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Sharon Talbot May 2020
Stick my phone into the wall--
hoping no one trips on the cord.
No mobile phones in this dark age
and computers haven't come of age.
My TV has cable but the picture's curved.
Static makes it look so old
and my frozen dinner's gotten cold!
I shut it off and think: at least
I've got a huge stereo
with a dual tape deck.
Listening to New Wave
is much better than televised dreck.
Maybe someday they'll make it digital
but it won't be quite the same.
I'm as happy as a person can reasonably be
in the year 1983.
A kind of fond, snarky memory of times past...
Sharon Talbot Dec 2020
We live on the dark street at night,
Rows of old houses huddled in the cold.
Only one small door has a hesitant light
Glowing yellow against wooden gold.

Flowers and weeds are crushed and dry,
Wreathing withered, brown, grass yards.
Frozen blades crack as feet walk by,
Only wild things cross the hay-like swards.

Old people huddle near the wood stove
Or bake bread and pies in the oven.
Their little dogs are let out for a minute’s rove.
Even they shy away from a world so frozen.

The world of black and white
Dims sight and stultifies the senses
It dulls imagination.
So one goes to sleep and waits.

Waits for morning and
The first ray of sun
Reminding one of spring
And the light, warming the street.

December 2020
This was my impression when glancing out the front door late at night. I was cold and seemed much darker than usual, which was fitting.
Sharon Talbot May 2020
I heard about the sloop John B.
When I was fourteen.
I had learned to sail in a storm
And the story gave me daring,
Although I had lost control,
Tightening the sail
Instead of letting it out
In a sudden gale.
And just in time, a boat passed
With a man who shouted,
“Loosen the main sheet!”
As the boat heeled to starboard,
And I nearly capsized.
But discovered a fair wind
And the ease of a beam reach.
So my first time was the worst,
And best…
But adrenaline fueled desire,
To do this again and again!
This is a fond memory, which really happened, but I like to apply it to life, except when I'm feeling adventurous!
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.
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:
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:
Sharon Talbot Mar 2019
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 Sep 13
A haggard angel
Stands behind my back.
Is it me or you?
For three decades
She had graced me
With words of love
And fits of anger.
I helped create her
And yet hurt her .
And suddenly, she turns
Away from me,
Still loving me, I think.
But all she wants,
She tells me bitterly,
Is to be alone.
She leaves and I wonder
If she will ever return.
I stand on a garish train,
Thunderstruck, unmoving,
As I watch her storm away.
Suddenly, I feel what she does—
The pain and sadness.
I created her long ago
And know why she is livid.
And now she returns the hurt,
Leaving me as the empty one,
My insides vacuum up sorrow.
Am I now the angel,
Fallen and haggard?
I can't remember what inspired this--probably a film or novel about lost love and irony.
Sharon Talbot Sep 2017
Airplanes on a Still Day

(Two in One Hour)

The sound softens
Something inside my brain—
Tangible, hypnotic,
Remote and forgiving,
Like a little Buddha within,
Or flying this sound trail
Through the draftless heavens.

The tiny drone
Rids the world of
Human clatter and its rush.

As a child, I savored it inside,
A sliding down the spine
And into the heart and through me;
A reverse of the rush of wine.

Back then, it was unquestioned, enjoyed.
But fifty or more years later, I asked why.
Time moved by and left no answer.
Nothing but a spring-like stillness aloft,
Unbound by seasons below.

But as I relished that sound this afternoon,
I felt the sense of spring again
In that aimless hum.
And knew at last why pilots sailed
In any weather, in crystalline air.

Up there, it was always spring,
Always sweet and calm
With promise;
A miracle that they ever descend!

