Progress

Is this what the end feels like

I
I quiver. Hope brakes do not hold.
Joy extreme. Possibility plays, taunts
edges out peace. Invokes must now.

II
Turn to and shove. Push. Prod
Life into actuality. Sweat trickles
muscles strain. Knot this life.

III
Not-quite contentment lies
in the periphery. More like ease.
Still not peace. Less hope than fatigue.
Or cessation perhaps
removes burdens
lessens anxiety. Whatever.
Stillness is ok by me. Now.

The Song of the Moon

Baby-shoes-on-slate-with-red-ribbon

The water calls.
I walk the streets in densest night.
The moon creates dawn before the advent of the sun.
A pathway to heaven lies on the water,
As I walk, it beckons.

There’s a drumbeat.
I’m pulled by the fullness of the moon
and urged by the lapping of the harbor.
An insistent rhythm of
African drum tones
In an ancient pattern
Goon/godoe/godoe/goon/godoe
Bass tone alternates with song tone
male and female. A timeless thrum.

Treasures lie in my path.
A baby shoe by seawall’s edge
empty and wet with dew as if the baby
had jumped over into life
and a primal baptism.

Sprinkles of oyster and mussel shells
glow in the moonlight.

A red ribbon. A manmade river of blood
drizzles the pavement.

Now I hear the silent city
as it accompanies
the drumming of my soul,
and the song of the moon.

 

Many years ago, I wrote the progenitor of this poem when at dawn on a full moon, I walked along Charleston’s High Battery and found these objects. The entire walk was a journey of many miles, in just a few short steps. The poem formed itself then and have gone through several reworkings. The photo illustration is one I created to accompany the poem.

For Andra

Mountain Pond

The presence of water changes all.
Liquid undulations restore our souls.
Self-healing surface closes around
our brokenness—bearing us up.
Upon it, we bob in the current.
Rising.

 

This poem was inspired by the amazing writer and fine friend Andra Watkins. Thank you for who you are.

Tide

Folly Beach. Marsh, Birds and Morris Island Light by Wm. Smithem

Today I have watched
every cycle of the tide.
four divided by two
high and low
alternately covering
and uncovering.

With each one
I expected
to find some evidence of you
floating toward me,
or evidence of you
steadily in retreat
and I only found
the rhythm of the ritual
flood and fall.
like a woman’s body,
the marsh fills and empties.

I think I expected this water
to bring you to me like
Jesus walking;
a miracle resolving all
doubts, simply believed.

Then I imagined
that I would flow
outward and find you
connected as we are
by the water, the wind,
and the grasses
undulating in unison.

But all I saw
were the birds,
who took flight
and carried me
into the horizon.

Edisto Soul

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.