Willow’s Tale

“I am the bud and the blossom, I am the late-falling leaf.”
from Paul Dunbar’s The Paradox

Led down the primrose path
they succumbed to The Flatterer’s guile,
followed him to their death.
All but her,
the youngest one.

Willow, he assumed, was gullible too.
Small in stature, she wisely hung back.
Saw angry rolling brine ahead
slipped into a shrub and hid,
covering herself with leafy fronds.

Her sisters sang as they followed him,
not seeing Willow’s gesticulations.
She waved desperately to alert them,
but they walked on under his spell
eyes only on him.

Surely his scepter, his magical skills,
would keep them afloat they thought.
They danced o’er waves. Waded deeper still.
Alas, only a devastating result,
one by one they disappeared.

He counted each beautiful head
swallowed by guzzling salty foam.
“One is missing!” he screamed.
Looking backward toward land
he saw nothing, heard nothing.

Diving deep, he swam to his maidens
now ashen, sinking dead weight.
Tying their hair together, he took the eldest’s hand,
pulled them to his kingdom,
far from shore.

Willow wept silently,
her small feet cold in tear stained soil.
Long curls hung wet round her cheeks.
“Help me oh Lord,” she pleaded.
“I am but the last alive of them.”

She cried in torrents
until a rogue cold breeze
whipped round her face.
Tears suspended in air,
her lean lithe body, solid froze.

Now something she was not before,
Yet she prospered over many years.
Pure happiness, mythologists would say.
Yet still she wept and weeps today,
especially amongst her kind.

Children play hide and seek,
joyfully tug those leafy fronds.
Sisters long gone, yet she has borne many.
Weeping Willow trees o’er the land,
her legacy to all.

Written for dVerse where today we’re asked to consider the element of paradox within our poetry and be inspired by one of several lines provided for the prompt. Line I’ve used is at the top of the poem as an epigraph. Photo from pixabay.com.

Monochromatic Beauty

Contemplation, gift of the night.
Moonlight glazes the sea.
Gone are those wild waves of yesterday
when nature caroused to youth’s delight.
Evening’s darkness, a quiet scene
dressed in shades of ebony.
I hear the sea’s symphonic hush as midnight nears.
So many questions come to mind,
most unanswerable by humankind.
Why should not the water
find delight in the floral fragrance
of its own rippled surface?
My scent commingles with the sea’s.
My toes curl, touching her lapping edge.
Her ripples ebb and flow so slowly,
shine in gentle arcs of lunar light.
Mesmerized, I begin to understand.
Yes, time seems shorter now
ending chapters closer,
looming large like tonight’s full moon.
Energy disipated, still beautiful
in this later monochromatic scene.
I’ve come to contemplate the night
and take my leave thanking the sea.
Quietly I begin the walk home,
sensing the rippled surface  I leave behind,
and I smile.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today we are asked to let our imaginations become a springboard to the mystical/sacred and use one of eight fragments from the mystic poets. I’ve chosen “Why should not the water find delight in the floral fragrance of its own rippled surface?” (Jnanadev) Photo taken while on our last cruise, well before the age of Covid.

Ode to Bermuda

I am oceanically mesmerized.
Sitting on rippled sand,
slowly sifting granules
through my fingers
through my toes.

Waves splash, crash,
dash against shoreline’s rugged rocks.
Salty spray, misty on my skin,
lost in thought,
time labors not.

I stand, then saunter farther down shore.
Discover limestone formations,
arced frame through which I stare.
Architecturally designed by nature,
window open to bluest of blue seas.

This is Bermuda,
beautiful indeed.

Written for MTB (Meet the Bar) Thursday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the world. Today Peter is hosting and asks that we consider and emphasize sound in our poem. For example, we can use onomatopoeia (the word sounds like the object described); alliteration (repetition of consonants); rhyme; and rhythm.
Photo taken four years ago when we wintered in St. George, Bermuda. No photo-shopping in second photo. The water is truly those amazing colors!

