On a Hill in Wales, Father and Son

For my Father, for my Grandfather, for my Words

1.

To the beginning son, go back with me
Remember how I stood beside you when…

No, you only remember my absence.

Here we return with precision, an arrow
Fired by the great Tell who reveals us.
The apple on our heads, the gift of Eve
Who saw in us the beginning of Love.

2.

On a hill in Wales, Father enters me
Not with punishment, but with his sadness.
Fills me with a beauty that consumes me:
Simple sheep graze on green grass on green hills, 
Too many verdant hues to name. The blue meets us 
Compassion like the sky hosts metamorphs: 
Clouds, lurking innocent children of beasts 
Whose anger gave us this green, gave these sheep.
Gave us wool that warms us in winter.
Gave us mutton that fills our hunger.
Beauty these gifts represent enters
Me like Father returning to the land 
Of his own. “Get on your knees, son, sorrow,
You must feel it now.  These gifts given you 
Lie in waste like blood in scaled veins. Look up!
Through tears, I show you once again! This time, 
I will humble you and you will know Love. 
With it, do good like storm begets spirit. 
Rise up, face the life I called you to live.”

3.

I got off my knees and climb the mountain
To toss the precious that ruled like a curse
Masking my Soul, invisible to me,
Led me to the river to steal fish
From mouths needing food,
Kill those whose only crime:
The place of their birth.
I became Monster
A monster does not know exists
Until 
The mirror sees past the blush,
Through the mascara of a mask painted 
In green rooms of youth only to be smudged 
By the tears of life’s stage.
Now, the Father 
Who returns to me, kneeling in supplication, 
Yells,
“Get up! Climb, son, climb. Go find the path
To treasure granted by breath that fills lungs,
Breathe out songs only one Soul will echo,
Love that will be the melody of Life.”

The Four Chambered Heart

Now, where are the words
The heart needs?
Sort through its four chambers
To mix blood for the body to keep moving,
If not forward,
Any motion is better than none.

From chamber to chamber
Soft walls,
Trim dangles,
Ceiling cracked,
Windows frosted with dust.
These images attract hope.

Like the frail old man who hobbles around
Believing he will golf again… someday.
We doubt. He doesn’t.
That matters.
The chambers still pulse,
Hear them hum.

A voice outside says,
“You are not alone,
Inside: something bigger.”
A window tap invites,
“Come out and play,
You are not alone.”

Buckets of blood
From each chamber
Like an Aztec
Bled out
Sacrificing
What little remained of the soft vessel.

Hope,
The old man still clings,
“Let’s go.”

Image: Girl at Window, Salvador Dali

When the Doll Broke (for Emma)

When the doll broke, shattered on the floor
What did she find inside the dusted shell?
Did daddy leave a note tucked away in the leg –
Some words that would remind her of a love
He promised would never fade like the linens
The doll wore everyday, no matter the occasion.
By the time she discovered it, would her heart be
Repaired well enough to beat a regular rhythm
When she saw his name or remembered his picture
Turned down on the dresser with the other dolls
Collected on his travels, now just dust-laden?
The good book talks about dust to dust, and this
Dust feels like the blood from his heart when it
Was admitted to the floor of a life left with crumbs
Of a plan, of a hope, of a stitched patchwork claim
Of promises long ago tossed in a barrel over the falls.
Now he walks down the path that had the better claim
Having blazed the trail back to that divergence
In the yellow wood. He stared down both again,
With a deep sigh, saw the trodden one and turned
Away from it, choosing instead the one his heart
Called him to take when he wasn’t listening, when
He thought its regular beat could not be trusted.

Image: Girl Accident Broken Doll by Henri Guillaume Schlesinger (German painter, 1814-1893)

Greek Gods and Human Wine

Tonight the sun sets over the bridge tunnel
Leading up river
Leaving behind gentle purple
And kind orange glows as gifts
Like Greek gods finally calmed
Leaving behind their warring heroes
To sit and drink fermented ambrosia.

What they do next,
takes your imagination to swans and other creatures
Humans adore, us fragile-hearted beasts.

They play inside the colors
Just beyond our reach
Until we open our reds, whites, roses and browns
To try and catch them
In our fuzzy mind,
As fleet as our fragility
Allows.

Tomorrow the sun will rise as it did today
The glowing pink down river
Equal in gift
To the night
That passed.

We have but one choice,
One choice:
A step into the colors
That black yielded
Like a bridal vail
Lifts
To kiss life
And live
And love.

The Melodies of Crickets

I think it was in between Carver and Dostoevsky
When I understood what Dylan Thomas meant by
The light breaks where no sun shines, so I
Found a heart where no beating had been felt.
The blood rushed back like a flood, heart raced
Like a youth chasing fireflies around a field.
My mind, its natural foe, tired from the fight
Sat down on the floor and said “You are right.”
This time, it was the mind who let her inside.
It opened the window to all of her ideas
And dreams and fears like it had a small racing
Heart of its own and finally met its counterpart
To fill it with the throbbing it had always felt.
She became my heart’s secret agent, so I sat
Down on the floor with all of them, undefeated,
But thankful for the rest. This red beast
Had carved respect by showing up every day.
But it fought dirty. All it did was sing.
A melody washed me like Ennio Moriconne
On a Mission to show how strong it had grown.
Its return to battle this time, like Thomas wrote,
Where no sea runs, the waters of the heart push
In their tides. Bones take on flesh. Soil proves fertile.
The candle finally becomes the fire it meant to be
All along. The tiny red heart the mind thought its own
Simply was my heart itself, infiltrating to be heard
Like the melodies of crickets wooing in the morning
When I finally woke up and chose to be.

Image: The Book Lover by Frantisek Kupka