Bench Sitting

In a mall
where everyone is nowhere,
a young man stands in front of a sign
with an arrow that says
“You are here”

Cargo shorts, a backpack and a tan;
he doesn’t fit in.

Avoiding his eyes
as he glances around,
I imagine them brown and wounded,
confused — like something from the wild
caught in high beams.

I want to tell him:
You can get anywhere from here —
from anywhere —
It’s all in the choices you make,
in the roads that you take.

Choose wisely.

That’s the problem with sitting
and thinking too long,
all those old wisdoms come creeping in
and you start to think you invented them,
besides that, it’s bad for the circulation.

I realize no one goes to a mall
looking for wisdom. It’s not the best place
to find a bargain either. As for the benches,
they need cushions.

Writing a Tree

Picture an oak, or perhaps an elm,
lush and lofty, but it’s not the tree
that I invite you to see;
it’s the sense of its roots, gnarled
yet secure. It’s the sound of its limbs
caught in the whim of a whistling wind.

Stop for a moment … Catch your breath.
Take a metrical pause in the space
of its shade, or maybe make
a madcap dash through leafy
arcade like young people praising
a sunny day with the pleasure of play.

Take tiptoe steps so quietly, for
you’re never quite sure what you will see
when you are pacing the girth
of a shady old oak tree.
Leaves color Fall trochaically;
come Summer, you might meet a spondee.

Feel the texture of green leaf and stem.
Celebrate the perfection of them.
There in the dawn’s early light
you’ll see the forest primeval
before the blight. With senses so full,
who will think anapest or dactyl?

The sweet scent of a wood rose adrift
on the breeze, the mystical music
of a three part harmony
sung by wind, water and trees,
artwork of spiders glistened with dew;
take it all in, you’ll write a tree too.

Progression to Perfection

It began with love of craft…
the shading by the artist’s hand
of hues that shaped his face
and showed his soul, each line
a milestone.

She ‘used an old pen
to draw the old man’*
One hundred and two — his age
an amazement, his peace
earned by days well spent.

Eye and heart and hand,
in unison they worked
until when done, it was not
the love of craft one saw
but love of man.

*quoted from the artist’s remarks

You will find the painting at
Roswitha Geisler’s Skizzenbuch/Blog

The Love Song of Maud Gonne

Sometimes vows
will make themselves,
cement themselves
     inside unsuspecting hearts.

Years come and go,
faces change, and places,
until some twilight when crickets serenade
the coming dark.

In shadow of the swaying boughs
we realize the chance has passed
and still the vows
have lasted.

This poem was written some years ago after reading ‘When You Are Old’
by William Butler Yeats. I had forgotten about the poem until I read the following article a few days ago on a WordPress ‘Irish History’ blog

On Finding ‘Shadow’ at Sunrise

Wrought iron
curlicued on stone
allows the mind to wander
beyond the eye
           onto a stair
        that travels ever upward
     as far as the imagination
  can stretch…
as close to heaven
  as the morning sun
    rising to praise a new day.

A photograph found at Poetry and Art
inspired these words early this morning. The sun was just
rising here and for a moment seemed to spill over into the photo.

As Far as the Eye Can See

Ribbon rails turn a curve
and disappear beyond the eye.

She walks a path
between winding river
and honey scented gorse.

…A whirr of wings, a goldfinch,
a burst of full-throated song…

Vines and wildflowers tangle
through her mind.

The breeze is warm;
she lifts her face
to taste the sun.