.

A more appropriate way
To describe their deaths
Would be the bitter, rancorous clawings
Of untimely death.

But that is not poetic.
That is not
Metered
Or rhyming
Or even illuminating.

But I suppose
That if you want metered
And Rhyming
Then you should go
For Dr. Seuss
And if you want illuminating
Then go
To the light bulb store.

Because if you come to me,
I will give you death
And the kind of death I give you
Will never remind anyone
Of a
Sweet kiss.

Categories
Poems

From Where the Luminous Arise

“From Where the Luminous Arise” is a poem that talks of how underdogs and people at a disadvantage rise to success and triumph.

IMG_7569
The Moon over Mexico, 2019

And when the streets are soft with confetti,
And cheers run riot through the air,
Remember, remember the place
from where the truly luminous arise.

Not from beneath the glittering chandeliers,
Nor emerging from jade-tiled pools,
Nor rocked in rubied cradles,
Nor rising from feathered beds,
Do grim, hard heros emerge.

Those places boast no forge hot enough
To maintain the internal flame.
They cannot compress folk from blackened, dusty coal
Into coruscating jewels.
Nor are they like the urban abattoirs,
That butcher the strong and the weak,
And leave the lucky to survive.

It is the men who, in burning their bridges,
See better through the night.
It is the women who, in casting off their anchors,
Sail to uncharted shores.
It is the people—broken, bent, and mangled—
Whose pain and suffering and want
Drive them relentlessly
onwards, upwards, onwards, upwards,
Until they reach the stars.

It is the weary, the scarred, the undaunted survivor
Who succeeds—against the common prediction—
Despite the overwhelming odds,
In the face of discrimination,
Pushing back the strong hands of hate.

And when these men and women answer
Their calls to greatness and commence
To building structures that will endure—
The band will stand and the gigues will play,
Trumpets forever after:
A marching tune in days of June
And the blues in the winter bleak.
And when these men and women become
Luminaries like those before,
In the times of cold when
All the coats in Sweden
can’t warm a man,
They burn.
And in times of fear when
All the prayers to heaven
Can’t conjure manna,
They give of themselves,
Until there is nothing left to give,
But bone and heart and blood.

And when they have given all of themselves
To field and friend and foe
Then they die like all men will
And are buried down below.

Categories
Poems

July 2020 Poems

My favorite poems from this July are Water, Mr. McGraff the Happy Giraffe, Salted, and We the Living Tree.

The most popular poems, judging by likes, were The Sunday Limericks, The Housefire, Barcelona, and The Cosmos and Man.

©Photo. R.M.N. / R.-G. OjŽda
Paul Limberg – July, a part of The Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry


Contents
Barcelona
The Cosmos and Man
The Early Reaper
The Heat
The Housefire
Mr. McGraff the Happy Giraffe
Once More into the Void
The Prison
Salted
Seraphs in Black
Water
We the Living Tree

Barcelona
The walls are lined with bougainvillea,
And the streets are paved with cobblestone.
Ahead the Basílica de la Sagrada Família
Rises from the earth of Catalonia.

The day is breezeless, dry as bone,
While parakeets wing from tree to tree.
A suckling babe makes her mother moan
As she nurses on the malecón.

Up on the wharf, along the deep blue sea
Come fishermen with their morning catch:
Skipjack tunas, mahi-mahi—
Scales iridescent, fine as filigree.

What cold heart could Barri Gòtic not snatch—
What wounded heart could it not patch—
When lovers go to seek their match?
What locked imagination could it not unlatch?

The Cosmos and Man
It is Independence Day.
All those firecrackers—
Look at them all.
One after another after another.
Each one fascinating to watch,
Each one gone in a flash;
Each one is like a little life.

More are launched.
They are launched
In greater numbers
At ever faster rates.
This is humanity
Approaching its crescendo.

Imagine if we oohed and ahhed,
For every life lived like it was a firework.
Why not?
Folks are gone nearly as quickly, after all.
But we must tell ourselves
That we burn more brightly,
if not brighter, and are far more
important and everlasting.