If silence had a sound
Or utter calm
Were an elixir,
This would be its form.
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)...
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
Sharon Talbot Nov 2019
All of my life I waited
For you.
Walking on a path sometimes,
Or wandering in a mountain wood.
Even escaping to the tropics,
To let the sun burn my desire for you
This way or that.
But each time I looked behind,
There you still were,
Not fully formed at first,  
But a shadow.
Or sometimes light.
Then there was a sense
Of possibility, hiding in the air
That shivered around you,
But caused my course to veer  
Ever so slightly toward you,
Like ancient footprints in rock,
Deciding for me.
I never believed in Fate
Until I met you,
Standing in the doorway
Of a cottage, outlined  
With October’s warming sun.
I did not see your face then
But I knew.
And decades after
The same certainty abides,
Alongside any other gales
Of emotion or  
Temperate joy.
Around you a brilliance
Hovers in my soul.
Where you walk
Beyond my sight,  
My eyes still see you
And my love  
Follows in your path.
Inspired by my husband.
Sharon Talbot Sep 2017
Sere and yellow,
Rough and round, [bright pebbles in a mound]
Pitted and mellow,
Winding our necks round,
We wore them.

Amber beads unearthed from clay,
Fashioned by my artist love,
Glowing yellow, filled with day,
Captures sunbeams from above.
I still love them.

Some say gods have made these,
To ensnare the light of Sun,
But we women saved these,
In memory & hope of sons,
We keep them.

Fat & smooth as butter,
We turned them in our hands.
The bone beads scraped with madder,
The amber just with sand.

Those of shadowy carnelian
Embedded like a shield,
We treasure as we fear them,
Like wounds on battlefields.

The others soaked with brownish earth,
Sere and yellow,
Rough and round, [bright pebbles in a mound]
Pitted and mellow,
Winding our necks round,
We wore them.

So, when we are dead, take not from us,
These rounded, golden suns,
But bury them with us, with sword and severed buss,
To revere the slaughtered ones,
Who never returned to us.

Revised November 15, 2016
This poem was inspired by several photos taken by poet/photography and historian, Giles Watson, of amber and other beads unearthed at an Anglo-Saxon dig site in England. I was struck by the way the amber still glowed after hundreds of years beneath the earth, and the artistry of them.
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.
Sharon Talbot Sep 2017
How many heroes have chosen this path,
Of least or no resistance?
In the face of overwhelming odds,
Or staring at cubicular, corporate submission;
Elect instead the stance
Of simply

Victorian ladies thought it amusing;
20th Century Centurions and Puritans condemned it.
The spoon-fed rich live it and lose nothing.
Russian aristocrats sometimes recommend it…
When spurned in love & up against it.

Oblomov, for instance, whiled his time away,
In bed, or staring out at the wood,
Writing meaningless letters and ignoring the day,
Yet it still did him some good.

Marat in his bathtub, Proust in his bed,
Still accomplished SOMETHING
Or we’d have forgotten them instead.
Is there still no virtue in doing nothing?

Against the tide of corporate work,
Aquarians rebelled with dance.
Later on, Generation X
Came to work in a greedy trance.

Peter Gibbons was hypnotized,
To escape his lifeless job,
Destroyed the office as it was downsized,
But was promoted by “the Bobs”.

Some lesson there, for those who strive,
That work alone is not enough.
Attitude is more important to our lives,
That revolt by nothingness is not that tough.

Abbie Hoffman was thrown through windows,
While preaching peace instead of wrath.
Despite nobility of cause, does humanity still go,
The inexorable way of sloth?

