Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Awaiting Passage into Fall

Athens, Georgia
May 28, 2014
An earlier version of this poem was posted in May 2011.

When a Southern August lays on hands with lush embrace
of steamy weeks
in sticky haze
then come the ghosts of Carboniferous swamps
to cast their ancient spells,
I hear their call:

"Jurassic Landscape" by Karen Carr.
© Karen Carr/Australian Museum
        Devolve, devour
        Gondwana’s store
        return onto
        Pangean shores
        release your old
        reptilian core
        to bask the vast
        unending light
        through countless days
        of mindless sigh
        and dwell here
        past eternity –
        it’s long before the Fall.

Through waning days I run the break of dark
by tidy lawns refreshed
with dew.
Their scent and sparkle stir anew
as memories reconstitute old seasons born so long ago
in stain and sweat
and school boy pride
forged from summer football trials in heat and pads
on high school fields
that to young minds must surely yield triumphant
Friday nights to come
if only
August days would end
at last in break of fall.

Those Southern rites of passage echo yet
in aching muscles
one time strong.
They burn inside my aging body decades on
as by degrees the morning dark
seeps into day
and evening light just melts away
in endless August once again when weeks pile up
and I await
the break of heat that snaps the spell
as age and darkness creep, encroach
and claim their share of fading light
for longer nights of fall.

Yet far too soon I’ll take those final steps
through shadowlands
to peaceful shores
bedeviled by ideals undone
but singing Eden’s call:

        Evolve, create
        new worlds today
        and make of earth
        a paradise
        beyond the snare
        of ancient spell
        that weaves the hell
        of human strife
        into the dreams of Fall.

Creature of primeval slough with singing blood
and scheming mind
in fear and fight, in pride of life
I wait
and cling to hope inside –
may grace embrace the fall.

Earth in late Carboniferous Period
(from Wikipedia, by Dr. Ron Blakely)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Way in the Wilderness

Lake Louise, Alberta.  May 4, 2014
Condensed from “A Way Out of Wilderness,” with Susan Richardson -  a poetic account of her cross-country trek while attending a professional workshop, December 2007.  Susan looks back on the ordeal remembering the combination of hope and joy expressed in the final lines of that poem, "[I'll] count myself the grateful lost / pursuing traces etched in white, / and reach that pathway’s end in time / forevermore the grateful found."

Ice encrusts your goggles
at twenty five below.
Paths are sealed
in darkness, Lord!
There’s no clear way to go.

And winter trails dim well
too fast as eventide
folds into night
with stars alone
providing light.

The world recedes as ways fall
dark and beauty
drains from mortal
sight, a silent prison
sealed in white.

While woods are lovely, dark and deep
when viewed from lodge
or well-groomed path,
sometime in life
will come a test

When woods turn into wilderness
when dark and deep
oppress the soul
when lovely turns
to creeping cold

Your mind harks back to life before
spent safe beside the hearthstone
fire, which burns and brightens
even now in warmth
the lodge at Lake Louise.

You pause in awe of open sky
where holy visions
crystallize, as early
evening stars appear
with undreamed wonders

Pressing near, beyond all words
but strangely clear
when set in stillness
white on white
so far from lodge at Lake Louise.

But ice encrusts your goggles,
it seeps inside
your soul, and time
compresses tightly
to frozen snowy hell

Its icy heart, indifferent
to choices
and their toll.
So brave the cold,
embrace the pain

Then take a step, and step again;
led by the arms of God to life
or to the arms of God to lie
matters not in wilderness –
resolve sustains

Beyond despair if inner stillness
shares the grace
of snow white peaks
seen in the face
and placid depths of Lake Louise.

"Snow on Field" by David Noah, Winterville, Georgia