IT IS THE SEASON by D.L.McHale


image

“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.

Vanity


Image

Understanding you is not,
contrary to your incessant belief
the sole purpose of my existence
You are whatever you are,
while I, without pause, accept this
If I were to assume a constant analysis of you
and the things you do
as my pre-ordained purpose for existing
I would as soon take the sharpest of razors
and pass it with pleasure
one-eighth inch deep across my gullible throat
Your vanity exhausts me
Is there not a moment within any given day
wherein your every waking thought
is directed toward anything, or anyone, other than yourself?
If not, then tell me, do you ever grow weary
of unceasingly caressing the image of yourself,
as even lust-crazed men tire of their indiscriminate seductions
of faceless women?
Don’t you ever lie spent after
a consuming bout of self-adoration?
Here, then, is my ardent hope and prayer for you
May you love yourself only to the measure
that others may, perchance
find in the smoldering remnants of your self-delight
a crumb or two left over
upon which to nourish their love for you as well

 

Secrets


Image

My shadow falls away –
no sun will touch this truth.
Wandering cold and revealed;
almost naked in my sin,
for I have squandered the best of me,
despair descends upon what’s left of me!

Secrets eat at my guts
and I am consumed completely.
Would that my lips could part
and exorcise that which I dare not speak.
I am taunted by courage beyond reach.

My body is cleaved in two:
one side dead
while the other exists in fear of living.
I am betrayed by my own hand
and I shall not sleep eternal.

The truth is an acid
eating away any hope of resurrection.
I am undone, yet left standing.
I am buried alive beneath my secrets.

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Sacrifice


ballet

The beauty of ballet
is not found in the graceful plié
nor the elegance of a perfect glissade;
it is in the twisted, broken toes of the dancer;
the slipper full of blood.
The exquisiteness of life
is not in the gathering of fame and riches,
but rather, like the danseur lifting the ballerina,
it is found in the painful sacrifice of self
that lifts another heavenward
toward the dazzling stars.

The beauty of the butterfly
is not in the shimmering iridescence
of its painted wings in morning’s light
or the weightlessness of its flitting flight;
but in the awe-inspiring metamorphosis
from lowly caterpillar to winged god,
as it slowly struggles to survive beneath
the hungry beaks of a thousand birds.
Likewise, the magnificence of Man
is best reflected in the transformation
of the lonely individual
who, despite the darkness of the hour,
finds his wings and angelic cause
in the collective community of humankind.

Beauty isn’t always lavish and dazzling,
apparent to the surface of the eye;
beauty can be elusive and transparent,
to be felt only in the interior of the heart.
It takes form when you discover something
greater than yourself in the world.
It takes meaning when the light that is you
is redirected and reflected on the
anonymous shadows of another.
The smile that is on another’s face
because you put it there;
the hope that takes root in another’s soul
because you planted it there.
The faith that no proof requires;
the love which fills and inspires.

Living in this world isn’t wonderful
simply because you are in it –
living in this world is wonderful
because of all the people with whom
you get to share the journey.

Them Logs


logs

The logs that was put in that barn
are up there until this day, an’ it turns out,
they were made by my Gran’pa
an’ were a part of his home a mile up this here creek
where he lived an’ where my kinfolk are resting.
Those logs are older than my Ma.
She was borned in that house after they moved there,
an’ she was borned ‘round 1891.

Yep, them logs has been there some.

An’ the house was there an’ them logs,
an’ twice since we’ve taken over the land,
since they all be gone an’ sweetly passed away,
someone has approached me to buy them logs.
An’ the first one offered me eighty dollars for the logs.
An’ Lord knows, we needs the money
‘cept I can’t sell them. They’s history in em.

They are still sound ‘cept where they’re layin’ on the ground.
The ones that were axed an’ are in the earth,
look as perfect as the day they were put there!
An’ it was only last week that my kinfolk that live up there
said some man ask him to talk to me could he buy them.
An’ they had been there that long.
But I reckon I won’t sell them,
cause they has my Gran’pa’s sweat in them.
At least eighty-five years since I’ve been here.
An’ my Pa–there’s his axe marks
where he made them, on them very same logs.

Before the Chestnut Blight (Part I)


chestnuts

 

Old people had them a sayin’,
that when the chestnuts bloomed,
they were so tall they stood straight
up above them other trees,
‘n they’d say ‘the snow is in the Mountain.’

Well, we had chestnut trees,
before the blight come in.
When my daddy cleared the ground,
you know to farm –
it was covered with chestnut trees.
He’d sifted out about an acre of chestnut trees,
for our pikcin’ up use.

‘N when they would get ready ‘n start falling.
We would get our sacks ‘n buckets ‘n stuff,
‘n the men would get up in the trees with big poles
‘n they’d thrash them out ‘n we’d pick em up

But, when they fall, usually the burrs open on the tree,
‘n they fall as they come down.
You don’t ever touch that burr,
you get those needles in your fingers, that’s bad.
You stay away from that.
You just pick the chestnuts up. They’re on the ground.
Now ‘n then you find a burr open with the chestnuts in it
‘n you can take your foot, if you got shoes on,
‘n step on them, ‘n they’ll come out.
After it frosts, they’re easy.

Anyways, we’d get them in them sacks
‘n take them to the chicken house, ‘n hang them in thar,
the empty house, it had been a chicken house,
but we had et the chickens, ‘n it were empty.

