THE HANDS of the ARTIST


The hands of the Artist,
emissaries of the mind –
separate from all musing
and aspiration.

What can be imagined,
what must be created,
from the heart upward
flowing into thoughts
downward streaming
to hopeful, colored hands.

The hands of the Artist
makes visible the width,
and breadth and depth
of expressive imagination
while paint-stained fingers
creatively caress canvases,
illuminating and breathing life
into the visceral void.

What remains are not
the hands of the Artist.

What remains is enduring
grandeur and grace;
the blessing of the soul
the echoes of the heart,
a gift for future generations.

What remains is truth;
his inspired vision,
her lasting legacy.

ALWAYS BE SINGING by D.L.McHale


by http://www.dlmchale.com on October 10, 2016.  © Dennis McHale, All rights reserved
Painting by Rajesh Shah

sing

Sing of leaving the warm wetness of her womb
Of falling into the room, wide-eyed and softly agile
When life stretched before you, innocent spirit so fragile
Sing of the crawling to horizons yet sailed
Into your Father’s strong arms lightly held

Sing the hushed lullabies in your Mother’s sweet voice
Who when given the choice, brought you into this world?
Sing of your childhood, each moment a treasure
Such memories we measure in toys now long broken

And white lies then spoken in giggles and laughter
For then ever-after the truth held the day
Sing of your visions unfolding and carefree
As children’s dreams are meant to be
Of bruises and cuts from climbs gone amiss

Of band-aids and the healing of your Mother’s soft kiss.
Sing of the loss of those long carefree days
No longer to play, for in sadness we yearn
To simply return to our youthful ways.

POET’S NOTE: The title of this piece, “Always Be Singing”,  is meant lead the reader immediately into the atmosphere of the whole poem, in which the child (or the child within us) and the parent seem to move in the circle traced by the irradiation of love. The words, movements and gestures of the child/parent correspond to the interior movement of their hearts. It is possible to understand the language of love only through the prism of this movement.

 

To Angel(a)


I can feel your pain, like the falling rain

it washes over me leaving me damp and cold and shivering –
but the thought of you warms me like a cup of hot chocolate
and I know it’s going to be okay.

I see through the glaring light of your smiles, and while
you try to hide what you feel inside, I know, in that knowing
that only love can reveal.  I want to gather your tears
in the well of my understanding, and pour them 
upon the fire of your fears.

I don’t have much to offer, just my heart and my love
but love won’t pay this rent, when you are spent
within the crucible of self-doubt.  How can I reach you
and teach you what I know…that you are perfection;
I don’t want to heal you, just reveal to you the beauty
that is you.

You don’t have to let me in, but you, my friend
will always be in me, like a broken sparrow whose wings
will heal, and I know you will fly again.

LOST SOUL by Malika Gandhi


Introducing a new book by noted Author and Illustrator, and dear friend, Malika Gandhi, “LOST SOUL”

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LOST SOUL
When a Soul begins to ask questions, she expects answers.

Aanchal wanders the lonely haveli (Indian mansion) at night, navigating her way to each room and turning the lights on. The villagers become aware of a presence and fear a girl never seen in their midst.
Who is she and where did she come from? Who turns the lights on in the old ruin every night?

Aanchal is not afraid of the villagers who want her banished, but she is afraid of her mother’s yearly visit from the Other Side. Aanchal wants to be forgiven for something that happened by accident a hundred years ago, and she is willing to make things right.

When Kunaal arrives with Jennifer, Aanchal sees the chance to right what went wrong, but she will need help. Will her friends help her? Will her mother’s spirit forgive her? Will she finally be ready to cross over?

Lost Soul – a harrowing tale of expectations and long-awaited hope.

Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00THMNDW4

Mistress Moon


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Her face is frost etched glass
floating in the blue-black winds of the night;
she illuminates footsteps hushed
on decayed and dampened leaves;
grieves for freshly planted souls
who have turned from the light of day.

Her midnight corset is tightly laced
by the dazzling tails of falling stars;
she moves in phases
with the  tempered grace of a childless empress
wandering silently and with bowed head
through the cold shadows of winter’s garden.

She seduces the wolf and the poet
with equal ambivalence, each of whom
compose for her dream-soaked arias
and haunting sonnets that speak of
promises never meant to be kept.

She mourns her  powdered reflection
as it ripples across frozen lakes:
hides behind silver-lined clouds when
she can no longer bear the loneliness
of her shadowy journey across granite
mountaintops and sleeping meadows.

At last, in the cool, grey light of morning,
as the sun softly caresses her porcelain
cheek with warm fingers of breaking light,
she sighs but once, then slowly fades into
the rose colored blush of a new day.