Sharon Talbot
Someone criticized me for my tendency to do nothing other than stare out the window, yet is that so bad? It renews my soul. Ideas often congeal out of the air! There is a reason so many paintings of women lounging are entitled "Dolce far niente", isn't there?
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.
Sharon Talbot Sep 2017
As a child I'd dream of running away,
Nigh unto winter and not too far,
From Dad’s and Mom's, where I used to play
But which was now bitten hard.
A barn in a field was just one dream,
An old one where no one ever came.
Delight by myself, attainable seemed,
Where I could rest and collect my name.
Russet woods and graying woods,
Fueled fantasy and desire,
For simple things must do some good,
In corrupt towns, soul is renewed by fire.
I was driving around, photographing scenes in October and saw this leaning, ancient barn, screened by vermilion shrubs and small trees.It brought back childhood memories of exploring strange places.
Sharon Talbot Dec 2019
Glance out a northern window
and Winter suddenly beckons,
just five days after Solstice,
begging me to think again
on my habitual dislike.
The marble-white stratus above
looks as soft as a woolen blanket
covering all the strange things
outside this world's sky.
A vacant calm descends.
And I am content to be quiet
as the scene outside,
Bucolic and static as
A winter scene by Brueghel.
I trace the bare branches that weave
all around, seeming to huddle
near closed and shuttered houses.
They emit a silent desire to be known,
uncovered, naked models to the season
and sharp as a line drawing.
All the stillness leads to reflection
on the world we forget in summer,
the hidden moles and groundhogs,
insects that no longer irritate,
allowing us to cease effort
and sit at the table in the sun,
eating stew and drinking mulled wine.
But those of us who are curious
walk in the snow, hearing sounds
we never noticed: the crush of crystals,
the crack of frozen branches.
Or when the snow falls,
there is a softening quiet,
a restful pause in the air
and we are entranced, standing to listen
without effort, to the soundless sound
of mind without thought,
of Winter.
Sharon Talbot Dec 2019
Another day and things are the same.
The sun shines through lace,
Obscuring my view to the chaos outside.
In here, it’s serene,  no pressure
To perform or produce,
Although I do.
No expectations of talk
During the day.
Everything I need is around me:
Books and notes and discs
With the record of my thoughts
And flash drives with feelings.
I have filled my rooms with
Things that fascinate and inspire,
Even after many years.
A red chair with printed pillows,
A prayer rug from Iran
On the wall above Buddha,
Brought a century ago by a lady
On her Grand Tour of the world.
My little, golden friend
Laughs at this excess.
Her photos of Florence and Venice
Cause feelings of nostalgia,
As if I was there in 1910,
When duster-clad ladies bought them
In Saint Mark's square,
Hand-colored by poor artists.
And on the other wall,
My young father gazes at me,
From the distance of sixty-seven years.
There are other houses from the past
And streets in my town
That almost look like now.
There are dark-finished tables,
Gracing the space between
The walls and the world and me.
Brass lamps glint out
Like beacons in the shadows
That trail the creeping evening,
For I am a mental traveler,
As Karen Blixen said.
She told her tales to Finch-Hatton
And Berkeley Cole,
On fire-lit evenings,
Like Scheherazade on her carpet.
I have no adventurers as my guests,
But instead, send my stories to a virtual world,
Hoping someone will listen and be inspired.
But even if the words remain unread, unseen,
I am content to write, to spin my tales
For my own ears and the future.
Sharon Talbot Mar 10
You come to me each night
After all the crowds have left.
Never telling me your name.
And I, having stood for hours,
Begin closing down in the glow
Of blues, vermilion and rose
Reflected in plate glass,
From neon names of luxury.
I move to synthetic music
On an old stereo and let my
Eyes play tricks with the light,
The vivid letters and logos
Snake round and dance
Against the incipient night.
Just as I relax, you arrive,
The last one here every time,
As you were on the first.
You no longer pretend to consider
A preference, nor wander
Around, feigning interest in
Things you might not want.
Last night you brought flowers,
Twelve lilies in a Venetian vase.
Now this night you say I should
Dine with you somewhere,
But dinner is a euphemism.
You stand close, even as I turn away,
Occupying my eyes, though still,
I see your dark hair, straight shoulders
And the lean, solid strength of you.
I try not to think of your lion eyes,
Almond-shaped and topaz, that glow
With desire and will show a certainty
About me, lessening your need to ask.
As another song starts, I turn around
And you wait, amused almost.
“I have something for you,”
You say, conspiring with Venus,
And hand me a gift.
“You shouldn’t have,” is automatic
But I unwrap it while suspicion taps
On my shoulder, like a tiny demon.
Surprised, a cascade of softness falls
Through my hands, like pouring cream.
Holding it up, I see an evening gown
And think how strange a gift it is.
But it is as alluring as you,
The cloth is the blush of a thousand
Sunsets that sigh like silk
Dragged across a lover’s limbs

