The Mighty Viking

Conquering those things we must, one story at a time

Posts Tagged ‘poems’

Coffee Thief

 

I awakened this morning to coffeeCoffee thief

It was left from the day before

Normally stolen and leaving no sign

the thief must be missing, the coffee’s now mine.

 

It sits there in silence, abandoned and cold

I know how it feels, with no one to hold

a day has gone by, two more she’s away

Till my favorite thief, who causes such grief,

Will return to her pilfering ways

 

That person who steals my coffee

has also stolen my heart

a day with plenty of coffee

is a day wishing we weren’t apart

Chasing Down the Moon

The morning light remains a dream

And yet, not my dream

My dreams don’t look for the dawn

They ride through the night’s dark mantle

Like a tailor’s shears

Cutting the dark before me with a beam of light

Gathering it behind amidst the growls of an angry exhaust

A dragon, warning those who would follow my path

That this moonlit road is my dream, and mine alone.

 

In that space between the light ahead and the growls behind

The fabric of night furls and unfurls, windswept sheets

With a patchwork quilt of a hundred stories

Of other travels, of other travelers that passed this way

Alone with their dreams, in another night’s ride.

 

Free from the smothering streetlights that drown my eyes

I breathe in the pure night darkness, the scent of the Great Bear above me,

Wheeling in the sky pointing the way home

To Polaris

I touch in my mind the celestial doorposts of heaven itself

And then gather the reins in my fists 

Joining with the Hunter, pursuing our prey

Shadow, or Light, it matters not which

The chase is what feeds me

To race through the shadows, to feel the whip-cords of light

Lashing my back as I ride through the trees

Thundering hooves pound in my ears

Beating heart pounds in my chest

Flailing wind pounds at my face

Riding this writhing dragon as it rises and drops in the darkness, twisting beneath me to unhorse me.

I fight alone in this night, until the dragon is spent, dropping to the earth with its head atop its gilded hoard

And through the trees I break, into the calm of a mountain plateau

The moon, an arms-length away, bathes my sweating spirit in peace

I drift into a languid pool of silver night-sea, the alpine meadow grass rippling in the breeze.

I lean back, letting my mind’s sails fill with mountain air

Pinpoints of a million distant suns guide my thoughts

The open sky cradles my head

This lonely road rests my body

The crest of another mountain pass frees my soul.

The Christmas Dreary

Once upon a Christmas dreary, children screaming, getting teary

Over several bright and glossy tomes of merchandise galore

While they prodded, nearly popping, seemingly there was no stopping

From without there came a hopping, hopping at my chamber door.

“’tis some visitor,” I muttered, “hopping at my chamber door.

Not my children I adore.”

Ah distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,

And each separate credit card wrought its ghost upon my door

Eagerly I wished the ‘morrow, vainly I had sought to borrow

From my bank surcease of sorrow –sorrow for the lost cash flow

For the rare and radiant paycheck, whom the angels named “cash-flow”

Nameless here for evermore

Ah, so softly did they succor, whine and made their brows to pucker

So they played me for a sucker, crying, sighing all the more

So that now to still the beating of my heart I stood repeating

“‘Tis the season to be giving, giving all to help the poor.”

This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the words, “the poor?”

This I heard, and then much more.

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so sharply spoken,

Doubtless,” said I, “what they utter is their only stock and store,

Caught from some grim advertisement warning shrill that woe and lament

Follows fast and follows faster if its warnings they ignore

Till the dirges of their languish blend with howls of needless anguish

Yea, of sadness, evermore.

But the children still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,

wheedled sweetly through the doorway, child and merchandise galore;

Then, upon the bedpost sinking, I betook myself to linking

Fancy unto fancy, thinking what these anguished children bore–

What this ghastly advertisement meant in croaking “You need more!”

Always this, and always more.

Thus I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing

To the kids whose teary eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;

This and more they cried beseeching, in my head I pondered preaching

On the notion that their leeching brings upon us creditors

Creditors whose endless screeching rails upon my chamber door

Rails upon me, evermore!

But the children, never flinching, still are sitting, still are clinching

So my answer had no meaning—little relevancy bore;

Not the least concession made they; not a minute stopped or stayed they

But, with mien of lord or lady, perched before my chamber door–

Perched and wailed their mournful tale to me behind my chamber door–

Perched, and wailed, and little more.

Presently my soul grew meeker, hesitating, much the weaker

Child”, said I, “or demons, truly your forgiveness I implore

Now I sense my purpose clearly, clearly as in days of yore

Darkest night and plaintive sobbing grants me wisdom lost before

Peace on earth, good will toward parents comes from merchandise galore.”