My Life’s Palette by Dennis McHale


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It all began
with the glowing green meadows;
cool, dew-moistened blades of grass
softly pressed into the shape
of a young boy’s naked feet running
frivolous and joyous
in the backyards of my innocence.

In time, the azure-blue skies
puffed with the carefree brilliant white cotton-candy clouds
of my adolescence fed my wandering dreams,
lifting me to new heights,
pressing me tenderly against the heavens.

In my teen years, the skies grew heated
beneath the raging, orange-flecked storms
battering the massive walls of my pubescent limitations.
I fought bravely against the darkening forces shaping me,
but was laid low with the sizzling strike of a silver bolt of lightning,
my body then forged in the ruby red-hot fires of puberty.

As a young man, there came a day with you in it;
a dazzling star as yellow-bright and full of light –
your beauty washed over me, igniting my purpose,
I was blinded by the intensity and the nearness of you,
awakening within me the amazing brilliant white glow
of desire, love, and hope.

Eventually, the blue-black sheet of night
was pulled over me; the skies darkened a midnight onyx
leaving me lying in the cool-grey mist of the shadow of Death.
The lights dimmed as did my voice,
as the murky fingers of Death reached toward me.

I was immediately lifted up into a new beginning;
the soothing winds of forever washing over
the palette of my life
as once more my heels were dipped
into the forgiving green blades of grasses
of eternity’s meadow.

Behind Green Eyes: A Child of the Ozarks


Ozark Girl

Photo Credit: Jeff Jones, Photographer
(image of his daughter, Valerie)

Skin softly bleached like the Southern twilight
freckle-kissed face ‘neath the Ozark ‘s skylight
fire-red locks and curls tossed by stormy winds
Pa’s softly-pressed dimple upon her boyish chin

     Green eyes revealing her faded innocence
     a determined gaze, a child’s jaded reverence
     for a young life lived beneath the savage blows
     of poverty’s yoke, though no one knows
     for this girl who bravely looks right through you
     wears a forthright courage, honest and true

She rides a bitter storm that’s never-ending
twelve tender years in fields deep-bending
with calloused hands plucking earth’s creations
like her kinfolk have done for generations

     Laughing like a banshee, she dances in the rain
     holding back her tears as she swallows her pain
     A motherless child born to a colorless world 
     still she sings of a future, of hope yet unfurled
     she sings of the woods, and the trails, and the streams
     of infinite hope and impossible dreams

She could never be pressed to surrender this hour
‘neath the soft Ozark moonbeams that fill her with power
to endure what she must, though she’s only a child
under dark gathering clouds she stands there beguiled
filled with wonder and light behind a soft-freckled face
she presents to the world the persona of grace

Nature’s Aria



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“Singin’ In The Rain Forest” by Lady Di

Receive the sibilant symphony
of sunset’s twilight serenade –
A cacophony of chirping crickets,
and grass-green geckos cheeping
within frost-flecked ferns
and flower-flocked foliage.
The shrill shriek of the osprey
slices the silence of the summer sky
beneath the bass beat of barnyard owls
hoot-hooting hallowed hallelujahs
in consonance with coyotes chanting
their mournful moonlight wail.
Dissonant and chaotic,
harmonic and serene,
nature’s love songs echoing
across gurgling moss-banked streams
against granite-faced mountains
silhouetted sentinels standing
behind the moon-misted
shroud of the falling night

 

This Is How I Start My Days


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This is how I start my days.

At four a.m., I awaken with a start. It isn’t that I wasn’t sleeping well, but this is my witching hour. I reach over and pull the covers up over my wife and take a moment to gaze in absolute awe at this beauty, this incredible effervescent woman sharing my bed.

I quietly swing my feet to the floor and sit for a moment. My muse is impatiently pulling me into awakening, but I do my best to resist. I want to sleep just a little bit more, but my eyes have already made out the flashing light on my hibernating computer and just like that, I want to be writing more than I want to be dreaming.

I gently close the bedroom door behind me and make my way into the kitchen. I put water in the kettle, light the stove, and grab my pack of cigarettes. I head out the door into the blackness of the night, sit upon the second stoop, and light up. The ritual never changes. And there, beneath the canopy of constellations, I look for my special star. I don’t know what it is called, and I don’t know why it is that star…but I need to start each day in silent commune before it. Once I find it, I stare at it for a few minutes, emptying my mind of creeping thoughts. I slowly close my eyes, inhale another drag, and listen.

Like little mice on padded feet, the words start scampering around my brain. The writing has begun.

I toss the cigarette into the night, watching a spiral of red sparks ascend, then descend, as if to punctuate the purpose of this ritual. From the kitchen, the kettle begins to sing, and I rush in before it hits full crescendo and awakens my wife. I pour the steaming water over a cone of coffee grounds and inhale the rising steam. In a seamless arch, I take my cup of coffee to the kitchen table, flip open the lid to my computer, and hit the resume button.

