The Atlantic in November

For Sanaa’s prompt at Real Toads and dVerse Poets Pub, using as a point of reference Neruda’s poem, If You Forget. Posting on Poets United Poetry Pantry as well.

The Atlantic in November
“If you are not too long, I will wait here for you.” Oscar Wilde

Remember that day by the grey-green Atlantic,
Standing there in the rain riddled with snow,
You pulled me close to you and kissed me.
We stood there lost in each other
Until the waves began to splash our boots.

Remember that day by the grey-green Atlantic
We walked in the fog
That misted our seeing, that misted our hair
With damp that made us shiver
As we wandered in the rain riddled with snow.

I remember that day by the grey-green Atlantic
Even if you do not remember.
I remember the gulls reeling overhead
crying like lost souls  in the fog.
I remember as the waves splash my boots.

 

 

Garden of White Flowers

The Notes:  A triple Cherita. A cherita tells a story and is written thusly: one line, then two lines, then three lines for a total of six lines. There is no line length, no rhyme, no syllable requirement. This first Cherita is the beginning of a series of poems in my Garden of White Flower Series.  This first section is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend Jeff, a sweet and gentle soul. He committed suicide this past June 18, 2018.  I miss him dreadfully.  I seem to be on a roll here with poems about suicide. I am working on clearing my system of three deaths this past June: my mother and two friends by suicide, all within two weeks of each other.

Garden of White Flowers
“If you are not too long, I will wait here for you, all of my life.” Oscar Wilde

I. Jeff
He loved white flowers in his garden especially bathed in moonlight.

He began his white garden when he interred the ashes of the love of his life,
His lover who died from AIDS thirty five years ago and cremated.

He dug the corner of his yard by hand putting in much sweat equity.
He planted a scented white rose that climbed and then iris bulbs,
Paperwhite narcissus, and wisteria, in the corner with the magnolia tree.

He watered the flowers with his tears and sweat.

Next into the garden he buried his precious Cocker, Duncan –
Rescued from a dog hoarder, abused and starved.

He sat out here often talking to Gabe and Duncan.
He planted more white flowers to breathe their life into him,
He whose loves had all died leaving him alone.

He was sitting in his white garden in the moonlight

When he decided there were enough white lowers, enough memories.
He stroked the petals of the white iris and the white rose

Then went into the house on that beautiful June night.
The next morning he took his cat to the vet to board her for a few days.
He returned home and hung himself, the scents of his garden wafting through the windows.

Death Comes For Us All

For dVerse Poets Pub, MTB where the theme is repetition.  I have closed this poem with a classic haiku written for my cousin Billy who lost his battle with lung cancer yesterday.

Death Comes For Us All
“Maybe that’s enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind, no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom … is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.” Anthony Bourdain

Seasons change – green leaves touched by frost
change color and fall from the trees.
Flowers fade, tomato plants wilt and die.
Death comes for us all.
my mother died two years ago,
my best friend committed suicide two years ago,
my dear friend died last June from suicide,
My cat died –
My cousin Billy died from lung cancer yesterday –
A litany of death.
Death comes for us all.
One after one after one.
The woods are filled with layers of dead leaves,
rotten branches, dried moss,
the carcass of a squirrel.
Death comes for us all.
One day…
Death comes for us all.
fall’s chill breezes blow
making the leaves shiver –
stars fall from the sky

 

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.

The Old Wall

 

The Old Wall
The wall around our family plot in the cemetery
is waist high and built from local stones.
The stones are weathered
and some are missing.
My great-grandfather’s great-grandfather
built the wall when the first grave was interred –
his wife and son, both of them dead in childbirth.
Grief built the wall.
Grief holds it there.
Covered in lichen and moss,
sometimes a few fallen leaves,
sometimes a small stone added to the top
to record a visit.
It wraps around the graves
holding them in its secure embrace.
The wall was there when I was born.
It will be there when I die.

Old stone wall with moss and lichen

Haibun: The Charity of Strangers

For Poets United – Charity.

