Tag Archives: poetry

Sunset in Christiansburg

Sitting here with you,
I forget the day’s troubles.

The pain and anger melt away
As the sun sinks out of view.

Sitting here with you,
Just holding hands quietly.

We don’t need any words
As we watch the golden light.

Sitting here with you,
My heart has lit up with love.

The clouds colorful and bright,
Like fire burning across the sky.

Sitting here with you,
The world is at peace.

The trees are dark silhouettes,
Standing firm and tall against the sky.

Sitting here with you,
I wish this night would never end.

Let the world freeze in this moment,
Sitting here with you.

 

Photo by Carly Sumpter

Hand in the Fog

To run with you
The day away
I feel your hand in mine
It pulls me on
Through foggy stretch
A road without a sign

From tightened grip
The guiding hand
I feel it slipping through
And when the fog
Comes crashing down
My thoughts are only you

A light that shines
When I see none
My warmth is in the palm
That feels you there
Till your return
The inner storm becalmed

Through distance gripped
Through absence held
Through hardship to the last
I feel your hand
Held tight in mine
No matter distance past

Marching On

We stood on the bridge
In the wake of a new dawn.
The musical sunrise reflected in your eyes;
The water below dappled gold and pink;
And I couldn’t help but say,
“Hello, I love you.”

The birds wheeled overhead.
Traffic rushed past.
No house, no money,
But nothing else mattered.

The moment I saw you,
I knew we could make it,
For better for worse,
To have and to hold.
Til death do us part,
I swear we were reborn.
My hand in yours,
Let’s march on.

The Fairy Tale of Mr. Right

Mr. Right is a fairy tale told to little girls, so they know princes are real.

Mr. Right is kind, chivalrous, loyal, truly loves you, and not just for the sex.

Mr. Right won’t pressure you, never asking you to do anything that’ll hurt you.

Mr. Right won’t lay a hand on you without permission

He’ll even ask to kiss you and never hit you out of anger.

Mr. Right will be loved by your family and friends.

He’ll never make you jealous because you’re his woman, but he’s not a misogynist.

 

When a little girl meets a boy

She thinks he’s good because all boys are good to girls they’re interested in.

He’s nothing like the stories or romantic comedies.

He doesn’t say and do everything right, but she’ll let it go because she can save him,

Make a man out of a bad boy and he’ll be her trophy.

No one warns the little girls not to trust them.

He’ll screw her over, shred her flower petal heart and move on.

Not all boys are princes.

Continue reading The Fairy Tale of Mr. Right

On This Canvas

I wrote our names with rocks
And placed them perfectly
On top of the red clay.

I can’t write our names in sand.
The waves destroy my creations:
Castles, moats, and especially names.

I can’t write our name in the sky.
That lasts less time than the sand.
A mere wind will destroy my creation.

But here, we may be safe.
On this vast canvas that I have claimed
Our names scar the earth.

Each stone was perfectly selected,
Spelling out our promise to each other
For the world to not destroy… just yet.

The Light

Before, it was dark.
Now there is light,
Bright and dancing across my eyes.

It glows and shifts, gold and bright,
And behind it is the dark from before,
And maybe it shifts too.

I see figures, silhouetted by the light.
They glow too and wear bright halos.

I can’t see their faces.

There’s a voice, soft and sure.

“Just stay calm.”

Aren’t I though?
I watch the lights above me,
They’re so very pretty.
Shiny and gold and so, so pretty.

I don’t know where I am, and everything seems far away.
I feel floaty and fuzzy;
The world is a blur of light and dark.

The figures are people, I think.
And I can still hear the voice.

“Calm down, just breathe.”

She has a very nice voice.
Such a nice thing to wake up to.
Is this waking up?

I can’t tell.

“Breathe, just breathe. Calm down.”

It hits me now, how rapid my breaths are.
How they could be interpreted as panic,
Though I feel so at ease here.

InOutInOutInOutInOut

I don’t want to leave, but I try to slow my breathing.
She’s asking so nicely, after all,
And she seems worried about me.

In, Out. In, Out. In, Out.

Why would anyone be worried here though?
Can’t she see the lights?

