This poem is dedicated to Hastywords,
who taught me the value of true friendship
A bowman knows his craft and his art
The deer only knows its fluttering heart
When the arrow pierces its tender mark
The bowman knows he must give
The deer knows she must part
I never knew of you before we met
Though in my heart you lived
For Love is born in the beating heart
Which the bowman hears and hunts
What once was a sacred mystery
Now lives on the tip of his arrow
But she broke it and lives in the dark
Not daring to hope, so full of sorrow
Distrustful of the bowman’s mark
He knew he could never hold her
Though she cried of lustful hunger
Rather than accept his tender gifts
For of a debt she would never owe
He wanted to tell her, but she said no.
She was locked in battle with her insecurity
But her defiance was all too polished and real
Not wanting to stray, not wanting to feel
Not wanting to falter beneath his loving touch
Denying her heart, for the distance too much
He broke his bow and beheaded his arrows
and blew out candles and laid them to rest
He wanted no shadow to witness
Her struggle, her half-hearted protest
He wanted to protect her dreams and her fears
So she could stop hiding her sweetness
Embrace new love, and cease hiding her tears
She knew she had fallen in impossible love
The kind she would lose and later write of
One heart divided would not much long beat
His arrow lay broken, like his heart at her feet
So she gathered the pieces, her joy and her bliss;
and offered the bowman her sweet-scented kiss
Then she thrust the arrow deep into his heart
And whispered goodbye as he entered the dark
I awoke to a kiss, a whispered taste
softly pressed upon my face,
and in that moment, my soul, it wished
to know once more that soulful kiss!
Yet it was a vapor of a waking dream.
Nothing more; not what it seemed.
These wretched ghosts that find delight
in morning’s light, dancing and playing
betraying with the dust of sorrowed dreams
promises broken, and vows false spoken!
Violently shaken in the sudden waking
arms no more to hold me tight
through winter nights…I am awake. I am awake.
Where, gentle caress of morning rain?
that eases my pain; The merciful patter
that shatters my hold on false dreamt love
each drop above my window pane, slowly
washing in rivulets the memories set
under granite stone..I lie alone. I lie alone.
Enduring ink upon the page, how do I gauge
What’s real? What’s myst? What’s relevant?
Unlock the night, Release my dreams
silence the screams, and write for me
an ending poem, whereby I lie here not alone.
How sweet the dream that never ends?
Where love ascends and kisses dealt
are truly felt in dark of night.
She spent half of her life
wearing the same pair of shoes.
When she first saw them, they were dazzling…
full of promise (and promises!)
Tightly laced and polished,
glistening like diamonds upon her feet.
They were immediately comfortable, and comforting.
At first, she walked through dark night forests
and midnight-winding streets; breaking them in,
smiling at the melody of new leather creaking
in harmony with the violin-sawing of cricket wings,
with the ruffling of the night owls feathers.
She dared to share her dreams, and danced in her new shoes
with abandon and trust and hope.
The shoes spoke to her of wondrous things to come…
making promises shoes should not make
but new love demands –
of forever cradling her feet against sharpened stones;
of warming her toes through winter’s storms;
of lifting her heals in rapturous dance…
She fell in love with these shoes,
flooded with dreams of where they might carry her.
Each morning, she slipped them on with tenderness and love;
each night, un-laced, she fell asleep clutching them to her breast…
…whispering sweet hallelujahs
for all the miles they had shared,
and would in all their ahead days walk,
promising – until death do us part!
She loved her shoes with complete abandon
and imagined they would always be as comfortable
as the day she first placed them upon her trusting feet-
each day praying these shoes would always love her in return;
with tenderness, truth, and above all else, never hurting her.
But the years went by, and those beautiful shoes began to wear.
With time, they lost their gloss, and the leather cracked and hardened.
She noticed, one morning, a tiny droplet of blood upon her sock;
Later, a small cut upon her heel, a new pain within her heart.
Yet still, devoted, she continued to wear them
though at night she began setting them beside her bed.
In the final year, she wept looking at these shoes;
they were now ugly shoes, painful shoes.
“These shoes,” she tearfully whispered,
“will never carry me to where I need to go.”
She could tell in other’s eyes that they
were glad these were her shoes and not theirs.