Haibun: The Charity of Strangers
Several years ago I had to drive the long distance to Tennessee to bring my mother home. She had been staying with my aunt and my aunt could no longer take care of her. It was a hard lonely drive. I arrived and visited a few days with them and then I loaded mama and her things into the car and began to drive. She was immobile and in the throes of Alzheimer’s. I had her “rolling walker” in the car and when we made bathroom breaks I had to lift her into the transport chair and wheel her into the rest area. I then had to wheel her back to the car. I had to feed her and remind her to drink. I was frightened. I didn’t think I would be able to take care of her. We stopped halfway and spent the night in a Marriott. I was struggling to get her into the transport chair and a man who had just pulled in saw me. He smilled at us and said, “well little lady, looks like you need some help.” He reached into the car and gently lifted mama into the chair and said, “I’ll take her in for you.” I was so grateful and thanked him over and over. He told me how he had looked after his father in similar circumstances.

The next day I finally got mama ready to go and began wheeling her out to the car. A young black woman who told me she was a CNA saw me again struggling, got out of her to car to help me. She gave me some tips for lifting mama that would make it easier for me. Later that day. A teenage boy took over my wheeling mama to the restroom. At the car, a middle aged woman helped me get her back into the car. As we drove I pointed out the mountains, the changing color of leaves, and the small towns we passed along the way. That night I was getting mama ready for bed and she lid through my arms. She dropped. I tried to get her up but couldn’t. I went across the street to a neighbor who was also taking care of her mother. She immediately came and helped me get mama up off the floor and into bed. Until mama went into the skilled nursing facility in January, angels along the way helped me. Many days I was on my own and lived in fear I would drop her. But the fire department came or the rescue squad came and helped me. No charge. When she went into the nursing facility, there were loving people who took good care of mama and also helped me to deal with her dying.
seasons come and go –
leaves change color – but kindness
flourishes through all

Mama

Haibun: Gold Day

For Frank’s prompt on dVerse – heartbreak or frustration.  This is a rewriting and reworking of an original poem.  In Japan, Friday is often known as Gold Day.  this is about my lover who left to return to Japan so many years ago.

Gold Day
The afternoon you left was a golden roux of fading autumn sunlight, spicy oak leaves – bright yellow, still holding on to the tree, not yet ready to fall, and bitter salt tears – like the oak leaves – refusing to fall, refusing to join the earlier faded maple leaves on the lawn. Under the trees, quiet and still. I allow the knowledge of your leaving to permeate my being. I am still breathing. My heart is still beating. The sky is still ethereal blue with purest white autumn clouds wafting their way to the end of the horizon. Starlings lift from the telephone wires to follow the clouds. I realize, I will continue on my way – leaves will change color and fall, snow will cover the sepia winter landscape – cherry blossoms will bud, bloom, and fade. Trees will leaf in explosions of green, leaves will change color and fall. Seasons and things will pass. inside, my soul says “Oh!” I sit as the gold day ends.
early leaf burning –
its incense drifts to heaven –
autumn’s voice whispers.

 

 

1000 Miles Later

for Poets United Poetry Pantry

1000 Miles Later
Seventeen days 1,000 miles later
Talequah has dropped her dead calf.
Perhaps she is no longer sad and has
accepted the inevitability of death and life –
Perhaps she was where she wanted to bury
her dead calf – perhaps her heart said
Let go.
I picture the dead calf slowly sinking
to rest upon the bottom on the sand
asleep and at peace at last.
Talequah is healthy and leaping in the ocean.
The heart can only take so much grief
before it kills you
or sets you free.
We humans saw and wept with her.
Now perhaps she is telling us to move on,
to leap with joy, to wipe our tears.
I have been carrying my dead mother
for over a year.
The heart can only take so much grief
Before it kills you or sets you free.
I am sitting on my back porch
listening to the birds singing,
taking in the warmth of the sun,
watching the clouds dance overhead.
It is time.
It is time.
It is time.

onenews.com

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