You hardly ever, at that time,
a chestnut with a worm in it.

 

Before the Chestnut Blight (Part II)


Chestnut Tree

I’d say the chestnut tree
kept a lot of mountain people from starving to death.
Because if you was out in the mountain,
you wasn’t going starve to death.
There was too many chestnuts.
You might get tired of eating them,
but you wouldn’t starve to death.
And people used them back at that time.
You see, people used so many of them.
They would boil them for their young’uns and everything.
Because there wasn’t no running out there to the store.
There wasn’t no such thing as going to the store back then.
Nobody didn’t have it.
And they used that to survive, a lot of them did,
to keep from starving.
They sold them.
You didn’t run to the fruit market up there
just every time you’d need something.
No we didn’t.

Love One Another


mother-teresa
Our unheard voices,
silenced in the crumpled lies
daily and soundly trumpeted
by the world of false authorities!
Cities crumble beneath
the weight of their own conceit
and concrete concealments
and governments, but wisps
of foul winds blowing in the deserts
of corruption and covetousness greed.

Are we to submit our precious few years
and the infinite possibilities of life
to a blind obedience to this pile of dust?
We will not! We cannot!
We must live for love, or else we die,
and love requires freedom from all
false restraints, be they societal or
or subjective – it must be unfettered
and at liberty to express the authenticity
of human experience.

We should with deep and soulful
glee pledge our allegiances
to the elegance of nature
and the exquisiteness of tender acts
of mercy and unrestrained love.
Let us, therefore, express unbridled
compassion toward our neighbor.
than mindlessly march, day by day
into the dark void of hate and self-pretenses?

With love and patience, we shall prevail.
.
Let us council with the philosophies of the
woodland creatures before that of immoral
false prophets, and beneath the wings of
of the soaring eagle let us find our truths.
Where injustice reigns, we will struggle
with all our might to unshackle the chains
that bind us to fabricated obedience, and
band together beneath the social hammer
that crushes our capacity to love.

We are made of clay, but not to be lightly
molded into conformed shapes fired in the
blazing ovens of social orthodoxy – but
rather let us emerge as the shining gods
of glory and infinite adoration and peace and love
we were, from Eden, meant to be!

We Are the Reason


reason

There is a reason birds don’t fly here anymore.
The skies are filled with fear and lamenting,
and their wings are covered in blood and ash
– bones falling from the sky.

The deer no longer nurses her fawn
in the de-forested wood, and the fish flounder
and die in dry riverbeds
.
The gardens are choked with a villainous vine,
while the petals of every flower fall
one by one to the rotting ground.

The mountains no longer echo with the songs of valley life,
and the oceans lie still, lifeless beneath the moon.
The dimming stars no longer ignite the imagination,
and the sunrise is muted behind a veil of smog and filth.

There is a reason our lifeless children
have abandoned hope in their futures
and restricted their “friends” to Facebook.

There is a reason our churches stand empty,
except to mourn our dead and send them on their way.

There is a reason we scream instead of sing; why
we sleep alone and lock ourselves behind bolted
doors; why we embrace our guns instead of our neighbor.

Our cities crumble beneath the weight of hatred and
indifference, while greed feeds upon the impoverished.

We have deigned to wear the robes of God and we have
failed. We turn from one another in vile contempt for we
cannot bear the reflection of ourselves in their wounded
eyes.

We have consumed it all, and in the process, we
have consumed ourselves.

We are the reason.

 

In Memory of Vicky


Vicky

 

This poem is dedicated to my dear friend “tersiaburger”
In memory of her beloved daughter, Vicky.

——————————————————————-

You and I
are touched by one star.

Wherever you are
we stand together in one light
which no depth or height or distance
can ever dim.

Wherever you are
your light shines;
past time and space
past flesh to thought,
I feel your power.

Wherever you go
the day will dawn
and the star will appear;
for you are a child of this light
and it fosters your heavenly dreams.

In this light, I have found ways
to heal, to bind up,
to tear down the feeble structures
of fear of your absence has
carelessly constructed within me.

You and I
are touched by one star.

In its glowing embrace
we find our true selves;
we find our peace.

Today I may stand alone,

missing you with all my heart
be I stand strong.
Through the corridors of our courage
you have helped me to
discover those eternal lines
of love within myself;
my birthright discovered because

Vicky and I are
touched by one star.

 

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
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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

 

Midnight Floods


Image

The crumbling, mossy stone-bridge
achingly arches over the murky river
like a rusted rainbow over
staled expectations.
Its stooped railings still
tingle at the memory of
all the hands
– hopeful, sprightly, enraged,
tired, frightened, infatuated-
touching them.
The water drags its gray tongue
between the cheerless banks,
while muddy blades of grass
huddle up under a senile
weeping willow that
can’t remember whom
was it weeping for.
The grotesque conspiracy
of the weather elements
has muddied the daylight.
Night?
Night.
Endless, rainy, muddy night!

Betrayal


Like a black-velvet curtain slowly falling,
I was not prepared for your numbing descent;
I am cleaved in two, a house divided against itself.
My thoughts, sharp as a honed razor, dribbles
incoherence as it passes over my muddled tongue;
thick molasses reluctantly oozing from a honey dipper,
but without the sweetness.
Do not pity me – I am yet fully housed within this melted
shell and am quite aware that my left side has betrayed
my right, but I no longer possess the mastery of pointing this out.