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Endure O Heart

Ulysses and the Sirens by John William Waterhouse, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Doubt creeps into his heart
writhing like the snakes of
Medusa’s stone gaze
caging him in no man’s land
far from hearth and home
a prison of his prescient
choice to be parted
from his beloved bride
endure, o heart

Bound to the mast
a cut above the company
he surrenders to sirens’ call
his heart howls from within
to hear paeans of his heroic deeds
falling in love with distorted
reflections of his weary visage
a soul-song lashing
willing there be meaning
glory traded for trauma

Driven aground by the foul winds
his heart snarls within him
in the land of the lotus eaters
false prophets of bliss
lost in the breach of time
mouths gushing specious
promises of luxury and ease
far from the mourning
and vagaries of wars
in an endless silent peace

Lost in nightmare
indoctrinated in the tunnel
vision of cyclop’s bounty
hiding his true self, a
false abundance leading only
to a dark grave of pride
he upbraids his heart,
reflecting that he must
find passage home
a fiery hearth and
way to his beloved
endure, o heart

As his bride’s heart
a fidelity unmatched
dancing to the unwavering
music of devotion and beauty
that first bound them
in an unbreakable bond
eschewing the doubts
mending the wounds
weaving their future
a rich tapestry
tale of resilience,
redemption, and love
that endures forever

Posted for d’Verse Poets Pub‘s Meeting the Bar: Fall seven times, stand up eight where we explore aphorisms, myth, and fables by writing our own gnomic poetry. Please join us!

Liberating Art

Woman with a Parasol Claude Monet, 1875

He stares straight through me
half-seraph, angel-dusted anointed son
haloed in the afternoon light

She is turning, as she has, toward me
time and time again, so often her expressions
are blurred, my whirlwind of love

Halcyon moments blown away by the endless
march of years, yet immortalized – in that present
I was reflecting on the sultry, seductive colors

Of Algeria, the hot breath of horses under
an eternal azure sky where we played
at soldiers because my father was at war

With his own inner drive to order, invading
my artistic sensibilities as if they were his
divine right to claim, a legacy perhaps

I went to war to defend my right to express
share impressions in paint with the larger world
to be blown by inspiration’s sweet kiss
on the breezes of an elevated life,
far from the tempests of destruction
the obliterations of time, the blustery bullies
that cannot win in the end.

A tribute to Monet linked to Dverse Poets Pub for the March Wind Ekphrastic. Monet’s father did not want him be an artist and tried to bribe him away from the profession by promising to get him out of mandatory military service. Please join us!

Flotsam of Serenity

for Eavan Boland

Photo by Kelly L on Pexels.com

She was carried away by the sea
drawn to its abyssal depths
fire-soul’d daughter of Brigid
traveling to a lost land outside history

Carrying a sacred well of
inspiration and artistry
prophesying a feminist centering
her loss harkens to that first sorrow
Brigid keening in the surf
Exalted one’s lament invoking

The salt-stained hidden horizons
each poem ‘a figure in which
secret things confide’ – luminescent,
beached, midnight orphans of silence
humming from the cold and
their own desire to manifest,

To leave heartprints of awe
on beleaguered poets’ souls
scrying for a homeland

Shared with dVerse Poets Pub for Open Link Night.

Sandcastles

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com
Here is all that I have built 
sandcastles at dawn a 
shattering symphony of glass 
ornate melodies crashing 
jagged chords, unsung losses 
haunted chorus in a strange land
 
Take me inland 
to flowered meadows 
build me a cottage 
on a sun-soaked hill 

Did I remember you, years ago? 
a lilting whisper on the wind 
before the cycle of tides  
carried me to sea foam  
swirling in memory 
immaterial and lost 

Take me inland 
to flowered meadows 
build me a cottage 
on a sun-soaked hill 

dissonant shoreline stretches 
to a horizon out of reach 
 sunlight kisses the beach 
eroding my last attachments 
released to an undertow 
I forget every name 

Take me inland 
to flowered meadows 
build me a cottage 
on a sun-soaked hill 

burn my forsaken heart 
in your stone hearth 
let my ashes rest at home 

							

Inoperable Interface

Supercilious impulses flashing
keeps her achieving but alone
paper cut above the company

Operatic arias of accomplishments
form aureate clouds of immateriality
vaporous substances dissipate

Sesquipedalian sentences slinking
across reams of reports written
confound all but their creator

Impossibly immaculate mind
possibly perfect psychosis

Linked to dVerse Poets Pub.

