How may we go—slow
as mules—soft as sorrow,
singing our night songs
to each other?
How long must we travel
when the way is grief—
and I, your thief of happiness,
you, praising your emptiness?
I saw a flash of bird so rare . . .
and you disbelieved me.
Here is its song.
I have learned it for you.
ALL NIGHT THE FREED BIRD SINGS
All night the freed bird sings of the empty cage
while I—bereft of song—press hands to ears.
Though shadow comforts me, I close my heart,
will not believe the touch I cannot feel.
My eyes are hot with sorrow, tears refused.
What do I want? I do not seem to know.
Now rain beats at the window. Ah, that’s good;
I understand the rain, the streaming glass,
where something begs at memory like a wing;
I am the glass—I am the beating wing
that tests illusion. Now the rain has stopped.
The shadow has not left me. It is love.
At last I cry. I ask love where it’s been.
Am I the cage that love finds comfort in?
(first pub. by Poets' Forum Magazine, 2006)
COME, THEN, SADNESS
Come, then, Sadness,
let me take you to my bed.
I will rock you like a child.
I will hold you like a lover.
You know me, too.
not forgotten where I lived,
though I have moved and moved
to lose you.
You come out of these new shadows
to be near me.
We are both so cold
beginning to look like winter.
are all there is,
must we love?
Sometimes I tried to run off
with that sweet child Happiness.
But you hung around with your
till I was yours again.
Come, then, Sadness.
I will tell you all my news.
I will put on my dark-gown-mood
you love me to wear,
with your faithful touch
stroke your happy tears
into my wet hair.
Today the fog
takes on that shade of blue
that makes me feel a little sad—
softened by a tone
that takes me back
to the dusty blue
of my mother’s shiny
evening dress that I envied so.
Here is where it begins—the room with its familiar things; I
suddenly discover—see for the first time—how things connect
in a pattern: I stare at the blue cat in its blue-cat pose on top
of the TV and note how its very roundness solves the room, how
its enigmatic face with its closed eyes and its paws tucked under
seem a grace of contentment.
I bought it because it was blue. I note how often it pulls my eye
to it; how easily it belongs where it is—under its dust—under
the slow creep of time that drifts everywhere. I connect it now
to other blue things of the room: shifts of color to emulate the
mood. Even the shadows are blue and grow round. And I think
how blue is a comfort, and a blue cat, however rare, is perfectly
(first pub. in Red Owl, 2003)
I am just the rain, come to waken you from your dry-
eyed dreaming. Wake easy. I am at your window—
streaming like summer tears, erasing the grime that time
likes to leave. Look how I shine as you peer through—
our transparent reflection in mirrored rivulets between.
If you wonder why I am so familiar—why you love me—
let me lure you outside. Leave your umbrella. Let it be as
it was the first time we walked together—all wet and
glistening—in mutual happiness.
THE PATIO TREE
the narrow openness
of the lattice work
wending its way
taking in the light and
fluttering in old happiness.
LIKE THE SINGING OF MEADOWLARKS
Where we are rich is where some happiness
fills a particular moment without reason or
specialty—only its little change of light
that makes its point at some lift of darkness—
and allows the blessing of gratitude . . . .
Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today's delights in the Kitchen, and a reminder to check Medusa's Facebook page for our new photo album from Katy Brown. Also checkable are some new items on our green board at the right, including a Webilicious link to Krampus (something to scare your kids into behaving). And our Seed of the Week is something for the season: Friendship. Send poems about that or any other subject to firstname.lastname@example.org/—no deadline on SOWs, though.