Where are you, Sarah?

My sister slept and the crows
came to ask cawing in my ears,
Where is she? Where is she?
And I could only answer with tears,
and I could only answer with fire in my throat
and an unbearable mountain
weighing down my chest,
a wail finding no shore,
an endless stream of memories
clawing at my skin
and hurling me into the sky
formed by her smile,
I could only answer with vagrant eyes
and an uprooted heart
now a feast for crows
cawing without respite,
now a feast for a flame
burning, burning…

Free Verse # 281 (the garden of her smile)

Black as the night the rain falls
effacing all my poems,
liquefying their bones
into breath and shadow,
creatures prowling
the deep dark of the sea.

~

Like salt to the sea
the fog of autumn
clang to my skin,
fangs of dew
deep inside clawing,
melting me into a cloud
now vanishing without a sigh.

~

He braided her hair
into moonstreams
that coursed in silence
over the sleeping earth

~

A tear constantly
lingers on my cheek.
Each dawn a bird comes,
drinks of it and whispers,
promising he’ll go
and lay it on her cheek.

~

In endless circles
you move in me,
birdsongs rising
to brush the sky,
prayers soaking
as water in the ground,
and all through I grow
bud like fire
along the curves of your lips,
burst like flowers
in the garden of your smile.

Rumi – The Reed Flute’s Song

Listen to the story told by the reed,
of being separated.

“Since I was cut from the reedbed,
I have made this crying sound.

Anyone apart from someone he loves
understands what I say.

Anyone pulled from a source
longs to go back.

At any gathering I am there,
mingling in the laughing and grieving,

a friend to each, but few
will hear the secrets hidden

within the notes. No ears for that.
Body flowing out of spirit,

spirit up from body: no concealing
that mixing. But it’s not given us

to see the soul. The reed flute
is fire, not wind. Be that empty.”

Hear the love fire tangled
in the reed notes, as bewilderment

melts into wine. The reed is a friend
of all who want the fabric torn

and drawn away. The reed is hurt
and salve combining. Intimacy

and longing for intimacy, one
song. A disastrous surrender

and a fine love, together. The one
who secretly hears this is senseless.

A tongue has one customer, the ear.
A sugarcane flute has such effect

Because it was able to make sugar
in the reedbed. The sound it makes

is for everyone. Days full of wanting,
let them go by without worrying

that they do. Stay where you are
inside such a pure, hollow note.

Every thirst gets satisfied except
that of these fish, the mystics,

who swim a vast ocean of grace
still somehow longing for it!

No one lives in that without
being nourished every day.

But if someone doesn’t want to hear
the song of the reed flute,

it’s best to cut conversation
short, say good-bye, and leave.

Free Verse # 280 (nomad song)

Silence dries
and I linger,
a brown moth
courting the flame
where I once died,
where I once kissed
the red of her smile.

~

Etched with tongue,
laced with fingers –
his each thought
under her skin explodes
like a carnal burst of stars.

~

Her eyes
two fervent stones weaving
dusk into the sky,
a silken fragrance
in endless scarves falling,
shadowing the earth
like an eternal cry.

~

Through your skin I travel,
an autumn wind,
a caress of dewdrops sighing
as they fall through her sky.

~

Your breath
plays me like a flute,
its moans fading
into the silence of the sky.

~

Her red lips –
a poppy filled to the rim
with opium and wine,
a chalice throbbing
to pour into his soul
the depth of her life.

~

Her thirsty skin –
salt aching
to melt in his sea

~

Strummed by the roaming wind
upon the evening wind I drift,
a nomad song finding peace
in the fragrance of the night.

Free Verse # 279 (searching for your eyes)

Like a dark bird
her hair flew into the night
its black wings folding
the entire world

~

Whiskey river
harnessing the night
and flowing,
a honey flood
of silent kisses and stars
carrying my boundless fire
to your hidden heart.

~

Cut deep into me
and have no mercy,
my heart (this red grape)
was forged to be crushed
on the altar of your love.

~

Every day mingling
a little hope and despair
into a love potion,
a winged verse,
a poem in a bottle,
in sea and sky set
searching for your eyes.

~

Dirt under her nails
and dust in her hair –
she has been gardening again,
cultivating her poem,
lost somewhere on the other side.

~

If I be an animal
then I am a poem,
shining in the darkness
of her solitary eyes.

~

Her touch cuts
into the water of the sea
and from the wounds
the gushing foam sings
with the molten blood of stars

Death Alone – Pablo Neruda

There are lone cemeteries,
tombs full of soundless bones,
the heart threading a tunnel,
a dark, dark tunnel:
like a wreck we die to the very core,
as if drowning at the heart
or collapsing inwards from skin to soul.

There are corpses,
clammy slabs for feet,
there is death in the bones,
like a pure sound,
a bark without its dog,
out of certain bells, certain tombs
swelling in this humidity like lament or rain.

I see, when alone at times,
coffins under sail
setting out with the pale dead, women in their dead braids,
bakers as white as angels,
thoughtful girls married to notaries,
coffins ascending the vertical river of the dead,
the wine-dark river to its source,
with their sails swollen with the sound of death,
filled with the silent noise of death.

Death is drawn to sound
like a slipper without a foot, a suit without its wearer,
comes to knock with a ring, stoneless and fingerless,
comes to shout without a mouth, a tongue, without a throat.
Nevertheless its footsteps sound
and its clothes echo, hushed like a tree.

I do not know, I am ignorant, I hardly see
but it seems to me that its song has the colour of wet violets,
violets well used to the earth,
since the face of death is green,
and the gaze of death is green
with the etched moisture of a violet’s leaf
and its grave colour of exasperated winter.

But death goes about the earth also, riding a broom
lapping the ground in search of the dead –
death is in the broom,
it is the tongue of death looking for the dead,
the needle of death looking for thread.

Death lies in our cots:
in the lazy mattresses, the black blankets,
lives at full stretch and then suddenly blows,
blows sound unknown filling out the sheets
and there are beds sailing into a harbour
where death is waiting, dressed as an admiral.

— Pablo Neruda, From Residencia en la Tierra, II, 1935, translated by Nathaniel Tarn

Touching

Touching
the wick catches fire
and the song melts
burning the thick night
into an fervent sea,
incandescent waves rolling,
exuberantly crashing,
exploding into the shore
of you and me,
the swollen thickness of our flesh
overwhelming the darkness
into the ecstatic light
burning with the throb
of two bodies made one,
consumed on the altar of eternity.