I ignore the thought that this color,
So full of innocence and petal-shades,
Clashes with your dark, consuming insistence
That I feel your desire and can’t turn you away.
You can blend kindness with tenacity,
So I am apt to let you in.
Agreeing to your proposition,
I suggest a dance with me.
I want to hear all the music in the world:
Pianos, violins, qanuns, sitars and humming bass,
With luscious voices luring the darkness inside,
Causing the lights to dance and our feet to move
Into that zone of heat that is riotous now,
That I felt all day, knowing you would come
To me again and I know now what will ensue.
And yet, as my body moves toward you
Without moving, my mind holds back,
Delighting in the wish, prolonging the unfulfilled
And I see in your pained gaze,
Under lids heavy with lust; you feel it too.
Why is it that we think of lovers
More intensely when they are far away,
And are closer to us on a distant shore,
Then, when their arms close round us,
We wish almost to be apart,
So they could reach for us once more?

Based on a dream
March 4, 2021, 12:50 AM
Sharon Talbot May 2019
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
Poems flow in a stream
That winds through me
As I guide them,
Through meandering, uneven
Places in my life,
Or once in a while,
The smooth runs
Where fishing seems easy.
And I collect the pretty stones
That come to rest,
Water-washed, shining,
Along the river’s bank.
And often, there is a pool,
Green-blue, with clear water
And trout shadows, swift
And still, making a brief home,
Suspended above the sand.
Those are the ones I choose,
The surface touched only
By tree-filtered sunbeams
And beckoning on summer days.
It seems sometimes to me
That poets travel backward
Up to the source of beauty,
Where the water is still pure,
After struggling up through
Rapids and waterfalls,
Or wading through swamps
Down where the stream ends
And a wide river opens up.
Giant rivers can be majestic
But they often bury the gems
Brought down from the
From mountain caves and highlands
Swallowing them to swirl,
Mixed-up with the jewels
Of other poets’ streams.
And from remembrance
We gather our dreams.
Does sorrow fill the traveler
Who reaches the dark places
Where springs emerge
From some place we cannot see?
Sharon Talbot Jun 2020
At fourteen I learned to sail—
The difference between true wind and gale.
I learned that babies do not come from prayer
And wondered if we were all wanted,
As my mother often said.
At fourteen, I stopped myself from caring
What kids on the bus thought of me,
Or whether I ate school lunch alone.
How unnecessary had been all that fear,
When I learned that I liked myself
Without their praise.
At fourteen, I learned that other girls
Cared only about pimply boys
And the dates, rings and ownership each claimed.
What a small, unexceptional life, I thought!
But at fourteen, I was too selfish
To pity them, much less humor their desires.
At fourteen, I realized that my dad was imperfect,
When he dodged the excise tax on his car.
Did he commit this tiny sin to rebel
Against an unappreciative wife,
Or did he feel the vicissitudes of life
As I had just begun to do?
At fourteen, the world was opening
Like a lotus flower in a teacup,
Soon to spill over and fill my soul
With longing for passion and logic,
But for something else ineffable.
I would find in later years
That the wanting itself could be enough
To stir those depths into song or quiet joy.
Of all the things in my soul and mind
And in the world beyond, I would learn,
That the only absolute is inexplicable—
The only perfect, human thing is love.
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!
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.
Sharon Talbot Sep 2017
Vast the landscape I watch that rolls out, ragged,
Before my eyes, hurt words describing, haggard.
Moby soothes me but a little as I watch still fractured sights
Of what was and is in Chernobyl.
Marshlands filled with death and mutation,
Homely houses putrid with abandonment and radiation.

Broken tokens of people’s former lives and loves –
Where are they now?
Their hairless dolls, sitting in the middle of rooms,
Bathtubs, broken and oblique, empty.
Soap washes memory and nothing else away.
The sky has spoken; it is broken.

