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.

The Ocean’s Song


I.
Sitting on the bay, watching the ships go by;
Where they are headed, I don’t know, yet
My soul yearns to be likewise swept away
With the outgoing tide upon undulating waves.
Beneath blustery clouds let the extended bellies
Of white sails carry me across new horizons.
Beneath the crested waves, the mermaids sing
Siren chants of, “Come with me. Come with me!”
The baritone bellow of a ship’s horn
Blasts out, “Come with me, Come with me!”
II.
Icy winds caress my weathered face,
Each wizened line etched like a nautical map
Directing me toward tomorrow’s fortunes.
The salted air fills my aching lungs with a
Hope I have not known since childhood.
In my shoreline reverie, I am carried across
Blue-green oceans kissing distant coastlines.
“Turn, screws, turn,” let the waters churn
Beneath your tired and weathered hull
But do not leave me dry standing here.
III.
I yearn to drink the white foam of stormy seas
Beneath a blanket of heavenly constellations.
I do not care today for tomorrow’s sorrows
So long as I can castaway in the iron belly
Of a eastward steaming long boat.
I am now lost in the maelstrom of indifference
Upon these sandy shores, and my eyes
Are filled with the tears of a sailor’s regret
For having missed the outward tides.
“Carry me out. Carry me out!” and let the
Fish one day dine upon my happy bones.

Awakening a Memory


I have walked a thousand country miles –
watched the falcons pirouette in the summer sky;
lunched upon bitter green apples and fermented mangoes
and napped beneath the hot luminous clock;
quenched my thirst with melodious silver spring water
and skipped stones across frozen lakes.

I’ve immortalized poets against the echoing granite walls of time.
In bare feet I danced in verdant green meadows
that carpet a bottomless valley;
traced my fingertips along the gnarled grooves
of a dying oak and bid it farewell.

I have bathed in babbling brooks that giggled at
my nakedness and dried myself in the wispy autumn winds.
Upon mountaintops, I have squeezed sunsets between
my forefinger and thumb and slowly opened them again to
the shimmering glow of a new moon.

I have slept beneath a canopy of universes and composed
my dreams against shimmering stars;
built wet sandcastles fit for kings on foreign shores
and fed them to the ravenous surf.

Beneath cascading waterfalls were written tumbling
verse, while angelfish nibbled at my dropped metaphors.
In the Mascarene Islands, I flew kites built from
forest reeds and raffia palms until they were swallowed
by drifting winter clouds.

The return to a new day awaits me, and a thousand more
miles beneath my feet before this life is drawn complete.
Awakening a memory, I close my eyes
and the colors of life’s possibilities explode beneath my lids.

Hopeful Journey


The sun reveals a thousand paths
for each a new direction
A desperate journey now begun
With measured circumspection

I do not know my destination
It truly doesn’t matter
Belief and hope instills in me
A faith that can’t be shattered

I wander and I move on still
With sure and bold conviction
Often lost, I never stop
To contemplate revision

I’ve hope and dreams abundantly
To lift the darkest veil
And deep within my crimson heart
New passion starts to swell

Each day unwinds with certainty
My journey paves the way
The peace I seek has yet to come
I continue on my way

A thousand miles, a thousand more
My quest will set me free
With every step I contemplate
The next that lies before me

My journey, though, is not complete
So often times infernal
This Life it seems a mystery
My passage is eternal