On Writing

"Every fine story must leave in the mind of the sensitive reader an intangible residuum of pleasure, a cadence, a quality of voice that is exclusively the writer's own, individual, unique."
Willa Cather

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Metaphors on Life: Four Poems

The first two poems were recently published in the 2014 edition of the literary journal, Number One.

The Sea

I sail before the wind
Spray lapping the gunnels
Licking my cheeks
Before me is a wilderness of waves
Clean and pure
Calling me home

If I would drown
Could that brine
Clean my heart
And clear my head
To perfect ease
Like it scrubs the bottom of the boat
I sail before the wind

It’s Time

Last night I had a dream
that led me into a forest
I thought safe, serene.
But it was a danger place.
Suddenly afraid, I crept along
and then I saw behind me
the beast, keeping to my pace,
quiet, unrelenting in pursuit.

It would not leave me be,
coming far too close.
Fearful but still strong,
I flailed against its grasp
and slipped ahead a ways.
But despite my desperate try
the odds were against me
avoiding at the last
the teeth of Time.

Awake, I know it is our fate.
We can't be fooled by hopes
of wise and peaceful years
the aged are promised.
For the dread of failing sight,
muscles, and mind
few of us can hide
behind a shuttered grin
that no one thinks is real.

Time is the lion in this place,
but must we lie like lambs before it,
resigned, waiting for its toothy jaws?
We only wish to wander in the woods
Before we are consumed.
Yet Another Meeting

Dullness meets
as slugs who squirm
to reach the other.

They collide
and hang together
suspended by a thread
losing their essence
while they waver
and cling
and then slide off
to disappear
a faint lumen
in their trail
they once had
an idea.

The Sign                                                                                    

I have been contemplating
a phrase I came upon:
“Walk with light,”
which at first suggests
the avowal of religions,
helping us to see a road through life
that we may tread with joy,
our senses open to the beautiful,
a heart relieved of burdens;
I see a stony path made smoother
by enlightenment of soul.

Or is the phrase more worldly
pressing us to keep our minds
brim full of knowledge and lore,
like a pot of stewing ideas,
or to be a fount of information
from which others can set store.
We should not settle, it says,
for the dark and hopeless way
of vague understanding
or blind ignorance.

Then again, “walk with light”
may only be a helpful plea
to watch the traffic signal
before we take the plunge
into a busy street.

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