Monday, October 26, 2009

memento mori

The following poem is written as part of the TFE Poetry Bus Tour, a Monday poetry challenge that this week is a response to Krzystof Penderecki's Threnody for the Victims (of Hiroshima).

The challenge was to write as we listened to the music without knowing anything about the piece. In the spirit of the challenge, I did not even look at the title of the composition as I wrote the following poem, which I think has a strange synchronicity with the inspiration for the music:

Memento Mori

Moving, moving,


We’re in, we’re in,

We can’t get out;

We’re held too long

Inside the song.

Hidden passage,

Many doors,

Stairs to nowhere,

Many floors,

Boarded windows

To the world,

Hiding, dodging

In a whirl;

Sliding slowly

Down the wall,

Head in hands,

We hear the call

To take up arms

Or else we fall.

The train we’re on,

The train is gone.

Looking back,

Grey and black,

Crowds of people

On the track.

Doors not opened.

Empty chairs.

Empty rooms

Inviting stares;

All is loss.

Lost is all.

We’re going,

We are gone.

Friday, October 23, 2009



it is enough

that the sun

streaks silver

as it crosses

leaden skies,


that trembling leaves

let go their bonds

and sail

before they fall.


I think


it is enough

that the heart


over and over

of its own accord

before it finds

its rest.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sylvia Rising

Sylvia Rising

History on her rosy northern skin

had traced with pain the crossed, fine

lines of vain attempts and vanished

tears, of long endured days and years and deaths

that marked her like a line of graves

waiting for the art within her charge.

Through too few years she bore the charge

of creation; from her fragile bones and skin,

and from her mingling with that grave

poetic man, the mixture of her own fine

poet’s blood with mud made life from death

and dreams that from her heart would vanish

only as the storied, vanished

bird that falls beneath the charge

of purifying fire and defies its death

to leave the self and rise within new skin,

all loss and pain ground down to fine

thin ash that blows across the useless grave.

With art unconquered by the grave

attained, she spins the words of never vanished

heart; beyond the veil of night on strong, fine

winds, she sends her poet’s charge:

Be fire that frees these words of their fine skin

and burns them to the ashes of a death

that is a rising up, the death of death.

With spirit breath, she mocks the wished-for grave,

and putting on a pure new feathered skin,

soars forth upon the wings of her vanished,

but unvanquished heart, from which the charge

of beating with too fine

a beat – hoping with too fine

a hope to find the pall of death

no longer is her calling or her charge.

Her spirit heart takes flight beyond the grave,

bearing through the cast of this dark night the vanished

hopes and dreams of verse and skin,

delivering the poet’s charge beyond the grave,

to mingle with us in a living fire and vanish

from her death into this fine new skin.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

the land of me

The Land of Me

I wish I were the red balloon
Of a hurdy gurdy man
Whose little monkey set me free
To sail across the land

To places that I’ve never been
And times I’ll never see;
I’d float beyond this Isle of Man
And to the Land of Me.

A stranger to this foreign shore
Where one can think all day
About the things she wants to know
And what she wants to play,

My red heart would then swell with joy
To very nearly pop
As I pull my own strings along
And never, ever stop.

I’d float just where I want to go
Without a hand to hold
And sail away on fresher air
Than I ever breathed of old.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Word of the Lord

Do you remember the day

we ran like conspirators

when young men in white shirts

came calling?

I laughed when you said

we were hiding from

the Word of the Lord

and rocked the baby in my arms

so she wouldn’t give us away

with a cry.

I remember that day

as I stand like a lone penitent

while you call upon

young men in white shirts.

I remember that day as I fall upon

the Word of the Lord

and rock myself like a baby,

trying very hard not to give way

to my tears.