Push the poison out to sea. To see
They hadn’t time to leave a memory,
But ran, already dead while living,
Not allowed to gather souvenirs.
There’s nothing left for them here.
But did they die?
Nobody told us where they went,
Or why
This happened.

They are gone now, dispersed in Eurasia I suppose,
Like ash in the wind, like their future or past ghosts.
They haunt the places, the buildings and the waters,
Engulfing fish, and drying fungus on the northern trees,
Watching wolves still move through winter freeze,
Still beautiful in the taiga sun.
Tainted yet rife with energy not destroyed,
Trying to paint its passion on the sides of walls,
To venerate the people here and their lives,
Their animals, their clothing only frozen.
This poem was inspired by a young woman, Elena Filatova whose Internet name was KidOfSpeed. She lived (lives?) in Russia and rode her motorbike into the forbidden zone around Chernobyl, taking videos of the various scenes:

houses, roads, forests, cities (Pripyat), all abandoned and overgrown. She has since posted more videos, though they are less "shattering"; she uses drones and was exposed by someone as just another tourist who happened to bring a motorbike and helmet on a tour. Not sure if it's true, but to me, anyone who goes into that area is brave!
Sharon Talbot Jul 2018
I said it was not meant for me,
But what did I mean?
For any youth, any love,
Whose prey who might be,
On whom you’d lean,

In your semi-corseted skirt,
Or dressed full fig.,
Stalking into town,
Shocking men in wigs,
Luring them into false love,
As others had been?

Would you capture me,
Chaining my soul to your heart,
So I must carry on playing
At your command?
I see your dress under the piano,
And your boots and pantaloons;
The piano is not my voice,
Though you insist it is.

I shot a drunken man for you,
Which made me more your slave.
You woke urges I suppressed,
Too strong for one so frail.
With words you pushed me
But caused music to pour
From me as love did.

A storm of disapproval raged all round
Our Paris nest of love and art,
You came and went like a soldier, shielding us,
And at home you urged me on,
To impromptu inventions,
Yet causing us to depart.

Packed into a cabochon,
You shanghaied me,
Away to Majorca
And the wintry sea.
Your searing love and the island’s cold
Were too much for me,
And I escaped with my art.
This was inspired by the film "Impromptu", about the affair between Frederic Chopin and the writer, George Sand, or Armandine Aurore Lucille Dupin. She had many lovers, mostly other writers and artists. Her love for Chopin was excessive and she pursued him aggressively. Once they became lovers, she insisted that his illness (tuberculosis) was due to lack of activity and fresh air and kept luring him out of his little apartment. He supposedly had a duel with her latest lover, but fainted, George picked up his gun and shot the lover, not fatally. She convinced Chopin that it was he who had wounded the man, then overcome by his violence, he had passed out. This seemed to make him feel more manly and open to seeing himself as a ****** being and not just a frail ghost. She and Chopin were together for ten years, but when she took him to Majorca for a year, things did not go well and he left. Mind you, I'm talking about the film, not an actual event, though it may have happened.  Hugh Grant played Chopin and Judy Davis was a great George Sand.
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.
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...
Sharon Talbot Sep 2017
Saying “Women of the Night”
Might be alright
As a description for some girls,
They stream eastward
Along the bank,
Checking for marauders and adjusting curls.

Yet courtesans are different;
They came as swiftly as they went,
Called on by important men.
From house and hotel they are borne,
In carriages, and in finery worn,
For those who have a yen.

Yet others still elude one name,
Of condemnation or fame.
They do not wander at men’s whims.
They deliver terms to him or him.
And live in dwellings finer still,
Until the payer has had his fill.

But with the latter does he ever
Tire of the source of pleasure?

