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Jul 3 · 337
Up Against Our Will
Young man with your shining hair
and brightness in your smile.
Your eyes see a golden future
as long as the days are short.
When you open your heart to another
Do you pray to the jewel-hung sky?

Young woman swaying down a street
With your golden hair
Legs caper under a flowing skirt.
Your lips taste only sweetness
as new as the world is old.
When you give your body as you recline,
Do you spread your arms to the gods?

I see you narrow your gaze
at the old woman hobbling
reaching out for the dregs of life.
I hear the pity in your voice,
the sorrow for her and you think
you have a choice
to run from that image,
to say forever young.
You may even laugh at the old man
puffing out his chest
and imitating youth.
I know you're thinking
this will never happen to you.

So enjoy the brightness of your eyes,
the smooth skin and straight spine
that propels you through the spring
Let yourself believe that the leaves
will always be neon green
and the wind warm and soft.
Twirl down the lanes and
fly over mountains and seas!
For all of us did that once
and were as unwitting as you.
None of us, for all our fear,
ever really saw the gulf
of eighty or ninety years,
or certainly not the lack of breath
and the pain of each step,
each turn on a bed
that now feels hard as stone.

We gaze from windows
As you gambol past,
And know you fear to be alone,
Not seeing that at last,
We say good-bye to wind and sky,
that everyone sinks into the earth,
Leaving the power, in our last sigh,
We invoke another birth.
Inspired by the song "The Killing Moon", by Echo and the Bunnymen. I like the phrase and the song has many references to the cosmos, birth and regeneration.
Edited on July 9, 2019
I never really liked Hugh Grant,
'til I saw him in "About a Boy",
It's not as weird as it might sound;
This lonely kid likes to hang around
And play with Hugh Grant's toys.

Wait, I didn't mean THAT! I meant CD's,
And he teaches Hugh about life...
Hugh's a loner & his life's a mess,
The kid's mum is SO depressed,
Thus their neuroses fit like peas.
(in a pod)

See, jerks in school chase the boy each day,
‘Cause he wears old, hippie clothes.
One day he hides at Hugh Grant’s pad,
Listens to music that’s kind of rad,
So he shows up every day.

Hugh and the lad start hanging out
He buys him trainers, shows him what to wear.
But soon, the kid wants Hugh for a dad,
And though it makes Hugh selfishly sad,
He kicks the poor kid out.

"Killing me softly" is the Mum's fave song
So the other kids beat him up.
In a school concert, Hugh sings along.
The mom is thrilled and cooks some Tofurkey,
Hugh joins the crowd; Thanksgiving is quirky,
And Rachel Weisz picks him up.

She’s got a son who’s kind of ******,
Over his Mum’s divorce and he tries to be Goth.
He roughs up the boy and mom is stunned,
'Cos Hugh Grant lied about having a son
So she tells him it’s a no go.

In the end, Mum doesn't commit suicide,
Though the kid DOES waste a duck,
With a loaf of Mum's 10 lb., whole wheat bread.
Everyone laughs and it clears their heads.
Mum & Boy and others get glad,
And the boy's mum finds him a new dad

Rachel forgives the boyish Hugh,
After seeing his good deed.
He loves the kid, the mum and her.
Everyone gathers for Xmas at Hugh’s’;
He wears a paper hat and agrees:

He's no longer an island and needs other folk.
The Boy gets a pal and Mum no longer sulks.
Everything is saved by the new Hugh Grant,
And at least he doesn't wear LEATHER PANTS!
A silly "review" of a great film: Inspired by Hugh Grant’s lame leather pants in that film about an over-the-hill 60’s singer in Love Actually, and then his much more believable character in About a Boy.
I lean on you;
You need me;
We’re in debt to each other.
It’s simple, you see.

You work hard
And bring home the bread;
Without you, I’d starve
In my solitary bed.

You live in our home
Like a worker drone;
Without me you’d freeze
And be all alone.

Without you, I’d starve
Or live in privation,
We’re the lone citizens
In a private nation.

Though we never make love,
And rarely touch.
We must stay together;
For the world is too much.

Year after year,
We’re apart yet near.
No one dares rock the boat;
We’re so precariously afloat.

We could languish like this until we die;
We seem quite normal to the untrained eye.
And apart yet together, we could stay,
Until the tides of time just wash us away.

Finished on January 3, 2011
Apr 20 · 173
Scream, Memory
Sharon Talbot Apr 20
Scream, Memory

Accidents don't happen on holiday,
do they?
Standing in the shower, I stare out of
a tiny window at the setting sunlight.
In a row, children on a rustic bench
chatter through their colored ices
and kick their sandaled feet.
Soon, a tall, bland man appears
with smiles for all--this is his family
and he is happy.
His ambiance is like a drug so I leave
my caravan, barely dry,
Wanting to speak to him and not knowing why.
His good fortune draws one to him,
Yet I find another reason.
He directs me without words
to a desolate room and a gown.
And I remember...that I have not remembered
lately. And my collection of names is dwindling,
memory leaking like a wire basket.
Even before I don the **** robe and lie down
on a cold, plastic bench,
I know what the diagnosis will be.
The cylindrical tunnel looms and his nurse or wife
motions to it as he still smiles.
The machine roars like time passing
And I emerge carefully, not wanting to know.
Seeing my expression, he turns on me:
"It is bad news, but also sad."
He tilts his head like a bird, self-satisfied.
His vacuous delight belies the words.
What the hell is the difference, I think.
And like a falling tree, reality splits the dream
And knocks down my life.
I weep, uncontrolled.
It does not help to swear
nor to hit the wall with my fist.
But would it help to slap the doctor?
People crowd around and tell me to stop
but, as I had to when my father died,
I continue to rave.
For, what is simple to them
I will not make so to me.
I will mourn and censure Fate!
And if I still must,
I will not go gently
But scream all that I remember
Into the fading light.

April 19, 2019
This is the rough remembrance of a nightmare about Alzheimer's, which I had after doing some research on memory. I wonder why I was in a caravan, since I hate those! Does it symbolize our temporary status in this world? The doctor LOOKED nice and kind, like a 1950's hero, but was merciless and cold.
Sharon Talbot Mar 30
These words keep arriving by post,
By phone and through the air:
They say, “I love you the most!”
And he’s always unprepared.

I dismissed them until I knew
What they could mean,
What they could do.

They let a young boy believe
In a dangerous fantasy
Of the young or naïve,
And give himself to ecstasy.

He’d already given himself away
To a girl who “merely loved” him;
He was swayed.
He was wounded by a whim.

How could his young heart
Know the anguish of love spurned?
Of changing minds and false starts?
That passion fades as quickly as it burns?

He was “crushed” when it ended;
His response, pure and true.
Still that phrase he insanely defended!
“I love you, I love you, and I love you”!

How hollow to me it still rings!
My beloved son in pain.
What makes a girl do these selfish things?
What is it that they gain?

Young hearts now seem to lack wisdom;
They’re so eager to believe.
Yet they haven’t the caution
It takes to give love and receive.

Summer, 2006
As a teen, our son kept falling in love with girls who used his feelings and then threw him away. This is just one episode!
Mar 28 · 127
If I were Newland Archer
Sharon Talbot Mar 28
If I were Newland Archer
What would I now do with my love?
Would I torment  her, ask impossible things,
Surrender to her irrational command
And let the others make my future plans?

Oh no! My beloved Ellen was wrong!
To think that I could stay the course,
That marriage could end like a closing door,
And leave the future in May’s serpentine hands.

This time, if such a chance were given me,
What would I do to make safe our love?
I would give up all I had thought so dear,
My frivolous books, effete pursuits, so she could be near.

I was unworthy, the first time, I know.
I consented to her feeling that I must go.
But now I would re-arrange my life, dare any disdain
Just to kiss her wrist in unfounded faith.

Would I again leave my Love if told to choose?
No! I was weak before, thinking that I had no chance.
Yes, oh, yes! How could I ever bear to lose
My Ellen and our enchanted dance?

I know I have wronged those who trusted me,
But don’t blame the unwitting authoress of my woe!
For it was my own frailty that blinded me,
My disregard for those things that
Any man with a heart should know.

I see now that if to May’s wish I did not bend,
She would see my surrender was great to me but small to her,
She would find another, as resolute women do under duress.
And instead of a false life, Ellen, I could be alive with you!


Written if Newland Archer (of the novel "Age of Innocence") had listened to no one and abandoned not only the wife who shanghaied him into domestic servitude, but his own priggish insistence on doing the “right” thing for the wrong reasons.

Semi-finished, June 19, 2011

Sharon Talbot
Mar 26 · 270
Sharon Talbot Mar 26
The first one happened in the dark,
On an awkward bed in too much haste;
It was not really what I wanted,
Not a meal but just a taste.
The second and third were foggy at best,
A handsome face or long, blond hair,
The connections, sweat and smooth chest,
But the memories are still fair.
The fourth one kept hailing me
And I almost saw him there,
But his pursuit was like a drug
Too flattering sweet to miss;
Unknowing pain dispelled with a winter kiss.

