in a subtle bloom
redolent of sylvan wine
while still waters
sip orange-laced cognac
with the setting sun
and share a repeated sky
with all who care to see
as champagne curtains
prepare the hour
for the arrival
of a stately moon.
Matthew Cornell’s painting, “Sundown at the Club” inspired this poem. Many thanks to this very talented artist for such incredible inspiration. This poem was written as part of the Winter Park Paint Out International Poetry Competition.
My first cup of coffee cools quickly in the pre-dawn air. Winter has finally retreated to the point that the three season patio offers comfort with the aid of a blanket. I’m grateful for the dark. Sunlight points to chores that need my attention. I’d rather be blind to them this early in the day.
Orion sits low on the northwestern horizon as if the huntsman, having endured another night in celestial exile, is eager to stretch out on the distant hill and rest.
With the exception of the intricate sky above, this hour is devoid of detail. The hedgerow is a single black mass that looms as a warning. Trees have yet to grow their modest covering of spring greenery and stand in stark silhouette to the featureless landscape around them. The wind has quieted after days of protest.
This morning is a blank canvas.
Steam rises from my fresh coffee in an attempt to become the only cloud in the sky. My fingers trace the pattern on the mug, stirring memories of the person who gifted it to me many years ago. My smile sips the earthy liquid as my thoughts flit elsewhere.
An interruption in the leaves nearby prompts me to curl my feet under me in an involuntary protective move. My dog continues to snore from his patio bed, escaping both alarm and curiosity. I’m grateful because I’m confident that barking would have shattered this moment and forced me into my day.
Yet, without the barking or the sense of sight, my to-do list begins to form in my thoughts. I must be waking. I have time to enjoy another cup of coffee as I sketch out the day before me.
Good morning :)
The wind is a widow
desperation and denial
into the night,
at fragile redbud blossoms
until the ground lay bathed
in watery blood red.
She claws at window panes
as if relief waits
on the other side of night shades
and I pray
to any gods who might exist
that layers of damask silk
to protect my gut
from the wrenching
and guard the edge
lest dreams should slip
to the other side
where sour and bitter
fester with pain.
The first light of dawn
drops her maternal gaze to my pillow,
in answer to unvoiced pleas.
of strangers who were once friends
and grateful for friends
who withstand my tempest
as wounds scab
and I explore
a forever in a changed world.
Click images for larger views
Puerto Vallerta, Mexico February 8, 2015
This humpback whale was traveling with a female and a pod of dolphins. In three hours time, this whale jumped at least 28 times, slapped the water and generally kept me spellbound. I took pictures until I ran out of space on my camera cards.
I’m only sharing a few. There is no way to share the whole experience.
Isn’t he amazing? The entire day was a gift.
The mantle clock chimes for 4 am as if this hour has something that makes it want to sing. It seems ordinary to me, the same as yesterday and tomorrow at this time. It is the hour of my sluggishly functioning half-sleep, the hour where I cradle my coffee mug for dear life in front of the fire and wish I was still in bed.
The sharp click of the cuckoo clock echoes across hard surfaces. I am usually comforted by the sound yet this morning, I am fighting the temptation to stop the pendulum, to change my environment, to stop the progress of time.
I push the sound from my focus, listening past it to the snuffles and sighs of my sleeping dog and the flap of flames in the fireplace. The coffee must be doing its job. My thoughts are abandoning the daze-doze buzz and starting a list of things to be done.
My home is haunted by the ghost of Christmas past with tree and decor still in place yet out of place. Just as Thanksgiving signaled the beginning of the season, the New Year wears a business suit and mandates conform. “The party’s over. Clean up your mess. Christmas is eleven months away.” I will do as expected, almost. I never put it all away.
My village will remain on my window seat until spring when the snow on the ceramic rooftops is clearly out of place in the budding green and warming sun. A couple of small belsnickle figures remain in my curio cabinet year round. I don’t think anyone notices except me and I honestly don’t care if anyone did notice. My little break from convention makes me smile.
Cuckoo squawks 5:00 before the mantle clock notices the hour. My day is beginning. I have work to do and then work to do. Before all of that, I have to take care of some chores. Reluctance places a hand on my shoulder and whispers “five more minutes,” and I listen. If five minutes breaks my day then my day was doomed before it began.
Good morning :)
“We need a rain gauge.”
My mind carries the conversation to depths that I would never speak aloud. “Really, Dad? Is it a need? Is it like needing to buy bread or needing to visit the doctor? Why do you need a rain gauge? Are you a farmer or a meteorologist? If someone asks how much rain fell, isn’t it possible to answer that it was enough to make the lawn too wet to mow?”
“Ancient Greeks used rain gauges to estimate crop production and levy taxes.”
I roll my eyes as I poured my first cup of coffee of the day. Dad has been memorizing Wikipedia again.
“Good morning, Dad.”
“Did you hear me girl? We need a rain gauge.”
Silently, “No, we don’t NEED a rain gauge. You WANT a rain gauge, a new obsession to feed your need for precision and accuracy.”
I feint, “Look at the hummingbird standing guard at the feeder.”
“Male hummingbirds are very territorial. They often defend feeders and only let their wives approach. That one is a male ruby-throated hummingbird. See the red patch? And if it was a female, its tail would have a white band along the tip. The rain isn’t bothering him at all.”
“I’m going to take my coffee to the patio.”
“It’s wet out there.”
“I’ll find a dry spot to sit.”
I sit on the step and feel the damp concrete through my robe. The hummingbird stands guard as I wait for caffeine to reach my cerebral cortex. Dad lingers at the door.
“I wonder how much rain we got.”
I surrender. Today, I will shop for a rain gauge.