Cycles on Free Verse Revolution

Very pleased to have had my latest poem posted on Free Verse Revolution:

Cycles

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Words (tetractys)

Words
Only
Mean what we
Agree they mean.
They have no substance but what we give them

Vibrations in the air; ink on the page
Are just symbols
We use to
Convey
Thoughts.

11/10/18

Setting Sail

They built a boat on the Brandywine
And covered it in clover,
Celebrating the glorious day
That the Great War was finally over.

They sailed the river wide
Enjoying the freedom of the water,
Fantasizing lush green fields and afternoons
In the company of the Captain’s daughter.

But despite the smiles and laughter
They were all forever changed,
Like the borders of foreign countries,
By war drastically rearranged.

They saw ancient cites leveled,
And human flesh burned black,
They’d fight two hours to gain ten feet,
And lose twenty in the counter attack.

But no one could understand
Who hadn’t seen through their eyes,
The horrors they’d encountered,
And the morals they’d been forced to compromise.

And now the war was finished,
Until the next one came along,
The soldier sacrifice all but forgotten
Save in the melody of their melancholy song.

11/8-11/9/18

My Own Words (Tanka)

Simple assignment:
Write this in your own words,
But no words are mine.
They belong to everyone,
I just rearrange them.

11/6/18

My response to Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge NO. 109, Happy November – “Poets Choice of Words”

אליהו הנבי (Eliyahu HaNavi)

washington_allston_-_elijah_in_the_desert_-_google_art_project

Frightened, I flee
For my life,
Dismissing my manservant,
Escaping into the wilderness
Where our fathers wandered
In the presence of God.

Settling under a juniper bush
I pray the Lord take my life.
Am I a righteous Enoch
That I should ascend to Heaven
While I still breathe
And not join my fathers
As dust returns to dust?

I am Noah,
Blameless in my generation,
Though my generation
Is a vile pit of sin.
There will be no flood
To drown the wicked,
And no Ark
To rescue me.

In the night
My prayers are answered,
But its not the answer
I wished for.
A messenger gives me
A hot meal
And directions.

I journey into the past
In the time it takes
To drown a world,
I arrive at the plane
Where the golden idol
Was raised,
And holy blood was spilt.
I climb the mountain
Where the Law took form,
Sit in a cave and wait,
Alone,
Isolated by my faith.

In the morning,
Beckoned by my Liege,
I come into the daylight,
Feel the wind in my hair,
Feel the mountain move
Beneath my feet,
And feel the heat of fire
On my face.
A still small voice
Whispers in my ear.

I must return home.

7/9/03 – 11/5/18

Note:
אליהו הנבי (Eliyahu HaNavi) is pronounced “El-ee-yahoo Ha Na-Vee” and is usually translated into English as “Elijah, The Prophet”

Image is Elijah in the Desert by Washington Allston. Found at WikiMeia Commons.

Do You Remember?

For Justine

Do you remember
When we went camping
With Smokey and the Bandit,
Johnny and June,
And that cat
That came with the cabin?

It was almost your birthday.
You were wearing my dog tags
And a smile
That just wouldn’t quit.

There was something
In the way you smiled
That calmed
A turbulent soul
And promised salvation
From the night.

Do you remember
That November trip
To the coast,
Tristyn running
And laughing on the beach,
Santa Clause,
And our first
Family portrait?

Do you remember
Arlo and Alice’s Restaurant,
How his song
About the soldiers
Made you cry?

Do you remember
The night before
Our wedding
When I got so drunk
That Tony had to
Practically
Carry me home
While you
Staid with your sisters
At the hotel
Because the Groom
Can’t see the Bride
Before she walks
Down the aisle?

Do you remember
Our wedding day
By the pond
Where we fished
So often?

I was so nervous
Your father
Had to teach me
How to breathe again.

He walked you
Down the aisle,
Your arm in his,
His hand grasping
A walking stick.

I don’t remember
Ever seeing
A more radiant bride,
Grin glowing like
A thousand supernovas
Against a dozen
Velvet black holes.

There was something
In the way you moved
In that snow-white dress
With the rose-red embroidery,
I knew I would never
Need another,
And we’d never again
Be alone.

11/2/18

Nothing to Fear (Tanka)

There is nothing to fear
About entering the tomb,
Nothing will happen
That didn’t happen to you
In the void before your birth.

10/31/18

A response to Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 108, “Afraid & Grave,” #SynonymsOnly

I Can Still Feel You

I can still hear
The sound of your voice
In my mind
And in my dreams.
I can feel your hands
On my face
The last time we met,
The cold piercing
My beard,
There was so little
Life left in them.

I can hear the joy
In your voice
When I told you
We were coming
To see you.
I can still see
The light
In your eyes
When your grandson
Took you for one last
Walk in the park.

I can still feel
The sinking
In my heart
When I realized
How limited
Our time really was,
And the crushing
Devastation
When they told me
You were gone.

10/30/18

What is Man?

What is man
That you should take notice of him,
A son of man
That you should be concerned with him,
Elevating him far above
The other beasts
To near divinity?

Man is dust,
Less than a breath,
A son of man
An illusion,
A passing shadow
In the flickering heat
Of the sun.

December 2003 / October 2018

Inspired by Psalm 8.5, where, in many translations, בן אדם (literally ‘son of Adam’ or ‘son of man’) is rendered as “mortal man.” I have used the more literal translation of the phrase to try and emulate the feel of the Hebrew.

You can read a modern translation, with the original Hebrew, of Psalm 8 (and many many other Jewish texts) at the excellent Sefaria site.

Hallowed Lands (Tanka)

The enchanted mounds,
Possessed by the ancient sidhe,
Once revered as gods
Now forced under hollow hills
Still stalking our hallowed lands.

10/26/18

My response to Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 107, “Haunt & Spell,” #SynonymsOnly

Note: sidhe is pronounced “shee”