With installments, evermore!

Who am I?

Who am I?

You ask me, with a voice so low it is drowned by the distant highway, who I am.

And I cannot say.

I use a thousand words, and smiles, and scowls,

And tell you who I love.

And who I hate.

And yet I cannot tell you who I am.

 

Who am I?

You ask me, though your lips move through the patterns of other words,

Your questions gently couched in questions of statistics and health.

Your Question sticks to your face, like a fear.

Half afraid I’ll turn out to be different than you.

Half afraid I’ll be the same.

 

Who am I?

If I told you, you wouldna believe me, you’d say that I’m putting on aires.

And that they do not become me

But aires is who I am, to you and to a thousand others

I cannot be other

I cannot be others

I cannot be anything other than who you say I am

 

Who am I?

If I lie awake at night, and puzzle at the answer

and at the midnight hour offer up my best guess.

If I fail the test will you turn me out into that dark night?

Will you give me extra credit for effort?

Will you correct me with a blood-red pen?

Will you announce to the world that I have failed?

 

Who am I?

Who are you? This game we play but never win.

While my answer is shouted down by the sound of the distant highway

Your answer is shouted down by your nature.

And after we both are spent by shouting, when we are reduced to nothing but hoarse whispers

A question only spoken in that tortured voice remains,

Who are we?

Anguish

Over the past few months I’ve come to know a group of veterans  who have experienced more than their share of anguish.  In the last few days this theme came to my mind, and in the end, the following came from it.  This is for them:

 

Mother’s anguish bleeds

from the body of a mother’s son dying

Through the stream of a mother’s soul

tears turn to pools, pools into streams.

Streams into torrents

Mother’s son’s mother cries.

wretched life wasted, wretched cry wasted – wretched

Anguish is the sound of the torrent through her torn soul.

Raging in the ears of those who didn’t know.

Still don’t know.

Won’t ever know.

 

Son’s anguish sneaks

out the back alley, down the lane, out to the highway

The sound of grief and failure suppressed,

the soul pushed down the asphalt way

motor off

the crunch and pop of loose gravel its only voice.

Until its final grief explodes, pent-up breath,

becomes the sound of the machine jamming through gears

The empty night highway has no more dreams,

running away

Rider’s soul flutters, torn, to the pavement behind,

Anguish is the fading sound of anger,  rounding the distant corner, gone.

Not holding back, never looking back.

Never.

Looking back.

 

Father’s Anguish

never spoken, never open

always borne, never born,

bears the pain of mother’s anguish

bears the blame for children’s anguish

wears the sound of anguish in his eyes

no one hears the scream 

of such pain as no single soul can bear

it flutters in the wind without a sound like a drum-skin, torn,

Anguish is the sound of his silence

Beaten, in the presence of hope.

Torn, in the presence of pride.

Soundless, in the presence of joy.

 

Winks and Sighs

Here in my middle ages, I look at the young men, as they court

and the young girls, as they are courted

they are so full of life, and so empty of wisdom

and yet, so full of life

I feel my life waning

I feel the life draining, out of the pond, and into the river

flowers bobbing, spilling, tumbling free

out into the broader, slower river, to spend another lifetime languishing towards the sea

But the old codger on the street-corner

craggy, dried man, drained and empty

He cheers the young men on

with a toothy grin and a wink he nods at the boys as they follow

that girl down the street with their eyes, and their hearts.

the old flower-seller lady urges the young man

and she watches the young girl, and sighs

remembering her own first rose, brought to her by a young man, perhaps just like this one

brought with a stumbling shyness, by a boy who knew she loved flowers

but didn’t know why

and didn’t care why

except, that something about that flower

might make her think of him, and feel happy when she did

because while he wanted her to think of him, he wanted her to be happy too

it would be another forty-seven years before he would understand that he really just

wanted her to be happy

and said so, with his last breath

She sighs, knowing this is how it is

and knows how to be happy watching another boy

making a fool of himself without knowing why

because he will know why, when it becomes important, and in the meantime

will do what he can without knowing why

And I, here in my middle ages, still worry about what I don’t know

I worry about what I can no longer do

I feel, here in my middle ages, stuck in the middle

neither wise, nor full of youthful vigor

but I watch the codger winking

and the flower-lady sighing her sighs

and watching them wink and sigh, I lose my fear

Time will pass me by, and in its passing

will teach me to wink, and sigh, and to not miss being young

and stupid

and so full of life that there was no room for knowing

why the happiness that sits by my side

sipping her coffee with me, watching me, watching them,

knowing that I watch, and think, happy with the show of things she cannot see

going on in my mind

knowing why her happiness is so important to me.

