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.

North Wind

North Wind

North Wind descended from the pole
sending its wolf pack through snow-
bound trees. Listless, they stood there,
then wind and wolves came, cutting
and shuffling, playing snap-the-branch,
chase-the snow-flake, and strip-jack-
naked. Wolves danced on their hind-
legs, round and round, shaking trees,
biting at branches, testing winter games
until trees stood naked, stripped of snow,
tresses and garlands gobbled and gone.

Oh the wickedness of winter, its cold-
cut cruelty, the lash of the wind, ice-
pellets hurled, picketing fences, pecking
a wild winter-song, forlorn in its fury,
its pace, its power, its reckless race
to hurl everything away, out of its way,
snow twisted, tormented, twitching
its snake-way down barren highways
devoid of secret places in which to hide
tender faces from the North Wind.

Click on this link for Roger’s reading.
North Wind.


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

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

Thin Ice

Thin ice, light snow, and the crows’ feet of age marking the earth face with graven beauty, scars like those made by time’s tick-tock arrows.

Thin Ice
Vulnerant omnia, ultima necat

I walk on thin ice
at the frayed edge
of my life.

I search for the key
that will rewind me,
but I fail to find it.

Who will winch up
the pendulums on
my grandfather clock,
resetting it
in spring and fall?

Who will watch
time’s sharp black arrows
as they point the path
of moon change
and the fleeting hours?

Each hour wounds me.
Who will tend me
when that last one kills?

Fragile

PEI + bockle 2008 059

Fragile

Snow flakes fall fragile
strength in numbers
not in each morsel
falling rom grey skies

a word to the wise
there is no health
nor strength nor wealth
each one of us fragile

one puff of wind
a sudden gust
and we are gone
turned into dust
when that voice calls
go we must

Comment: I sat here looking out of the window. I didn’t mean to write a sonnet, especially such an unstructured one. Then, poetry, like life, sometimes just happens. A sudden gust and the sky filled with snowflakes. Light and airy, winter fairies floating across the lawn, not settling, scurrying on. I blinked, looked again: the wind had dropped and they had gone. Now they’re back, wind-blown, and in a flurry. Just passing through. How many in a minute, in an hour, in a day? Anonymous, no name, the numbers game: some days that’s all we can play.