Other trysts would follow:
In an empty room, on a stripped-down bed,
In a forest that covered a hill,
Inside a corner room,
With nights in white
Cotton and you missing still,
While floating snow fell.
I saw your face out in the storm.
No one there to keep you warm.

A summer lad was tall and fair,
His arrogance disguised as a dare,
Flaunting traits you wish weren’t there,
But a bacchanal makes up for OCD.
Until his obsession is directed at me.
Imagine Apollo in a haze of J.D.!

He took me home (unsuspecting) in his car,
Across the Valley, but it wasn’t far
Enough for me to endure his howls
About my lack of even temper
When he inspected other girls.
I stopped his rant and smashed a car door.
Yet he called the next morning,
Insanely wanting more.
And I told him that:
If a ten ton truck had crashed
Into his tin VW and we were mashed,
I couldn’t think of a worse way to die,
Than to be pinned there by his side!

So to you and all the others I bemoan:
Don’t take me back to your home.
I have no use for your romance,
I don’t need your wants,
And you don’t want what I need.
There’s a bed of my own where I prefer to sleep
And in the sunrise I will keep
A sweet liaison with coffee and birdsong,
Of synthesized music all morning long.
With a new gold dream beside me.
And summertime inside me.
There is a light and it never goes out;
Those who don’t see it have been shown out.
Mar 3 · 170
Age Cannot Wither
Custom cannot wither, nor age enslave
My infinite array of memories.
I came of age upon a wave
Of ideals that anchored
Changes and elders outraged,
Appalling them into rage.
They often responded
With violence, yet we endured.
Even when comrades were shot down,
And protesters run to ground,
The promise of a new world grew in secret,
In the impromptu families in hill towns,
Or the remnants of Haight-Ashbury
And the minds of Lost Boys and Girls unbound,
In the survivors of Kent and Jackson State;
Our dream died not but elected to wait,
And In the choices of all
Not to succumb to servility
Nor women to proscribed maternity.
Equality stayed the rule instead of resignation.
Now, age has slowed but not stopped us
And we reach out across the air,
Teaching young ones, as passionate as we,
To distrust despots, ever serve the cause of liberty.
Sharon Talbot Feb 12
A prim, lavender skirt and a napkin on it,
Tells me this is serious, and I mustn’t
Rain upon it, not say what I think,
And much less what I feel.
You have found a lover
And she isn’t me,
I wish I was an eel
That could glide away
Into the primordial sea.

On second thought, it makes me
Wish that we had never met,
That I’d never looked at you and loved,
Or at least never brought you home.
It was there that it all began;
I assumed your were mine alone,
And now I am empty man.

Oh, my love,
For the first time in my life!
You did this to me,
Without knowing, charmed me
Until I was undone.
But accidents will happen;
It was only hit and run;
Such investigative fun!
Don’t tell the other one I feel this way.

On second thought let him…..
Follow me into danger
Since a gamble is good as a rest,
Or the off chance I’ll get shot.
After all, this admirer’s the best
Of a mediocre lot.

But he knows about me, I’m sure.
He’s gets so little reward,
But takes credit for what I do
And hangs upon my every word.
He listens to me in the dead of night
As you used to do.
It’s comforting that he’s not you.

-Unfinished Lament
Jan 20 · 391
Little Slivers
Sharon Talbot Jan 20
Time slips backward over little slivers
Of love and broken lives,
Gathering them up, using the soft mess
Of once-blessed feeling mixed with
Grand passion,
Until it knits together the pieces of
Hate and love like a potion:
Unseemly, neither black nor white...
And we refuse to see it.

Time rolls forward as we ignore it,
Over hurt as well as joy,
For we have taught ourselves to lie,
To say that nothing matters in
The “grand scheme of things”...
And so our life passes us by.

Until, one day, we discover
We are alone even as we stand
Beside those we love.
And we know them not.
Where love resides,
There loathing and resentment
Peek from amidst the ruinous
Muddle, which we created,
Simply unaware.

We two may stare into each others’ eyes,
As if two strangers,
Wary of false hopes and lies.
Stale passion bonded to forgotten vows
Leave us helpless, caught in a patterned
Web of half-truths and hidden threat.

Soon we are reduced to stiff civility,
“Sly apologies and polite regrets”.
Love dies more slowly than the ability
To end the dance or forget.
We settle in, like corpses in a crypt,
To the slow departure of ourselves.

As the mind rises up above the scene,
We take it in, gawkers on a highway,
Aghast yet unable to refrain
From still more self-flagellation.
Another empty day drags by
And in our lonely, separate prisons…we stay.

Rediscovered on January 20, 2019
Thankfully, I'm in a much better place than least for the present, which is all anyone can really say...
Sharon Talbot Jan 20
Perhaps his duality would always be
For had he not been made this way
by genetic chance?
A hulking man with gardener's shirt
and biker's leather pants?
He might speed along a coastal highway,
Wind in his greasy hair,
Unchopped Harley shivering,
Eyes watering from the wind,
or was it because of sheer depth of soul?
As he peeled along, avoiding fatal curves,
Did his thoughts of roses blooming
keep him from launching himself
into the fog?
Were the droplets on his face,
full of salt from the sea,
the same as those he saw
in the morning dew on his flowers?
He was a not a Hunter Thompson,
who might return home to drink and write
reams of rage against the foul Effendi,
who beset him at night
after descending from their mansions.
Yet he too needed respite and beauty,
an Owl Farm in his mind,
Or a hotel on Sunset Boulevard,
Safe under the canopy, among the palms,
His security, not a typewriter
but a garden of perfect roses
that he would tend and breed,
Keeping beauty alive to feed
His hidden desire for peace and order.
Like an old man in the country,
The “rose rustler”he played
Lived in a little house,
His unassuming paradise,
with a cat, as secretive as him,
a lone goldfish in a bowl,
who looked out each day on
manicured paths and brick walls,
worthy of any English manor,
with acres of flowers,
dozens of colors...
but every single one a rose.
This whole thing sprang out of a title from a photo site, combined with an excellent book I read, "Freak Kingdom", by Timothy Denevi, about Hunter Thompson's "Ten years of fighting against American Fascism". If you read this, it would help to listen to Elvis Costello's "Brilliant Mistake" simultaneously!
Sharon Talbot Jan 19
Half a mile downstream from the crumbling bridge,
The river began to break up too,
Into washouts and rock-bound pools.

Aged promontories, sandy shores, from
Primeval rivers, compressed by time
From granite, stood sentinel over the rush.
Against these broke hurtling, grey-green waves,
Spitting high in defiance at the rocks’ impasse,
Slowing but briefly, swirling angrily
On their way back to the waiting sea.

Upon a high outcrop, I took up my post
Rod in hand, watching the helpless worm
On his way to death, by whatever claimed him first.
I had not put him there, being squeamish,
“Mindless flesh,” a poet friend had dubbed them.
Still, my companions rigged him on the hook,
In exchange for keeping their joints burning.
Not smoking, I thought, but taking puff after puff,
As my bait was laid on the rack for sacrifice.

We scattered after all our poles were baited,
Claiming ancient pools and all inside them as our own.
I stood highest, near the fiercest waters that shook the rock,
Braced in the March air against the icy spray.
I was there, I told myself, because two men
Needed to catch a fish and prove themselves.
Yet they faded like ghosts into the gloam of evenfall,
As absorption overtook me, and I began to care.
Cast after cast into the roiling waters
Just where the waterfall fumed and broke.

Soon, it was only my goal, and nothing else,
To wage an age-old war against a artful foe.
Each strike brought me hope and each loss determination
Not anger but resolve to outwit them at a game
Invented eons ago by humankind,
And learned by trout to save themselves.
What happened after was of no concern to me,
But let me catch them for the sake of having it be.
The contest alone was all to me, it seemed,
Yet winning the only outcome I could see.

I had pulled three young trout from the churning water,
Energized despite their mediocre size,
When there came a tug just beneath my perch that taunted,
Promising the battle I craved.
So I cast the remnants of my sacrificial bait
Upstream, where currents swept it beneath my feet,
And there he was! No doubt the oldest trout in the hills,
Lingering below me to tease my newfound lust.
I set the hook well, so I thought, and reeled him high,
Fifteen inches long and heavy as he twisted in mid-air.
He thrashed like a madman above the rock,
Just beyond my reach,
--Then was gone…

When all was over, I had three fingerlings, not much,
While my helpful companions had none for all their work.
I told them not to fret, that it was merely luck,
But I knew better. When they asked me what I did
To catch the few, wee fish who now sizzled in the pan,
I answered haltingly, already memories fading of my quest,
Finally telling my rivals that I knew not why
Capturing a fish meant so much on that day.
“I do,” said one with a laugh.” I asked “Why?”
“It’s easy to explain,” he said…”you were high!”

Sharon Talbot
Based on a true story from long ago.
Jan 3 · 187
Leaving You for Now...
What is our maker, why does it put us here to die
What is Life if it must end,
What of our sense of beauty,
Of mesmeric minster air?
Or the way light bends on a summer afternoon,
The way the mourning dove croons,
If it must be taken all away,
When some of us must go and some of us to stay?