I hope I tell her in a breath sooner than my last that

I hope to tell her with a wink, that her happiness is more important than mine

I want to hear her sigh, before it means she misses me

I am one flower on the surface of the river

and I will rush to the sea, and become the sea

cheering both codgers and young men in my time, and selling flowers

glad that I am neither

happy that I am both

satisfied that today I am not yet part of the sea

Ode to the Rocking Chair

In each man’s heart and seldom shared

some passion burns and flares

in mine when silence takes me there

doth creak the rocking chairs

there’s nothing there of power

nor bold display of might

in fact the humble cane and wood

seem fragile, weak, and light

the symphony of squeaks and groans

syncopate with creaks of bones

yet still reverberate the tones

of laughing youth, and lover’s moans

the wood is etched, yet hid from view

with loving tools, and from that grew

a place for love to be so true…

a place to sit and be with you

In August’s sun, or April rain

we sit upon the supple cane

and touching binds our love in gain

in sickness, health, in joy or pain

there harks upon the heavens fair

the angel’s glorious aires

but sweeter still, without compare

doth creak the rocking chairs!

Learning to Focus

They say I must learn to focus
But they do not mean I must learn to focus
what they mean is I must learn to unfocus
on everything but them
whoever they are, whatever they want from me
that is what they mean; that is what they want
they want my full and undivided lack of focus
They want my will to become theirs
and so – it becomes theirs
I give it willingly
because I want to be loved
and they promise that giving them my will makes them love me

They do love me
but when they say, “me”
they do not mean me
my heart is not a heart to them
my spirit is not a spirit to them
in their minds my spirit does not soar
in their bosom my heart does not beat
they harvest my spirit
they dissect my heart
they take from within it the jewel that God put within
and grind it up, create for themselves a paste
a potion from which they acquire perverted power
an aphrodisiac, from which they entice the lusts of the next one
my powers no longer heal others, but sicken
my beauty no longer inspires others, but entraps
the blood that gives life to my body
poisons the next, and the next…and the next

I focus
but the things I see me doing horrify me
I avert my gaze, ashamed of that thing that was me
my shame is used against me, to slam as a gate
against my escape
and so the fortress is built around me,
not to protect, but imprison me
in my own shame, I do their work

I focus
and I see that my shame is a mirror
there is no shame
only a reflection
By beholding, I become changed
indeed, I must learn to focus
They were right
and yet they lied with the truth
perhaps they live with shame as well
and perhaps I shall tell them, “you must learn to focus”
and perhaps I will not mean that they should learn to unfocus
on everything but me
But to focus on everything but them

Sweep the Kitchen Floor

I do not wish to sweep this kitchen floor

unless, by my swishing broom, I can sweep you off your feet as well

The scrubbing of the countertop holds for me no interest

except, in inspecting its shine, I can chance to see the brilliance of your smile

gazing back at me, in love like when our vows were spoken so pure they felt like gifts from our angels.

The compost, which fills the corner bin, I’d leave it there to regrow as it will

but my heart hopes by taking it out to the pile in the corner of the yard

I let the anger I felt, the shame of having passed another day, not being the man you promised to belong to, of not being able to protect you from such pain

as we have felt sometimes

I’d take that compost out, if even one moment’s pain went with it

I feel no love for a fresh scrubbed pot

except, sometimes, I think about how scrubbing feels, and how radiance exudes from behind a fresh scrubbed child’s face

Because the mere whisper of radiance, regardless of its place or intent

makes me think of you, with that smile, and that heart that cannot hold inside its compassion

and it leaks out of your eyes in beams, and runs down your cheeks like tears

but it is not tears, and what and who it touches beams with being loved

I’d scrub any number of pots

for one drop of that radiant joy to fall on me, for the way your love feels on my chest, when you smile standing there held, where I cannot see you

but I can feel you, and know exactly how you look.

I put the leftovers away, tucked away for another day

and I wrapped a secret inside, carefully hidden

I hope you find it, but you might not

I kissed a morsel, and left that kiss for you to find

and for you to feel

and for somehow, even though it wasn’t quite right

for you to know, that I swept tonight, for you.

And hoped with each stroke of my broom, to catch you by the heel, and catch you in my arms

and deliver a matching kiss, directly to your lips

For that moment, I would sweep our kitchen floor, all night, for eternity.