Thursday, April 04, 2013

To Begin Again

Johnathan Herold

—Johnathan Herold, Lodi

A trepid bulb, planted

by the red-rough hands of

a foreign tiller waits

For its light to ignite

A world, to begin

Again for someone new.

And though her tears cannot

Purge of present fears

Or replace the earth thus broken,

This child will find her harvest

Shines stronger than the hands

Forced upon her fields,

Or the moon that hid

his face that evening.


—Johnathan Herold

Sometimes I forget you have gone
back home to that higher place,
above the minute mayhem,
in which I count on
your way.

I wish you could see me now.
Harvesting the plans you planted
in me as proud and patient Gardener.
I’ve learned to sow my spirit’s soil, 
prune for budding expectations.

Sometimes I stare the door to splinters
waiting for you, gray grandfather,
to pass within the hour,
ripe and running
my way.

I wish you could see me now.
Reaping all the rows you tilled
before the callous winter’s scythe
won you and your winding hands,
before my sprouts could season.

Sometimes, I wish you could see me. Now,
as I toil to tend these fresh fields,
I look back on you, gray Gardener,
and know that you have formed me
this way.


—Johnathan Herold

I no longer feel safe
in the halls of my own house.
I wear warm bruises,
branded upon my body
by delicate, cool hands.
I know that I must slip away
before smoke leads to ashes. But,

I cannot leave
the kids behind,
unguarded against the
powder keg
that is my wife.


—Johnathan Herold

I tell you, truly, I have
Heard them say it’s said
There exists a bird like blood.
One who lived and lives
Still, a champion
Of the ashes I am told
It’s told, born ‘fore the fire,
Like its own father.

I have never beheld this
Bird or heard the wisps
Of its ancient-eternal
Song, though I tried to grasp
The splendor, in the whisper:
I can burn and the bird can-
-not; his tears can heal our own.
So we awe the ascender,
Parting in the clouds, taken in
The void from which it came,
Untouchable and unbelievable.


—Johnathan Herold

The darkness will blow in
The hearts of those who try
To tame the bitter cold
That tempts the world to die.

The whispers of the night hint he is wise,
More than just a brown-blur for the eyes,
Or a confident reminder of the ties
That bind us to the very things we fear.
His shadow flashes cross the frigid ground
Before me.

Word is on the street that he will rise,
Higher than the streetlights or the skies,
A beacon set to spook away the lies,
That bind us to the things that we hold dear.
His shadow flashes cross the frigid ground
Beside me.

The darkness will blow in
The hearts of those who try
To tame—
Everything, it comes too fast.
Before they come, every day’s
Behind me.
And through it all, the word is wise and wide and
Majestic; he will spread his wings,
And ride the wind away.


Our thanks to Johnathan Herold for today's poems, and welcome to the Kitchen for this first-timer! Johnathan graduated from Lodi High School in 2008 and spent two years at San Joaquin Delta College, serving as president of Delta's Writers’ Guild for three semesters before transferring to UC Berkeley, where he earned his BA in English in 2012. He is currently in the process of earning his MA in English Literature at California State University, Stanislaus.


Today's LittleNip:

There is pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.

—Lord Byron, Childe Harold



—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove