Tag Archives: poetry

The Lighthouse

29 Aug

The Lighthouse

The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,
and on its outer point, some miles away,
the lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,
A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.

Even at this distance I can see the tides,
Upheaving, break unheard along its base,
A speechless wrath, that rises and subsides
in the white tip and tremor of the face.

And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright,
through the deep purple of the twilight air,
Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light,
with strange, unearthly splendor in the glare!

No one alone: from each projecting cape
And perilous reef along the ocean’s verge,
Starts into life a dim, gigantic shape,
Holding its lantern o’er the restless surge.

Like the great giant Christopher it stands
Upon the brink of the tempestuous wave,
Wading far out among the rocks and sands,
The night o’er taken mariner to save.

And the great ships sail outward and return
Bending and bowing o’er the billowy swells,
And ever joyful, as they see it burn
They wave their silent welcome and farewells.

They come forth from the darkness, and their sails
Gleam for a moment only in the blaze,
And eager faces, as the light unveils
Gaze at the tower, and vanish while they gaze.

The mariner remembers when a child,
on his first voyage, he saw it fade and sink
And when returning from adventures wild,
He saw it rise again o’er ocean’s brink.

Steadfast, serene, immovable, the same,
Year after year, through all the silent night
Burns on forevermore that quenchless flame,
Shines on that inextinguishable light!

It sees the ocean to its bosom clasp
The rocks and sea-sand with the kiss of peace:
It sees the wild winds lift it in their grasp,
And hold it up, and shake it like a fleece.

The startled waves leap over it; the storm
Smites it with all the scourges of the rain,
And steadily against its solid form
press the great shoulders of the hurricane.

The sea-bird wheeling round it, with the din
of wings and winds and solitary cries,
Blinded and maddened by the light within,
Dashes himself against the glare, and dies.

A new Prometheus, chained upon the rock,
Still grasping in his hand the fire of love,
it does not hear the cry, nor heed the shock,
but hails the mariner with words of love.

“Sail on!” it says: “sail on, ye stately ships!
And with your floating bridge the ocean span;
Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse.
Be yours to bring man neared unto man.
–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Lighthouse at Cape Hatteras

The Refrain

21 Aug

The Refrain

my constant refrain boasts the childhood belief of manipulating effect by wishing for the opposite to happen.

and so you will leave me escapes my lips with the hope that no, you will not leave me, not now, not ever, not when I love you so.

but I continue to carry the cool of the nonchalant, the unaffected, whispering the refrain as if I am discussing the rain or yesterday’s traffic–

–hoping that you are not privy to this juvenile show and confusing my vain wish for a future I would kill to keep from happening.

but you are not privy to anything, are you, as my refrain echoes within the empty rooms and silent hallways of a long-deserted home.

American Sonnet.

8 Aug

American Sonnet
Billy Collins

We do not speak like Petrarch or wear a hat like Spenser
and it is not fourteen lines
like furrows in a small, carefully plowed field

but the picture postcard, a poem on vacation,
that forces us to sing our songs in little rooms
or pour our sentiments into measuring cups.

We write on the back of a waterfall or lake,
adding to the view a caption as conventional
as an Elizabethan woman’s heliocentric eyes.

We locate an adjective for the weather.
We announce that we are having a wonderful time.
We express the wish that you were here

and hide the wish that we were where you are,
walking back from the mailbox, your head lowered
as you read and turn the thin message in your hands.

A slice of this place, a length of white beach,
a piazza or carved spires of a cathedral
will pierce the familiar place where you remain,

and you will toss on the table this reversible display:
a few square inches of where we have strayed
and a compression of what we feel.

Day Thirty.

29 Apr

Poem

what is a poem but a plan?

i, your brownie,
will be in like and in like and
turn the pages of time and
fly to the heights of the sky
with you.

we don’t need a home in
Emerald City, love,
for it will be right here, in our
simple home with our unencumbered
rooms.

for 1 + 1 equals me and you,
and we will always be the answer—
dancing and tumbling because
we want to, and saying it all the while
aloud, no mind reading.

it will always be autumn for us:
living in the centers of both our worlds,
hardly relegated to corners or the
uncertainty of infatuation,
you, my little bee.

no paper doll here, but the real thing:
a real, beating heart,
real gratitude for you,
the real me for real you,
no archetypes necessary.

i will accept the company
of you, and i will always choose you,
because you’re the prettiest apple
of the eye a woman could ask for
and not defer.

from Emerald City to Damascus to Emmaus,
every step and place brimming with clarity—
our L-O-V-E,
electric in its glee and maturity,
unshackled and free.

you are the ink in my pen,
and I’ll rhyme for you, just say when,
the moon in your sky,
ready to shout and reply
that our love will never burn.

But here it is:
whether rain or shine,
whether push or pull,
you will always be the “you”
in verse, fiction, or haiku.

yes, what is a poem but a plan?

Day Twenty Nine.

29 Apr

I Hate Rainy Days.

Stop the rain.
Part the clouds.
Bring the sun.

It is unfair,
surely,
that our burgeoning love
hinges on your control
of the elements,
but it does.
So get to work.

Day Twenty Eight.

28 Apr

Sun Haiku (Lament More)

oh, powerful sun,
will you ever realize
that the love you share
should refuse to be bound by
a solar eclipse?

Day Twenty Seven.

27 Apr

Whispering.

Don’t mind me, dear,
as I push you toward this rooftop,
right up to the very edge,
as close as you can get to the very heavens themselves,
as close as you can get to the air and the atmosphere–
And, dear, don’t mind me
as I grab your mouth and pry those stubborn lips apart and force you shout it from there, from the rooftops,
from the top of the world,
that you love me.
And I’ll make you shout it again and again and again–
For enough time has passed now, and you must shout me back into your arms or say nothing at all.
But I will no longer abide by your whispering.

BJ & FE SCOTT

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