Poetry

(notes for a poem)

My youth of yore now seems like myth to me,

A dream by day and night and twilight;

A play of biblical acts and whimsey,

Of proverbial meanings and meaningless chore,

Made light even then by the learning and a joy of being;

When the delight of knowledge and knowing

Were forbidden fruits, the bitter as good as the sweet;

 And friendships bloomed as wildflowers do, and withered,

As if the hours were days in a haze of years.

And life—life was a play, set on a stage with wings,

With limits unknown, and without intermissions.

Myth it was, and me too stupid to see,

If I’d seen that then, there might be some eternal me.

High Window

What appeared to be a square of moonlight upon the floor,
As I stepped forward with bare foot to see,
Turned out to be a fallen pillow in the dark,
And I was once again reminded of the magic of pillows,
As well as the need of high windows and what can be seen there,
And how old houses are added to and subtracted from.

There once was a room above me, a nursery, it is said,
in olden times, when this single bedroom was a home.
But the ceiling that was here, once within my standing reach,
And the floor that was there, have been removed, leaving open space
And naked beams; the beams out of structural necessity, perhaps,
But leaving a lone window in the dormer between the slants of roof.

This window captures the turn of seasons high in the maple of the yard;
A breathtaking of reds and yellows in autumn, the shiver of pale limbs in winter,
And a billow of clouds year ‘round that make mountains out of thin air, or, in a flash,
Can reveal a fear of God. Some nights it will catch the singular passage of the moon,
And lying abed with my dreams I might see the very universe.
That frame, a photograph, in its isolation, lets me see what is truly there.

And I think of John Carter and his adventures on Mars,
Cast out of a deep blue sea, a Gulliver upon a distant shore.
Carter was a rogue, as I have never been, but there is a rogue within me,
That seeks escape at night and adventures where I have feared to tread.
He won his princess and battled demons and rode the nightmares.
until their evil spirits were broken beneath his will.

But I step with a bare foot upon my fallen pillow and wish it were more,
And wish that I could have all of its dream-filled magic back.
The children of the nursery above, without my vantage of time,
Saw from that small window only the earth below them,
And settled for that perhaps, or they might have journeyed to the horizon
That bound them then and founded a country there.