my poetry


Gone

Soft sighing of breezes in the tall grass,
soughing of the wind in the millet stalks,
cascade of wind chimes, the mourning of doves,
seed heads scattering in a shattering of wings.

The palm’s fronds bend and raise and bend
performing a ritual to life—a tiny life,
creeping and sighing all around and
in the clustering of fronds at its crown.

Far across the field, the dog barks,
quieting the sighing and the creeping,
but not for long. Life is insistent: a chittering
of sparrows battling, a fierce squeaking of mice.

All this life, all this quiet noise,
gone, gone, forced on,
to other fields where wreckers have not reached,
and big diggers leave the earth unturned,
where only small burrowing things disturb the soil—
far, far away from here.

—PJ Thompson

I tend to do these in batches. Some days are just haiku days.

 

Wiggle your bare toes in
the loamy earth, feel
energy run through you
*
*
The wind is shouting through
the trees, not subtle,
demanding attention
*
*
The windchimes take the brunt
of the wind’s anger:
what a clanging they make
*
*
The leaves clatter against
the sidewalk: they, too,
flee from the angry wind
*
*
Why is the wind angry?
Railing against the
bad we do to the earth?
*
*
Sky so bright a blue your
heart might burst with joy
(but you pray it doesn’t)

The pacing fell apart near the end the first time I posted this, so here’s another attempt.

Partner

Distracted by inconsequence I rarely realized
I had a faithful partner dancing by my side,
step by step, move for move, in perfect harmony,
I’d catch his shadow fleeting in the corner
of my eye; sometimes viewed en pointe, graceful
as any swan, other times such frenzied moves
to bring St. Vitus down, pale and wan with spite.
My partner smiles but rarely, unless his changing mood
becomes a thing macabre, yet swaying always on my left,
he is my boon companion, Angel of peculiar mien,
neither good nor evil, equal-treating all he meets.
He counts each living step, dancing counterpoint,
two-step, three-step, patient pacing on and on,
devoted to life’s rhythms—until the dance is done.

Days of clover soon
are over but at least there’s
daisies and clover.

*

Angels stir the frost
around on the windowpanes:
road maps to heaven.

*

Birds singing in the
sun, chittering gossip: they
know what’s important.

*

Dogs dark on and on
as shadows pass: metronome
of free form unease.

*

Crow caws out the news
from the telephone pole—there
are snacks in this yard.

If I could walk

There are many places I would walk
if I could walk:
country lanes disappearing over a hill
lush with green and sheepy sights;
sunken roads whose granite walls
loom tall on either side while eons of
travelers walk invisible by my side;
rugged stepping stones across a pond,
a rushing stream, a placid brook;
hiking trails of rocky scrambles
and forests telling dark tales of wonder;
silent, brooding ruins whispering stories
of wrongs done and rights done and
somnambulant martyrs sighing at night.

There are many places I would walk
if I could walk
but the hardest path to tread is acceptance.
If only I could soothe the angry child
who pushes me to try harder, not give up,
if only…if you’d just…then maybe…

There are trails, She says, waiting for you:
friths of mystery to be explored, calling;
remembered meadows, bursting in flower;
hills to be stood atop, contemplating
the wonder of the green land stretching
below, glittering in waning orange sunset;
of tall stones humming ancient songs that
set the earth spinning, taking me along;
of beaches in the cold and fog, strewn
with ghost glass and shining pebbles;
of sun and wind and rain and dew.

She accuses my reasoning, practical voice
of cowardice and forsaking, of accepting
a reality she will not acknowledge.
But the voice of reason toddles on—
a plodding litany of reasons why not,
urging what She does not wish to accept.
Between them I am frozen immobile,
dreaming of what used to be,
what might have been, and always
of all the places I would walk
if I could walk.

—PJ Thompson

Au claire de la lune
flowing through my mind,
endless whirlpool spinning
of just a line or two.
Mon ami Pierrot, then opening
something next…
then pour ecrit un mot!
But which word that might be,
j’en sais pas, alas.
So much unknown whirling,
so very much to know,
but this incessant chanting
blocks my quiet time
when I could be reflecting and
ecrit a mot or deux.
Au Claire de la lune,
I am done with you
pour l’amour de Dieu!

—PJ Thompson

Partner

Distracted by inconsequence I rarely realized
I had a faithful partner dancing by my side,
step by step, move for move, in perfect harmony,
I’d catch his shadow fleeting in the corner
of my eye; sometimes viewed en pointe, graceful
as any swan, other times such frenzied moves
to bring St. Vitus down, pale and wan with spite.
My partner smiles but rarely, unless the mood
becomes macabre, but swaying always on my left,
he is my boon companion, Angel of peculiar mien,
neither good nor evil. Equal-treating all he meets,
he counts each living step, dancing counterpoint,
two-step, three-step, patient pacing on and on,
devoted to the life’s rhythms—until the dance is done.

—PJ Thompson

Who is this god beside me in the cool green
garden shadows, this moss maker, leaf breaker,
slow chipper of stones who pools the rain in the
niche places, causes the flowers to raise weary
heads to the sun; this gentle, quiet god of
tiny miracles and mundane wonders who
we take for granted as surely as we take
the breath in our lungs and at our lips?

Is it the same Power and Glory who causes
leaves to glisten in the sun and dance softly
on the air? Thundering and booming, the
poltergeists of the air know this god’s name
but do not reveal their secrets to the unworthy.
They merely light the way for the rain this god of
little things wears so well: earth sifter, root maker,
creeper through the new grass, safe and hidden.

—PJ Thompson

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