“The Doves Have Flown” and other poems

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The Doves Have Flown

what must it be like for you in your part of the world?

there is only silence, i don’t know your name, i know only
that the fire of life makes us one in this, the human journey,
search and return, running through mud, reaching for the sun

like entering the ritual river without a blessing or a prayer

our eyes meet in secret, our hearts open on the fringe,
one breath and the wind blows, one tear and seas rise,
on the street where you live, your friends are all gone

the houses are crushed and the doves have flown

there is only silence, no children playing, no laughter
here and there a light remains to speak to you of loneliness,
my breath caught in my throat, i want to make it sane again

Jacaranda mimosifolia

One Lifetime After Another

one day, you’ll see, i’ll come back to hobnob
with ravens, to fly with the crows at the moment
of apple blossoms and the scent of magnolia ~
look for me winging among the white geese
in their practical formation, migrating to be here,
to keep house for you by the river …

i’ll be home in time for the bees in their slow heavy
search for nectar, when the grass unfurls, nib tipped ~
you’ll sense me as soft and fresh as a rose,
as gentle as a breeze of butterfly wings . . .

i’ll return to honor daisies in the depths of innocence,
i’ll be the raindrops rising dew-like on your brow ~
you’ll see me sliding happy down a comely jacaranda,
as feral as the wind circling the crape myrtle, you’ll
find me waiting, a small gray dove in the dovecot,
loving you, one lifetime after another.

Because

wind came through like an old bruja one night,
taking her broom to my cloud, scattering the seeds
of my hording to all the four corners and the center
below (where I do my shopping for earthly things)

down I went to try to gather them up only to
meet a philosopher peach who set me on my ear
with his questions on mind, matter, and meaning,
wanting to know why he couldn’t taste himself

and how was it that I had a mouth that wouldn’t
in any trance, no matter the depth of it, be a
peach, pointing out to me how we needed one
another to get the job done and – Why?, he asked

and what could I say, having lived my life in the
clouds, drinking the vapors of trust and basic
instinct, and knowing tomorrow is today and
this day is perfect, certain there’s a rightness to it all

so, on my frail warm breath, like the child I once was,
I answered him simply … because

From the Small Beginning

It was yesterday
that I retrieved my soul at last,
moved by the placid persuasion of a psalm
reminding me of my rootedness
in the archives of heaven

In earlier times
life lay ahead, a rhythm of reciting tones,
a paced chant before all that somber news
and facing facts and the quiet homely work
of peacemaking for your sake

But this morning
I awoke a fading mendicant nun,
reading my own rich requiem Mass,
a celebration of my heart’s trove
and your constant love

Another heartbeat or two
and I’m a whisper in your ear,
just an old story of someone who birthed you
now melting into the great Forever,
leaving only our hallowed cord

From the beginning, Son
your spirit was our most profound joy,
a fresh poem finely etched in old gold,
holding fast to beauty and grace,
faithful to your own gentle spirit

Listen now, Son, to the voice in the wind.
. . . . .Listen, Son -
How love whooshes and swirls, encircles and fills,
echoing from the small Beginning ….
into the great Forever

That Old Watchung Home

I wonder if that old Watchung home still stands
Or has it been demolished by developers
Building rows on rows of barracks-like housing where
Big maples used to rise to line the roadway

Driving up the hill in a rickety second-hand V-8 Woody
A kaleidoscope of colors would greet us
The burnished bronze of our uncle’s skin and the
Brown-black of his doe eyes and curly oriental hair
The azure sky and snowy clouds tumbling down to
Top the perfect juicy purple of ripe Italian plums
And the brisk reds of beefsteak and plum tomatoes
The true-green of the too-long grass feathering the rich
Chocolaty shades of the well mulched earth

That antique home was pristine white with forest green trim
And a busy, welcoming, wrap-around porch
Often with bushels of fruit and vegetables standing
In the company of freshly cut flowers, piled and tossed
All waiting . . . for what and for whom?
The airy rooms were waiting too with windows
And doors thrown open to children like me
Breezing in from the big city with our pallid skin and
Eyes burning to see our uncle and some untouched nature

Worn rugs, Persian and Arabian, brushed bare feet
As searching room-to-room for hidden treasures and history
I marveled at the accoutrements of other decades
The kitchen pump, the dumb-waiter, the pull-chain water closet
Each room was a marvel of furnishings, fine wood and hand-turned
Dresser drawers lined with newspapers; yellow, dissolving with age
Advertising corsets, questionable cures, and other ephemera of this
Same place in times mostly forgotten except for stale news
Telling its stories to the silence in chests mostly empty and untouched
The enormous tables in the large, white, high-ceilinged kitchen and
The regal dining room with its chandelier and heavy drapes
Spoke proudly of multi-generational dinners before TV replaced talk

The great, sturdy safe-haven of that white Watchung home
Matched the steady embrace of its woods and orchards
Where a child like me could lie on the hardy ground
Sun blinding bright, browning spindly arms and legs, little body
Soaking in fecund earth, mind yawning, stretching, awakening
Imagination rising in mists of violet-grey shot with silvery
Short stories and golden poems finding their way into
The pages of a black-and-white marbled composition book
Such plum-sweet visions set free by that dear place
I wonder if it still stands in Watchung, if it remembers me
And how I loved it
. . . .I still do

© 2014, poems and photographs, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved