A Suite of Poetic Forms

Villanelle

The moment passed and I forget
The reason why or what I meant
In the exact instant I let

It go like a blank letter sent
To someone I don’t remember.
Even Now is an old event,

Both a flaming and an ember.
To hold, even touch, is to burn
Like September in December.

It takes but a second to learn,
What no-one else will ever know,
That all I am will soon return

If I stand not still but think slow,
Say nothing, and as if asleep,
Allow myself to come and go.

Instead, I cannot help but leap
Ahead to what’s to come and let
My self reach for what it can’t keep,
Moments I already forget.


Rondeau For Ruth

He knew euphoria the day they met.
He’s often felt so between then and now.
Was it the shy smile or searching brown eyes
Or how her eyelashes would lower and rise,
Like glinting perfection taking a bow?

How could any-day simple chance allow
Strangers meeting to result in a vow
And forty years devoid of pain or lies?
He knew euphoria the day they met.

His eye is protected by her eyebrow.
Their two hearts beat with a whisper and wow,
Not felt, but heard, always in sweet surprise.
No thought between them arrives in disguise.
They will never fail to remember how
They knew euphoria the day they met.



Sonnet: View From The Dunes

I asked my youngest why the grains of sand,
After millennia in roiled water,
Grow only so small and no smaller.
(Wouldn’t gold dissolve if endlessly panned?)
“Maybe they’re too tiny,” said my daughter,
“To be abrasive anymore.” Last year,
A storm raked off ten feet of grassy dunes,
Leaving jagged walls and crumbling wounds.
The long-buried sand was the same as here
On the upper ledge, unchanged under tons’
Gravitational grinding of eons.
The waves, gale-wind-whipped, tip over and drop,
And even in the stillest air never stop.
Each grain of sand changes less than the suns.


Pantoum

I say, as I feed the cardinals,
“In winter they fill the back yard
At dusk when the snow blows.
Then the other birds disappear.”

In winter they fill the back yard —
The raptors with their bloodlust.
Then the other birds disappear.
The hibernators sleep on.

The raptors with their bloodlust
Are chased by their own prey.
The hibernators sleep on,
Dreamlessly afraid of waking.

Are — chased by their own prey —
All hungry birds and beasts
Dreamlessly afraid of waking
To an emptiness of starvation?

All hungry birds and beasts
Wish all others a quick deliverance
To an emptiness of starvation,
Weakening of the will to live.

“Wish all others a quick deliverance
At dusk when the snow blows,
Weakening of the will to live,”
I say, as I feed the cardinals.


Sestina: The Lake Michigan Shore

I stand knee deep in high waves
And wait for the darkening sky
To loose what it’s long held back,
A cataract of warm rain,
Like a proliferation of clear ideas
A mind no longer contained.

I read a book with no ideas,
A tangle of clouds in empty sky.
I couldn’t read it front to back
Or back to front. All it contained
Was words, single drops of rain
Or particles that were also waves.

The smallest moth is contained
In a cluster of dusty ideas
Or within the vastness of the sky.
It clings to rotten wood, its back
As camouflaged as water in waves.
It is not moved by the fiercest rain.

The lake is high after endless rain,
An excess of lightning finally contained. 
The sun sweetly burns my back
Until it slips into a rift in the sky.
I find relief diving — the waves
Drown me with persistent ideas.

The sun slowly escapes the sky
Into the horizon, earth-shadow-contained.
Still air can’t raise a single wave
Or loose even one drop of rain.
All I see is the cessation of ideas.
For the night there’s no turning back.
I’ve known myself to talk to sky,
To write incessantly in rain,
And all I’ve said eschews ideas.
On my last day here I turned back
From the lake with waves
Of farewell, memory contained.

At home, the sky is bereft of ideas,
As the garden is of rain. It’s good to be back,
The lake contained but for dreaming waves.






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