A Song Unfurled

Poetry is the song of the spoken word
   gliding gleefully, playfully
      sliding smooth as the devil's tongue.

The true sound is not of a novel told
   in long form, in paragraph,
      broken to imitate a mold.

It speaks, it cries, it screams
   to be read, a melody as
      interpretation unfolds.

The flowery tale it need not contain
   but the rhyme must remain
      if only as a song unfurled.

* My attempt at a quaint and simple ode to John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn. A favorite poem of mine since high school. I wrote a paper on it in undergrad and found it again in graduate school. It likes to visit my mind when changes come to my life.

Read it here: Poetry Foundation, Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats

Sensual Kitchen

Squirming among the grains of paradise,
     lost in the mystical feeling
     of a soft blanch, just enough to
     feel the pulpy softness of breast.

Sautéing the flesh in the rarest
     of saffron, colored in red
     and the gold of turmeric, 
     rich in thoughts and desires.

A spiritual sensation, 
     a sensual kitchen, 
     where heat of anise on fire, 
     flambeed with grains of alcohol, 
burning within,
bursting out
     of the depths of her soul.

Warrior’s Soul

Waking to a dog barking,
   mother calling her name,
      sounds of air whizzing by.

Lost in a world of conflict,
   father gone to his grave,
      younger brother hiding in the crawlspace.

A pang pulls at her stomach,
   dry lips reach for the sky,
      tears as her mother looks her way.

Safety is nothing to a girl
   who is already starving,
      already ill from the war filled waters.

One day she'll leave her home,
   as she stands holding her father's rifle,
      a warrior's soul forced upon her.

~ Written in memory of my Red Cross service in Kosovo, 1999-2000

Daughters of Time

Stones gathered on chiseled limestone
     counting souls who have gone before me.
Coins on headstones, flags on tall poles,
     but not so tall as the mighty sycamores.

The cool brisk air broken by a warm 
     cup of tea to sip from.
Pouch of lavender takes me back in time
     to wood floors, dirt floors, glass bottle windows.

I look out on the valley, low water
     as the land suffers from drought.
Crying to Mother Earth to bring the rains,
     to color the leaves of autumn.

Sisters gathered in purpose of words,
     infinite love with cosmic relations
     as we, the daughters of time
     bring forth the future of the stars.

Written while sitting on the Blacksmith Cabin's porch swing during an Indiana University, Center for Rural Engagement, session for girls and women of all ages with author and professor Catherine Bowman.

Tattered Thought

Sinking lower in disguise,
Lost to simple navigation of life,
     unhurried absence
     from des soirées, grandes fêtes.

Excuses bound on escaping canary
Flying from clouds of doubt,
     torn wing, tattered thought
     away from billowing fantasies.

Mind's eye driven to ledge
As butterflies flitter inside,
I call them back,
     away, come back,
The future I must decide.


My feet are planted on quicksand,
Never to stay too long I’m told,
The changing tides, the roaming winds
Blast me to my knees.

I’ve never reached solid ground, 
Not known of a homestead my own,
The grasping of my arms
Jerks me back to a ledge.

Pulling up, seeking dry land,
I dream of a garden of light,
My children there, their babies too,
As my roots cling to the soil I’ve found.

My dear mother, let me grow,
Let me plant my tree right here,
I need the nourishment found,
I need my own spot on your earth.

Ode To the Beasts of Maxwell Hall

Hearth is the heart, 
     raging and tranquil.
Gathering us together,
     we warm ourselves by its flame.

Suckling bosom of knowledge, 
     a hall of words,
     books and catalog cards.
Legal debates pulling reason in opposite directions,
     but never too far from the center
     of cold limestone turned warm
     by wood of surrounding land.

The dragon leads the menagerie,
     two heads with sight of towers
     where grotesques and serpents
     keep watchful eye
     on all who enter.

Serpents taking flight at night,
     playing in darkness
     as they slither from transom to transom,
     never touching the floors of men.

Grotesques howling and flapping their wings
     as though in discussion,
     as though in defense of the shield they bear
     for love of building,
     and craft,
     and university.

Yet the dragon is the seer,
     the knower,
     the one with thought and knowledge
     too powerful to expose.

Does he envy the others’ views of the hills?
Or does he find solace in hearing the whispers,
     the secrets, 
     the plans of women who now grace
     his throne with beauty?

Art now conquers the cold limestone,
     while humanities compete with the science of masons.
But with transcendent words
     our beloved beast changes, 

Words devoured by the dragon, 
     it feeds on new dreams,
     new hearts, 
     new love for its majestic survival.

As I leave this place, 
     these grounds,
     this building.
I whisper to the protectors
     my gratitude,
     my respect.

I tell them of my jealous heart
     that cannot grasp the treasures
     only they consume.

11 September: A remembrance poem

I wrote this poem on the anniversary of 9/11 while working our local farmers market. A time to reflect the attacks that day, and a time to think about my fellow brothers & sisters in military service who lost their lives over the last twenty years while serving on foreign land.

11 September

twenty years have come and passed,
     fades of existence,
     ghosts reminisced.
souls lost and never forgotten
     as our hearts and minds
     break with the wind.

twenty years of conflict ended
     with lines of flags
     and tombstones
     and medals.
more of our finest killed in war
     than on that day, 

thousands on our soil,
thousands on theirs.

that day,
     those hours,
     three fields,
     death and destruction.
charred planes,
     fallen buildings,
     only memories to be found
     in the dust of the attack.

as family,
     we mourn.

as a nation,
     we mourn.

as human,
      we cry.