Saturday, April 25, 2009

One Flower

I've begun to grow attached to the idea of adding an extra line at the end of my final verses, as you can no doubt tell. I feel it lends a certain finality, by managing to be both outside and not outside the structure of the poem. It's a little like my own equivalent to Emily Dickinson's half-rhymes, which are often found to close her works.

One Flower

One flower from the bonny fold,
a thousand blossoms bright,
in russet red and royal gold
and all so green and slight,
was taken up in hand to hold,
as any hand, in passing purchase, might.

It was no wilder than those
that stood in close array.
It showed no choice pitch nor pose;
its crest, a common splay
of color as might cap a rose
or complement the hummingbirds at play.

What singular absurdity
that it should bear, beneath
its cultivated jubilee
and ordinary sheath,
a graceful heart of high degree
to cloister it upon the constant heath.

For yet, within, and so withdrawn,
this flower was as rare
as ever saw the early dawn
or drew the draughty air,
and now that it is plucked and gone,
I fear no fleeting bloom could be as fair.

But still, some other may arise,
one day, to take a hold
upon my open hands and eyes,
far worthier than gold,
and so I wait upon surprise
and wander through the flowers in the fold
for fitter heart, unfit though I, and old.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


A third and final poem inspired by the Odyssey. Are you bored by this trend, yet? This one is based on line 181 of book 24, the last book of the epic poem, and follows the same loose-sonnet form I used in 'Spring Morning.'


You fired bolts of groaning from your bow
and found your mark within a weaker frame,
entrenched, expectant of a violent blow,
yet unprepared the moment that it came
and caught the breast to cut it deep, just so,
and still the sighing breath that drew your aim.

So now, as soil saps the running tide
of crimson, pulse and pound, up from the cleft,
a fatal hope fast finds itself denied
and wonders what desire might be left,
when, with a touch, the waking heart has died
and left behind a shell, of life, bereft.

But yours is not the burden, nor the blame,
for truth cannot be reckoned as a theft.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Well, I'm off to St. Catherines, Ontario, to visit two old friends. In fact, two of the best people I know. I haven't seen them for two years, and I am absolutely overthrown with anticipation. But the upshot of this is that I won't be around till next Saturday, so I'm posting early this week, and, most likely, late next week. This poem was written as a birthday present (yes, another one) for a friend, currently recovering from an IED in Texas, who deserves just as much love and companionship as we can possibly give him. Whatever we have done for him, he has done more for us.


If pipes, and fish, and friends,
and all the finer things
were plentiful as winds
that catch the kestrel's wings,

or counted every star
that shifts across the sky,
so common from afar
and surfeit in supply,

then what would be the worth
of holding each in turn?
The heart cannot make mirth,
unless the heart can yearn.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Happy birthday, Little My.


A hummingbird, so flit and free,
upon the early morning glow;
what more exquisite thing could be
in God's lush grandeur here, below?