And then I write. And write and write and write. At this point, what I write is irrelevant. That I write is the point. The wee hours of the morning are not the time to self-critique or to spin a plot. It is the time for the bleeding of words.

This is how I start my days.

It Is The Season


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“God talks in the trees.”
— Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas

It is the season of sleeping late
while dreaming of red-orange trees
shuddering in the evening breeze.
These are the short days
when the thirst for warmth suborns desire
and Eros kisses summer love goodnight.

It is the season of crimson sunsets
pouring slowly, like thick molasses,
over church steeples and frozen riverbeds.
When snow-pregnant clouds float lazily
across flower-less meadows
and lovers seek shelter beneath heavy quilts.

It is the season of naked trees,
with branches like fingers extending
toward the setting sun, tracing delicate arches
across the rose autumn sky.
Those days when the blackbird flies southward
into the night beneath crystal constellations.

It is the season of surrender,
when burdens, like the yellowing leaves,
fall silently to the frozen earth
and tired bones warm themselves before tended fires.
It is the season of dying in the palm of God’s hand;
comforted in the knowledge of spring’s resurrection.

Love in a Coffee Shop


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She’s not the kind of girl
men see across a smoky bar
and write songs about.
There is an uninviting sadness
in her dull blue eyes,
downward cast,
washing out the sparkle of
her tender youth.
Yet, I’ve sat here all morning
casting furtive glances above the
flipped lid of my computer,
drinking in the realness of her,
sipping the lukewarm resignation
that hangs upon her like a
torn burial shroud.
I am intoxicated by the way
she breathes slowly and with
lost purpose; how she twirls
a lock of her dishwater blond
hair with her forefinger,
the nail of which is bitten
to the quick.
Every few minutes she looks
off into the distance
with a blank and distant stare,
perhaps daring to dream, broken,
of a life that might have been.
I know, in that way of knowing
the permeates you to the core,
that she has lived, and felt, and
loved, and lost, and somehow
found the strength within herself
to carry on.
I also know that I love her,
she, who I do not know,
and she who no longer loves
in return.
She’s not the kind of girl
men see across a smoky bar
and write songs about,
but she is the reason
poets anguish into the night
to capture the authenticity
of true love and broken dreams.

My Pagoda


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In my next incarnation,
I will dwell in a house
with a roof that curls like a smile.
Nestled in a flush of empurpled trees
and luminous clouds –
paths winding up
the velvety-green mountains
and ninety-nine steps
upward to my teak-carved door.

Shivering, I will rise in the morning,
blow on my hands like coals,
and squat to make tea in the teapot.
Slowly, the aromatic leaves will fill my heart
like a cup, the tea swirling,
knowing more than I know.

In the room’s far corner,
an altar, a few flowers, incense.
Buddha smiling.

My visitors will carry bright offerings
But how little will be necessary!
Like a beggar’s bowl,
each day will be full and empty

 

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The Tiger Flower by D.L.McHale



christian
This is a short “fable” I wrote inspired by the incredible story of the daughter of Author, Christine Nolfi, as told in her wonderful article “The Woman I Raised”  Please take a moment and visit Christine’s post at
 http://christinenolfi.com/2013/04/the-woman-i-raised/ (Part of her continuing series on The Celebration of Women!

—————————–

The Elder Women of the villages spoke of a legend; they told a tale of a rare and exotic flower that grew in the dense lush jungles of the Philippines. It was said that no other flower existed like it anywhere in the world. No one had ever seen this flower live for it was said that to actually see it one had to be a True Believer and to date none of the Elders could remember such a person ever coming to the islands.

Although no one had ever seen one, everyone on the islands knew its name: it was called, quite simply, the Tiger Flower.

While the islands were full of bright, sun-dappled meadows dancing with flowers of every imaginable color, the Tiger Flower grew alone…somewhere deep in the jungle beneath the dark tangled palms and fronds.  At its base grew three distinct shoots, huddled diminutive beneath its protective pedals.  The three shoots needed the Tiger Flower to survive, and the Tiger Flower needed the three shoots to give it purpose.

In the depths of the jungle, no sunlight could penetrate the dark tangle of palms and fronds, but the Tiger Lily, it was said, survived because it had Fire in its veins.  Despite its estrangement from the flowers of every imaginable colors dancing in the bright, sun-dappled meadows elsewhere on the islands, the Tiger Flower was not a jealous flower, nor did it consider itself a victim.  It  fought each and every day simply to survive, and to ensure the survival of the three distinct shoots huddled diminutively beneath its protective pedals.