For some the need outlasts his want,
And he becomes the supplicant!
Then woman’s wit becomes the master,
While her body wields a whip.
The sinner’s desire speeds still faster,
As she the body’s scale does tip.
This was an attempt to fuse Galsworthy's view of Victorian "women of the night" versus the updated version of Irene Adler as a ******* in the BBC's "Sherlock".
Sharon Talbot Nov 2019
You’re gone at last, so at last I can think.
Insulting! Humiliating, not to be able to fire back,
As you put me once more on a mental rack.
It’s no wonder that I want a drink.

But by now I want so much more than strife.
I want to scorch your villainy with shame,
To crush your “triumph” and ruin your name,
And make you watch how you poison life.

Yet I am stuck beneath your wealth,
Undone if I demur in the least.
You spring upon me, a mental carnivore’s feast.
While I resort to stealth.

My father watched your villainy from the beyond,
from the so-called “Heaven” in which you planned to meet him,
As if that will ever happen! As if he would want to see you!
Is enlightenment part of the afterlife?  You should hope so.

But since you finally let go of your empty  life,
I do not miss you, don't mourn you or feel that confusion
That people say I should, that I'd be torn with strife,
No, no! Not at all—I feel nothing at all.
Sharon Talbot Sep 2017
Under the surface sheen
In the carousel of the surf
And the churned-up foam
Turquoise-coloured drink
And beige dust storm
Swirling down
Brushing against
Corals and polyps
That will die too and
Join the round bodies
Of diatoms.
Stars of the sea,
Celestial show in the deep.
Dancing as they descend,
Toward the inevitable end,
The boundless dark
A plain of mud
Made ghostly by their larks.
I had just seen a program about creatures of the sea, including diatoms, or phytoplankton that photosynthesize. It fascinated me that something so tiny and delicate could be so important, fixating 20% of the air's carbon and 40% of marine carbon. This makes them incredibly crucial to life on Earth.
Sharon Talbot Jul 2018
I recalled the smell of junipers warming in the sun,
Or maybe mice nesting under the cupboard.
Or bleached linen hung out by Mum,
Reminds me of something about Dad from long ago,
You ask me…to say if it was gin;
There are things I can’t tell you, Son.
Some people think that it’s a sin;
So just use your imagination.

Another time I smelled crushed daisies of
The housemaids, I remember from Kleßheim.
Thunderstorms rolled down from the Alps at night,
Then turned at morning into clarified, buttered sun.
They remind me of someone’s blonde hair,
I just can’t tell you when or where,
So use your imagination.

Scent is the most potent mnemonic,
Triggering mystical cells inside,
Creating a stream of biophotonics,
Rapture returns in histrionics,
Tracking things from skin and hair,
To lips and eyes, to a groan, an intrigued stare.
Things we can never tell another, even if
He or she or they were there
What happened in those brilliant days?
Only imagination can say.

