I Sleep Under Words

Folly Beach Dawn by William P Smithem

I sleep under words
cocooned in down
I dream with ideas
formed by other minds
read by eyes
felt in bones

In the light I wear them
amulet like fetishes
bound bits of sound
arbitrary vibrations
tongue utterance

I climb the cliff
into the darkness
led by the glow
of their lingering
pearlescent in the
nascent dawn

Edisto Soul


Crossing the Edisto,
I saw my soul
Reflected on the
Black Water.
Caught like the sky
In its mirrored surface,
Like the leaves floating.
Fallen from the Source,
In Autumn.

Wind Train

Wind Train

All this early morning the wind
quakes in the arms of the lingering night,
like an unseen freight train its noise
and vibration rend the dark-quiet.

Any moment, I think, it can crack
through the walls of our room.
Our two bodies rattled from sleep,
will be gathered up in the thunderous roar
and flung back and forth in a climax of sound.


Revelations Image

We sit beside the river listening
intently to the overflowing water
sluicing down the spillway
hardly visible through tangled undergrowth,
of barren wild grapevine, and unseen
Linaria vulgaris that flourishes in these margins.
Common milkweed blooms, its leaves
food for Danaus plexippus that makes her way to Mexico,
And I wish I were like the honeymooners
on this morning’s plane, ticketed to Cancun
headed in naïve surety to relaxed
warmth and sensual delights.

This urban paradise, bordered at the heart
by pocket parks, riverine vistas and sheltering trees
brings to me an esteemed landscape architect’s words,
“Humans are most comfortable with prospect and refuge.”

From our vantage, lulled as wild rabbits
that munch grass on the bank and sleep
in a fur-lined burrow, we view a prospect
falsely offering refuge amid chaos.

Reaching out, our hands meet atop green oilcloth.
You pull back in pain, an injury of overuse
you claim, as the lights sway above our heads,
beat time to no one in particular.

Now, the yellow garden spider records
everything in the zig-zag vectors of her web.
She draws it all closer, weaves
the inevitable in the night.

Winter’s Garden

Dark Trees Reflected

In winter’s dark garden
light slants downward over trees,
small shrubs, waning life,
flickers into branches
illumining small patches of death,
withered leaves lurking under
the fringe of boxwood.

Meandering paths guide
feet to remote corners
shielding espaliered camellias’
gently colored edges
foreshadowing bloom unbelievable
in this cold time. They hang
like tightly bound Chinese feet
which would unfurl
if permitted
by the bonds of winter.

By the water, the late flowering
overblown, sulfur-yellow roses
linger against the wall,
resting on blistered paint
protected from wind
they have bloomed
next to decay.

Their unexpected presence startles
just as your unseasonable
appearance in my life
caused the early emergence
of intemperate spring.

Hands like the Edisto

Edisto River

Your hands
like the silver-gilded, tea-stained water
of the rivers of my world,
slide over this landscape,
gentling each hill,
smoothing each furrow,
walking each crevasse.

form a new chamber in my heart,
set it beating to your rhythm.
my hair grows to meet your touch.
my ears receive a shower of tears
where the wash of salt dissolves
hardened scales.

You enter my eyes
flooding my brain with colors
imperceptible in the light,
indivisible in the dark,
penetrating a gray world
and replacing it with white.

I Shall March

Photo by flickr user anselm

I want to dress like the pines
of spring. Tousled, tangled
garlands of gold twining my head.
Glistening greenery sleeving my arms
ending in fingertips of powdery coated gilt.

Then dance March’s tango. Leaning
into my partner, the wind. Bending with ease to
his urging, only to pull back as he changes
ardent caresses from this side to that.

I shall whirl. Whipping my head back
north and flinging brassy Jessamine trumpets
south to land on piles of needles. Until
I arrive at April. When I shall return—
sedate to normal life.

Photo credit flickr user USFWS Headquarters