Welcome Guests

Welcome Guests

They arrived last night, late.
Bright moonlight. Soft silence.
I neither heard nor saw them.

I awoke to moonlight on snow.
Shimmering stars. Orion
proud among prancing planets
sparkling in frosted air.

I looked out. Nothing there.
White wilderness of snow,
unmarked, but shadowed.

Dawn. An anxious child
on Christmas Day, I peeped
under the tree, and yes,
I cried out, “He’s been.”
I remember brightly
wrapped packets of gifts.

Today’s gifts: hoof prints
emerging from dark woods,
circling beneath the ash tree,
leading to the bird feeders,
and back into empty woods.

“Yes!” I said aloud. “At Last.”
And joy filled my heart.

Click on this link to hear Roger’s reading.
Welcome Guests

Comment:

Reading the poem aloud, I changed some of the word order to the rhythm of my speaking voice. It’s reading before an audience and hearing their reaction that tells me when a poem is right or needs retouching. Alas, those live readings are gone for now. Anchor, Spotify, Facebook, Twitter, and this blog are good, but not quite the same. But, for a rhythm and voice poet, who loves live readings and welcomes a live audience, they are better than that midnight silence under dark trees.

Normality

Normality

In spite of grey skies,
blueish snow and early-
morning, under-cloud-
light combine to color
my garden several shifting
shades of blue-grey.

Light grows and the garden
starts to whiten. No deer as yet,
but they aren’t far away.

Two big ginger cats,
I think at first they are foxes,
stalk their marmalade path
through the trees towards the road.
I have never seen them
before. New neighbors?

One crosses the road
but the other hesitates, then flees,
as flashing school-bus lights
bring normality back to my early
-morning dream-filled world.

Click on this link for Roger’s reading.
Normality

First Snow

First Snow

Fell softly, quietly, soundless, in the night.
I knew it was there. A lightness in the air,
a subtle change in the quality of light.
Now everything has changed: yesterday’s bare
trees wear their winter dresses, frilly tresses
garnished with garlands of snow.

The deer will arrive, sooner or later.
They always do. They troop from right
to left, west to east, as day turns to night,
then troop back, east to west, in morning light.
They step dark and diligent, flitting shadows
beneath snowy trees, one after another,
forging a single passage from yard to road,
crossing it, then vanishing into dark woods.

I saw them one night in a midnight dream.
They stood on their hindlegs underneath
the mountain ash and danced, so delicate,
reaching up with long, black tongues,
to steal bright berries from lower branches.
They danced in a full moon’s spotlight
and filled my heart with joy and pain.
How I long to see them dance again.

Click on this link for Roger’s reading.
First Snow

In Love with Love

Meditations on Machado and Mairena
In Love with Love

1

In a dream
I dream of you,
dream you into reality,
yearn for your name.
Now I’ll never be the same.

I dream you in a garden,
roses around you.
I stand there suffering,
my head crowned
with thorns.

Caught in the briers of your eyes,
I am trapped in the eye-
lash of your name.

Your presence taunts me.
Your absence haunts me.
My life
will never be the same,
oh Guiomar.

Click on this link for Roger’s reading.
In Love with Love 1

Sometime

Sometime
with thanks to Seamus Heaney

Sometime, make the time to drive to Alberton
where the Great Blue Herons
stand thigh deep in the incoming tide.
Lobster boats spark stars from the waves.

They white-water surge through a gap
in the sandbank where the lighthouse
stands red and white, outlined against
blue sky, golden sand, sparkling bay.

Follow the fast-eroding coastline, a little
less each year, past Jacques Cartier Park
to Kildare Capes. Black-backed gulls ride
shotgun on the red sand beach. Piping
plovers charge up and down the wind-rush
of surf digging for treasure, the crustaceans
that will fill their bellies and enable them
to survive their long journey south.

Head north past Sea Cow Pond to North Cape.
Quixotic windmills wave their arms, like giants.
The sand and pebble reef stretches its low-tide
footpath out to the lazy seals basking in late
summer warmth. Sea-birds seethe in great
white clouds while fishing boats bob on wild
waves and a black horse hauls Irish Moss
off the beach to be sun-dried on the shore.

An osprey hovers, drops its lightning bolt
to spear a flapping flounder on sharp claws.
The magic of that great bird’s fall and rise will
drive a wedge through your heart and split it open.

Click on this link for Roger’s reading.
Sometime

Coal Face

Coal Face

My family never forced me underground.
Nobody ever made me kneel at the coal-
face altar and worship, on my knees,
that grimy god with its coal-black soul.

A child in body and heart, nobody ordered
me to squirm down diminishing seams,
much too narrow for men or machines
and fitting only for the smallest child.

Fitting indeed, an early coffin, made to
measure, lying in wait for the slightest
slip of the rocks above or below. Tight
fitting, indeed, no wiggle, wriggle room.

Billy Blake, my mate from Trinidad,
younger than me, saw the black faces
of miners emerge from the mine, enter
the pit-head baths and come out white.

He, too, wanted to be white. He dug
underground, grew even blacker, went
into the showers, gouged his black skin,
drew rivers of blood, never changed color.

He died when the roof above him fell
without warning. They pulled him out.
Brought him to the surface. Prepared
him for burial. Wrote on his tombstone:

“His body was as black as night,
but oh, his soul was white.”

