Monday, June 30, 2014

Finding Seashells Like Peace

—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Photos by Denise Flanigan


Your poetry lines
my bookcase
near German lieder
from Schubert
as I have my bagel
and dessert,
you wrote about Hegel,
and you were Jewish
in exile at Paris
with quotes and words
that embarrass,
in dark hallways
you compose
art songs and music
with the universal critic
deeply inside of you,
hating war as a curse
your verses, Heinrich
I always reach for.



Who wants those sands
or rocks in a soldier's boot
by sending again
our troops
to foreign lands
when our voices
cry out for the poor
the last thing we need
is another war,
here at the ocean
we teach swimming as fun
and to care for others
under the first light sun,
we need an intervention
a mention of social justice
not to be betrayed
by standing armies,
as we eat our oranges
and sleep here
on our sands' beach
we are finding sea shells
like peace in our hands
within our reach.

(St. John of the Cross, born June 1542)
I cannot sleep
as I toss and turn
even with red wine
last night before bed
only the pure words
in Spanish translation
of St. John of the Cross,
with his ineffable poetry
gives me peace
and divine elation,
awakening by dawn
with a perpetual dream
of my rowing on a kayak
and my face floating on
jumbled waves
on the lake
by baby Anabella
the new baby swan.


By the sea's white earth
writing off the Cape
the sea wind
rips your blanket
along the water's surf,
with the volume on
you twitter
like shore birds
in a foreign tongue
combing the beach
seeing ideas
at first light
and sway at the breeze
trying to read
your last revision,
when sounds as air waves
encourage the language
of the tides
which floats and rises
in dawning imagination
by the gulls' silence.


With a childhood path
to an island
of memory opening
from secretive eyes
known to shadows
entrapped by earth,
sky and ocean,
deserted from questions
and forgotten answers,
wanting to live again
along the shore's solitude
confessing the past
mesmerized by absence
of this surrounding nature
of exotic birds and fauna
a paradise without clouds
listening to a sea
of my own voice.


Waiting to jam
on Joy Street
where I once hid
after recovering
from the Red Scare
at the Garrison school
and marched for peace
with Denise Levertov
here to play
first jazz violin
yet feeling like
history is in my hand
as I meet a survivor
of the Lincoln Brigade
who fixes
the sound system
when a sudden rain
like pawns
on the chessboard
of my life invades
its liquid drops
during my
vaporous solo
over a wave
of sensation
at an open space
by revolutionary graves
on Boston's Esplanade
though my flesh murmurs,
the fiddle is ready
for a firestorm of song
music moves my life
involving my past.


Today's LittleNip:

A poet may be both God's rebel and saint.

—B.Z. Niditch



B.Z. Niditch