what to my wondering eyes

the night lengthens
into hours that refuse to pass

the stars grow larger,
constellations singing

suddenly a bridge,
a ladder made of light

silence becomes a dance,
its ancient steps retraced

the circle keeps its promise–
a child will lead the way

The latest Kick-About prompt is the above illustration by Arthur Rackham for A Visit From Saint Nicholas.

The night sky needs no man in a red suit, sleigh, or reindeer to inspire wonder.

After visiting the Oracle tomorrow, I’ll be taking a break until 2022. Happy New Year!

Vagabondage (after Kenneth Koch)

When did you start to follow
me?  I don’t remember
the tables turning—but then
my recollections were never
very reliable.

Even the tangible accumulations
of the collected years that now
emerge from their wrappings
of old news surprise me–
(the news itself does not surprise
me—yellowed headlines that fit
as well into today as yesterday)

How and when did the journey
become so heavy with the past,
so filled with lost voices
calling my name, faces I think
I see in passing, disappearing
into the crowded landscape
full of images I can’t place,
invisibly in plain sight?

I scatter my biography,
filling it with empty spaces,
holes for the wind to find
and carry back on a song through
the branches of winter trees.

I can still hear the melody–
it vibrates along synapses,
along veins and into the heart.
Isn’t that enough in the end?–
the rhythm of a dance
that has no direction,
but spirals everywhere all
at once with no destination
but now.

I was reading Kenneth Koch’s poem “To Old Age”. It made me think of my own journey.

For the earthweal challenge to write a journey-poem.

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel

Our memories are full of secrets–
we have no innocence to be rejected.
We long to be the spirit that stalks us–
the last man falling.

Colosseum

“Let’s go to Italy,” said my friend,
an architecture student–
she would study and photograph the buildings.
I brought along my sketchbook.

Maybe Nero didn’t fiddle
while Rome burned, but he used the land
cleared by the massive fire to build
his Golden Palace and his Pleasure Gardens.

I did not sketch many buildings–
only one drawing of the Colosseum–
I did not know it had been constructed
on the ruins of Nero’s cruel rule.

From the evidence of my sketchbook,
I seem to have preferred the Borghese Gardens–
sculptural forms for me to sketch,
plenty of columns for my friend’s camera.

I did not go inside the Colosseum–
perhaps I sensed the bloodthirst still hanging
in the air, reflecting a world that continues
to devour itself with public spectacles of death.

Nine thousand wild animals, mostly African, were killed in the Inaugural Games at the Colosseum, which was largely financed by spoils taken from the Jewish Temple by Titus after the Roman defeat of Jerusalem in 70CE. The public spectacles of human and animal slaughter continued for nearly 400 years. It is estimated that 400,000 people, and millions of animals, died in the staged hunts, wars, and executions.

For dverse, where Merril asked us to write about a historical artifact. Since I’m late with it, I’m linking to OLN.

And also inspired by this post about the Colosseum from Manja. I knew I had drawn it when I visited Italy in 1976, and I found the sketchbook right away (falling apart, taped together, obviously seen better days…)

Disguises

My mother loved to wear loud colors, especially red.  Her laugh could be heard above the din of any crowded room.

Not me.  I dress mostly in black, try to fade unnoticed into the background of other peoples’ lives.  I avoid parties.

But my eyes crave color, my hands long to manipulate texture and shape, to form visual ideas that enhance and delight.  I have a hidden closet full of rainbows—painted, embroidered, knitted, woven into intricate arrangements.

All those vivid narratives remain unworn by my own days, the ones I dress in, their stories patterned and purple.

As night surrounds me, only then do I take them out to display, to embellish my own possibilities.  I close my eyes and enter a parallel world, one in which I cover myself with a thousand glittering mirrors, quilted with moonlight, seams stitched with prismatic stars.

For dverse, where Lisa asked us to use a line from Kimberly Blaeser’s poem, “When We Sing of Might,”–I dress in their stories patterned and purple as night–in composing our prosery.

Dear Refugees

We have heard
and noted your cries
for help.  Un
fortunate
ly our sovereign borders
are currently closed.

We fear that
we must turn away
from any
images
of drowning, freezing, starving.
They disturb our sleep.

But we are
not completely heart
less.  We will
send you our
Condolences, as well as
our Thoughts and Prayers.

For earthweal, where Sherry, after bringing us up to date on the flooding in her Canadian homeland, asked us to write Verse Letters: a form of address, akin to dramatic monologue, to all parties involved – letters to the lost, perhaps; to those who caused the extinction;  or to those of us who are in the middle.

on the wings of ghostlight

The one word the Oracle was certain she wanted me to use this morning was coffee.

drink stars in your morning
coffee
ask for sky voices to wake
the heart
remember the magic lingering like oceans
dancing
on rhythms of never
mind
give time the eye
of breath
listen with flying
colors
sail open the dark hole
of night

We aren’t meant to understand everything.

(obviously)

kinship

to belong
is a feeling–not
words over
heard in pass
ing, but a garment to wear–
it keeps you warm, this

chorus sung
by many voices–
it tells you
how to clear
your self, opening to be
come filled, become found

Sarah at dVerse shared with us once again the paintings of Fay Collins, and asked us to write to what we see in her images. I did not pick any particular landscape, but used the entirety of her work as inspiration for both my words and my watercolor, which reflect her immersion in and love of the earth.

Also linking to earthweal, where Brendan has asked us to praise what matters.

You can see the work of Fay Collins here.