An Outlook Occluded — a poem for Independence Day

IMG_0324

 

A Full Buck Moon about to rise,
and this the 4th of July — celebrated
most years as a day of unity —
but now we have two anthems.

Will we soon have one for every color?

And our country, the States United
(if you can grasp the infernal irony)
is all but torn asunder.

Florida is setting
new bars, contracting
a novel virus.

We’re either second or third.

Those who aren’t fighting the race wars
are arguing over wearing masks and distances.

And, damn it, the sky is clouded;
overcast, like it would be for a launch.

 

 

When a Poet Passes — a poem

Paul-Laurence-Dunbar (2)

for Firestone Feinberg

Our plesance heir is all vane glory,
This fals warld is bot transitory,
The flesche is brukle, the Fend is sle;
Timor mortis conturbat me.

— William Dunbar
“Lament for the Makers”

 

His breath stopped
yet not his voice — it lives
within others and others to come.

Or perhaps it flies
on the Springtime wind
into the budding trees of May.

It will be heard
when leaves are full
green, or in Autumn’s dry whisper.

And, yes, even as Winter laughs
at our collective frailty.

The voice of a maker echoes
in protest, in pleasure — the shouts
of children at play;
of lovers at odds;
of those who wish to be heard
over the chaotic noise they have caged
within that sings, “The fear of death confounds me!”

His breath has stopped.
His voice has joined
the chorus of the makaris —

“I se that makaris amang the laif
Playis heir ther pageant, syne gois to graif;
Sparit is nocht ther faculte….”

 

Less Than Normal — a poem

What did I find when I ventured
out today? Bite-sized memories strewn
across the surface of our pond.

Thoughts brought
to light — a feeding
frenzy of guilts.

I look up to the clouds
into a mother-shaped hole.

Thirty years abandoned.

The promised
rain never appears.

The storms headed south.

Only a drop blown in a north wind.

Meditations of Sophie, Our Dog, Who Has Recently Lost Her Ability To Hear — a poem

Sophie (2)

Sophie

 

I can’t find their sounds —
sniffed everywhere.

They have hidden their voices.
I watch as they move
their muzzles; but nothing.

How am I to know?

They smell the same, but are not
talking to me.

No scent of anger.

No scent of play.

No sense I make
of this.

* * *

Okay, so as much as we love her, our Sophie never showed signs of enjoying us: our voices, our music, anything we did that kept her from her naps. She’s probably happy (if a tad confused) by our silences.

No Real Reflection On Me — a poem

hand

photo by Charley

 

I have taught
my morning mirror to lie;
a sidelong glance,
a winning smile —
“Goodbye.  Adieu!”
My day is dressed
and all my success
is ensured
by my deceiving eyes.

But the camera,
the webcam,
my cellphone selfie —
like a vampire
I’ll not reflect
on them
and their persistent truths.

Tonight I’ll bear
the inner image
to heart.
Tonight I’ll rest,
get an early start, having
breakfast, coffee,
and my morning lie.

No, We Can’t Dance Together — a poem of the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, April 2020

We focus on the sunlight, water
out our back French doors, inviting

us to break the stay-at-home order.
Shore birds, vultures, the Kingfisher

risk arrest, go about their business;
it’s not as bad as it seems. Flowers

on red and blue Passions proliferate,
a Hibiscus shows flippant disregard.

*  *  *

What will it take to shake
us out of our cave of safety —

a dearth of wine, farewell
to the last few sheets, need
for animal protein on the grill?

We were unnerved when gloves
on our hands we seen as crazed,

paranoid — but now being unmasked
is considered next to suicidal.

Our grandparents and before
them, generations learned
what separates want from need,

and how to do without — to live
without.

*  *  *

A Great Blue is settled, focused
on the tiny fish but a few weeks

hatched. Softback turtles bask
in sunlight that seems to carry

a taint that I wasn’t sensible
of at the start of March — March,

that sidled in so unassuming.
We have another month inside,

or more… or more. An angry
pair of Jays are harassing

one of many Red Shouldered
Hawks. We, for comfort’s

sake, name them Reggie.
We stay at home, sipping

Sangria, toasting our health.

The Sand a Boundary for the Sea — a poem

“I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it.”

— Jeremiah 5:22 (NIV)

 

this is not the angel of death we face
who holds sway is but a spectre of fear
we who prefer to huddle in flock or herd
have been culled out, separated and this
oh this is our emotional ruin

too long we have trusted in our safety
so that now we fall easily into blind terrors
our minds are unused to life saving tracks
so we run, we gather, we hoard — our peril
rests, resides in that to which we now turn
not the Mystery, the Other; one who sees all

abase yourselves in your self-held knowledge
run askance before the cryer’s clarion call
fear, fear! panic and despair, children and fools!
Who then is hope for?

 

 

Losing Our Patina — a poem

This path is so lovingly tended,

            level,
                        easy
                                    slopes –

not much effort
required on our beautiful stroll.

            A paved
                        surface smooth 
                                    beneath our feet.

            A shaded
                        canopy, green
                                    cooling
                                                ease.


I stalk through the aisles angry;
people do not think — “Distance!”
Stripped shelves, fear-bound
humanity hoarding; rude herd
creatures, ruminating in front
of the dairy case — I cough
my “excuse me.” Stampede.
I am the grey wolf seeking
a weakened elk in the herd.
Laughing, I leave the grocery
little better than I came; empty.


The boardwalk needs repair.

            We are consigned
                        to cross
                                    marshy
                                                ground unaided.

            Paths overgrown,
                        rutted,
                                    blind.


Now is not the time to walk,
but to head home —