Carpe Diem

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Kingsbrae 21.2
21 June 2017

Carpe Diem

Leos love this longest day.
Their sunshine manes
just swell and ripple
with a lion’s pride.

They lick their lips with joy
at the thought of sun,
and yet more sun;
finger-licking good,
this ice-cream warmth
spilling over from sugar cones
that march past in their memories.

Carpe diem
seize the day, indeed:
for tomorrow brings less sun,
and every day thereafter
sunlight grows less and less
until the frosty stars appear,
Orion thrusts his stormy
sword above the horizon,
and snow men
with their yellow feet
stand stock steady
on the lawn.

Rain

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Kingsbrae 20.4
20 June 2017

Rain

Hand in hand, we walk
beneath black umbrellas.
Grass beneath our feet is wet
and water seeps through
our shoes, soaking our socks.

Cold and numb in spite of the date
(the summer solstice draws near),
my ears strain against the pitter
-patter of falling rain to catch
the nearby robin’s song.

He has mislaid his voice
and I can no longer translate
his liquid notes into soul music
that might lighten mind and day.

Clouds gather and empty themselves
over our umbrella-covered heads.
In spite of damp and dark that rule,
thoughts abound and hop around,
like frogs in a summer pool, while
light bulbs explode in my brain.

Blockhouse

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Kingsbrae 19.4
19 June 2017

Blockhouse

We have become comfortable together.
We sit, food untouched on the table,
and play catch-up with our lives.

I tell her about my writing problems
and she tells me about her hopes and
fears for the future now her partner’s
walked out and left her for a younger girl.

Later, I sit in the car while she walks
on the headland by the blockhouse.

Mist covers Passamaquoddy Bay.
There was a time when I thought
she might walk out into that mist
and fade away, but she was strong.

Now I watch her walk away and
know that she’s really here to stay.

Waves

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Kingsbrae 19.2
19 June 2017

Waves

Some nights,
the stars leave
their constellations
to walk alone.

The planets, too,
grow tired of company
and shine in solitude.

Where now the Zodiac
and Plato’s Platonic
dance of the spheres?

Who knows why a man
will one day walk out of the house,
and never return?

Who knows why a woman
will abandon her children,
turn her back on her lover,
and look only at the wall?

I only know this: that the tide
is composed of multiple waves,
and that each one lives and dies,
alone on the beach.

Three Visitors

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Kingsbrae 18.3
18 June 2017

Three Visitors

The first one knocked on my door,
called out my name, knocked again.
I got out of bed, opened the door,
looked out: but the corridor was empty.

The second one stood in the corner,
calling, calling … I tried to answer
but I couldn’t unseal my lips. “No,”
the visitor said. “No. Don’t go.”

Lips and throat dry, tongue tied,
I lay in my bed.

My third visitor was David,
and I knew he was dead.

Insomnia

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Kingsbrae 18.2
18 June 2017

Insomnia

When the gate-keeper sleeps,
who will open the gate?
Dreamland lies before us
but the gate is closed.
Where now is the gate-keeper?

How many sheep must we count
before the gate-keeper comes?
What will we do if he doesn’t arrive?
Must we just stand here and wait?

The sheep grow weary before our eyes.
They age and become frail.
Who now will count the motionless flock?
Where is the gate-keeper? Who will open
the gate that leads to the land of dreams?
Who will open the gate?

This Old Man

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Kingsbrae 16.1
16 June 2017

This Old Man

This old man, with his bundle of memories
carried on his back like a snail carries his shell,
a broken record, he played, with the gramophone needle
stuck in a groove and the same tales repeated.

The ancient  mariner who lives in his brain
stops people in the street and retells
the old story: life’s doldrums where
no winds blew and his ship just drifted,
with no wind to bring it home.

Then blew the wind of change, and suddenly
the sun was just as warm as it was in his youth.
The sea became blue again.  Flowers flourished
brighter, stronger. Birds chirped in the trees.
Light grew bright and he felt beauty return to
the new-born world of his second childhood.

Comment: My journal tells me that I wrote the original version of this poem on Friday, 21 April 2017, and posted it to my blog on Sunday, 23 April 2017 . Today’s rewrite changes the structure and tone of the poem and illustrates how time and place can influence any previously generated word sequence. For time and place we can also substitute attitude and change of heart, as Ludwig Wittgenstein suggests. More important, perhaps, our attitude and outlook can change with the weather and the state of our digestion. This is the same poem, then, written by the same person, on two different days. Or was it the same person? My stay at this residency would suggest that perhaps the person has changed along with his attitude, his outlook, his digestion, and the weather.