Provincetown Farewell

Day dallies before night,
languorous not angry.
No streaks of orange-red.
No temper tantrum flares.
No sinking glaring half-orb
stamping her rays.

This evening she dabbles,
pastel palette en plein aire.

Blushing, she rouges blue sky.
Sun butter yellows upon her brush,
delicately blend into rosey hues.
Bending closer, stroking more,
soft kisses touch ocean calm
till violet hues meld into scene.

She pauses quietly in her beauty,
then softly fades farewell.

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Originally published a number of years ago. Publishing again today as we return to Boston. Instead of our usual two weeks, with walks into town to meander galleries, shops and eat at restaurants, in this age of Covid, we spent just 8 days in hibernation at our rental by the ocean. But, Provincetown, even without all the hoopla and town attractions, never disappoints.

Sunset photos taken in Provincetown, at the very tip of Cape Cod. No photoshopping; no edits. Just pointed my phone and clicked. Breathtaking evening as you can see. Easy to understand why artists and poets (including Mary Oliver) flock to Provincetown.

Seasonal Scenes

Summer tourist ignores gawking stares,
is scantily clad
leaving little to imagination.
Too intent on catching season’s last rays
exchanging working haze for lazy days.

Its transition, felled by floral war of sorts,
gold dipped sunflowers droop defeated.
For autumn’s hearty mums,
brass and bragadocious, now gleam victorious.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse. Today Laura asks us to write a nine line poem. To make it more challenging, she asks that it incorporate a specific line from a poem she’s cited; and that line just happens to be exactly nine words long! Each of these nine words then, in that order, become the first word in each of the nine lines of my poem. Confused?
Here’s the line: “Summer is leaving too, exchanging its gold for brass” from Dorothy Lawrenson’s September. Now, look just at the first word in each of the nine lines of my poem Seasonal Scenes. And now read those first words from top to bottom and voila, they say Summer is leaving too, exchanging its gold for brass!

Photo from pixabay.com

Nature’s Bliss

Garden me . . .
cacophony of brilliant colors.
Red roses, blue lobelia
brown-eyed susans,
and raspberry-tinted cone flowers.
Beguile me with sweet scents.
Lilacs, lily-of-the-valley
and honeysuckle too.
Nearby apple trees
offer their sturdy limbs.
I climb . . .
dislodging blossoms on the way,
sit atop and dream.

Quadrille posted to dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Victoria is hosting today and the word to include in our exactly 44-word poem (sans title) is “garden” . Photos from Pixabay.com except the lilac, which is outside our building. Poets from around the world gather at dVerse. Come join us!

Early Morning Cape Cod View

Lone gull at dawn
sits calmly in repose.
Papaya stained sky,
mirrored hue on ocean tide.

Lone gull at dawn
anticipates promise of new day.
Spreads wings to full span,
ready for flight.

Pauses only moments
in rippled sand by lapping waves.
I breathe in the silence,
a beautiful hushed scene.

Lone gull runs gracefully
barely touching span of sea
then lifts, gloriously,
soars toward the unknown.

Poem written in response to Laura Bloomsbury’s prompt, Flights of Fancy, which appeared on July 28 at dVerse.  Posting it today as I host dVerse’s Open Link Night. We are a virtual pub where writers from around the world share their poetry.  Come join us!
Photo taken September 2019 at Provincetown, Cape Cod.

Country Respite

Rolling hills, 
myriad shades of green.  
Drive slowly, windows open . . .  
Fresh crisp air,  
cloudless blue sky.  
Drumlins shaped patiently by glacial ice,  
Mother Earth’s gentle curves.  
Vibrant wildflowers here . . .  
flowering brush there.  
Stop. Rest.  
Inhale the quiet calm. 

Written for Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. We are to use the word “drum” or a form of the word, within our exactly 44 word poem. Image from Pixabay.com