What is the love we feel,
For one another—deep, fearsome and real?
Why put it there for us to overcome,
Since the tension of love is not for some.
Or why take it into our hearts,
Only to wrench and stab us as we part?

Especially those who love only a few?
They open themselves to one or two—
Pour every part of their being into one soul,
Ignoring those who can't make us whole,
If only to watch it drain, or disappear as they depart?
Taking with them all our mind and heart?

Why do we expect an explanation
Of this cruel phenomenon,
The findings, trials and accommodation
That we build our lives upon?

And yet, with hope, however weak,
Stanching up our wavering hearts,
We tell ourselves we’ve found what we seek,
Something deeper than knowledge or art,
Until we are torn apart.

No religion can explain it.
Psychology tries and fails to name it.
We are creatures of mist and desire,
Of logic and deliberation,
Whose desperate brains whisper “Find a cure!”
And we wait only to have experts demur.

But deep within our harrowed souls,
We know that, for only a few,
Does this equation work,
And for the rest of us, it pales.
We plummet toward the hangman’s ****
And yet thank him for his gruesome work.

For our few bittersweet tales of life,
And that relief we feel comes at last,
Though we’ve no reason to believe it so.
We merely seek an end to the heartrending past,
Even if it just marks us as life slows.
And watches us as we go.

Does anyone care what happens to the lonely,
Or especially the aggrieved?
I doubt they do; they care about only
Themselves, their desires and taking leave.
Then they swiftly exit, and discard us—the bereaved.

Sharon Talbot
August 11, 2015
Thoughts about impending death.
Dec 2018 · 358
By the way...
Sharon Talbot Dec 2018
Live blog: Romney and Stanton vie for Iowa win.
Dead heat in the dead of winter
What do the Iowa results really mean?
That Romney's less of a robot than he seems?

Oh, by the way: replacing a bulb, can save you 50 dollars or more!
But it'll cost you ten times as much, at your hardware store.
Starbuck's hikes prices despite the lull,
People stupidly betting on Powerball,
Selma Hayek's trending, y'all!
(We don't know why).

But what's all that compared to shootings?
Soldiers flying and not being sniffed,
Suspects nabbed in Utah killings,
And GOP runners had another tiff.

Personally, I'm more fascinated,
In the Aussie hybrid sharks!
This might mean global warming's overrated,
Or that animals are way smart.

Mideast peace-talks stalled, I read.
Have I not read this before?
Oh, yeah, back in 1972.
When psychos killed athletic Jews,
Who might win
And Olympic village was off view,
While the Israelis dragged people in.

That year, Nixon was re-elected
And we thought we'd never see worse,
Yet now the nation is infected
With a yellow-haired, inhuman curse.
Blog goes to sleep...

Begun long ago and finished in 2018
I was just fiddling around angrily during the 2nd Bush election and later, kept adding to this. You can tell who the latest victim of my ire is!
Dec 2018 · 155
Knock on Any Door
Sharon Talbot Dec 2018
Knock on any door
And you may hear the cries
Of children, deep within a house,
Whose parents smile at you
With that eroded grin we all know
Like the stony leer of a gargoyle.
And yet you can do nothing.
Not yet…

Visit any friend at their house
And hear the silent pleas
Of a wife and mother
Who endures the fear and pain
For reasons the mystify us.
At least now.

Walk the floor of any factory or boardroom
And you will see the man who bows to his master
While, at home, he treats his family as slaves.

Visit the mansion of any president,
Minister or king
And you may see the ragged masses
Of those who built the walls yet have no home,
Who work the farms and have no food,
Who tend a country and are refugees.

Thus, in the cry of any child,
The fear in a mother’s face or
Silent rage in a worker-slave
Or immigrant dispossessed
And you will see the tyrants who rule,
The fathers who strike and bosses who fire,

Yet all of these serve one master
With many names:
Primeval rank and…

To this power,
There is only one answer
And to alleviate the suffering,
of those oppressed,
Only one thing.
The title comes from a film about an idealistic man trying to help youthful offenders in the 1950's. He sees the larger picture: these troubles arise not in a vacuum but as a result of a corrupt and broken society. I say that civilization itself fits this description when we ask why people suffer.
Dec 2018 · 263
The Wall and the Rose
Sharon Talbot Dec 2018
The secret of love,
Of remaining together...
Is not what everyone supposes.
It is not always the bringing of gifts,
The candlelight dinners
Or bouquets of roses.
After the bloom is off
these loving flowers,
Irritations and troubles arise.
There are clashes
Over little things.
And lovers forget
The vows they made so easily,
Violating them with anger.
Old resentments from the past
Rise up to poison with enmity,
The nearness that will not last.
Those with wisdom shun these fights,
The sad agony of lonely nights,
Lying awake and wondering
If love still exists, or if one matters,
To the other, if one cares at all.
Over time, self-protection grows,
And the lover builds a rancorous wall
Where weeds choke sunlight from the rose
And the other cannot hurt you.
But the play still goes on,
Like a song that still repeats,
Over and over unnoticed.
And a pantomime of caring
Begins to form, with hollow smiles
And half-hearted promises.
The Rose now lists against the wall,
Pale and tamed, like a common plant,
A vegetable in a kitchen garden.
And lovers expect passion
From a dreary fruit like this?
But once in a thousand times,
Deep roots that began long ago,
Giving rise to the first flower of love,
Last beyond boredom, thirst and drought.
Thorns pierce their hearts through the wall,
Bringing tears of surprise and recall.
The lovers find after the rain:
They have what they have sought.
And that which they sought is all.

Summer 2018
Dec 2018 · 138
A Fine, Stout Love
Sharon Talbot Dec 2018
If the food of love be poetry or not,
I only judge half our love
Yet, lest the happiness be forgot.

For every time you made me cry,
It was cancelled out by joy.
And after all, love continues to try.

To resurrect what we had before,
In a gilded autumn ignored; seeming lost
Yet love keeps tapping at the door.

If we could have one glimpse of the past,
Or wander in that magic wood again,
Would the memories let us pass

Into a locked garden and through the door
To open a trunk filled with gold,
And fill our hearts once more?

December 4, 2018
This was started as an answer to Lizzie Bennet's sour analysis of love in Pride and Prejudice...but it evolved, as these usually do.
Dec 2018 · 248
Old Uncle Harold
Sharon Talbot Dec 2018
Old Harold lived on the second floor
In a darkened room with an old locked door.
My cousins and I used to tease him there,
And he’d chase us out, give us a scare.
I didn’t know exactly who  he was,
“He’s a mean old man,” said my favorite cos’.
“Grandma let him live here after Grandpa died.
She doesn’t even like him and we don’t know why.”
When he was out we would take a peek.
Around the ocher walls and his bed we’d sneak.
There was nothing but an iron bunk
And a glass-front chest filled with lots of junk.
One day Old Harold must have complained
About our pestering…we really were pains!
But no parent’s lecture could keep us away.
And Grandma’s yelling at him not to stay.

Old Uncle Harold disappeared for years.
We would make up stories for littler ears.
But one day my father had news of him.
He lived with “a harlot” and his checks she’d skim.
I was old enough to know what it meant
And asked Dad why uncle Harold seemed bent.
“He was gassed in the War in a field at Verdun.”
Dad told me in a tone that left me stunned;
“And was then sent around to pick up the dead.
With the gas and the horror, his mind just went.”

Now I recalled all the times we had teased
And agonized him when we should have pleased.
But now it was too late to apologize,
He was so lost, he wouldn’t recognize
His grown tormentors, when he hardly
Knew my father, the kindly mentor,
Who visited him every week,
Who paid for anything to make him last,
And reminded him of better times past;
Telling him of the time he caught a butterfly
And brought it to show the girls and guys.
How he wanted to let it fly away,
But when the boys had killed it anyway.
He cried and was called a coward then,
And as my father spoke and wept again.

Old Uncle Harold died alone
In a sterile, cold-floored nursing home.
None but Dad came to grieve
And I, only an hour away, shunned
the feeling and just felt numb,
Until Dad called and told me the story
Of Harold’s death and only then
Could I say, “I’m sorry!” to his ghost.
I should have said it long ago; the one who
Maddened him least repented the most.
If I could say “Sorry” for the times we made him shout.
I realised he’d just have yelled, “Get the hell out!”
This is about my great uncle, a casualty of WWI, who was the "bogeyman" of my youth and then the sad story of a forgotten veteran.
Nov 2018 · 400
Age and Grace
Sharon Talbot Nov 2018
Her steps were always slow;
Even in youth she swayed,
Walked with sultry composure
And seductive flow.

Like a heathen goddess,
She tempers movement with grace.
It was not done out of vanity,
But pleasure in the flowing stream of steps
That mark her pace.

The relaxed fulcrum of her hip
Tilts with undulations in the turf;
Her feet tread lightly with a claim
On the summer fields,
On the bending trees
Where beauty still abounds..

She savors the trailing of her skirt
Through unseen paths in drooping grass.
Until the evening mist accrues
From out the forest paths
Caressing her as she yields,
Until she and it are almost one.
Like Whistler’s “breath on a pane of glass”,
She bargains with nature,
Waning to become an aesthetic phantom.

