No (Wo)man’s Land

Warning: Sensitive topic broached.
Björn at dVerse: MTB asks us to write a cadralor, which poetic form consists of "5, unrelated, numbered stanzaic images, each of which can stand alone as a poem, is fewer than 10 lines, and ideally constrains all stanzas to the same number of lines. Imagery is crucial to cadralore: each stanza should be a whole, imagist poem, almost like a scene from a film, or a photograph. The fifth stanza acts as the crucible, alchemically pulling the unrelated stanzas together into a love poem. By “love poem,” we mean that your fifth stanza illuminates a gleaming thread that runs obliquely through the unrelated stanzas and answers the compelling question: 'For what do you yearn?'" Click on Mr. Linky to join us.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

A bird cries over the tele-
phone wire, is it you? is it done?
over black shrouded head

Shiny pruning shears in her gloved
hands, methodically apply to de-
locate dead heads, snip, snip

There once was a small torso in a
womb severally dislodged by forceps
into medical waste

If death comes in slippered feet,
will they curl at the ends
or just your lips? Mother?

All the ghosts have left, barren
in winter, the autumn leaves twist
the sea breezes rustle in her mind.

Now I Know

Photo by Merlin lightpainting from Pexels

Now I know that poetry
is a razor blade
slipped into a caramel
dipped apple of
eve’s desire
sharp and tangy . . .

is as love’s wounding
rigor mortis of bites
ennui-soaked
languid post-mortem
of shamanic rites . . .

is a coroner’s tableau of victims
bodies stretched out on gurneys
for the inquest after the serial killer
slips free of the electric chair
because the judge knew his brother cain
at harvard law . . .

is hummingbirds and bats
dandelions, a lover’s hand
broken stalks, memories . . .

is my heart laid out across the sky
a constellation charted out of unknown
algorithms multiplied
to infinity
dove’s wings
rapidly beating
now.

Today Victoria is guest-hosting at dVerse: Meeting the Bar and asks us to write a "Solilo-Quoi?", paying extra attention to form or other poetic devices in our self-talk. Click Mr. Linky for more and join in.

Tanka: Ginkgo (1)

The ginkgo fans green
Spring blows soft upon your face
Sleep has come too soon
In a place where leaves open
To dream under the full moon

My thoughts go to a friend who lost his mother a year ago this month. This same month a friend died at the age of 91 who had been as a second father to me. Yet May is a merry month, reminding us that a new life awaits us where death no more reigns.

For Cee's Flower of the Day Challenge (FOTD): "Don’t forget that my FOTD challenge accepts leaves and berries as well as flowers."

A Better Paradise

Concerning Paradise
we can’t go back again
said Adam to Eve

There’s Cain, there’s Abel
We’ll start all over again
Make it good this time

Abel’s dead by Cain’s hand
Paradise lies unattained
Eve said, my garden’s now a grave

Something greater lies ahead
Pride and death no more a stain
On this broken earth

With their dying eyes they saw
A bridge to life regained
The Son lifted up, reconciling God and man


For Eugi’s Weekly Thursday Prompt “paradise”; and Cee’s FOTD Challenge; click on the links and join in!

Poetics and Wang Wei

Laura at dVerse asks us to reinterpret one of several Chinese poems. I’ve chosen to reimagine “Stopping at Incense Storing Temple” by Wang Wei.

At the Moon Garden

When in the concatenation of bells that toll
I stop at dusty pools of ghost-bearing scents
The rains having come and gone, ashes remain
The acrid smoke of the dead stings my eyes
Choking the young, ridiculing the old
I turn away to the bowers of forest glades
Where You await storing love’s incense
And I like a wanderer home at last
Stand strong in Your warm embrace
Escaping the dragon of the past
To rise with You to eternal joy.

November Prophets

In November the sunlight
dapples over dead leaves
wind rustles memories free
storms sweep tombs, unearth bones
beleaguer dead valleys to awaken
an exiled Ezekiel’s breath:
“The end is not night
Sleep is not death
Your seed-borne husk betokens
Jerusalem’s dawn is nigh.”


For dVerse’s MTB this week, Frank asks us to write a Jisei (Japanese Death Poem) in either a haikai or haikai-esque form of ten lines or less. Click on Mr. Linky to join in!

September Hope by Candlelight

Broken shadows across the cracked ground
your grave day lost in flurried words
like September leaves across
yesterday’s hallowed ground
grief yet uninterred:
you six years gone
from my sight
till Day
breaks.


Written for dVerse’s “Poetic: 9 across for a countdown,” this nonet begins with a line from W.S. Merwin’s “To the Light of September:”

Continue reading “September Hope by Candlelight”

In a Dark Hour

ezekiels-vision-of-the-valley-of-dry-bones-what-does-it-mean_0

3 A.M.

Awakened to an eerie self-examination of the soul
on the steel-cold surface under surgically precise lights
unentombing cancers, contagion-carrying arteries, dismembered
corruption to the dispassionate gaze of an Enemy brooding,
brooding.

3:20 A.M.

Still sweating under the administered fumes seeping
through pores, guilt-driven language of parents driven
from home to carnage of children preying on children, warfare
of wretched depravity in the eyes of a man, a woman seething,
seething.

3:40 A.M.

Cannot speak, cannot hear, cannot see, cannot feel anything
but the weight of irreversible fate, the darts of the Enemy
injections of delirious oblivion only to awaken to endless night
where no refuge lies from grief and fear and the hate pursuing,
pursuing.

4:00 A.M.

Helpless, my tongue dry, the light dims, darkness closes in,
but a voice is heard, a minister to prophesy over the bitter
collocation of bones, unholy, “O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!”-
prophesy!- in the body and the blood a Life that is not mine breathes,
breathes.

DailyPostPrompt: eerie

It Can’t Be Smoke: A Haunting

unknown

It can’t be smoke that drives you here like a leaf
Caught in a funeral pyre or a sinner fleeing in shame!
What fell blast of Hell’s eternal fire brings you, cruel shade
Upon my porch, and feeds the tendrils of your fiery flame?
Begone, you ghost of the foul-mouthed past that stalks
The children of men, to warn of never-ending death
And griefs that ne’er can mend! Begone upon your walks
Of doom and leave me to life’s revelry and vice
Until its trinkets be a dream and I a shadow like you.

DailyPostPrompt: Smoke