I try to watch them again, but they’re fading now.
Or the dark is receding, and they’re merging into one.

Now the light is much too bright,
And the shadows from before are entirely gone.

The figures resolve fully into people, into nurses.

I am awake.

Wanderlust

Walking, always walking,

Following the fence to wherever it may lead me.

The white lines are stark against the forest,

Which is green and brown and red with fall.

They flow forward endlessly, on and on into the distance.

So on I walk, forever moving forward.

They ask me where I’m going;

I say I don’t know,

And they decide I must be lost.

I’m not though.

I know where I am, and I know where I’ve been,

But I have no destination,

And that’s what they can’t see.

Because today I’m following the fence,

Though I don’t know where it leads,

But yesterday I followed a road,

Which would have led to the sea,

If I’d followed it a little further.

I’ve seen the sea before though,

A hundred times I’ve seen the sea,

And I’ve followed the currents across it,

As I follow the fence now.

I have no destination, only a wish.

I wish to see,

To see everything,

All across the world.

There’s so much beauty,

And it’s waiting for me.

So how could I settle for any one place,

Knowing how many others are waiting to be seen?

I am a wanderer, they say,

A drifter, a tourist, a traveler,

A vagrant, a nomad, a vagabond,

And many other things besides.

Maybe they’re right.

I call no one place home,

And I seldom return to the places I’ve been,

And I’ll admit it might be odd,

To follow an endless fence

To an unknown destination.

But I don’t mind.

I may be all of the things they call me,

But there’s one thing I am not,

And that is unhappy.

I have never been sad over my lot in life,

Nor am I ever sick of what surrounds me.

I have never spent a day feeling melancholy,

So is it really so bad,

To suffer from a simple case of wanderlust?

Void Between the Light

Can you hear me, hush’d one?
My love through aeons, burning bright
Under me, my birth’d soul,
And stolen from my sight?

Can you hear me, hush’d one?
I, who bathed you, my love and light
Your sign amidst the heavens’ void
A life, a breath, your starry night?

You see me not, your lasting star
The Mother of the Frozen Rite
I whisper close, that you are mine
Through astral tether, distant kite

The color of the spacious spanse
To guide you to my Dancer’s light
I shine across the oceans wide
From pact of planet’s turning spite

And from the heart comes understanding
Something not quite wrong or right
I call through dreams, my form to fore
The void between the light

Autumn’s Song

Everything is gold.

The trees above my head are bright as the sunlight,

Which filters down through the gaps in the leaves.

The ground under my feet is completely covered by the fallen,

And with every step a crisp rustle-crunch rings out.

 

The winter birds are calling,

The branches whisper-creak in the breeze,

And the music of autumn flows throughout nature.

It’s a soft song,

Whispers and creaks and rustles.

Nature’s very own lullaby.

 

It’s time for sleep,

For hibernating and migrating and settling in to wait.

For curling up somewhere warm

And letting nature sing you to sleep.

Whisper rustle creak.

 

It’s cold beneath the tree tops,

But so beautiful.

The wind blows again and loose leaves fall.

Fluttering to the ground as golden rain.

Drifting and spinning and falling down to the earth.

 

Over the winter they’ll turn to dirt,

And come spring those leaves will fuel the world’s rebirth.

But for now they sit, bright and gold and crisp,

Sitting quiet for now, until someone like me comes along;

Then it’s rustle-crunch, rustle-crunch,

Marking my path with Autumn’s music.

A Brown Thumb

All the grass around me dies,

For two miles as the crow flies.

And you should never think to doubt

That the seeds I plant will die as they sprout.

It’s been years since I saw a flower bloom;

When they meet me they meet their doom.

And you will not see a living tree

Within fifteen miles of me.

I don’t know why, just that I can’t

Prevent the death of any plant.

In fact, I kill them with greater ease

Than any insect, animal, vine, or disease.

At first, I thought it might be something in the dirt,

But I now know it’s me who causes their hurt.

I once hoped bad water might be the cause,

But truthfully the fault lies in my own flaws.

I cannot keep a plant alive,

No matter what amenities I contrive.

