Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Those Rhythmic Waves


In folds
of silken fabric—
tossed over the edge of the bed—
her moiré
gown in waves of fading shimmer
—waves and waves of memory’s                                                  



These blue waves lift forever to the shore
     as if practicing time in suspension.

They pull in from the eternal horizon;
     the dark rocks wait for their fall.

The sound of their breaking is just about
     to be released.

The turbulence of blue churns with impatience;
    the layers of wet light glow upon the sand.

The smell of the sea air comes through the
     tang of memory.

The gulls have just lifted away with their
     harrowing cries.

The sky’s last light is slipping and slipping
     into time’s darkness.

And in that darkness, the waves finally
     and silently break across the picture frame,

right up the tangible edge of my wet shoes.



She may have been twenty-eight.
About 1932.  Perhaps Seattle.

Coming home from school
I found her
sitting on the couch
knees crossed
dressed up in her new dress

of crêpe de Chine
shiny as night’s
soft amber lights
of places she had been…

she smiled at me
with a smile that was her own
to make a declaration of herself
sitting there, posed,
like a glamour girl…
a movie star…
a model…

her hair just done,

those rhythmic waves
tight-pressed to her small head
which she held

and I
in awe of her…
my mother…



I hated this one immediately : bisque with
painted-on marcelled hair and fixed brown eyes. 

It looked at me, its blond face featureless.

But I said thank you and sat it on a chair where it
slipped sideways and went rigid with not belonging. 

I don’t remember ever touching it again.

(After "Couple on the Shore" by Edvard Munch)

Always goodbye—wherever
they love—no way to return.
The melancholy beaches
are lost to winter now.

They remember what was true:
the dark gulls overhead—
kept afloat
by slow, untiring wings.

The gray world moves
in endless, white waves
that try to cover what is lost.
There is no other—

no other anything they want and
cannot keep. So they embrace—
with every tender, vanished place
reclaimed in resurrected love.



How serenely she wears
the art of the painter’s hand
who painted her all green—

or is it the deception of light
turning her into
a numinous map of the sea

that follows her contours
with shapes and symbols
of intricate design—

even to the closed mouth
and eyelids, the hair sculpted
into deep waves: how

ever swim back now
to the real
and lose all this… how

ever clothe, and hide
the breathing design of her body,
so perfectly stained…



Late summer.
Sundown. A long empty beach.
Thinning cries of gulls.
Slow shushing of the waves
—only my footprints on the gray,
wet sand. I am singing to myself.

My memory house is somewhere
up ahead with all its lights on,
but I am not late. 

The waves rush up, and back,
leaving small tickles of foam
and gold flecks on my feet.
The slow, circling gulls
scold my presence.
But I do not hurry, or mind
their scolding. This is my time
to own all this—even them.

(first pub. in Poets' Forum Magazine)


Today's LittleNip:


You utter scream after scream into the vast silence
and watch the sound waves travel
distance after distance;

how still everything becomes now,
as if everything has ended—
even the light waves.


—Medusa, with thanks to Joyce Odam for today's poems and pix! Our new Seed of the Week is Self-Deceptions; send your musings on those lovely lies you tell yourself to kathykieth@hotmail.com