my poetry


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

You

are the most important person in the world
no matter who, no matter where
You
matter more than anything.
And you, and you, and you.
You
are a world of dark and light,
of stories infinite and particular
that no one else can remember and tell.
You
see the light in the way only
You
can see it, and smell the fragrances
of times past, uniquely your own,
speaking your truth, hands flying before
You,
the conjuring birds of storytime.
You
are everything to us, and we to
You.
We need each other in countless ways.
We can’t afford to lose
You,
You
can’t afford to lose us, each flower
picked before its time, a blossom
that will never grow again,
a world full and bursting that is only
You.

—PJ Thompson

The Descent to Human

The soul descends, the Kabbalah says:
the Tree of Life has roots in Heaven
while the branches hang like a willow bends
trailing green into the torrent of living.
In growing down, the lessons flower,
experience buds on each new limb,
and with this learning, bud on bud,
we know what it is to be truly human.

The soul descends, the Kabbalah says.
It does not rise on angel’s wings
hoary with light and tipped with music,
but wallows below in the muck and the mire.
In human necessity, our virtue grows:
transcendence is claimed only at bedrock.
In being ourselves, both dark and light,
in humanity, and humility, we ascend again.

—PJ Thompson

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