Click on this link for Roger’s reading.
Coal Face.

Snow Geese

Snow: no geese!

Snow Geese

Snow geese falling, plummeting from the sky,
dropping like leaves, slowly and tumbling,
swiftly and twisting, spiralling down. Fresh
snow on the ground, their seasoned arrival.

Some land on water, others on the earth.
They gather in groups, snow banks of geese,
ghost-white, frightening, true sky lightning,
celestial, striking from its ancestral throne.

Always some sentries, necks stretched, eyes
open, alert, watching, guarding their needs
while the flock feeds. One honks “Who goes
there?” the flock looks up, watching him move.

Slowly, at first, they waddle from the walkers,
then faster and faster as the man unleashes his
hounds. An idiot woman, grinning like a death’s
head, points her cell phone and barks instructions.

The dogs run at them, barking and growling.
The snow geese panic, run ever faster, taking
to the air with a clap-wing chorus, honking
and hooting. The woman laughing, shouting

and shooting. “I’ve got them, I’ve shot them,”
she calls in her pleasure. Frustrated, the hounds
take to the water. Whistling, calling, the man
cannot catch them, not till they tire of the chase,

no match for geese, not in air, nor in water.
Joyous the couple, their videos made, hugging,
cuddling. They get back in the car, dogs shaking,
spraying them, baptismal water, cleansing all guilt.

Geese: no snow.

Click on the link for Roger’s reading.
Snow Geese

Spirit Dance

Spirit Dance
Thursday Thought

One of my best friends came over today and we talked. We also went out shopping: blinds and curtain rails. I can no longer put them up. He can. We had a fun time. So much exchange of information in the car and in the store and afterwards, coming home.

We left the mounting of blinds and curtains for another day. But I invited him to choose a painting from my collection to recompense him for his time, his care, his attention, his help, and to thank him for his friendship and his reaching out. He chose this one, Spirit Dance, the one above, quite unique, one of my favorites. It was one of two that he liked. This was the other to which he aspired.

I asked him to help me choose a painting for the cover of my last book, Stars at Elbow and Foot, and this is what he selected. It is now on the cover of the book. He has a great eye for art. Well, it matches mine and he chooses my favorites. So I am happy with that.

But my Thursday Thought is this: in writing we say “kill your darlings”. Meaning, there are some great ideas in our poems, stories, novels, but they don’t quite fit. We love them. But we must kill them and cut them out. Sure we save them for later, but oh, do they ever belong.

I have never sold a painting. I cannot say ‘money talks’ like another of my friends, because to me it doesn’t. El Poema de Mio Cid: ‘partieron como la una de la carne‘ — they parted like the nail from the flesh. But, as another friend of mine, a preacher, said, when I visited my father in hospital: “there are no pockets in shrouds — you can’t take it with you.”

I am grateful to my friend for accepting the gift of my painting. I know he will cherish it and that it will be happy with him. But oh, I miss it. No: I don’t want it back. I want it loved and appreciated and yes, I know that when I go, I will not be able to take it with me. Nor any of the others. Does anybody want to adopt them, my beloved children?

Click here for Roger’s live reading.
Spirit Dance

Water

Water

Water: does it remember when the earth was without form
and darkness lay upon the face of the deep?

Water gathered into one place and the firmament appeared.
Then light drifted apart from darkness and with light
came The Word, more words, and then the world …

… the world of water in which I was carried until
the waters broke and my life sustaining substance
drained away ejecting me from dark to light.

Here, in Oaxaca, the valley’s parched throat
longs for water, born free, yet everywhere imprisoned.
It languishes in bottles, tins, jars, and frozen cubes,
its captive essence staring out with grief filled eyes.

A young boy on a tricycle pedals past my apartment.
He carries a dozen prison cells, each with forty captives,
forty fresh clean bottles of warm water.
“¡Peragua!” he call out to me. “¡Super Agua!”
he holds out his hand and asks me to pay
a handsome ransom to set some of these captives free.

Real water yearns to be released, to be set free from its captivity,
to trickle out of the corner of your mouth, to drip from your chin,
to slip from your hand and seek sanctuary in dust and sand.

Real water slips through your hair and leaves you squeaky clean.
It is a mirage of palm trees upon burning sand. It is the hot sun
dragging its blood red tongue across the sky and panting for water
like a great big thirsty dog.

A Golden Oldie
Click on the link below for the earlier version.
https://rogermoorepoet.com/2016/04/28/water/

Click on this link for Roger’s reading.
Water


Worm Squirm

Worm Squirm

I have been revising lots of mss. but haven’t done anything new, apart from revisions and paintings. Very little has appeared on my blog recently and this is the first post after an absence of five days. Oh dear. Facebook has been barren too. Still: can’t be helped. Better days are on the way.

Here’s Worm Squirm. It’s part of my series of Pocket Paintings / Peintures de Poche, so-called because they all fit neatly in a pocket. They are easy to carry around and yes, I have something bright to look at, even when the skies are grey. Inner grey or outer grey, there’s nothing worse than a grey day. Everybody needs a spot of painted sunshine to brighten a grey day when it dawns.

It’s been a great year for painting foliage, too. Nothing better than to carry a pocketful of painted leaves to remind you of the natural beauties of our picture province. So make it a sunshine day, even if the skies are grey!