A good life I cannot provide,

For a potted plant kept inside.

And outside there is only death,

For any plant the feels my breath.

Not even a cactus will manage to thrive,

Not so long as I survive.

I may never see a flower bud,

For every seed I plant becomes a dud.

I’ve now given up on growing a garden,

And soon I think the ground will harden.

I know now that I’d have to be dumb,

Not to realize that I have a brown thumb.

Cloud Gazing

The dawn creeps up from beyond the trees,

Cutting sharp silhouettes out of indistinct shadows.

The horizon is a blur of pink and gold, which fades into pale blue

And then into a still dark purple.


There’s beauty in the sunrise, but magic in the clouds.

They cast dark shapes above the horizon,

Painting pictures in the early morning light.

A killer whale breaches waves of water vapor,

While a pirate ship bursts forth from fog.

A manta ray is flying across the horizon,

And a swordfish leaps into the air to strike a pose.

There’s a pelican sitting above the treeline,

And the ship’s captain is calling for a toast.

 

An ocean outlined by the dawn won’t last forever,

Or even for an hour,

But it will always be remembered.

Remember Fall

The air is crisp and fresh after rain

It’s chilly outside but not yet cold

And while the sky is filled with dark grey clouds

The trees are turning yellow and orange and red

And when the leaves drift off on the breeze

The ground gains the colors of fall too.

 

The clouds tell of storms to come

But they don’t yet cover the sky entirely

And the gaps they leave are bright blue

And when the sun peeks out you can feel it

Bright and warm against your skin

A reminder of the summer that’s now passed.

 

It won’t last forever.

 

The sun will pass again behind the clouds

The trees will be left barren

And their fallen leaves swept away

And the wind will grow harsh and biting

As the temperature drops below zero

And the ground begins to freeze.

 

Fall is a transitory season

But there’s beauty in its liminality

Because nothing will last

Everything is precious

Pictures won’t do it justice

So instead we must remember

 

Remember wind.

Remember color.

Remember sun.

Remember fall.

The First Week of November

The phony cobwebs are swept away,

But the carved pumpkins have yet to rot

And still sit on the steps in front of many houses.

The leftover candy, marked down after Halloween,

Has been cleared from the stores,

Their festive designs gone for another year,

But the children who spent their night walking

From door to door now have their own hoards

And like dragons they stand guard over their goodies

Waiting for their parents to turn their backs,

So that they can grab another piece of chocolate,

And keep their sugar high going strong.

 

Meanwhile, families make plans for Thanksgiving,

Searching for recipes to flaunt in front of friends and families,

Or thinking up excuses to avoid visiting in-laws.

There are still pumpkin spice variations of every product that could manage it,

Including those that should never have tried such a crossover.

The trees are still mostly covered in red and gold,

Though more leaves fall with every breeze,

And the ground is in desperate need of a rake.

Football season is in full swing,

And every sports bar is playing at least three games on any given night.

Charlie Brown will be making his way onto the small screen once again,

Forever famous for falling while trying to kick a ball.

 

Fall is heavy in the air.

Halloween has barely faded,

And Thanksgiving looms on the horizon.

And yet as I listen to the radio I can already hear them,

Christmas carols, playing through the first week of November.

Moonrise

The setting sun leaks colors of pink, orange, and yellow.

Diffusing through the sky, spreading into blues which fade,

First to purple, and then to black.

The moon rises in the East as the sun falls West;

Oranges and yellows blink out of sight,

Leaving a pink glow within the clouds.

Stars wink into existence

And purple overtakes the sun’s rosy glow.

Darkness sweeps over the day’s final rays,

The lights of night the only guide that remains,

As the moon reigns over the sky.

Flames

It started small;

Just sparks and a match.

The flame barely flickered,

Barely lived, and any breeze,

No matter how slight,

Would have been enough

To end the matter.

 

But fire’s nature is to grow,

And it was so sheltered,

So well fed and protected

That the flame grew steady,

Melting wax and burning through

The wick that played its nursemaid.

 

Fire is warmth and fire is life,

But with any life, it must not be left

Alone and unattended.

Just as a child grows unruly,

Running through the house

With no sense of order,

Growing wicked and wild,

So does a flame.