He was born in the salt-sting tempest
demigod son of a Celtici priestess
ravaged by a trickster god of the sea
oblivious to his origins and form
only known survivor of Carcharodon
ancient predator of the deep

Shipwrecked in the hinterlands
arriving at the end of the wilds
Portuguese, sea-faring mystic
hunting melancholic forests of kelp
prowling the labyrinth with the hunger
of an addict, driven to destroy

Grey sky pierced by the padrõe
inscribed with King’s coat of arms,
divine mark of ownership,
over Africa and her heretical heart
he mistook her saudade,
whale song of longing, for a sacrament
a carnal invitation in a strange tongue

His treacherous bite severed her soul
bleeding into the seafoam
he circles, awaiting her final heartbeat

Arkansas River Near Leadville CO Credit- USFWS

Arkansas River Near Leadville, CO. Credit: USFWS

I am the keeper
of limbic cryptoglyphs
of all immensely fragile
and beautiful things
surreptitious traumas
salt-stained sorrows

Locks and mementos
burdened by history
epitaphs written in
blood of my ancestors
incorporeal touchstones
to a fateful past

Singing bowl moans,
bones refracture,
and ashen losses unveil
all these men ever want to
holdfast are fantasies,
embroidered abstractions,
questlines in unfeeling,
lifeless worlds of murder

Strategies deployed
in a game of abuse
lost in an oubliette
of broken promises
each door and
window a deception,
opening to apathy,
with illusory joy
always out of reach

He alters the earth under me
reduces me to a thing, an idea –
angel trapped in a cycle of forgetting
cyborg glitched by programming
a seeker forever searching for a path –
mirror to his vanity that cannot
reflect enough glory to be cherished

Until the day I awoke
petrichor leading me
to the hallowed river –
it was conquered,
torn asunder in war
dam near stole
its roaring fury

My peripatetic soul
nurtures its wilderness,
its forward motion
flowing into a future
heartbeats riverside
snow-packed source
from the Rockies
to its wide-mouth
confluence and,
eventually, to the sea

Linked to dVerse Poet’s Pub.

Asunder

In loving memory of my father,
John Graham (8/22/48-7/12/19)

midnight rains feed
waters of the underworld
that rage between us
diminishing your secret light

verity a river that
hemorrhages its banks
flood plain of pain
invisible in the lapis night

reed songs silenced
clay of creation formed
sediment of a transitory life

Linked to dVerse Poet’s Pub.

Lyra: Orpheus’ Lament

Hubble image of the Ring Nebula (Messier 57)

NASA, ESA, and C. Robert O’Dell (Vanderbilt University) used by permission under CC 4.0

Vows echo hollow in the night sky
my lyre cast into the heavens
paeon twisted lachrymose
music unraveled in star trail fragments
a leitmotif of grief

Was it the uplift of hope
or my fallen eagle of faith
that lost you, my beloved?
our reunion assured
until I could not look away

From my bright star,
my soul’s hearth
doomed to an eternity apart
colliding underworld horrors
in interstellar space

The ring upon your finger
now a beacon and an effigy
shattered nebula of my love’s promise
tainted by the poison of another
constellations of sorrow dismember me

Envelop my sight
cleave my joyous heart
rob my arms of succor
my feet of the path back to you
muses bury my bones

and silence our song

Linked to dVerse Poet’s Pub.

Unencumbered

IMG_1003

In loving memory of my father, John Graham (8/22/48-7/12/19)

Drumbeat stills in the hallowed heart of the kiva
the sage settles heavy as we weave your burial shroud
threads of truth, of love, and all our misgivings
it conceals and reveals in equal measure

In the field of reeds you face each moment of a life
weighted by the dark terrors of your making
an accounting on false scales that rendered
judgments and suffering without compassion

Papa, do not let your heart be encumbered
a place has been prepared for you
all your imaginary crimes pardoned
divine light limns the dawn
reeds intone a celestial song
to transmute stone to eagle feather