Winter’s Last Night

Here I sit detached, adrift,
through dying embers seek and sift,
in hoping for a welling flame
to heat the hearth and so in claim
a victory toward the spring.

The cords of fuel have spent their best
to heat this home, to garner rest
through lengthened nights of bitter cold,
through winter’s best and deepest hold,
through crackling fires, sing.

The wood pile is depleted now,
the fourteen cords I stacked somehow
have been reduced to eight sticks here,
piled at hearth in hope and fear
of how this winter ends.

Hopes of spring in March relent
to winter’s snow and frozen scent
that whirls around this alpine cot,
trading warmth and embers hot
for hope this season’s time transcends.

Eight sticks, one night, if not to freeze.
Like bread and fish and wine conceive
a hope for Christ to gather here
upon this mount with sermon dear
to hold the storm at bay.

But as the embers gently hush
I find the calm, ignore the rush,
sacrifice on piece of eight
pray that winter’s cold will wait
with me until the day,
and morn will bring the sun.

At warming hearth in blankets deep,
tucked into a rocking sleep,
I hear the whisper of the wind
calling me as gentle fiend
as if to say just one’s okay,
and promising the sun.

So into peace I run…

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The Farmer’s Table – March 1st

“Season’s border.”
“Time,” says I, “to sharpen shears and patch the fence.  Time to think of plowing furrows softened past this cold suspense.”
“Aye, but March, she brings no charity mixed in mud and heavy snow.  Best hold your anxious hand, boy.  Calm yourself ‘til spring to sew.”
The old man spoke in truths that tho’ March toward spring was burgeoning, was far too soon to set the plow and ponder on rows’ furrowing.
“I’ll bet she comes like lamb this year,” I mused in counter confidence.  “I’ll bet that Easter soothes the soil in April blossom’s countenance.”
“Could be,” he smiled a sparkled grin, “but here we’ve frost ‘til first of May.  Best hope for planting April rows will grow on how you pray!”
We laughed and settled back to count the coffee cups before us.  “It’s just this winter’s driven deep.”  So sighed we too in chorus.
“Well my friend,” he stood to go, “appreciate the morning break.”
“So to March and knee deep snow,” and with a nod, “I’ll see ya Jake.”

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Back Against This Wall

Back against this wall…

This alley in remission from evening’s shallow light that casts the neon’s echo ‘cross the puddled rain here left in flight. The creeping of the city’s poise, stagnant, yet repelling the every moment stood before, captured melancholy, telling of the brick so stacked behind my back, its story never told, of tears in lonely crying dealt amidst the thieves, amidst the throes of life, of death, of every moment painted black… I lean against this wall succumbed by all the world, by all the lack.

Into my very soul it pours, every bottle, every poor soul that claimed a moment’s home between the puddles, against the loam of what the city so disgusts, but bends to truth and hides in trust that such is never seen. I lean against this wall, now mean. I feel the bullet holes here left, where souls caught glimpses of their death. I smell the acrid bloom of fear and echoed running footsteps hear… to justice? to ends? to whatever’s left of soul’s lost friends…?

Behind the madness of my mind I feel the thrum and so go blind to all the hopes here swimming round, adrift within this dying ground… this dying ground, is it? I write it lest I should forget. My shadow crosses fast before the falling neon lights in roar glanced across the puddles’ rent where only living’s death is spent, and so I to my own.
Back against this wall, alone.

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In Eros’ Service – the mender

Cast betwixt two drifts of wind my sorry soul did drown,
torn between two lover’s tides, in confluence, pulled me down
beneath these waves of temporal flux, be cast to love’s deep purpose,
where only I can pay the debt, one hundred years be tied to service.

In penance to all breaking hearts that I may mend their shattered hopes,
forever ‘neath the northern star, forever pulling frozen ropes.

No reference to horizon made that I my debt delay,
held beyond sweet morning’s dawn, denied each glimpse of day.

Cast I wreck from havoc to belay a pardon’s sweet remorse
that these poor souls adrift here, by me, return their course.

