Category: Poems

Morning Sickness

Needle in the side
of a half-ripe fruit—
the pain precipitates
in tiny drops
on the forehead
of a martyr for love.

I’m counting the ways
I’m mad for you.

Apples and pears,
peaches and plums—
Midnight-watchers stand their guard
by the hymns
of a tired heart
and a restless soul.

I’m counting the ways
I’m glad for you.

Under the basket,
under the pall—
the stones of sadness
glimmer and glow
(silent and still)
out of the dark.

I’m counting the ways
I’m sad for you.

Herald of suff’ring,
born of the moon—
the news you bring
sickens the sun
and troubles the rain;
the pilgrim’s march
runs on again.

I’m hiding the love
I had for you
all that time ago.

Petite Poems

Poems small and weightless enough to blow away on the wind.

Gold leaf falling fast—
Catch the laughter as it flees!
The time for apples,
Ironed shirts, and holding hands
With handsome boys in woolen coats.

You forgot my name?
Ah, but look, it’s written there,
Rolled into your sleeve.

Kenji once cried so hard,
His tea leaves turned as salty
As the Pacific Sea.

Oh!
How
handsome
the swallows
are looking today,
now that their sorrowing is done.

Dear
sir—
If you
would like to
know if I love you,
come find me by the linden tree.

Pray, tell me
however you grew to be
so trapped inside my soul.

My heart hasn’t been this glad
since the day
I was born.

I cannot write these anymore,
I cannot write a poem.
All the fancy’s gone from me,
A long, long way from home.

 

A Troubled Heart

For a troubled heart, there is no relief;
For a wild encounter, no dressing of grief–
Only watching and waiting, suspecting the worst.
The king was a pauper, the blessèd were cursed

In a little-lamb town near the skirts of the bay—
The place where you wandered in the heat of the day.
The villagers say they saw you in tears,
The countrymen claim you’ve been missing for years,

Trapped, as it were, in the trappings of doubt–
A bloom of near-darkness, a sinner devout–
The things of this world were falling away.
The best you could do was kneel and pray.

But why spend your toil when no one would hear?
And why waste your hours in trembling and fear?
When the person you called on was never at home
And the lover you leaned on was lost in his dome—

Aloft in a tower, aloof of the cries
Of the woman who wails, the child who sighs.
A simpler man might find it half-strange
To live in a house so crudely arranged.

But who are the voices that people your head?
And what are the longings that call you instead?
Young hearts are beating, the day-book is read,
The soldiers are dancing, the dogs have been fed.

“Now, listen, o God, I’m dying to know
What songs I’ve been singing, what seeds I should sow!
My patience, o Lord: a light growing dim.
I’m losing the will— —to follow Him.”

To You, From Me

TO : You
FROM : Me

You were singing carols in the dark.
I was brushing the fur off my coat.

You were singing a song in the most beautiful French.
I was rehearsing the lines to a Chekhov play.

You were counting the flames on a Candlemas cake.
I was trying to find a button to sew on my shirt.

You were certain the weather was coming as planned.
I was lost in the asking of unknowable things.

You were planting a garden of potatoes and chive.
I was sick to my soul with imponderable ills.

You were living so simply in a little wood house.
I was traveling the world looking for you.

You were singing a song like a child’s old hymn.
I was waiting for the sound to reach me somehow.

You were happy and wise and empty of cares.
I was remembering how to say “thank you” and “please.”

You were writing a book with paper and pen.
I was finishing my letter to you and sealing it with a kiss

(enclosed, with fondness, herewith).

With infinite love,
Me

Remain as the Child

Assisi

A poem I wrote this weekend. Heartache = :'(

“Love, how quickly you render me a fool!”

Perceive how the angels have kissed your eyes:
The flutter of life on a winter’s day.
Withdraw into darkness and cover the skies:
They have stolen all the starlight away.
Remain as the child who laughs up the lane,
Remain as the spirit unwoven and plain,
Remain as the bell that rings in the rain.
For I am sick with love.

Fig trees and apples and raisins and cakes:
O moon in the oceans and sun in the lakes.
Mile by mile, our trav’ling is far:
Forgive me, my fool, my consummate star.

I spoke by the water a word in your ear:
Command all the ships to sail half-mast.
Untether the wind, provoke us to steer:
Avoiding the cliffs, pursuing the blast.
Remain as the child who sleeps out of sight,
Remain as the spirit baptizingly bright,
Remain as the bell that knells through the night.
For I am sick with love.

Bedtime Hymn

Messina, Italy (Landscape)

Infinite Spirit,
in the caress of the night
I call to You.

Redoubtable Love,
my heart is full to bursting
at the sound of Your name.

Perpetual Peace,
my tongue is tied up in praises
of Your impossible grace.

When the soul has lost her way
in pursuit of wild things,

You summon her home
in tones as sweet as honey,
as soft as rain

And rock her to sleep
again and again.

Revelation (Video)

Sometime in the spring, I recorded this short video of an old poem I’d written called “Revelation.” Text below. (Also here.)


A swallow landed at the landlord’s golden gate:
Svelte-seeming swallow, small begotten king,
A thing to glory in so many miniatures of spring

Sprung all to blooming in bedappling beds,
Heads of the hyacinth, so much overfed, looked longing
On high to the highriding Sun of whom they were sons;
They were blushing the flush of a mother,
They were hushing to hear the swallow their Brother!

Their Brother winged wide to the goldenwrought gate
Forespeaking the sounds of a highmountain place:
The trees were bowing their leaves to the song!
The swallow was sweeping the stone hearts along!

The swallow, oh swallow! – inviolable grace! –
Stood steady straight, straight steady stood, standing at the gate.

Dappled-day

Dappled-day
Flower-fire
Ice cubes trembling
Birds on wire.

Dolphin-dreamer
Happy head
Children dancing
Time for bed.

Red Bird

Red bird
in the palm of my hand—
Who cannot sing the strains of love
stirring trapped inside your beak.

Drop a feather instead—
In the fullness that can’t be expressed,
the only thing left
is to fly.

So good-bye, red bird—
May you carry the kiss of my quiet soul
on the northerly wind.

Two Peonies

This is an old poem, but I’m experimenting with using video as a means to occasionally record and deliver poetry. Ignore the fancy promotional bit at the end; I just quickly imported my video to one of the first free online video editors I could find, and the result was some extra advertising graphics I don’t exactly want. Suggestions welcome 🙂

 

Two peonies are blooming under the sky,
But I am too sick with nerves to come by
And loiter with them and ask their pardon
For looking so pale inside their garden:
They would wince, close, lose their beauty, dry;
They would drop their petals, sullen, and sigh:
Goodbye, good child, good-bye, good bye.