 

It may have burned itself out

When it reached the wick’s end,

But this flame, that had started so small,

So unassuming and frail,

Was determined to live,

To grow, to spread.

 

It sparked, just as Mother Match

Had done and it jumped,

From candlestick to parchment,

Just a little spark, but the ember caught.

Slowly burning a ring into its prey,

Until ember turned to flame

And spread once more.

 

No page was left untouched,

And as records and letters and clutter

Were cleared away a flame became a fire.

And the flames dripped off the mahogany,

Which only minutes ago was a beautiful desk,

And spread to a rug with swirling patterns.

Geometric shapes that brought to mind nature,

Flowered paths and tall oak trees and bird songs.

 

But the fabric forest turned to black,

Smothered by the intensity of fire’s passion,

Eroded away to reveal the polished wood below.

And fire takes that too, feeds and grows,

Running from desk to rug to floor to curtains,

And then up a wall and onto the ceiling.

The fire branches out, growing faster now than

Any match or candle may ever dream of doing.

 

Flames spiral around the room now,

Blazing through the walls and ceiling,

Just as embers blazed through parchment.

They dance through the air as they surge onward,

Moving from room to room, devouring all they can.

Feasting on kitchen and servants’ quarters and hallways,

On dining room and bedroom, parlor and nursery.

Never satisfied. Never sated. Never stopping.

 

The fire is ablaze, engulfing all it touches.

Glass windows shatter under the heat’s pressure,

And smoke swirls out into the sky, free at last to flee the flames,

Though fire’s tendrils rise to follow the ashen air,

Dreaming to touch the sky and know the feel of flying or floating or falling.

But fire takes too much too quickly, and the house it used to grow,

To feed and spread and rise and soar, can take no more of fire’s roar.

The wood is weakened, and the roof is sagging, and still the flames

Grow higher and higher. Until there can be no more.

 

The wood bends and breaks, and the roof falls.

Fire drops down once more and sparks fly—

But flames die.

To Drown

The ship rocks and the waves crash over the deck.

Lightning splits the sky and thunder roars.

The world creaks and moans.

And then it shifts—

Sliding screaming silence sinking—

The water churns and spins him around

Until he doesn’t know which way is up.

The world is dark except for a few seconds of lightning,

Or is that glint something shiny that was lost long ago?

It’s impossible to tell, and there isn’t time to think about it now;

The cold seeps into his bones even as his lungs start to burn.

They say it’s a peaceful way to go, to drown,

But the sea knows no peace,

No calm in the center of the storm.

The world is dark, except the spots in his vision are darker,

And his lungs are still burning, even as he opens his mouth,

And the cold rushes in but offers no relief.

The salt stings but he can hardly feel it now.

He can hardly feel anything now.

They say that it’s a pleasant way to go,

To drown.

They’re wrong.

Requiem

We offer sympathies to those who’ve lost someone.

We have to stay strong in the wake of this tragedy,

This one, singular, unpreventable event.

We lower the flag for a day, then return to our lives.

Everything will be fine.

It keeps on happening though, doesn’t it?

More and more often.

And again and again,

We offer sympathies to those who’ve lost someone.

We have to stay strong in the wake of this tragedy,

This latest, recurring, preventable event.

And nothing changes.

And the victims shout for change

For help

To just be heard

Over the finger pointing and the blame

Over the lies and the insults

Over the constant redirection of our attention.

11 dead in Pittsburgh.

That makes 294 shootings in 2018.

2017 had 346.

And what have we done about it?

We offer sympathies to those who’ve lost someone.

We have to stay strong in the wake of this tragedy,

This far from the last, cyclical, starting to be expected event.

We pledge to never forget,

But when do we remember?

Because no matter what pretty words we say,

We always fail to enact any real change.

And there are so many things we could be doing.

We don’t, but we could.

No more sympathies.

No more sorries.

They do nothing, change nothing, and are nothing.

It’s time to remember the dead,

And it’s time to do justice to their memories.

It’s time to stop those numbers.

Time for these people to be more than statistics to be ignored.

There are too many who have been lost already.