One day, a very special Woman arrived on the island.  The Elder Women knew she was special because she wore beautiful flowing robes of Compassion and Understanding.  On her feet she wore bejeweled sandals of Hope and Promise. She was full of Light and Laughter. She was a Weaver of Words, a Story Teller, and a Poetess.  They called her  “Mother” because she was of the Earth and full of Nurture.  But they could see she was one more thing as well.  One more very important thing:

She was a True Believer.

You see, she had come because back in the World she had a dream of the Tiger Flower. When she closed her eyes tightly in Faith and Unconditional Love, she could see the Tiger Flower, there deep in the jungle beneath the dark tangled palms and fronds, fighting for meaning. Fighting for Love and Acceptance. She could see at its base the three distinct shoots, huddled diminutive beneath its protective pedals, fighting for survival.  In her Dream of Dreams, she knew she had to come to the islands to bring the Tiger Flower and the three shoots back to the World. To bring them back into the Light.

The Elder Women of the villages led Mother to the bright, sun-dappled meadows dancing with flowers of every imaginable color, where it met the edge of the depths of the jungle, where no sunlight could penetrate the dark tangle of palms and fronds.  They watched as she disappeared into the darkness.

Once more, Mother closed her eyes tightly in Faith and Unconditional Love.  She did not need open eyes to guide her, for she had the vision of her Dream.  She walked deep into the jungle, and when she had walked an hour or so, she felt the air rush from her lungs and a single tear of joy fall from her closed eyes.  Slowly, she opened her eyes and there, beneath the dark tangled palms and fronds, she saw what she had waited her whole life to see: a Tiger Flower, surrounded by three distinct shoots, huddled diminutive beneath its protective pedals.

She kneeled gently upon one knee, and with a Kind and Loving Hand, she thrust her fingers into the soft earth, careful so as not to severe the island’s Heritage from the flower and the shoots, and she lifted the flower to her bosom in a warm and tight embrace.  Slowly, and with Patience and Enduring Love, she carried the Tiger Flower and the three distinct shoots, out of the jungle, back to the World, and into the Light.

——–

Nearly twenty years has passed since Mother returned from the islands.  The Tiger Flower has bloomed fully in the Light and is now a beautiful young Tiger Lily, dancing in sun-dappled meadows.  She named the flower Christian, for she was truly “Christ-like” in her own growing abilities to Forgive and Love and Nurture others into fully flowering.

The three distinct shoots, too, have blossomed, in every imaginable color.  When they are older, she would tell them of the Elder Women of the villages, and of dense jungle and the dark tangle of palms and fronds.

But for now, she is content to see them all Dream their own Dreams.

A Failed Seduction


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in the cool black-velvety jacket of midnight
she threads her hair with purple lilacs
her lips licked lightly, eyes half-closed
arching breasts filled with urgent breath
dancing under the moon with wild abandon
no care for which way the wind blows
or where the water flows
each step held lightly
pressed upon dew-soaked blades
of summer’s green grass
she sings a broken verse
whispers each refrain, to bury her meaning
while cool rivulets of passion’s sweat
run like melted snow down
from her brow to her rapturous breasts
rivulets dropping like rain on the
broken down-beat wings of angels
dripping to the parched palm of earth
gathering into puddles of sweet supplication
echoes of forbidden memories
perfume the nighttime air
places and spaces filled
with the frivolities of youth
she comes to me on bended knees
reaching for my turned up face
in the ticking of this hour
no time in my disgrace
I push away her yearning

LOST FOR WORDS by D.L.McHale


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This poem contains 18 words that have been deemed the most  
sensual in the English language, the most soothing on the tongue.  
See if you can identify which words these are
___________________________________________

happy-birthday-chocolate-cake-for-Jeannie

she was
seductive and transcendent
demure and evanescent
lost in the shifting shadows of sexual sensations
her chatoyant gaze, her dulcet smile
she was erstwhile my beloved fixation

her words kissed my ears
imbuing my imagination
with fugacious desire

her touch left vestigial sensations
demanding a desultory and deep dalliance
her lissome lips lilting softly
ineffable moments transcending opulence
something surreptitious and sumptuous
serene, slavish, and sexy

 

An Eternal Sunrise


The sunrise is eternal –

Our measured days are not.

Yet still somehow in this moment now,

I am lifted beyond mortality;

baptized by this burnished dawn

and set afire with daring possibility.

 

All too soon, the damp, cold earth

will grip us by the ankle

and pull us downward.

 

This morning is not that day.

 

Heaven ascends before my eyes,

kissed by the reflection of amber rays.

My heartbeat echoing the foaming surf

while prayers dance among the murmur

of winged clouds in dawn’s soft pastel light.

 

The world spins round.

 

This is my temple,

and my soul, shrouded in the rolling fog

of a new day, is lifted upon salted winds.

 

I slip the bonds of my earthly servitude

and ascend upon the gilded rays of a new day –

lifted gently like a newborn in a mother’s warm embrace.