Crystal hanging in the window at nine o’clock,
Rays strike the glass, opening up the past.
Before me spreads a wide, green lawn,
Ladies and lords stroll with their finery on.
I sit and watch, while the procession advances,
Tricornes doffed and stays undone in dances.
Until the satin, silk and brocades lie on the ground,
Gavotte kisses become tender, sensual rounds
And naked, youth flees into woods.
And everything is happening;
Everything is good.
This is about memory, predominantly smell, how much we remember and what is only guessed at. The last part is about memories of a past life triggered by light in a prism.
Sharon Talbot Sep 15
There is one on some loves,
That flourish like summer flowers
And bring seemingly endless joy
To lovers entwined
And hypnotized by the notion
That this will bloom forever.
But as years pass, some flawless
In execution and mutual care,
The flower begins to fade,
As if its color and fluid are drained,
Perhaps by the force of love itself.
And, unknown to the two,
They glide apart slowly,
Like two ships on the tide,
Until one day, they reach a horizon.
Each looks out for the other
As they have done before,
And call out in hope, then despair,
But they are unseen, far away.
They may try to sail back,
Beating furiously against the tide,
And finally, admitting defeat.
They each collapses, crying, shouting,
Blaming life, fate and humanity.
After months spent on the rocky shore,
In tears or questioning why
And often getting no reply,
The memory of passion fades
As new flowers bloom
And life’s garden summers on.
Sharon Talbot Jul 2018
A subsonic growl emerges
As the red wolf plunges forth
From his concrete cave.
He shoulders aside the weaker creatures,
In his rush, for the men inside
Live for the hunt.
The siren howl is high at first,
Wild and eager, hysterical.
As he gains his stride
On the pavement path,
His whine swings into a rocking pulse,
Keeping time with the fire,
Or the blood spurting from a man.
Behind the pack there is a white dog,
Sturdy and square, trained and sure,
With a lyrical howl.
He keeps pace yet there is no lust
For the hunt, no need for blood.
They circle the waiting disaster,
Disgorging men in black and white,
The hulks rumble as they wait.
Wolves lick up the flames
While the white-dressed men
Lap up the blood.
The wolf prowls as the flames die
But stands guard as the
White dog points to the man.
He has chosen to save.
A fire truck roared somewhere in town and it made me think of the growl of a wolf. The white truck is obviously an ambulance and the white wolves are EMT's! I know, it's absurd imagery but I had some fun with it.
Sharon Talbot Jan 2019
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.
Sharon Talbot Jul 2020
Imagine the bombed-out fields of Japan,
Wandering families with no food.
A little girl soothes her brother,
Who is so hungry, he must cry.
“Let’s imagine a menu,” she tells him
And the tears stop for a while.
Many years later, her son will say,
Of a balloon without a skin,
“There’s no point if you don’t imagine it.”
Imagine Britain after the Blitz,
Young man roaming the streets
Mind craving, surviving on 45 records
From the USA. How could he help
But become an artist and rebel?
Picture the canyons of New York City,
Where galleries peek like jewels in the dust.
The girl from Japan and the British boy,
Both imagining something more.
She sets up a ladder to the sky,
He wanders in and climbs it
And to all his questions, especially “Why?”
She has imagined a small and simple “Yes.”
You can probably guess which girl and boy this is about...
You sleep in a golden box, it seems,
On India patterns of rose and tangerine.
The brightening sky sends amber light
Through ecru lace and lowered blinds.
I imagine your lithe limbs stretched out
Beneath the coarse blanket you love.
Your rustic side has always shied
Away from luxury and ease.
Sometimes you even refuse to eat,
So I tempt you with a favorite repast
Things meant to break unwarranted fast.
And often, I ask you to show me
Your lean limbs and boyish length.
As you poise upon the scale
That balances youth and strength.
But at night you leave our tryst
And drive a phaeton of amethyst
To a place no longer gold,
Where you make diamonds out of coal.
Where they drain you 'til day is dawning
And batter down your soul.
Yet it seems you revive each morning
In your pretty box of gold.

July, 2021
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!
Sharon Talbot Nov 2020
Happiness is an empty street
And a fast car.
Happiness is a clean, cold pool
You plunge into on a hot day.
Happiness is someone in your bed
Who’s gone in the morning
If you don’t want company
Or who stays if you do.
It’s someone who is happy to read the paper
Or take a hike with you.
It’s not worrying what others think
About you and your beliefs
And the wisdom to know who counts.
Happiness is strength,
Enough to fight the world
Or luxuriate in things gone well.
Happiness is attracting and repelling
Without having to try.
Happiness is a an aching fist
And an attacker’s black eye.
Happiness can be a warm gun,
Depending who gets hit.*
Happiness is not waiting for love,
Then falling in love in seconds.
It is knowing that you are fine
With or without a vow,
Yet being able to say “yes”,
When lightning strikes
And “no” when it’s just a cloud.
Yet happiness is not being sure
And bathing in uncertainty,
Of the pleasure in mystery.
Happiness is loving, faults and all,
An intensity so focused
That you’d gladly die for the one
Who was sent by some mixture
Of sunlight and shade,
On an ordinary afternoon,
Happiness is his body in yours,
His sweat on your skin in summer,
And body heat on cold nights.
Happiness is loving a little boy
Who looks like both of you
And knowing that love can transfigure
Time, exceed itself and encompass
More than one.
Happiness is contentment
In realizing how much you’ve had
And say you’ll feel rewarded
When your random life is done.
Happiness is the legend they tell
About you when you are gone;
The feeling is theirs and maybe yours.
Happiness is knowing that, if you go too far,
That there is no heaven or hell,
Or if there is,
Then anyone can play guitar.