She stops at a window and watches
With a sad smile, the warm light on life,
The laughter, talk and dancing grace
Of her children, who don’t yet know
The bittersweet taste of withered garlands.
Yet she accepts and passes into the dusk.

Now she executes a careful,
Battement fondu as her hands dip
To reach the soaking pods
Of next year’s summer flowers.
Every move must be planned,
To manage every hour.
For they are as precious now,
As her own days,
Fading into glory and reborn,
Into spring and youth’s careless riot.
Inspired in part by the opening scenes of Vanessa Redgrave in "Howard's End". Addendum: To get even more of the "feel" I had when writing this, try listening to Percy Grainger's "Bridal Lullaby", which plays during this scene:
Nov 2018 · 198
The Desert and Johnny Depp
Sharon Talbot Nov 2018
He drives into the desert in a Toronado,
Dust in his eyes from the open window,
Sun on the burned skin and black mascara
That augments his vivid gaze.
Black orbs that stare at the burning sand,
His mouth is defiant and morose,
He turns off the path into the sage and saguaro.
The car is like a black beetle on a carpet of tan.
He lifts a shovel from the trunk, looking crazed.
Digs a shallow grave in the sand,
He rips a talisman from his neck
And declares he is looking for something
Unclear and he slurs a chant.
“Something is coming”, he seems to say.
He buries the necklace and drives away.
Will he come back for it or leave it
for the spirits of the desert?
No, he will come for it every day
Bury it again and again
Until the spell wears down,
The perfumed season is done,
Or perhaps the spring floods
Wash it all away.
Based on a silly advert for perfume, with Johnny as a superstitious rebel! I had to make a "story" of it, just for laughs.
Oct 2018 · 949
Men With Weak Hearts
Sharon Talbot Oct 2018
Men with weak hearts
Can still love and love well,
Often better than the rest.
That strength is betrayed in
The ability to shed tears
Where other men shed blood.
They may write poems, music,
Or paint—it does not matter if
These are masterpieces or daubs,
Forgotten pieces of passion
Someday only recalled by those
Who loved the artist as well as the man.
Their power to change lives is not
In their expression, but devotion
To the people around them.
When artists, leaders and philosophers
Are forgotten too, these men are
Remembered for their power to feel
What others do not.
To them, beauty is ever-present
And love persists in the face of
Neglect, hardship and pain.
They can gaze at a field of flowers
And feel far more than most men who
Write a symphony.
They can look at the morning sun
And love it each day, for their
Days, they know, are uncertain,
As are day lilies who flame and die.
And yet they never complain,
For they are loved as others
Are not, by wives, children and friends.
To them, one piece of daylight is a gift,
While, to the grasping, selfish and bitter,
A century is not enough.
The weak-hearted protect even as they need protection.
And they labour, since the ones they love
Are weaker, even than they.
And deep in the night,
As their own hearts tremble,
They may awake and watch
To be sure that she still breathes
And that their children are safe
Even from bad dreams.
Though not faultless, those they love
Can always be sure of them.
They would sacrifice themselves
Just to know their families will thrive.
And the sacrifice may last
A lifetime and the weak heart
Becomes weaker.
Yet in the end and after,
They are immortal;
Living on in others’ hearts
Dedicated to those whose hearts make them strong.
Oct 2018 · 132
This is All
Sharon Talbot Oct 2018
Some days hang in the sky like gems
Or encase me inside, quite still.
Above, the light is crystalline
And on the horizon, filtered soft
I sit, like Scheherazade and gaze
At the oscillating leaves
And wandering clouds,
Letting them create a hum inside me.
Senses turn to water and slide down
Beneath my skull, draining tension
And even careful thought,
Until all that’s left is the mind,
The vibrating Paradis,
The enclosed garden of antiquity,
Yet boundless tending of awareness
That is unaware,
And the long, slow drift of Life.

I could stop there
But near-****** sensations
Through all my nerves and skin
Lead me on,
As if sinking down into a pool,
Inside a liquid chalice of energy.
Eyelids half-closed,
Viscera descending
As the being relaxes.
Limbs flex and let energy flow
Until there is no barrier
Between myself and the earth.
Like Prufrock, I come to rest,
Not ragged claws but a thoughtless droplet
Or ancient sea lily that waves
And, we have seen, walks daintily
On tip-toes across the sea floor!
In the currents I send out tendrils
Of light and vague curiosity,
The only human thing left,
As it once was, before consciousness
Trespassed, before anything was named,
Before judgment was passed.
It is mind without thought:
The brilliant void that changes not
From sunrise to sunset.
I could remain like this forever,
Simply being;
All is a luxury of torpor,
Serenity and certainty.
And if one psyche plaintively asked,
If this is all,
I should reply that for these
Several moments,
“This is just what I mean,
this is all.”
I was challenged to write a poem about laziness, but then I kept coming back to its real feat: conquering boredom. This then leads to a Zen-like state, a sort of hypnosis--my favorite drug.
Oct 2018 · 229
Coming Home
Sharon Talbot Oct 2018
Welcome to your first session
Of couples’ therapy.
Before we begin conversation,
I would like to share something with you.
New research has found that, in therapy,
A client’s motivation is the most important factor.
Here is one article about it. I have copies for you.
I devised an exercise to increase your motivation.
This is, motivation about what you want to have
…again, as a couple…what you used to have.
Though there are two of you, I will say "her"
in order to keep things flowing
and for other reasons we can discuss.
Please make your selves comfortable.
Relax your muscles, starting with your toes
And working your way up.
(Yes I know it’s funny…but it works)
Focus on your breathing—in and out.
Not big breaths, but calm, even, shallow breaths,
That create stillness. Drive away intruding thoughts
And focus on the present, on being relaxed.
Are you calm? Are you in the moment? Good!
Now…I want you to imagine an ordinary day.
Picture yourself coming home from work, or
Some other place. See the road as you drive.
You don’t judge it but merely notice it.
Look at the buildings and trees as you drive past them.
Is everything the same as always? Good.

It’s an ordinary day. A day in your life.
The sun is in the sky, the grass is green
And all is as it should be. You feel content.
Keep breathing. Relax if you have tensed up.
Now picture yourself arriving home.
What do you do? Where do you enter your house?
What do you say or do inside?
Now, imagine that there is no one answering your “Hello”.
What do you feel? Remember how you feel when
Your wife or husband said, “Hello” or “Hi” back to you,
Even if it was casual or not very loving.
You are home now and it seems there is no one there.
What do you feel? Are you worried? Angry? Suspicious?
What do you do next? Hang up your coat, put down your bags.
Maybe you have groceries and you go to the kitchen.
Take a deep breath and relax. It’s just like any other day,
You think.

Now imagine entering the kitchen  finding her there
Motionless on the floor. Do you find this bizarre?
What do you feel when you see her?
Imagine that you run to her, heart in your feet,
Maybe your head spinning and adrenaline
Is keeping you conscious.
Imagine reaching down,
Calling her name, shaking her
But she doesn’t move. What do you feel?
Her skin is gray, her lips blue.
You don’t even feel for a pulse because
You know…she is gone. It seems that
Time stretches out like a long road
With a fatal car wreck on it.
Now comes the sick whirling inside,
The lightheaded improbability,
Do you deny what you see, what you know:
She is gone, but you fight against it.
Would you call for help? Perhaps you
Reach out to family, to a daughter or son,
As if they will know more than you
About what to do.
What do you tell them?
They arrive and enter that same world
Of stunned, disbelieving chaos.

When paramedics and maybe police arrive,
They are businesslike, quick: they’ve seen this before.
They are of little help to you
Except to examine “the body”.
Are their questions ones you can’t answer
Without indescribable pain?
Or do you not hear them at all?
Take a moment to imagine what you feel.

And as they take the body away.
You may watch the woman you love
Being zipped up into a bag,
Of perhaps someone had the sense
To put you in a soft chair like a baby,
To guard you from that sight
And speak softly, knowing
That your mind is barely there..
As you sit there, perhaps sipping alcohol,
Or maybe taking a sedative.
Things happen around you.
Are you a paralyzed fish in
A glaucous aquarium?
Or do you rave against the unreality
Of this thing?

Perhaps more relatives or neighbors arrive and hover.
You watch them cry and maybe
You think they have the right to grieve
More than you, for this was their mother
Or daughter and in the chaos,
Your love for her is ignored by all
Except you.
What are you feeling now?
Do you watch the show
Vaguely, remembering
Instead the things you wanted to tell her
But never said,
The places you said you would go
But never went,
Or worse, the hurts you inflicted
But never healed?
Imagine what this would be like.
You might cry yourself to sleep this night,
Or lie there, still numb, saying over and over,
“This isn’t happening.”

Now imagine the funeral;
Are you dressed in black
And do you do what your family does
On these days?
Did you see her again and say good-bye?
Or did you have the casket closed,
So as not to look at her like that?
Perhaps she was cremated
And when you arrive
At the cemetery, there is just
A small, stone box, a pretty one,
Like the one she had for her jewelry.
And it all floods back:
A scene of her, sitting at a mirror,
Putting earrings on and combing her hair.