At last the air is filled with fireworks,
A bright blaze. Thank the stars
That there is something beautiful
Yet to look upon.
The fireworks are captivating.
I don’t say good or bad, but
Certainly enthralling.

As expected, the show ends with a bang.
Some smoke lingers in the atmosphere.
A wind blows.
The stars twinkle high above.
The universe, it turns out,
Never cared that those fireworks
Existed it all.
And that
Is the very definition
Of unrequited love.

The Early Reaper
All men are fields of flowers
Which start from heavy seeds.
In spring, their early buds
Will breast the soil and grow.
In summer, their bright petals
Are upturned before the sun.
In fall the plants are wilting,
Their tender shoots are turned to husks,
And come winter they are withered
As the snow and winds sepulcher stalks.

And I am an early reaper
Who comes as a late frost.
In spring the flowers budding
Are the first of flowers lost.
And in summer I am fire
When the rains have left and gone
I spread amongst the meadows
And leave desert in my trail.
In fall I’m like the wild duck
Consuming every crop
In winter I’m resplendent
In robes of ice and lack and want.

The Heat
In this heat,
With the cicadas buzzing
Like chainsaws
And the dogs panting
Like lovers
There is nothing to do
But sweat
And sleep
Sweat
And sleep
Sweat
And sleep
Until you wash yourself
In the warm ocean
Until the rain falls
And turns the land green
Until the moon rises
And the heat
Like a cat
Curls up for a nap.
And then, only then,
Can you breathe.

The Housefire
She had skin
As smooth
As a watermelon’s
And eyes
As bright
As butterflies.
She stood,
Frozen for a moment,
With her mouth open,
So that her round white teeth
And the tip of her pretty
Pink tongue
Were just visible.

Her arm was outstretched,
Like a medusa
Under a deep sea.

I could understand her.

I suppose that’s
How
I might stand too
If I came home,
And I, like her,
Found my home
Burning.

Mr. McGraff the Happy Giraffe
There once was a happy giraffe
Whose name was Mr. McGraff
He was brown and yellow
And a very tall fellow
And he had the most wonderful laugh.

Now Mr. McGraff the lovely giraffe
Went down to the mud hole one day
And it was there that he saw in four crocodile’s jaws
The child of a hippo named May.

Now Mr. McGraff was a quiet giraffe,
As it is in a giraffe’s nature to be,
But seeing this calf almost halfway in half
His cries rang from mountain to sea.

Although unable to swim, he charged right on in
And he attacked the grim crocodiles.
After much splishing and splashing
And fighting and thrashing
The giraffe emerged with a smile.

He shouted, You cool crocodiles
With your treacherous smiles
On this sunny day you’ve been beaten!
And my next endeavor
Will be to turn you to leather
For having my hippo friends eaten!

In the course of a while
After much musing on style
The giraffe was seen with a grin.
He took the lousy old brutes
And turned them into four boots
And those crocs were not heard from again.

Once More into the Void
The Earth revolves, and seasons change.
Foliage turns red, brown, orange, and black.
Horses snort. Their breath rises.
Their hooves crunch through fresh snow.
Now the fawns are born.
They are brown, soft as butter, with white spots.
Their legs tremble.
In comes the sun. High overhead,
Its heat leaves the air shimmering.

At the amphitheater, a musician
Mops the sweat from his eyes,
Folds his cloth, and returns it
To his breast pocket. A crowd
Is sitting in the fresh green grass.
He puts the bow to his cello,
Turns to the band, and he calls,
“One more time around!”

The Prison
It was just a little prison,
But its walls were hard as iron
And its jailers were resolute bastards.
They hung men, day and night,
Hung them even in my dreams
So that as I lay sleeping, fearful,
I watched ghostly rebels
Swinging by their necks,
Dozens of them,
Swinging through the mists,
From nightmare gallows.

It was just a little prison,
But it kept me from being free.
It stopped me from doing
The things that I wanted to do.

It was just a little prison,
But I made it bigger
With bricks of fear
And mortar made of doubt.
The bars were of ignorance,
And I paved the floor
With missed opportunity.
I roofed the ceiling
With a broad sheet of discomposure
That covered up the sky.
Because why the hell not?
I thought I might as well.
I can’t see any distance anyway,
When I lose my temper.

