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Paul Hansford Jun 2021
Your ashes
dispersed in the sea
dissolved in salt water
mixed with sand
find a quicker way
to nature's recycling.
You are not gone
simply absent from life
and I cannot pull you back.
I can only wait
helpless as you are.
I'd appreciate any comments or edits on this, please.  It's not really finished.
Paul Hansford Jun 2021
These landscapes I have seen;
- green hills, a winding river, and beyond,
another hill crowned with trees;
- a lake among pines where blue jays clamour
and a lone gull cries;
- the sudden view of a city of golden stone
and domes gleaming in the afternoon sun;
- an iron bridge in the mist
and a train crossing between mountains
veiled in layers of pure tones
like a Chinese watercolour;
- a shore where pelicans dive
into ocean rollers before they break,
releasing twelve thousand miles of energy;
- palaces shimmering in the air as their reflections
shimmer in the water they rise from.

But in my mind are other landscapes,
unseen, hardly even imagined.
Come and explore them with me.
Who knows what we will find?
These images are all from photos I have taken in various countries. If you are interested, message me and I'll tell you where those places were.
Paul Hansford Mar 2021
(a "last words" sonnet)

I cannot sleep tonight, and you know why.
You know how many weary hours I've lain
upon my bed and listened to the rain
lashing the window, and the mournful sigh
the wind makes. You have heard mine in reply.
I know you know the reason for my pain.
I know you know why, over and again,
I've wept out loud. I know you saw me cry
as I remembered carving on that tree
your name and mine. You were the only one
I needed then. You know, just as before,
how much I need you yet, but you have gone.
Only your spirit now still lives in me,
and I can never hope for any more.
The last word from each line of a published poem is used here as the last word in the corresponding line of a new one.  This one is based on a well-known sonnet by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.
Paul Hansford Oct 2020
There are journeys from which for all practical purposes
it is not possible to arrive anywhere
except perhaps, after considerable stress,
the place where you started from.
The value of such journeys is not related
to their length, nor even to their difficulty,
though they can be very long and extraordinarily difficult.
It lies rather in the fact of having set out
in the hopeless hope of discovering
but most of all in what we find on the way,
even if it is on the way to nowhere.
Paul Hansford Oct 2020
Shall these trees stand forever?
and the fields,
brown, green, gold, according to the season,
shall they remain?

But the hills,
the hills,
they shall be there.
No not even those.
What then shall stay?
Their having been is what shall be left.

And when you are gone,
and I am no longer here,
we too shall have been,
and nothing can be quite the same again.
The title does not mean that the future will be perfect - it's about a future where what we know now will not exist.  It was a long time before I realised "we too shall have been" could sound like "we two shall have been," but that was not what I intended, and it would suggest a different story.
Paul Hansford Oct 2020
Free spirit, you were never really "my" child,
though it pleased me to think of you so.
Only for a time you allowed me
to be familiar with you, share some of your life,
some of your feelings.
Now it is time for you to leave,
and I must not regret your going, although I love you,
not regret the letting go, because I love you.
Then the part of you that once, long ago,
imperceptibly grew inside my heart will stay forever,
and you can always be,
in any sense that you ever were,
Paul Hansford Oct 2020
There was so much more
     that we could have said and done,
          but we said goodbye.
This is not a haiku, though it does have 5, 7, 5 syllables, because it doesn't relate to nature or any season. It has the same syllables, but is more correctly a senryu, related to human nature.
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