How does it feel to know that
You will never see her again
In this life?
You know what is next—
The solemn procession
The loved ones weeping
Or standing stone still
And little ones, confused.
The words are read out by
Someone—a religious leader
Or just a funeral director.
Does it matter? Do you listen?
Sometimes the funeral is hardest,
Or for some, the easiest part;
It is scripted and you can walk through
The rituals, the reading of expected prayers.

You are silent on the ride home,
Feeling strange in the comfort
Of a limousine—so foreign yet sterile.
You watch the others’ vacant faces to see
What they feel, hoping for a clue
About what to say.
But nothing comes. Not even after
You are home, looking at the unaccustomed crowd.
Why are they here, chatting, eating, getting drunk
When you just want to be alone?
People say things but you hear vague words
From another language that you've forgot.
Some people even laugh or giggle;
Do you want to slap them?
Or are you grateful for the distraction?

Finally, as the morning wears down into
A cold afternoon, the black-dressed figures
Start to disappear. Some just touch you,
While others wrap you in their arms
And you don’t know why.
Some family members mills around,
Fussing over details big and small.
Some are things that she used to do
And you ignored them. Now
You wish you had watched her
Put food away, or fold things—perhaps
You would even offer to help.
You would do anything now…
And you would give anything
To see her move, smile, even to herself.
You would smile at her and say, “I love you!”
for no reason.

Now listen to your own voice
Saying that you need her.
But that is all done.
Perhaps you spend a night
With someone in the house,
Who stays to watch you.
After all, you have put on a show
So they won’t worry too much.
And on the second day,
Nothing seems real.
You are not the type who talks
About anything deep.
Yet maybe you feel sick
And would talk if you could.
Do you keep thinking she will
Suddenly walk in?
This is very common.

Hours groan past, elongated.
Sometimes, throughout the day
There are shocks to your system,
Electric shocks of reality.
You see her body again,
Or the coffin, the stillness of death
That is incomprehensible.
Sunset comes like an anodyne,
You think...
Night will blanket the loss.
But when your loved one or your neighbor
Leaves at last.
You are not glad to be alone,
As you used to be, sometimes,
When the expectations
Of marriage annoyed you.
When to be alone was a relief.

And now that feeling is alien.
You want nothing more
Than to spend the evening with her,
Sitting together on the couch,
Watching a favorite show
Or talking of interesting things.
Yet even those ideas are painful now.
She is not here and never will be again.
Slowly, reality seeps in, like rain
Into the soil around a tree
Or the dirt on her grave…
You sink into the seat, melting
Under the weight of grief.
The house seems to echo with her
Voice and you keep thinking
She calls to you as she used.
And you hear yourself
Snap at her, annoyed,
As you so often were.
Why was that? You don’t know now.
You were selfish, distant…
So many times, but why?

If she were alive now,
What would you say or do,
To show her you love her?
There is a ticking clock somewhere
And you can’t remember its place.
The house echoes again,
Not with her voice,
But with the long, empty sound
Of despair.
This is an experiment, a session of guided imagery rather than a lecture.
Sep 2018 · 2.1k
Love in a Ghost Town
Sharon Talbot Sep 2018
At first the air seems too dry;
Then you see the mist --
A small town on the horizon;
You decide to ride on,
And give Father's headstone a last kiss.

You find yourself wondering why
Anyone would stay here.
Some of those who passed before
Left their mark on rotten doors
Memories strangely dear.

Love's a gamble in a ghostly town;
It could move you, swift or slow.
You unholster your heart,
Wonder when the shooting will start,
But you already know.

Dozens to go and only one down,
Riding through a town of slaughter,
You're both alive and dead,
Mute bullets whistle by your head:
Are you a killer or a daughter?

He was here once, before you knew
About the emptiness outside.
Still you followed him.
His face was harsh and grim.
And he told you to leave or hide.

Love that's cold, deadly and true
Is the easiest and hardest kind.
You can **** him or just love him;
You'll never know much else of him,
But he’ll never leave your mind.

Dawn bursts over the sharpest peak
And the town streets fill with gold;
It’s the only kind this place will ever see.
You know that soon, you and he
Will shoot each other or fold.

Yet, love in a ghost town always dies,
Killed before it can start.
Spanish ladies even now wear mourning veils
And the lovesick couples' faces pale
When you shoot each other through the heart.
Partly inspired by The Lady or Ellen of “The Quick and the Dead” and the violence of passion--especially that which happens internally.
Sep 2018 · 3.1k
Sharon Talbot Sep 2018

Mourning is an eerie thing,
Not always tied to death.
It may celebrate or sing,
May widen eyes or lighten breath,
May bring unexpected things.

Sometimes it is a wayward thief,
That steals among the tombs;
It can alter feelings, and twist beliefs,
Searching for less bitter rooms,
Yet it brings a strange relief.

The heart may not know it,
Nor the mind accept it,
But it may be for the best.
As it guides the sorrowful away from grief,
To a long and healing rest.
Re-reading this, I was reminded of some of the riddles in JRR Tolkien'ts "The Hobbit". I'm fairly sure these were based on the word-play of either Anglo-Saxon speech or Middle English, that Tolkien knew so well. Perhaps I worked some of this in unknowingly?
Sep 2018 · 14.1k
Age and Grace
Sharon Talbot Sep 2018
Age and Grace

Her steps were always slow;
Even in youth she swayed,
Walked with sultry composure
And seductive flow.

Like a heathen goddess,
She tempers movement with grace.
It was not done out of vanity,
But pleasure in the flowing stream of steps
That mark her pace.

The relaxed fulcrum of her hip
Tilts with undulations in the turf;
Her feet tread lightly with a claim
On the summer fields,
On the bending trees
Where beauty still abounds..

She savors the trailing of her skirt
Through unseen paths in drooping grass.
Until the evening mist accrues
From out the forest paths
Caressing her as she yields,
Until she and it are almost one.
Like Whistler’s “breath on a pane of glass”,
She bargains with nature,
Waning to become an aesthetic phantom.

She stops at a window and watches
With a sad smile, the warm light on life,
The laughter, talk and dancing grace
Of her children, who don’t yet know
The bittersweet taste of withered garlands.
Yet she accepts and passes into the dusk.

Now she executes a careful,
Battement fondu as her hands dip
To reach the soaking pods
Of next year’s summer flowers.
Every move must be planned,
To manage every hour.
For they are as precious now,
As her own days,
Fading into glory and reborn,
Into spring and youth’s careless riot.
Inspired in part by the opening scenes of Vanessa Redgrave in "Howard's End". Addendum: To get even more of the "feel" I had when writing this, try listening to Percy Grainger's "Bridal Lullaby", which plays during this scene:
Sep 2018 · 242
Into the Blue
Sharon Talbot Sep 2018
I wake up from a drugged sleep just at sunset.
It allowed me the luxury not to suppose
That I felt our love dying in the bright sun,
Your need fading with the oncoming dusk,
But could see myself resurrected in the rose:

That transient swath beneath the glow,
Just above the horizon.
It reminds me of times that were,
When I was myself and didn’t know you.
It is harder to remember than you know.

What a blessing to imagine I don’t care at all.
I’d forgotten how warming.
To breeze through the day in a comfortable way;
No more skating on glass, but letting them pass,
All the things that once were alarming.

Perhaps I’ll awake on some fresh morning,
Done now skirting the old and new
And you’ll come striding through the rising sun.
I’ll be myself again and you will be you
And we’ll go strolling as we once did, into the blue.

