Merged with Fire, a poem by S Francis

The small candle’s wick-kindled flame
danced with shadows on the hearth,
its tiny soul, with a whisper of oxygen,
became the fire that warmed up winter
long in need of passing. An invisible day
became a visible night where the dance
was like overdue playtime for children
who thought night harvested darkness
when it longed for the merest flicker
to bend and sway, to arch its back.
So the shadows danced on the hearth
until a flame licked the softest of flesh
turning the ethereal into the real, a soul
so vast it reached across busy miles life
had filled with scars and stumbling feet
until on fire it merged with flesh, whole.

(C) Stephen Fuller, 2019

Her Familiar Voice (The Crossing, part 2), a poem by S Francis

I will climb until I reach the summit and eyes closed
Hear in the wind her familiar voice singing to me,
Screaming around my soul like a fire un-contained.
I open my eyes to learn the contours of her face.

Pulling everything inwards, I look through a past window
To home. Sitting at the top of the stairwell looking down
In wonder: where to light the fuse? Everything’s changed.
The news an engine still hissing outside on the pavement.

On top of the mountain, I open my eyes and see her face:
The mouth, the eyes, the nose, the cheeks, the unique mark
She makes on this rock. Her voice having stilled my soul
Since before I could name her. How does she sit here now?

She sings to the screaming tornado, stills the swirling
So the soul can speak to whispers loose inside, missed.
I ask the woman sitting with me: who are you, where
Do you come from, how did you arrive here, and why?

Her fingers trace my face, down the aquiline nose, over lips
Longing, to the valley carved between the mountainous chin.
She smiles, her silent song louder than my noise that clammers.
Loose whispers find their fuse, the light in the window, bright.

(C) Stephen Fuller, 2019

Second in a series of poems loosely inspired and derived from the lyrics of Stuart Adamson of Big Country and their debut album The Crossing from 1983. Her Familiar Voice is drawn from the lyrics of “Inwards”. For the upcoming weeks, I will be exploring through thematically linked poems derived from each song on this seminal album of my youth.

Grey Line with Blue Black and Yellow, a poem by S Francis

Please, teach me about Georgia O’Keefe
So I can learn how to bloom. Spring
Calls out for reward, this winter endured.

Layers of purple pedals wrap a red sun
That embraces what remains of strength
With a warmth longing for exposure.

I dip my nose to smell the fragrance
Of desire kept stored in its green cage
That a whispered breeze breaks open.

Hinges so rusted the fall of a single tear
Might be enough to shatter brittle bonds
Holding back abdicated escape plans.

Georgia O’Keefe, teach me how to fall
Into this landscape so I begin to bloom.
Spring awaits. This winter long endured.

(C) Stephen Fuller, 2019

Upon Seeing the Lunar Eclipse, a poem by S Francis

The moon peaks out behind the sun
As the wind swirls a chill upon skin.
Selene dances with Helios tonight
A sweet dance of renewal. Again
We renew as night shuffles stars
We know in planetarium order
Earth science teachers taught us
When insisting we know Orion
His belt, his shield, his persistent pose.

An aegis protects our hearts from
That which seeks to slacken beats
Which once seemed so sure, now seem
Like a shimmering glisten to the glow
That harbors our safety from tremor
Shuddering our stable feet on earth.
So we look up together at the moon
As she disappears behind the flow
Of a sun that wants to burn down

All that we know of life,
all that we know.

Selene dances with Helios, as we do
And we wonder if in this moment, Time
Will sit still long enough for us to be
Aware of the beating of a heart that wants
A heart that wants. Hearts want, they do.
So we look up at the aegis that guards
Us from what we fear and order
Becomes disordered and we persist
In searching for science to explain.

Our hearts tremble to tell us
As we begin, again, to feel what we felt
When feeling was allowed in the dance
That disappeared like childhood into
The shudder of adults who longed
For the science our teachers taught
When we weren’t listening to words
Only feeling the soft skin of a hand
That held to ours, gave life to hearts.