So to love or death they go with fractured hearts amend,
yet of the shards here left behind unto my selfish purpose lend
a hope that love may still await when placed within my own,
that penanced years of servitude may build a heart, so grown.

Yet still the seas of love do crash, deliver me their broken hopes,
as time stands still beneath this pole, these frozen hands on frozen ropes.

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The Gypsy Rover

Her silken touch in dance across the twill’s uneven strand,
graces so her slender wrist as beauty’s stem and giving’s hand.
Poised in quiet pleasure, she works the loom in quickened throws
of shuttle passing twixt the threads which capture kind the weft in rows.

Her mind and heart deny the task that binds this simple weave,
permits her drift on whispered tones of gypsy songs that pitch and heave
through stories of the rover, of hearts won true seduced by song,
of verdant green and rolling rills that tempt a maiden’s heart strings long.

Between the woven threads of twill she hears a whistling soft and sweet
that slowly grows above the hill, its timber and its tone complete.
She feels the green wood gently ring in echo ‘cross the valley’s rill,
till nearer from the shady lane she feels her heart give rise, then still…

“But for gypsy rover!” she laughs and pulls the warp lines tight,
“One day he’ll yet come for me!” smiles and casts the shuttle’s flight
between the warp suspended threads, sweetly bound by loving hand,
blended with the rover’s song still tempting maidens through the land.

In honor of and inspired by the song “The Whistling Gypsy” also known as “The Gypsy Rover”

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Lost Words

Orphans

Ink on ink, stacks of words, lines bent from my mind in haste,
well in wretched motion’s scent within the pile of blotter’s waste.
Denied the spark of light to find a useful purpose where they lay,
lepers of my orphans, renounced to shelves of dim decay.
The dust of ages crack their binds, fermented time lends ochre’s brand
infusing dim their history upon neglected pages, tanned.

Why do they still remain there?
What purpose can they ever fill?
Whose eyes will ever read them?
What holds them in my ebbing will?

My orphans calmly line the shelf, at peace in holding nodding thoughts
that stem form frozen moments summed when grand solutions aptly caught
the hope to bend an errant mind, the rush to solve the world’s woes,
the drive to change, create such love that ecstasy would roll in throes…
Science, math, and cultures gripped. Politics of hatred delved.
Invention, story, fiction, truth all gathered through the ink, there shelved.

In some I rarely venture a visit through their ashen sparks.
Others, I’ve not the courage yet to reach or touch their pages, dark.
But yet they are my orphans, my hopeful babes, my lepers scarred.
For by my hand became here, and by my hand stay safely barred.

I pity those who find them beyond the last of breath in me.
I pray they’ll not destroy them, yet maybe let just some fly free.

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This Aging Garden Gate

Hung in hesitation’s poise,
this iron gate denies no friend,
creaks and clangs in phrase of welcome
whenever one walks in.

Here amidst the cold stone wall,
now overgrown in moss and vine,
hangs this aging garden gate,
held to dress this walk, quite fine.

Beneath the years of layers black
in sacred paint applied in trust,
cracks the skin of age and wear
exposing blisters filled with rust.

The slapping latch is worn quite thin.
Her angles softly sagging.
The spring to bring her closed again
strains beneath her weight, just lagging.

Yet through this temporal portal streams
the futures past in longing dreams.
Through her kindest stance has come
the sweetest loves, the greatest sums
of all a man desires…
…angels swept in summer dress…
…devils danced in fire…

Through her constant threshold drifted
words of war, hopes of peace,
worries of life’s certain failings,
prayers for a sweet release.

Now as I, with aging hand,
caress her subtle arabesque,
I quietly gather dreams recalled,
some living, most at rest.

Oh dear friend, my fortunes flowed
across your gentle grace,
calmly calling to this path
that since has aged this place.

Once more I pull her toward me,
my life resounds her echoed call
that soon our futures beckon
toward the fade, toward the fall.

God bless you little gate,
my colored life’s been marked in time
by gracious clangs and creaking,
so set, by you, to living’s rhyme.

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