August 9, 2016
Sharon Talbot Sep 2018
If spirits can walk the earth after life ends,
Or even before, to soar in flights unhindered
By physics, let me dance then!
To reel, arms out, on a vivid green lawn
In a garden before a comfortable house,
Where lush flowers grow and summer reigns,
Touching rows of Constable trees that tower, emerald,
And violet-shadowed even at noon or painted
In twilight, soft before a rising moon.
I would skip over roads and find that field
That lies, protective, above the Connecticut,
Watching as it winds lazily northward.
Then, being sure that all is right,
That the corn is tall and full,
I would speed up to a rounded hill
Above a Victorian barn in Leyden,
Ten acres of rye grass for the cows.
I would stand at the summit and gaze
Far away, down the sleeping valley in its haze,
To the little towns and glittering in
The sun, my alma mater, towers
Of attempted wisdom, of spires and dreams.
Then I might then bathe in a little lake
Where I once romped with friends
After a wedding, **** and laughing
While puzzled farmers watched and leered.
As before I would flee to the river that wound
Down between the hills, splashing through
Pools in shade and sun, basking on smooth stone
Whose marbled veins glow in the canyon light,
Remnants of an ancient era, of pressure and time.
Then on I’d go, bounding from one hilltop to another,
Turning north from the cesium-laced Deerfield,
Passing Vermont’s border to stroll the streets
Of Brattleboro, Putney and Newfane.
I might find a canoe and glide up the West River,
Somehow floating above the rapids and dam,
To rest on the flat water as the sun sets,
Skimming lightly, watching the trout rise
To sip dancing insects or hear the splash
Of a bass as it flicks the surface with its tail.
And then I would sit with the ones I love,
Silently, breathing in the mist that rises
As the sun slips below the hills;
Sunset-colored, elliptical echoes
Catch the low swells like waving glass.
I would wait here until morning returns,
Not ready to leave this beauty or the world.
Reverie about the places I love.
Sep 2018 · 312
Gryllidae Antiphony
Sharon Talbot Sep 2018
The very end of August
Brings a stillness in the night,
When the many trills of midsummer
Are silenced and the fireflies gone out!
Lying stilly and listening, I hear
A solemn drone, like an old contralto,
Trying to warble but instead
Radiating an insistent hum
That thrums athwart the arid air,
Long fingers scraping a humming tanpura.
Even the full moon is dry,
Gazing down, matter-of-fact,
Through the dust-like mist.
Summer has given up,
Letting leaves and vines dry up,
Tinged with red and shriveled bronze.
I could walk in the garden now,
And not worry about slugs on
The dried stalks of lilies.
The robust asters offer little
Temptation to garden  pests
And strapping thistles seem to stand guard.
Is the balance between my will
Over the garden and its desire
To overflow and bloom beyond me,
Now achieved yet unwanted?
Yes…I prefer the lushness that comes
After the rains, with an untamed riot
Of color and green, the celebration
That happens on its own, heedless
Of my wishes; yet I revel in it
Every time it wins
And will wait a year
For this to emerge again.
I originally titled this "Cricket's Song" but it didn't seem to match the mystery and majesty of their night songs. I hope the title doesn't seem too pretentious!
Aug 2018 · 263
Late in the Day
Sharon Talbot Aug 2018
The faded beauty,
a desiccated blush
Still seen by you and me
was evidence of
a scarlet flush.

But the season is over
And the mating done.
Splendor still hovers
Until the two are one.

But who are we to stand and gawk,
Though they rest in shade and know us not?

Their hour is spent in the maiden sun,
And we arrive after the race is won.

Stoop low to gather useless information
about magnetism and procreation.
We are nothing more than nature's shields
And the guardians of whatever she yields.
Aug 2018 · 1.5k
Sharon Talbot Aug 2018
Fingerprints and fibers,
Accumulated talk,
Whispers in the corners,
Bodies demarcated in chalk
On the marble courtroom stairs.
His misery became a pall.
With mourning signs in splattered pairs,
Red flowers on the wall.

All that he had left behind was grief
And powerless rage,
A Tansu chest in high relief,
A coiled brass clock fatigued with age.

Retreating to a white house in Simrishamn,
He’d walk his dog along the shore,
Find sterile clues amongst the sands,
And travel a ferry between two lands.

And now: An experiment! Blame Google Translate for this weird (?) Swedish translation: Please tell me if this is a bad translation!

Fingeravtryck och fibrer,
Ackumulerat samtal,
Viskar i hörnen,
Kroppar avgränsad i krita
På marmor rättssal trappor.
Hans elände blev en pall.
Med sorgsignaler i splatterade par,
Röda blommor på väggen.

Allt som han hade lämnat var sorg
Och maktlös raseri,
En Tansu bröst i hög lättnad,
En spolad mässingsklocka utmanad med åldern.

Att återvända till ett vitt hus i Simrishamn,
Han skulle gå sin hund längs stranden,
Hitta sterila ledtrådar bland sandarna,
Based on the show and novels of Henning Mankell, "Wallander", an existential, chronically depressed detective from Ystad, Sweden, is unable to leave his police work at the office. He alienates everyone and loses anyone who gets close. In the end, he is left burdened with Alzheimer's and tragic memories.

Och resa en färja mellan två länder.
Baserat på showen och romanen Henning Mankell, "Wallander", kan en existentiell kronisk deprimerad detektiv från Ystad, Sverige, inte lämna sitt polisarbete på kontoret. Han alieniserar alla och förlorar den som kommer nära. Till sist lämnas han av Alzheimers och tragiska minnen.
Aug 2018 · 344
Insomniac's Collage
Sharon Talbot Aug 2018
Green night in the middle of the day…
Fire rising to ****** the moon,
Uncle Sam’s praying in my room
And the 8-ball will not say

Why a woman holds a gun
To her husband’s sleeping head;
Does she play or just wish him dead?
An armadillo’s included for fun.

Uncle Sam’s lost his hat in the fire
Maybe that’s why he’s praying.
Not for the country he should be saving
While we are conquered by liars.

I’ve tried to make sense of this before:
Masked fiddlers strum in the conflagration,
Dead books, butterflies and chimps run the nation,
…there is luggage on the floor.

Should I run from the scene,
Or stay and try to fight?
I can’t read my books in the deepening night
And there’s a skull waiting just to scream.

The man sleeps on with a gun at his head
And I see another skull by his side.
It must be a sign saying: “run and hide”.
But why can’t I do it?
There’s no way to get through it,
But I must wake up and fight or I’m dead.

June 1, 2006
This is from a popular group's album cover, reminding me of one of those Dadaistic nightmares you have during a fever...or the state of the nation just before The Crash.
Aug 2018 · 1.1k
Our Dog Howling at Sunset
Sharon Talbot Aug 2018
Our Dog Howling at Sunset

At sunset, the dog howls at sirens in town.
If he were snowbound in Talkeetna,
A hundred miles from nowhere,
What would he howl at instead?

I saw my husband trudging through the frost,
His blue jacket half-tinted orange and red,
“I don’t like the way you sound,” he said
As he left, deserting one who was already lost.

If I were a thousand miles from him now,
Listening to the wolves’ mournful cries,
And my beloved shunning me as he does now,
Would I pretend to believe my lover’s lies?

Or, instead, would it be enough to exist
Where the short summer dies on winter’s grist,
And true love’s a dream born on a dreamer’s mist,
And the one to stay with is the one you’ve just kissed?

If I lived in a land so cruel and hard,
Would I be bargaining with my soul?
If love’s short date were but a moon’s silver shard,
Would he be a passing thought, and my son the whole

Of any future we had scattered out on the snow,
Or caught in the rime-bound trees?
Would I see then what I already know—
That his future lies with himself and not me?

As our wolf howls a timeless wail to the air
I can listen and guess at its season.
I can comfort myself it will always be there,
Beyond human hopes, beyond reason.

Far wiser, the black-furred hound, than I,
To sing out his ancient song.
Waiting, watching, as we struggle and die,
Only to pass his wisdom along.

Waiting, hoping as he does for a touch,
He is made to think that he asks too much--
Waiting for a kind word or loving hand--
Wild and alone, in humanity’s bleak land.

A southern writer once lamented the lack
Of courage in humankind,
And suggested we borrow the strength we see
In the branches of an olive tree.

Yet there’s more courage in the dog-wolf’s cry,
Penned out on our city-cropped lawn,
As if he knows the grief of my son and I
When the man we both love is gone.

“Could we not as well” take a lesson from him,
Our wild and loyal friend?
To howl out our sorrow and loneliness,
Though the pain might never end?

Now, in the twilight I hear my lover return,
With no greeting to me, and I burn
For the summer’s newborn passion I recall.
The twilight wolf’s mourning tells it all:

That we never will have what we had before
That love can die just as well as it’s born,
That a child is the only one who restores
What is lost to the lonesome, the wolves, the forlorn.

July 6, 2001
A long-ago falling out and later mended.
Aug 2018 · 364
The War in Me
Sharon Talbot Aug 2018
I never knew until now,
Dear Dad, though
I listened to the stories you told,
Of War that re-ignited after the one supposed,
To end all wars, or so it was proclaimed.

You went abroad, your Varsity
Stalled, dreams put aside,
Long before I was born,
Before you met my mother or I was named.

Instead, you wanted to fly,
High above the Bay of Bengal
And the Andaman Sea,
Above the carnage, or so you said.
And that must have seemed a way to save
That sanity
You needed to take you through,
To come back and marry a beloved girl.

I watch the newsreels now,
They are old, with time and victory ingrained.

I can see you flying that high,
Himalayan peaks shining in your eyes,
Cold death above and horror below.
You told me stories, I recall,
Too young for me to imagine.
Now too old for me to hear them all.

You never piloted again
Except in your nightmares.
On a road between moon and sun
In your own history you flew
The infamous, undying path
Of The Burma Run.
My father, an Army Air Force Captain, put off college and piloted cargo planes over "The ****", on the Burma Run from India to China. He wasn't prone to tell stories, yet sometimes he would talk about his flights, the wonder and danger of them, being fired at, watching his friends' planes crash into mountains and land in a war zone. He was proud of his service, yet damaged by it, as is so often the case.
Aug 2018 · 376
Last Day of May
Sharon Talbot Aug 2018
Rampant, errant fog
Along a river’s shore,
Once caressing silt and log,
But it vanished just before

The stolen, wayward plumes
Along the glistening sand,
Kissed and missed the ground,
Then fled into a different land.

