This is no place for poetry.
This is a solid land;
a place where mud lies thick
on well-worn boots.
Shirts are damp with sweat
and fists are clenched, brows heavy.
Work is done, real work.
We muckle down.
This is no place for poetry.
The flesh of your toes
springs on the first blush of grass,
dew startling the skin.
This is it, mein leibchen.
This is the slow torture
of mornings without him.
This is the pale gleam of the sun
in frost-gripped skies:
the promise of what was once;
the promise of never-returning.
Listen to the crows, mein leibchen.
They know the land, know its sorrows,
know the dark contours of its past.
There are golden fruits upon my tree,
I feed the moths with their sweetness.
At night their tongues unfurl with ripeness,
their eyes transfixed by flickering light.
The darkness of plum against the white
Succulence encased in polished skin.
Pierce it. Drive your being within.
Dive into the darkness and suck
the opulence of night.
Blackbird cocks its yellow eye
as only blackbirds can.
One hop, then gone,
as though gravity itself
was nothing more
than a wingbeat or a song.
The rain-soaked day is ending.
Dark phalanxes of cloud
shored up against the dusk.
A citadel of sky.
This day has ended well.
The drama of the skies unfolds
before my smallness.
Speech and power
gave words to war.
Our silence makes us
powerless to move.
Our stillness steals the light
from children’s eyes,
and we sleep
upon burial mounds.
At moments like this…
a chance to shake the world out;
to give wings to words.
But I see you have given up
your quest for flight.
You say "we have flown to the moon
but still we cannot make peace
I am uneasy in myself,
and find no peace in the distance
between my cluttered life and theirs.
Sparsity and loss.
Dust and dreams.
Clinging to existence.
The distance of denial
creeps between us,
and we lose voice.
Our outrage is empty.
Our numbness shatters lives and rips
a child from his mother’s arms.
But still we are absolved
This is a quiet moment.
Let’s be honest and admit
that we are powerful,
but numbed by comfort
and eager for approval,
He is the last to come inside, always.
His trousers torn and soaked
from lashing rain he barely noticed,
as he bent into the wind, pulling weed
from ditches, clearing tracks, mending
the old, worn ways.
He is last to come inside, always,
and the first to smile, laugh off
the rain from his beard.
My eyes have darkened
since I read your book -
the blue shrivelled to black.
You feed me strawberries one by one
but the light will not return.
Only nine months sleeping
by the river,
drinking the rain,
the gypsy blue again.
Life is what she nurtures,
gently coaxing each green shoot,
persuading growth, suggesting verdant spread
towards the sun; stimulating sudden flights
of fancy. New shoots erupting, buds bursting.
"Gently now, no rush," she whispers.
She tends them lovingly each one,
their every need anticipated,
watching, waiting for that perfect moment
for that subtle sign
of ripeness. Then plucking
leaves, one by one -
just enough, no more, than what will make
a potion, strong enough to ease an ache;
to heal a wounded heart.