It was just a little prison,
But at least I was my own warden,
And my own jailer too.
I could deny those visitors,
Courage and wisdom.
It was just a little prison,
But I made it
All by myself.

Salted
There’s no place I’d rather be
Than here by the sea
Where the birds are singing all day.
All my worries and cares
Drift away on sea airs
And I’m left to do nothing but play.

The world may be burning
And it’s certainly turning
But here every day feels the same.
I wake and I write
From morning to night
And at times I forget my own name.

Seraphs in Black
Against the rising beauty of the sun,
shimmering over an owl’s watchful eyes,
the apocalyptical black dead come.

Lightless labyrinths of deathly ebon
concealing nightmare beasts, dichotomized
against the rising beauty of the sun.

From trees, then across plains, desolate, dun,
thunder sixteen hooves guided by blind eyes
the apocalyptical black dead come.

Who race from four corners, the bloodless ones
taking, by frozen touch, their living prize
against the rising beauty of the sun.

They, in yawning hoods, take every one
judged guilty of slaying, sadism, lies;
the apocalyptical black dead come.

Who, like bright artists dabbing oils upon
canvases of horizons and dawn skies
against the rising beauty of the sun,
the apocalyptical black dead come.

Water
The pelting pitter patter of precipitation
tick tip tip tap
ppit ppit
on the rain washed window
during the dreary day
sends me, wends me,
bores me, as no sun can gather.
Another rain washed day:
grey and heavy storms,
forms of rain in sheets,
windy wreaths of rain
spin like cyclones in the lane.
The dreary drops go drip drip drip;
the gutter filling rain
makes slipping hours pass, peculating time
on stealthy phantom feet.
The steady clock goes tick tick tock,
Pock pock pick, pick pick pock.
Seconds sound in time to steady drops of rain
clock pock tick tock;
Seconds sound in tune to rain that nurses earth…
A water song, a sing along:
rivulets of rivers run,
languorous lakes will swell.
A water song with wet world words:
moist monsoon, sea storm squall, great ungainly gales;
sails and masts and levies snap in times of wet travails.
Tap tap tap, tip tip tip.
Ships snapped; sailors dead,
sunk in whirling eddies deep, in whirlpools, fish schools,
entombed in worlds of water,
in a never dreaming, seaweed feeding, never ending, sound unceasing sleep.
Such a sad unnecessary slaughter of superstitious sailors,
star-crossed seafarers, unfortunate mariners,
in scenes both past and present has never been succeeded nor never yet surpassed.
What a word is water; what a world is water!
Drip drip drip,
tick tick tock.
Clocks chime ten,
the dusky hour,
and still the rain pours down:
days and nights, nights and days,
months and months of rain.
The endless drip, the dreary dusk,
the weary walks from work
in incessant rain on ho-hum days,
rain interminable as an hour.

We the Living Tree
As a world we are a single tree
And each of us are leaves
We try to be strong and free
Still we shake in a breeze
And in a leaf’s November
When the time it comes to fall
Then it is well to remember
That spring will come to call
And although we may not see
The budding of new leaves
We’ll know they’ll come to be
After the passing of the freeze.

Categories
Poems

Sunday Limericks

Rats
Ferdinand Van Kessel – The Dance of the Rats, 1690.

The Nudists from Sweden
There once were three women from Sweden
Who dressed like they were from Eden
They walked around in the nude
With a happy naturist attitude
And they got even tans from their freedom!

The Dancing Mouse
There once was a mouse who could dance
And he waltzed by a river in France
His beautiful dance was so slow
Beneath the moon wan and low
That it was like he moved in a trance.

Schrödinger’s Cat
There once was Schrödinger’s cat
Who was quite happy and fat
Although physicists said
He could be both living and dead
The cat was indifferent to that!

Categories
Poems

Nostalgia

I am writing a thrilling murder-mystery novel, and it’s called More Punishment than Crime.  Its villain is a poet.  Each time that this villain commits a murder he writes a terrifying poem.  🙂  This is another of the poems from the book.