Mist surrendered fast,
Beneath spears of lowering light,
And silver swords that fight,
Shivering silver into glass.
And Dawn lay down at last.
Driving over a bridge one morning, I saw along the small river, sunbeams shifting through trees along the bank, filtering through rising mist. It was magical!
Aug 2018 · 439
Lily’s Dream
Sharon Talbot Aug 2018
I will not leave anything
So mean as a promise to you.
Nor with trifles, stand trembling
And suffer penance
Below your bastion box.

But I am now hard-put
And sweet meats the dearer to me for it.

The lamps in the parlour are doused;
She has emptied them of gas--
Critical, unforgiving crone!
And left me alone in the house.
Does she mean this be for good?

She has called me “disgraced”
And thinks that her going
Will “purge this taint”
From my soul.
But I shall go on as I have,
Doing the right things
At the wrong time,
As is my genius,
Until the chloral takes me,
You forgive me,
Or night falls.
This is the revised version of an original dream-poem, almost waking, about Lily Bart, heroine of Edith Wharton's House of Mirth
Aug 2018 · 266
Sharon Talbot Aug 2018
Kalanchoë, finally you bloom!
Welcome little foreigner,
To the corner of my room.
With frangipani flame
And crocus-gold effulgent.
Strains past succulent skin
Joyous, ebullient!
Though your petals grow
Just to hold it in,
Fiery blood escapes
Past watery blocks of ester-swell
And you exult with me
In a wintry cell.
Dedicated to the first bloom of a pretty plant that feared might never bloom, which finally treated me to one blossom in winter.
Aug 2018 · 365
All Children Pass
Sharon Talbot Aug 2018
They make their way surely through a jungle,
Helped by you, the progenitor not just of youth
But of their passing off into a mist.

You will not see it coming, though you will feel it.
You will not be told the date of departure
And it will descend upon you like a frontal storm.

They will have unseemly goals, toward which they strive,
And you will see mistakes but can say nothing.
And if you dare speak, will not be heard.

So they, like mariners of old, venture onto fog-bound seas,
With half-built ships and dreams of gold
That outweigh whatever you might say.

Yet sometime, on the least expected day
They will return to the same land as you,
Hesitant to speak about what they’ve learned.

And many things that they say and do
(Embarrassed versions of you),
Trouble them with a newfound weight
Carrying experience through a gate
And you say, “Stay a while.”

For you can never knew if they only rest,
On their trip to further lands.
Or, without knowing, intend to bide,
And someday cease to roam.
All you can do is hold out your hand
And tell them, “Welcome home.”
Written for our son's birthday, 2015
Aug 2018 · 219
Waiting in Barbados
Sharon Talbot Aug 2018
Waiting in Barbados,
For him to come to his senses.
The heat makes fools of us all,
Save for those used to its
Fiery caress,
Not much cooled
By the lukewarm sea.

Under the palm trees I can wait,
An eternity it seems,
Sipping *** straight from the bottle
Refusing the beads and conch shells
From the beach boys
By the turquoise sea.

Only when the sun sets, quick, surprising,
Its luminous frangipani
Red, thrown down from peach-colored clouds
And night falls soft.
Music from old Bridgetown,
I can go out and forget.

Then I dance to familiar, foreign beats,
Offered to the passing ear,
Pulling me further away from the northern frost
I begin to lose perception,
The moon and stars realign,
Washing away care for possible pasts.

But, waking up on the cooling sand,
Full moon, like an old woman scolding,
Silver-crowned waves roll in,
Irreverent, laughing at me
And I see I am such a stranger
To the land,
To the absence of him.

One last swim in the sand-bottomed pool,
Beneath the cliff, walls sheltering,
Limpid water caressing and
Crystal sun trying to blind me.
I must arise before I forget,
Leave here before it claims me
And rush back home to wait.

September 22, 2002
This is about the very beginnings of a relationship, being drawn to someone, knowing you must have them, but feeling the fear of rejection or failure. It also means that going far away is not enough to escape the pull of that person, of one's desire for them.
Aug 2018 · 1.5k
Chained to Another
Sharon Talbot Aug 2018
Now that it’s over, or so you say,
I feel compelled to wait another day,
For you to cry, for you to miss me.
I have visions that you kiss me
And forget about how I hurt you
But even that aches; I still desert you,
On every single day.

You said you want me gone,
That all is lost and you’re alone.
Yet somewhere deep behind my shame,
I hear you whispering my name.
I tell you in absentia: “I never meant to hurt you.”
That I was deserting my old self and not you.
And yet I come back and you’re still gone.

Would it help if I said it was never about you?
Or does that hurt because it really was?
Would you understand that I didn’t yet deserve you?
Or does it feel too much like a stumbling pause
Between the beauty thing that was you and me
And the pull of a deserted house, a dangerous key?

I was sick and lost for so many years,
Drying my own sorrow with another’s tears.
The emptiness I felt inside was hidden,
Behind another’s hell.
I looked in the mirror to find myself
And saw a backward road on a path I knew too well.
Trying to escape—it was not love but addiction
That pulled me back to a tragic fiction.

And now I live in a no-man’s land.
I reach out in the night to grasp your hand,
Expecting to feel you there,
Imagining climbing up the stair
To reach you in the light,
As I used to do when things were right.
But now it’s over,
We’re nowhere now.
I’m sorry, so sorry my love!
I still will find you somehow.
I'm not sure what this was about, another quarrel with my husband, or imagining one in another couple.
Aug 2018 · 4.2k
Angelica Susannah
Sharon Talbot Aug 2018
“Angelica arguta”,
He shows her his wildflowers
“Angelica Susannah”, he says.
And prodded further by her
His heart.
Lingers briefly with the night;
Her affection has power,
But not enough
To keep him
From marching off to fight.

Tristan, son of One Stab,
Brings wildness from the mountains.
Lovely woman from the East,
Fascinated by her,
His passion.
Revels in her bridal bower,
And stops her
Loving any other.

Alfred, eldest son of his father,
Full of rectitude and romance.
Angelica abandoned,
Adrift between the mountains
Becalmed far from the sea.
He takes advantage,
Snatches her soul with riches,
But never captures
Her longing heart.

Years pass and one son gone,
The other lost and mad.
Year of the red grass and
Happiness found
Is felt too soon.
Tristan loves young Isabel,
But Angelica is his doom.

Yet only he survives
The waves that lash her shore,
“Like water in the ice,
She breaks them.”
And in the Spring,
Is gone once more.

Angelica Susannah is buried
Above the box canyon in the meadow
Among the many dead.
Near Samuel’s heart,
The executed Isabel,
And others who follow soon.
Until only Tristan remains,
Left to hunt his nemesis,
The bear inside him.
And dream of one wife lost,
And a lover left behind:
Angelica Susannah
Beside whom he should lie.

He is slain by the bear in Sixty-three,
After forty years of solitude.
And laid to rest in the plot
Between two women he loved,
Isabel, his ingenuous wife
And Susannah, his tragic love.
Do their spirits meet at last
And wander the golden fields,
Or ride out to bathe in the hot springs,
Under the moon of the falling leaves?
This is dedicated to the characters in the film "Legends of the Fall", about three brothers who fall in love with the same woman, Susannah, and all are destroyed or nearly destroyed by their love. It is not her fault, but Tristan seems cursed, since everyone he loves either dies or is deeply hurt in some way.
Aug 2018 · 468
Why I am so beat
Sharon Talbot Aug 2018
Why I am so Beat

Something about...the road, old shoes and sore feet,
motorcycles and wine,
greasy diners and last dimes,
half a stale Hoagie left to eat.
Man, that's
why I am so Beat.

Headed out west from town to town.
Dry-rot houses, faded signs,
Pioneers in rags, so behind the times.
This dead world keeps puttin’ me in a funk,
Pal, that’s why
I’d rather just stay drunk.

Girls and boys in every bar,
From Kansas to Colorado,
Hit me up for drinks and manila tar,
Trying sadly to feel what I do,
Man it’s hard;
That’s why I feel so scarred.

I came out west to find my soul
And saw emptiness instead.
Don’t ask me where I’m heading next,
Cause I don’t know.
I’m friggin hexed.
All I know is drive & drink & sleep;
Man, you know
That’s why I am so beat.

August 3, 2018
Inspired by a 50's series of pulp novels, *Why I am So Beat* Nolan Miller. I wanted to capture the same disillusion felt by Beat poets or travelers that the Hippies later felt.
Aug 2018 · 4.1k
Spring Day in February
Sharon Talbot Aug 2018
The frost is still there,
Throttling the rhododendron leaf,
And ice stalls the dissolve
Of the stone-like snow,
Yet I am happy.

The sun-rays are almost Etruscan,
Filtered low through lace and blind,
Like that ***** of sunset on Irene’s hair
Sad “couleur de feuille-morte”.
Yet it is sultry.

I can open a window
And breathe the warming air
Finches flock close, careless,
Now desperate for food
And pluck menescent fruit
Off an ice-bound branch.
In the distance, a cardinal sings.

Thick drapes are drawn aside
And geraniums strain toward the light.
In a nook outside the door,
An old cat basks on a corner of sun.
He yawns, seeing me, and strolls across the snow.