They never talked about her shoes.
They looked away in embarrassed empathy.
To learn how awful her shoes were might make them
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
She began, for the first time, to hate her shoes;
with guilt at first, then with an increasing passion
until one day an awareness swept through her thoughts:
“I deserve a better pair of shoes.”
She looked around, and for the first time understood
that she was not the only one who wore those shoes.
“There are many pairs in this world,” she thought.
I can either learn how to walk in them, timidly,
so they don’t hurt quite as much…
“…or I can throw them away.”
And she began to plan.
“No woman deserves to wear these shoes,” she cried.
So for the final few months, she gathered her courage
…..to throw them away.
Ironically, it was these shoes
that had made her a stronger woman.
These shoes had given her the strength to face anything.
They helped make her who she now was.
One day, she slipped them on a final time
feeling the worn leather against her savaged foot;
then, flooded with the intensity of love one can only feel
knowing love is forever lost…she kissed the shoe goodbye.
When the time was right, she took her shoes to a secluded ravine
kissed them, and tossed them…like an old pair of shoes,
into an abyss.
The shoes lay there broken, tattered, worn and useless.
The shoes could not speak of the love they held for the woman
For its tongue was torn.
Left to decay with nothing but the scent of the woman’s
tender hands scenting its laces, slowly fading.
As soon as the shoes were disposed of
she went barefoot into tomorrow, pain-free
and dancing and singing:
“I will forever walk the bare feet
of a woman who has lost her shoes!”
But in exactly one year, she slipped on another pair,
happy and in love again, dancing and laughing once more...
hoping against hope, forgetting old shoes,
willing with all her heart for this shiny new pair to carry her home.
How do you keep the wind upon your face?
Like love, it lightly kisses your cheek,
and is swept away.
She led me into a field covered with green,
where a handful of poppies
had already started blooming
along the edge of the split log fence
Filaree and locoweed were also blooming,
and some other small flowers.
Here, she lay me down in the tall grass
gently pressing me to the earth
with the palms of her delicate hands
until I lay prone looking up
into the blue softness of her eyes.
Slowly, she knelt beside me,
tracing her long, slender fingers
along my cheek; her nails lightly grazing
the contours of my face.
Her hand turned; the soft pads of her fingertips
pressed tenderly against my lips.
I looked upward to the bright sunlight
filtering through the strands of her silken hair,
blinded by the intensity of the brightness;
I lost my vision of her in rippled pools
of tears flooding my eyes between the bright light,
the overwhelming beauty of it all.
I felt the wetness of her own tears
fall upon my upturned face mingling with my own,
as she quietly whispered:
“I no longer love you.”
She rises and walks away
as I lie there, the ground growing cold.
In the sky above, two swallows fly by
wingtip to wingtip.
Even these simple, feathered creatures
have out loved me.
That I could walk in peace, though past sins grieved,
Or look upon the morning sun with relative ease.
My path is writ in time sharpened stones, and
I cannot find my way back home; indeed found
Lost amidst the bitter fog of yesterday’s deeds.
I cried out loud, will forgiveness descend, or strike
Me now my bitter end, and none did hear but the
Raven’s caw; portend my shame and final fall.
Oh, that I could rewind and once again live as though
Merciful God would kindly give; but He would not,
And time is waning. My downward spiral is near complete
And draws now deep and final sleep. I shall not waken to
Tomorrow’s light, I cannot make what’s wrong now right.
And so my words, as sure they must
Eulogize me as they would the falling dust.
In the bitter waves of loss,
Thrashed and tossed about,
By the sullen winds of life that blow,
From the desolate shores of doubt,
Where the anchors of love once cast
In search of eternal purchase
Now dragging useless in sorrow’s gale.
I am quietly holding fast, holding alone
To the things that cannot fail.
That’s what I seek (although my heart knows full well)
The truth is, I may never be able to know for sure why.
But I do know that there is no single
“Should have done” or “could have done”
Or “did” or “didn’t do”
That would have changed that why.
All that love could do was left undone.
This shipwreck, my castaway life,
This endless frothing of cold, death-capped waves
Was due to my taking my eyes off the horizon
Where our dreams were setting with the dying sun.