POETRY‎ > ‎

PAPER FLOWERS (EARLIER POEMS)



THE MYSTERY OF BLISS


Green shoots a touch of silk

evening light hovering over rooftops

 

Hearts like eggs

enclose what might live

 

Every single thing trembles

with joy before it crashes

 

The wreckage too is beautiful.

 

*  

 

FROM ST. SAUVEUR - COUNTRY POEMS

 

Caught in a downpour

one little goat

bleating, can't shake off raindrops

 

*  

 

Tree crowded with cherries

leans over the fence -

enticing!

 

*  

 

Blackbird!

Your song's deafening

I let fall my book

into long grass

 

*

 

Small grave, neat and sorrowful,

Does the young girl who laid her child here

that winter after the war

still tend you with gnarled hands?

 

*  

 

Beautiful things make me sad

Ugly things even sadder

Till my heart like a deep well fills

with cold black water.

Should anyone drink from it

He'd surely sicken and die.

 

*


Rose petals scattered by rain

Your kisses linger.

 

*  

 

 RUSALKI

 

Did you see them come? stumbling

through the fields

sobbing, blinded by tears

running, pale arms stretched out

towards the river

 

Flames leaped in the sun

hoarse crackle and hot smoke

driving them forward

On the river bank the women waited:

 

Seize them, push them, hold them down

Grab their long hair, twist it, hold them

Hold the bright heads under

 

No breath bubbles only

muted cries that die like church bells

In the smoking corn a blackbird

sings on.

 

*  

 

You were dead and nothing

could console me

no kindness no love

neither two living children

 

I sat in my black dress

and sobbed, my head on my knees

in a room full of winter light

your small white coffin already shut

 

When I awoke face wet heart thumping

What a cheat, I thought

robbed not of my baby son

but of my grief.

 

*  

 

It was in the darkest winter

that I first saw your face

First heard your voice

 

There was no time to think

Suddenly I was falling

into an abyss of love

 

How was I to know

you wouldn't catch me?

How was I to know

you would only stand and stare?

 

I broke all the bones in my body

and your heart as well.

 

*  

 

On the Train from Glyndebourne

 

Was it you?  O my untarnished dream

There in the dingy railway carriage

slender negligent

ignoring your three companions

Was it you, my only love?

 

Or only the shadow of my old desire

Echo in evening dress

Narcissus after the noisy ball...

You got out at Clapham Junction

without me as usual.

 

*  

 

Last night I dreamt you died

and left me not sad

but only puzzled

 

There's a way, I thought

to him

There's surely a road I can follow

 

But I haven't got a map

And I'm no good at directions.

 

* 

 

Like a green bird the curious mind alights

plucks at worm bug feather

 

Right underfoot

Emptiness, wriggling like a snake

 

* 

 

Snow twilight deep

the twitter of children.

 

*  

 

This love once all in all:

a mouthful of seafoam.

 

* 


Into the moonless night

someone smiling

 

*


The bluebird of happiness

here in my breast

is making his nest.

 

*  

 

On receiving a bouquet of flowers

 

How sweet the fragrance

of a loving heart!

Tonight my house is filled with it.

 

*  


Round moon

fat as my heart

this night of love.

 

* 


Hungry / Full

Crooked / Straight

'This simple heart'!


* 


Rose petals kissed by tears:

This heart in your hands.

 

* 

 

The dye has run

from your heart to mine

staining it

bright crimson joy

 

* 


A Poem for Parting

 

One moon watches over us

and many waters cannot quench

this light of ours.

 

 

*  

 

Spring Twilight

 

Tiny buds etched on milkglass sky

Blossom trash lies in pink heaps

blown down by the wind.

 

* 

 

To a Secret Lover  (after Ono No Komachi)

 

Bad enough

these cruel games in the waking world

 

But even in dreams

we hide from each other's eyes.

 

*  


Wake up

to this white world

Throw open the windows

smell the snow

 

* 

 

Daybreak -

a frost-whitened field.

Black crows scavenge

my fleet-footed dream.

 

*

 

Stuck way up in

the corner of my window

One perfect moon.

 

*  

 

This heart, wrung out

and left to dry in the sun.

 

*  

 

Bodily Death

 

Why speak of 'the mystery'?

You become a dead cat.

Flies too must eat.

 

* 

 

The Dissolution of the Flesh

 

Leaves, no leaves

Bones, no bones

Dust, no dust

 

* 

 

On Growing Old

 

Inside this dying chrysalis

the white wings are stirring, stirring...

 

*

 

That galaxies are subject to the law of mutual attraction:

 

In deep space wheels of stars collide

drawn by the invisible music

 

Not an explosion but a dance

a pattern unforeseen

more complex more beautiful

 

Scattering stars like seeds

upon the velvet ground.

 



Acknowledgments: Some of these poems first appeared in The Goldfish Anthology, A Tender Touch and a Shade of Blue