All nature seems to wait, but poised,
For the final unfettered token.
Will it be a sudden, favonian breeze?
Or the robin’s unrelenting noise?
Telling us, “Winter is broken”?
This is pretty obvious: it was one of those days in winter which seem so close to spring.
Sharon Talbot Jul 2018
I listened for an error but could not find
Anything to tell me that you'd erred.
The human voices were left behind
Among the dead, the long interred.
I wondered at the worry of a bard,
Whose penchant for making mosaics
Of dead and living shards,
Might wax a bit prosaic.

But 'tis nothing too commonplace for me!
I live in such a new land.
And look back where my roots might be,
Standing on a sunlit strand
And strain my eyes for thee.

And my ancestors who, distant, pass,
Clouded with poetry and pride.
The latter mean nothing, not even my last,
Grandparents who came here and tried.

Shoemakers, firemen and their wives,
Learned to dwell in a sprawling place.
But huddled like old Celts, converted, shrived,
As Saxon fires round them paced.

But all of that ended or so we thought,
One April day on a Lexington span,
Declared was freedom and dearly bought,
And a ****** new history began.

August 7, 2012
I was thinking about the ideals of some English colonists (and others) who thought that a revolution would change the New World into a paradise. We all know what happened, but the dream is still there...
Jul 2018 · 663
A Lady at Eighty-Five
Sharon Talbot Jul 2018
How do you tell if she’s a lady,
When she’s turning eighty five?
She doesn’t wear much jewelry
No furs or fancy styles.

She doesn’t play croquet,
But likes to root instead through dirt.
Her uniform’s a crumpled hat,
Old shoes and a muddy shirt.

You can find her on any sunny day,
Outside in all weather,
Stacking stone and hauling hay.
Collecting white stones & robin feathers.

But don’t dare swear or she’ll object!
Don’t watch **** TV or
She’ll tell you what to do instead:
“Rake some leaves or sweep this floor!”

She might strike you as old Rose Sayer,
Prim, proper and cold.
And to God each night she’ll say a prayer,
“Jesus please, don’t let me get old!”

Dedicated to Mom, Who Believes in Living Forever
Mom is 91 now and bed-ridden, sadly, but she had, as they say, a good innings, using most of it up on yard work which made her feel good (for some odd reason)...
Jul 2018 · 8.5k
Leaving St. Cloud
Sharon Talbot Jul 2018
Doctor Larch peers out the window,
Pulling aside brocaded curtains to hide
The grief that he will not show,
The rending emptiness he feels inside.

As his son Homer rides past the sunset,
Not knowing where he goes
But aspiring to see the wide world,
The ocean at Mount Desert,
Seeing wonder in the expanse
And worlds inside a circle of glass.

He has taken with him his heart,
A dark picture of frailty.
He finds unexpected work in an orchard,
Leisurely harvesting round, garnet jewels.
The nomads, dark and wary,
Ask him to read about death and stars.

There are rules for the workers.
And Homer finds that they apply
To no one, neither nomads or
Curious young men.
He sees in the errant father
The reflection of his own,
The man who made him good.
“You are my work of art”
He wrote.

Like an artist with his painting,
Who resists giving it away,
So Doctor Larch holds on to him
Hoping his adolescence ends
And he returns.
Finding peace at the last.

The lack of rules bring about a sea change,
Allowing forbidden love and pain.
He ventures out once more into the vacuum
Of conscience set free,
He devises his own rules about the womb
And how to help those in agony
But eventually…

With all the rules now open,
There is nothing left for him to do.
So he boards the migrant truck
Just as the pilot returns, broken.
He watches the struggle with a wheelchair
Sees his lover watch him with her yellow hair
Knows her future, years of sacrifice.
And he admits at last
That he has a purpose,

The train to St. Cloud huffs slowly away,
With Homer standing in the wet snow.
There is the old asylum,
The orphanage and home on the hill,
Almost black, with the sunset behind,
Homer begins the long climb.
He approaches slowly.

But then, a burst of laughter
And children from the door
Flock around him, dancing, shrieking,
Some holding him like an errant dog,
Who must be told to stay.
“Will you stay?” they ask.
“I think so,” he smiles in irony.
He is home at the last.
I wrote this while watching "The Cider House Rules", one of my favorite films. Homer realizes that his life on his own is not that much different than it was at St. Cloud, yet it's much emptier.
Jul 2018 · 483
Sharon Talbot Jul 2018
"A blue and gold mistake",
Wrote Emily from inside her room,
A self-inflicted tomb,
About a path she could not take,
Into the month of June.

Let others stroll beneath its cerulean sky
And thank the sward, on which they lie,
A lunging into voluptuous play,
Yet blinded to the rushing by
Of sultry month and jovial day.

Did the poet’s being kept apart
From worldly joys well-made,
Or from crystal pools and glaucous glades,
From brilliant sun that fashions shade,
Embitter her admiring heart
To look askance at anything that fades?

Did she not care that
One month, though doomed to end,
Was also made to reappear
After the long march of winter’s year
As the sun came round again,
To loose us from our unlocked pens?
This was inspired by Emily Dickinson's assessment of June as a mistake in her poem "These are the days when the birds come back". I imagined I was writing to her, perhaps reading it outside her window, trying to cheer her up a bit by reminding her that changing seasons are not all bad--that the month of June is not only joyous, but reappears.
Jul 2018 · 662
Luo, Ma & Mei
Sharon Talbot Jul 2018
We three met
Beneath the Eye In the Sky,
Above the green-blue lake.

You two were sent for a lesson;
I met you to escape.

Stories from long ago
And old films that you two know
Are shining new to me.

One of you loves me
And to the other
I made love.

But in teaching me your lessons,
(Balzac is our favourite!)
You have taught me not to love.

Let us lie here under the sky
Unwatched by others’ eyes,
Away from what you know.

One day you will accept this place,
But then, I will need to go.

Years from now, if you return,
You will still not find me.

Look for my name
On a candle-lit, paper boat,
In the twilight of
On the blue-green lake.
On the last day of Zhongyuanjie (Hungry Ghost Day), Many families float river lanterns on little boats in the evening. People make colorful lanterns out of wood and paper, and families write their ancestors’ name on the lanterns. The ghosts are believed to follow the floating river lanterns away. Mai’s name may be one one of the lanterns. Luo swims out into the lake to find her.
Jul 2018 · 1.6k
Sharon Talbot Jul 2018
Twilight washes the bedlinens blue
And striped with flickering light they seem to move
And beckon us to lie in their folds,
Drawing away our clothes,
Pushing some to the floor.
Who are we to resist,
As the pretty song of strings off-key,
Winding through the forest rain
Like a goddess shedding robes,
Manipulates our minds and skins,
Only appeased by the union of
Heaven and Earth, of you and I?
Let us oblige them with our bodies,
You descending like the rain upon me
And I rising to you as the urgent river in waves
Beneath you until we are One?
If only for a night, in the Indonesian dark,
The tinkling droplets on the roof,
The flickering fires, the clouded desires.
We will send our lust into the mist and air,
So that it knows us when we are done at last,
And in every night until the world ends.
This was probably inspired by a scene in the film "The Year of Living Dangerously", about two lovers caught in the overthrow of Sukarno in 1965, now known as a coup by British and probably American governments. Their liaison in the forest is a more basic acting out of the overthrow of tyranny...but of which tyrant?
Jul 2018 · 523
American Idiot Wind
Sharon Talbot Jul 2018
Dylan got it first, as he often did,
That American youth were ignorant kids,
Betrayed by the things our parents hid.
And we were insulted just a little bit
But we listened and took the plunge,
Determined to expunge
The poison and let out the Id.

It was up to us not heed the call up
And as one voice we stood up,
Saying, shouting NO!

Twenty or so legendary years for some;
While others sold out, we beat the drum.
Our peers oddly died around us but….
Even as we ‘felt those cold hands’ touch our skin,
As The Capitalists were closing in—
& Some of them were us…
We sounded the drum.

Later on some hippie-punks or is it the other way(?)
Sang about extraordinary girls & then took a fall.
Sometimes begged for Novocain
Which wouldn’t relieve psychic pain,
Like being Ramonely sedated in a concert hall.
Nobody knew what to do with them.
Except to give them fame.

(It was just as bad for them as for the Clash)…
Hell, they almost invented the mash-up.
And too many anti-hippie punks
Loaded on cheap ****** or always drunk,
Claimed all those heroes had sold out.
But Ziggy would’ve known Ash from Ash.

Then came their Blood on the Tracks;
They finally saw what Dylan saw,
Or, if they saw it before,
They got some Real Emotion back.

Nothing has changed and everything has changed,
Said The Heathen…and he should know.

But how do we see, stuck here ‘so far below’,
Not remotely in the know;
They might be on an intergalactic trip
Or as in “A.I”, nothing more than a binary blip?
But encased in virtual ice, how can we live?
Until the end…and even then…
As John wrote, we only get the love we give.
This is my homage to a generation, and the ones after it, who rock and rebel, who never give up, with some cheeky references for fun. I imagine Green Day meeting Dylan in a darkened pub, as he did the Beatles so many years before...exchanging views and if we're lucky, collaborating on a song.
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