Absence

The morning is mitigated,
part cloud, part mild sun,
the silence of windsong
rattled by Sunday gung-ho gun shots,
sky scattered with birds then scoured by rain,

but the stolid, rocky monolith of grey,
the block unchanged by wind, rain or sun,
indifferent to birds and bullets,
the unmitigated dreariness,
is the absence of you.

A parting

 

Hard to think today

when the house is different, less,

and a far away city is a little more.

Hard to think of happiness

when the sky shakes with gun shots,

graceful deer bound across the meadow in fear,

and pigeons rustle uneasily high in the maples.

Hard to think of tomorrow and why.

Another step on the journey,

another fork in the road,

a parting of the ways,

and will tomorrow be any easier?

In springtime

spring clouds

 

I always think of them in spring

though they died on the sill of winter.

I sprang from them, was formed by them

in the shelter they built of gardens and painted quiet.

I think of them when the flowers start to open

and the leaves,

when the breeze is brisk but the sky is haphazard blue.

I think of them beneath this sky,

so far away from where they called home,

but the sky is the same everywhere,

and the blackbird’s song.

She looks through the window at the world

This is for the Secret Keeper’s writing prompt.

ROLE | SHAPE | QUIET | SPIRIT | YOUTH

 

I play the role of shaper of things,

moulder of spirit,

curator of youth,

orderer of my environment,

but in this abundance of quiet,

this place of tremulous peace,

I see myself for what I am,

an insect clinging to the rim of the great cup of space.

I am more and less than the fox in the covert,

the owl that glides on silent wings,

the swallows playing one last swooping game

before the long flight south.

For all my longings, I do not belong,

and cares will always weigh with fear my clumsy tread,

and nothing, no words, no kind thoughts

will stop the fall of yellow leaves,

nor help me hold my place

when the earth spins,

and the winds of winter blow hard.

Purple dusks

A poem that wouldn’t let me sleep last night

cassatt_mary_children_on_the_beach_1884

Where have they gone, the purple dusks,

The golden days of honeyed balm?

How did time tick tock so fast?

Slipped through the fingers, the small radiant joys,

In a cascade of colours, flowing like silk,

Into the vast, blue ocean no dike can hold back,

That we skimmed on snow-white feet for want of wings.

The soft nights and mornings full of love,

And the birds that sang their ancient songs

Among the spring and summer roses,

Long gone, their memory echoing sweet,

A scattering of feathers, like fallen petals.

Shadows on the flesh now,

The touch of a small, sticky hand in mine,

Sleek, warm, undemanding fur

Of placid, ephemeral companions,

And the heart overflowing, the arms overflowing,

With the glorious burden of a tired child,

All swept away, dead leaves in the wind,

The old rocking horse that gallopy-gallopied you off to bed,

Lost now beyond the bend in the road.

Autumn’s song

Yesterday I had fun translating a poem by Arthur Rimbaud. This morning I’ve had a go at one of Verlaine’s. This is more of an adaptation. The original text is from Poésie française.

Chanson d’automne

Les sanglots longs
Des violons
De l’automne
Blessent mon coeur
D’une langueur
Monotone.

Tout suffocant
Et blême, quand
Sonne l’heure,
Je me souviens
Des jours anciens
Et je pleure

Et je m’en vais
Au vent mauvais
Qui m’emporte
Deçà, delà,
Pareil à la
Feuille morte.

1024px-Old_dead_leaves_on_grass

Autumn’s song

 

With mournful strings,

Autumn sings

Its melody,

Heart-breaking song,

Slow and long,

A threnody.

 

No breath,

Pale as death,

Still the memories creep.

When the hour sounds,

My heart’s pulse pounds,

And I weep.

 

I leave at last

In the black wind’s blast,

Like a leaf I fly,

Carried hither

And thither,

Dead and dry.

 

 

When

Morning_at_Antelope_Reservoir

When the last rose of the summer falls,
Then so too will I.
When the sun sets in a sea of flame,
I will let my embers die.

When the last bird leaves the rosetree,
And fades the echo of its song,
The wind will take my last notes
To the place where I belong.

When the light fades and the dark comes,
Only stars to light the night,
Too far, too cold for comfort,
I will shut them from my sight.

If one remembers who I was
And who I once did love,
I’ll walk the hills of memory,
Your starlit face above.

Melancholy

Hölzl_Dachau

 

There is a sadness in the air

At the season’s end.

A summer that never flourished

Too cool, too wet

With strewn petals, windblown and brown

Food for slugs.

There is a sadness in the sun’s return

At the eleventh hour

A final cavalry charge to save the year.

Too late, we say,

We who waited beneath the dripping trees

Mourning the fallen roses

And never noticed beneath the lowering cloud

That the swallows had all gone.

Heartache

In the early morning
I walk through yellow light
And mists of green and pearly blue
That chase away the night.
I listen to the peace that falls
In the fluttering of wings
And the song of life and love and death
When the blackbird sings.
I will let it enter to fill the empty space
Where love and life have turned to death
And heartache has your face.
I will keep the blackbird’s song
When I turn to walk away
And the beauty I saw in the morning light
When I still thought you would stay.

Blackbird,_Bystrc_14