(C) Stephen Fuller, 2019

Angel’s Metamorphosis, a #tbt poem by S Francis

the sky, today,
penetrable and deep,
I reach my hand
into its perfect blue
in search of a star
when found, its light
warms my open palm
azure drips off my arm
until a puddle floods
our spot of the earth
where we begin to play
with our new toy
above us an Angel plays.
dancing, metamorphosis.

Now she is a Carmen Miranda teddy bear

Now she is a flying saucer.

Now she is you.

sleeping naked
in my arms
my hand traces
constellations on your
satin skin
stretched, tingling
on the breast I linger
touching the nipple
reaching to the universe
part of the Woman,
loved wholly
dancing with angels
whose gentle purr say
life will renew

(C) Stephen Fuller, 2019

Masticated Berries, No, a poem by S Francis

Macerated berries
In a bag of their own juices
Still edible and sweet
Add a little wine
Make some sangria
For brunch.

Rashers and bangers and eggs,
Grilled toms and soda bread
Black and white puddings
Cosmopolite pollinates
With sangria
For brunch.

Sometimes poets
Need dictionaries.
We would share
Macerated berries
Not masticated, though
The word sounds good.

In reality, its time
I masticated life
To savor its rich flavor.
A macerated life
Does not lend itself
To a shared brunch.

So I’ll separate berries
And life, but eat them up
Both, just the same.
Let their juices
Drip through my fingers
To intoxicate the day.

(C) Stephen Fuller, 2019

What Circles Above? a poem by S Francis

What circles above
Like a hunter seeking prey?
The tower I abide
Old, damp and dark
Like a bog in my heart
I must break the suction
And climb

To reach out to the hunter
Hunting me.

Falcon, storm or song?
Fate knows less than I
So eyes closed and
jump
Into its arms and seek
Flight. Force the rot away
That eats at my heart

To sing out to the hunter
Beginning me.

Written after reading ‘I live my life in widening circles’ by Rilke from Book of Hours as translated by Edward Snow and published by North Point Press in New York, 2009

(C) Stephen Fuller, 2019

We Must Learn to Die, a poem by S Francis

We must learn to die: this is all of life.
The piling of dirt awaits us in the end
Or, should we choose, ashes tossed at sea.
We must learn to die: else what all is life?

So the philosopher teaches us, intelligent beings
Aware of the rain that beats on the bulkhead
Exterior to our rooms, reminding us of the cold
That awaits, should we depart this comfort.

Inside, the world is warm enough, the tea
Steeped, the books grateful to be read, paper
Thrilled by the sensual flow of ink on its
Too long since touched skin, lines quivering

In ecstasy. Somehow these words we’ve chosen
Reach inside the womb of blackness to invite
Life back out to shimmer with the passionate
Cry of a lover who embraces a little death.

Written following reading a letter from Rilke to Mimi Romanelli on December 8, 1907 a translated by Ulrich Baer and published in The Dark Interval: Letters on Loss, Grief, and Transformation and published by the Modern Library in New York in 2018.

(C) Stephen Fuller, 2019

The Fire Wanted (The Crossing, part one), a poem by S Francis

Son, climb that mountain again, hear what you missed.
At the summit, close your eyes and feel the wind
Swirl around your soul, a tornado screaming words
Like a lover’s voice picking up what you discarded.
The fire you wanted now lights up the sun in winter.

Son,
Climb that mountain
Again.

Son,
You can’t stay here,
Broken.

Son,
Climb that mountain
Again

And

Again.

Deserts will retreat from the flowers that you grow.
See what you missed, that smile from a child’s dream.
At the summit, close your eyes and hear his laughter,
Like a lovers voice that has found the gaps to fill.
The fire you wanted now holds up the sun in winter.

(C) Stephen Fuller, 2019

First in a series of poems loosely inspired and derived from the lyrics of Stuart Adamson of Big Country and their debut album The Crossing from 1983. The Fire Inside is drawn from the lyrics of “In a Big Country.” For the upcoming weeks, I will be exploring through thematically linked poems derived from each song on this seminal album of my youth. For those of you familiar with the band and its iconic singer, there is an ironic tragedy in the lyrics to this song about getting up off the floor, screaming. Stuart took his own life in 2001.