More poems

Violets

Violets
purple in a small vase—
King’s color,
yet mocked and scourged
and hung like a thief on a cross.

Villanelle

My life goes on and on towards its end,
Though what this is I cannot see,
And I cannot see the road ahead for its bend.

In time old wounds will mend
The venom from them will flee.
My life goes on and on towards its end.

Forgive me, I have done much to offend;
I can only beg you to listen to my plea
And I cannot see the road ahead for its bend.

If only my past I could amend
And learn, and learn to be free—
My life goes on and on towards its end.

Regret like a knife does rend,
Never again can you be carefree.
And I cannot see the road ahead for its bend.

I have been too ready to spend
The years of our lives with glee,
My life goes on and on towards its end,
And I cannot see the road ahead for its bend.

Sestina

I cannot think, my mind is numb with pain,
What joy do I gain from this flower,
Where it grows by the side of the pond?
From the pond comes a grey gentle mist
Like a veil falling over my love.
Must I always feel this despair?

It is easy to give way to despair
When a life is full of pain,
When there is a new absence of love
There is searing sorrow in a flower.
And a kindly veil is the mist
Rising from the edge of the pond.

Yes, there is the pond,
And when I am thick in despair
I might cast myself into the mist
And seek release from pain
Beside the white flower.
No longer alive to love.

But you must be alive to love
Look at the still waters of the pond
And that small white flower.
It is swayed by wind but does not despair.
It too knows long pain
And the friendliness of the mist.

But the sun will melt the mist
As times has melted my love
And leave us with pain
Beside the still and quiet pond,
The quietness of despair,
I and the white flower.

Yet you will tend the flower
And someday you will find the mist
On the other side of despair,
On the other side of love.
There are lessons in the pond;
There are lessons in pain.

Then we will feel pain, I and the flower
And beside the pond we will await the mist
Seeking the veil for love and for despair.

Inspired by “Novena on Vectors and Pathways” by Christopher Burawa

A seed, what is a seed?
New life, I suppose. Be
gentle with it. Touch it tenderly;
it is young and not strong.

Hold it in the palm of your hand.
Can you feel the life waiting
to burst out into the world?
Reverence the newness of it.

It is not dry and done with,
like last year’s stalks left
to wither. Yet you learned
from the old plants—heed their lessons.

Then make a soft and warm bed
for the seed, its own hole and water
and sun. And plant the seed—this is
an act of faith, be awed.

Now wait. Perhaps it will come to
nothing, all your planning. Or perhaps
the plant will grow and burst
into strong and lovely flower.

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