Heartbeats

The NaPoWriMo prompt today is timely. A brief message out of the blue from a distant cousin and memories flooded back.

 

Like a voice from the past, echoing in a dream,

a dead branch broken underfoot,

trod wildflowers, petals crushed,

like the rushing stream choked by brown leaves,

sluggish with captured mud,

a dead badger by the roadside,

like rainclouds when the forecast said sun,

the nightingale still singing after the night

is done, through the dull light

that fills every hollow and fibre

and tells how the world turns relentlessly

from life to death,

as spring leads inevitably to winter again,

how you were here, then you were gone,

in the flutter of an eyelid,

in the beat of a heart.

Erased haibun: Elegy

For the NaPoWriMo prompt, an elegy for things past, dreams unfulfilled.

1024px-Large_Blue_Horses

Before the words took hold I dreamt of you and all the things that we would do. I longed for places little knowing you can never own a place nor keep it unchanging in your heart. We moved on, like grazing horses on some endless meadow, our herd growing, grazing where we led. Dreams fulfilled leave yawning gaps, they float into the placid blue of complacency. And when they wandered and the grass was bittersweet, I let the words in to fill the space.  The words spiked the hilltops with their shining speartips and I let them in. They march, day and night in serried ranks trumpeting hopes of success and at last an easy life. They march. Over the hills and far away, with the grazing horses on the bittersweet grass.

 

On the rim

of the hill

sun sets—dying gold.

 

 

Before

I dreamt of things

longed for places

horses grazing

placid blue.

They wandered far away

bittersweet.

On this day

I haven’t done this before, and it’s still hard, but this is a few words in remembrance of this day fourteen years ago when my mother died.

1024px-184_thomas-alexander_harrison_marine_la_nuit

This day was dark

That saw me fly to my mother’s side,

To hold a hand that did not know mine.

So quick her bird flew,

So hard to find the thoughts among the tears.

She had already gone,

Retreated to the place of half-being,

One foot in the doorway,

One hand reaching out to those beyond.

In her steady heartbeat

I heard the whispered words,

All the words left unsaid,

That would never now be spoken.

Tears could not open those lips,

Loosen that garrulous tongue.

The clock ticked but time had fled.

Were you there, Dad, to take her hand

And lead her through to the other side?

Did you give her that lop-sided smile and ask,

‘What kept you?’

I like to think you were,

She could never find her way without you,

Ever.

Haiku challenge: Muse & Pen

Ronovan’s challenge this week is a writerly one. Or at least that’s the first possible meaning. Have a look at his blog for the original takes on these two words.

osage orange tree

The golden leaf falls
I muse on summer’s passing
penning elegies.

Muse guiding the pen
the poem flows a river
words bright as diamonds.

and a third one just for fun.

Amuse me, you said
pending the jury’s verdict—
I ran out of jokes.

Blackbirds: an elegy

Blackbird,_Bystrc_14

The vines are full of blackbirds in the golden light,
No thought but to catch the dripping sweetness of the grapes.
No tangled webs they weave, of contracts signed and shipped,
Of blood and grief and men sent out to fight.

The blackbird eats until he needs no more,
Then fills the world with song without compare,
While we watch with eyes of stone or full of tears,
And count dead children washed up on the shore.