Burning Bright

I am both book and reader with her–
A self-professed censer with soothing words.
And though she acts the scholar, still she is
A Montagian fireman in her own right.

While her books stay shut on the shelf,
She lays me open in her lap
And takes a match to my first page;
Cover to cover, she burns through me.

When she reads my soul in the firelight,
My spine tingles beneath the licking flame.
Then she warms her spirit as the flames rise
In the bonfire of my vanities.

In the morning, like Caesar after Alexandria,
Her fingers, smoldering with embers,
Will leaf through charred chapters,
Sifting ink and word from the ashes.


Still Life

Surely, this is God’s country,
Where sunsets are tableau’d
By humble pastoral scenery,
Farmhouses set against the forest.

Fields sprawl between treelines,
Captured by mortised fences
And dotted with the usual fauna,
Standing peaceably and proud.

The Virginia sky painted pink and red,
The trees serves as the transition
For moving pictures–frame by frame–
Still lives, flashing by on the road.

Oh, Bother

“What a bother, what a bother!” I said.
“Oh, what a bother indeed,” said Pooh
With his forepaw in a pot of hunny.
“What to do, oh, what indeed to do?”

“Nothing is an option,” a voice reminds.
Eeyore, the ever-dysthymic donkey,
Shines a ray of darkness into life
That I could see myself enjoying daily.

“Or feel free to bounce–just bounce
Away from all your troubles and cares,”
The gregarious tiger recommends
While headed toward cliffside unawares.

A timid voice squeaked in the night:
“If you shut your eyes, you’ll shut it out.”
And closing his own, he successfully forgot
All his worries and fears running about.

“Think it over, think it under, I claim.
No rabbit is a fortress, they say,
But through worry and over-anguish
You might all your problems allay.”

“Why think about it at all?” asks the bear.
“There is ever so much honey to eat.”
Taking paw from pot to mouth, he asks,
“Who even knew life could be this sweet?”

Oftentimes, when it rains, it will pour,
And you’ve got to take your heffa-lumps;
Still, all of Mr. Robins’ childhood neuroses
Could not bring him out of the dumps.

As the Moss Grows

It’s a four gas station town that falls
On the border of two North-South states,
In the crook of a pale mud-brown river
Dotted by smokestacks and rotted docks.

But the trees are actually quite lovely–
A town fit for the outdoorsmen
From the belt-line of America,
Even if it doesn’t live up to “back home”.

It’s a place where the term “local”
Yields a sense of pride in community;
When not much else is strong in a place,
The people–and their bonds–tend to be.

We transients pass through on our way
To bigger cities and follow the river
To seas far over the eastern horizon,
While the locals take root and moss over.

Speak Truth in Love

This will be the third and final poem on a theme with a friend (for the time being). The theme this time is “Seeming opposites brought together”. This poem takes some liberty with that in calling “truth” and “love” opposites, though I base the idea off the fact that so many people do (incorrectly) consider them such. I will post a link to my friend’s poem here when it is published.

How can I explain this to you?
If I only knew a method of teaching
That would cause you no pain
In learning the lesson you hate.

Is there no easy discipline?
But then I see it is like the struggle
Between two foes to submission:
It is rebellion that causes anguish.

And thus put down, the rebellious
Would cry out against the injustice
Of the victors in their strength
And their unmerciful constancy.

The adage owns that truth hurts;
The truer it is, the sharper the sting.
How fit that the highest truth should
Call us to take up our cross and die!

A Bottle for Two

Continuing last week’s project of writing poetry on a theme with a friend, this poem’s theme is “Sharing Food (or drink)” and how that brings people closer together. You can find my friend’s poem here: https://thisisbeautifuldust.com/2018/04/25/table/.

The makeshift wall of glass between us
Invites, rather than divides, we two
Who have joined together at table
To share a moment and intertwine.

The bottle shrinks and the glasses grow
In fullness of health and tannic vivacity;
Dry mouths are whetted for conversations
That swirl around in our decanting minds.

We pour out libations of joy and mirth
Alongside moments of sobriety and warmth,
For we know our own temperant limits,
And here we will better know one another.