In the woods I hid and watched the trespassers weave among the forested slopes on a winter day. Birds screamed at their passing, and squirrels scurried through the wilted underbrush and blankets of leaves. Alone, I peered down from the ancient blind left by some merciless hunter, becoming my refuge from the chilly sorrows of a mislaid sense of self-worth
Cold and chill crept along my spine drafting up my legs and un-tucked shirt. I watched strangers dance beneath the barren limbs of slumbering trees, children dragging their parents with words of coaxing deeper into the resting forest’s expanse seeking some unknown reward for their noisy and bounding effort beneath my refuge among the twisted branches near the cold grey sky.
I sat alone in the rain, lightening, casting strobe like shadows all around. The clouds, reaching down and touching upon me, sending joyous shivers across my being.
Worshiping the storm and receiving its blessings; awed by the beauty, the strength, the wonder. Swirling clouds, imitating forms in the sky. Thunderheads, rising to their flat tops, before falling, violently, back to earth in the cold burst, of what are monsoon.
These, the storms of desert evenings, rise in the afternoons, of summer’s days. Giving life to all of the desert’s children, in turn.
The saguaro stands majestically, poised on eternity. Its crown of color open, worn proudly in the silhouette of lightning’s flash.
Life abounds as nature’s gambles find a way breathing in deep a full embrace with relish oceans with the flavor of life in solution wash in waves stirring the margin a beckoning call forests rife with gifts of love from a caring mother a table in full regalia in constant harvest gather it and honor the sacrifice of nature more a sign of respect than an act of worship the gifts of the cornucopia of life for us.
Yet all of this is not enough as stars calling offer a promise of fulfillment yet unattained As dreams drive us to peer deeper to dream more to imagine a tomorrow of our own making A future where we reach out and touch god’s face in doing so we become aware of the reflection in the mirror Compassion’s tears wash away the self image created delusions shatter bearing their many faceted falsehoods painted upon our souls while dreaming our dreams
The gravel grinds as you walk the path following the ankle high picket fencing. The path delineated clearly – straight. the grass groomed to perfection, with little warnings. to stay off. planted beyond the picket barrier. Reading the words and remembering what was said about the other side Woody said, “it didn’t say nothin’ ” now that’s the side for you and me.
The building is cold, monolithic, quiet, like a temple of old it is solid built. Even soft soles echo walking the isles, my boots seem to clamor with every step. But no one complains their sleep is eternal. Candles burning by a cubby like around a saint someone’s enduring devotion on display. I look to see if tears have stained the floor as I stroll deeper into the temple of loss finally finding the nook and the panel.
Staring at the name, I blur and place my hand on it. The cold raised letters burn into my soul, sorrow fills my being, and I mourn, I cry. Here in this place for eternity; to wait. Three generations and yet we mourn when will the visits end, the nook grow dusty- the tears stop flowing for a soul so long lost. The walk away is somehow refreshing carrying away “life” a gift, all the more precious. The grass caresses my steps as I leave.
The sun still hidden paints the eastern sky. Feathers rustle with a waking shake. The coolness draws a shiver. Cupping the ceramic mug warming palms and fingers.
Sleep still beckons, a siren’s song, whispers taunt a weary gasp. Sipping and pondering my day to the trickle of an artificial stream.
Stillness pervades this hour, quiet thoughts drift through the mind. Bats seen returning to roost, dance among the trees of the orchard. Down to the last drop of french press brewed Kona.
Just in time to see the first rays as Helios blesses nature’s beings. Even the trees turn their leaves to greet him and his warming touch, as he bathes the waking world. A glowing moment.
The chirps and cries of the birds soon joined by the beeps and chirps of the electronic devices ever-present. Texts, emails arrive, the morning gathering. I hesitate to look and lose this moment to the coming day’s chores and duties; but as the neighbor’s cat rounds the corner the parrots scream a fear-filled warning.
The cat enjoys his affect and strolls slowly, as he displays his power. The reveille announcing my day. Thankfully, the neighbors rarely complain, but, still I release the hound. The cat skedaddles and peace returns– my day’s begun.
The garden has been blooming Flowers of every hue unfolding The verdant stalks and leaves Jostling for an embrace of the sun My glory in full display; its regalia
The soil was once stony lifeless Amendments, turning and raking Creating a loam — a gardens foundation Casting the stones to the margins Lovingly kneading it into condition
This too speaks truth of life itself The mix is lacking bland at first Amendments added in the learning The lessons cast off from those around Settle on the innocent minds implanted
Weeds too, grow well in unbalanced soil Lessons that lack integrity root fast Tapping deep into a being’s very soul Without the lessons of virtue’s worth The Ph can run out of control: too acidic
Love an additive to sweeten any soil Brings balance and soothes the soul Strengthening the defense’s crenulations A cleanse to any taint’s warp and stain Can yet offer a thorny embrace
We each tend our garden’s many rows Choosing the plant and its location Learning as seasons come and go The soul’s continuous edification We become what we nurture
I’ve seen gardens rife with thorny weeds The gardeners lost in life’s many woes Addiction a test of lines one will cross To attain that which hidden kills The daily sacrifice on one’s soul
I’ve seen gardens of splendorous beauty Yet found to be hiding a poisonous taint Hidden among the green vegetation Suffering those who visit leave infected To carry their welts and wounds away
There are gardens too without any flowers A green expanse of the herb and leaf The season coming for blossoms and buds Fruit for the birds, nectar for the bees Built upon these sun catching leaves
No matter the gardening theory you follow No matter the time spent on your knees Pleading for rain, to then fear the torrent Howling to fall upon this creation of love Dancing to the wind’s whining measure
Pages, windows open to the world I send them out to tease and tickle A message or an observation Casting them into the winds to distant eyes
they dance on the tongues and spill into minds, nudging, provoking inspiring an internal response annoying, persisting, affecting.
“you’ve made me cry” they write their tears my happy reward let them cry great rivers for compassion
Rhymes – sometimes I can’t find them so I walk on the other side of the street a different rhythm becomes my strut a feeling of freedom freedom from form and confinement stanzas become strophes meter becomes flow as the garments of creation are changed to the colorful aspects of language painted in poetic prose.
It feels like magic to wield the pen to cast the lines in black and white knowing readers will chant them aloud to find, their, deeper meaning in the words cast upon the page.
Muddy watered river flows,
gently drifting its winding path.
Farms and orchards dip in their toes,
bounded by a margin of grass.
To cast my line into its depths,
watch the ripples grow in size.
Water bugs racing to and fro,
speckled sun - a water color sky.
No need for fish to break the spell
just draw it in and cast again.
Breathe in deep that fresh green smell,
a quiver, a strike; the long pole bends
The battle is on - though fierce it's brief,
a run a pull and reel it on in.
Released back into the river - set free;
prepare the hook, cast it again.
Corn fields shimmer with a gentle breeze
birds sing songs as old as the wind,
the lane nearby long and straight.
Just draw it in and cast again.
When waking from this long suffered dream.
being the old man that I never foresaw,
I am grateful for those days in the sun
where as a child I grew both strong and tall.
By brian francis