Picasso - Melancholy Woman
Pablo Picasso – Melancholy Woman, 1902.

A ball once bounced across the street.
I watched it from the window.
Its parabolas were nice and neat.
A child followed it and was struck by a car.

Once upon the merry-go-round,
Never again into the canary-dead mine.
As youth we slept amongst graveyard stones;
At Christmas we sang “Auld Lang Syne.”

There were dogs and cats,
Animals of all kinds.
We petted their heads;
We twisted their spines.

At school we put on such a façade
That it fooled all the others
Who never knew we were odd;
And at Christmas we sang bright carols.

Life is not more merry, nor a better ride,
If we show our true colors;
We must keep our real selves inside,
Because we are a monster.

Categories
Poems

The Early Reaper

I am writing a thrilling murder mystery novel, and its villain is a poet.  Each time that this antagonist commits a murder he writes a terrifying poem.  🙂  This is one of the poems from the book.

Philip Galle - 1574 - the Triumph of time Detail
Philip Galle – The Triumph of Time (detail), c. 1574

 

All men are fields of flowers
Which start from heavy seeds.
In spring, their early buds
Will breast the soil and grow.
In summer, their bright petals
Are upturned before the sun.
In fall the plants are wilting,
Their tender shoots are turned to husks,
And come winter they are withered
As the snow and winds sepulcher stalks.

And I am an early reaper
Who comes as a late frost.
In spring the flowers budding
Are the first of flowers lost.
And in summer I am fire
When the rains have left and gone
I spread amongst the meadows
And leave desert in my trail.
In fall I’m like the wild duck
Consuming every crop
In winter I’m resplendent
In robes of ice and lack and want.

Categories
Poems

Barcelona

Barcelona

 

The walls are lined with bougainvillea,
And the streets are paved with cobblestone.
Ahead the Basílica de la Sagrada Família
Rises from the earth of Catalonia.

The day is breezeless, dry as bone,
While parakeets wing from tree to tree.
A suckling babe makes her mother moan
As she nurses on the malecón.

Up on the wharf, along the deep blue sea
Come fishermen with their morning catch:
Skipjack tunas, mahi-mahi—
Scales iridescent, fine as filigree.

What cold heart could Barri Gòtic not snatch—
What wounded heart could it not patch—
When lovers go to seek their match?
What locked imagination could it not unlatch?

Categories
Poems

Barcelona

435px-Barcelona_-_Carrer_del_Bisbe

The walls are lined with bougainvillea,
And the streets are paved with cobblestone.
Ahead the Basílica de la Sagrada Família
Rises from the earth of Catalonia.

The day is breezeless, dry as bone,
While parakeets wing from tree to tree.
A suckling babe makes her mother moan
As she nurses on the malecón.

Up on the wharf, along the deep blue sea
Come fishermen with their morning catch:
Skipjack tunas, mahi-mahi—
Scales iridescent, fine as filigree.

What cold heart could Barri Gòtic not snatch—
What wounded heart could it not patch—
When lovers go to seek their match?
What locked imagination could it not unlatch?

Categories
Poems

Sunday Limericks

Franz Marc – White Cat, 1912

The Man from New York
There once was a man from New York
Who never did eat with a fork
So when at home or with friends
He’d just use his hands
No matter if he ate spaghetti or pork!

The Chatty Girl from Cameroon
There was a chatty girl from Cameroon
Who refused to eat with a spoon
She would happily slurp her soup from the bowl
And mop up its dregs with a roll
And she was well loved from here to the moon!

The Cat with a Knife
There once was a cat with a knife
Who had used it for all of his life
He was a delicate cat
Who had manners and sat
And spoke of good fortune and life!

 

Categories
Poems

Salted

Paul Gaugain – By the Sea, 1892.

 

There’s no place I’d rather be
Than here by the sea
Where the birds are singing all day.
All my worries and cares
Drift away on sea airs
And I’m left to do nothing but play.

The world may be burning
And it’s certainly turning
But here every day feels the same.
I wake and I write
From morning to night
And at times I forget my own name.