September 9, 2020
I was reading about the Beatles' song "Happiness is a Warm Gun" and then listened to "Anyone Can Play Guitar" by Radiohead. That reminded me of how much the traditional idea of "heaven" has always bothered me, as well as the grandiose things we expect out of life. Why are humans so given to hyperbole about life and death? This was supposed to come out as a much simpler poem, but well, there it is.
*NOTE: 1-11-21 - In light of recent violence in Washington D.C., I wanted to explain that this line pertains mainly to an article about the Beatles' song (specifically, John Lennon's comments). I believe in the right to self-defense, but in no way condone gun violence, to make political points, vent anger or for any other reason!
Sharon Talbot May 2020
Another sunset spans the sky
Deserting its view of shambled streets,
Fleeing the dark silhouettes and wires pierced high.
On feathered wings it fades and bids good-bye.

What a reminder is sent to us each day,
As sweeping clouds look down before dying,
That beyond this desolation, they still will stay;
No human form can stop their flying.

The eye is jarred by every scene,
In which the darkening hulks arise,
And yet are conquered by the sky, it seems;
We are left to dwell below; to guard this prize.

Who, staring aloft, would never desire,
To rise up and dwell among the splendor,
Rather than stay below in tangled squalor?
Yet we must be content with remembered fire.

(Not finished)
This was based on a walk I took on a December evening, along with some great photos of the cirrus clouds and twilight. The buildings in town were all silhouetted black against the sky, emphasizing its beauty.
Sharon Talbot May 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.
Sharon Talbot Mar 2019
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
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.
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.
Sharon Talbot Feb 2020
We were born in the jungle,
Living in the shadows,
Clinging to our families
In the dark, under the trees.
Life was good then,
We had picked fruit from branches
And swung on them for joy.
And there was no greed
Or jealousy.
Over millions of years,
We lived in harmony,
Until the forest changed;
The garden shriveled and
Faded away as we watched.

Our lives were rearranged.
Some among us ventured out.
Giving to our sin: curiosity.
Down in the street
Canyons of concrete and steel
The powerful gather
Hors d’oeuvres are served,
Placating the hunger of the powerful,
This is never stated;
They will keep taking
As long as we allow it.
One day, some loner, a rebel
May emerge from the shadows,
Dark-clad, filled with inchoate rage*.
He will find like-minded souls
Who use the new inventions
To topple the oligarchs,
Empty their accounts
And give them to the world.
Chaos may follow,
But out of it a new humanity
Might arise.
My hope for a revolution, a redistribution of wealth. *NOTE: I realized after reading this a few times, that the "dark-clad" loner, "filled with inchoate rage", might be seen as a terrorist or religious extremist! NOT SO! I based him on the character Elliot Alderson, the brilliant and disaffected computer acker in "Mr. Robot", who successfully destroys a corrupt corporation, whose toxins killed his father and his best friend's mother. So, there's an element of revenge mixed in with ideological activism. My view is that IT is the only way to take down corrupt institutions. In the U.S., voting has been hijacked by the very rich and by other countries. Elliot also wants a redistribution of wealth, but without causing harm to anyone.
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 2017
Like a slattern in a string bikini,                     
Stretch marks bared to the public,                                                            
So does July show her wares                                                              
If she is scorned.
Sprawling, ugly, no doubt in heat,                                                      
An old sow past her prime                 
All who pass her by.             
Any who see Demeter
In each summer day
Have not seen her dark side,
When men refuse to play.

She is full of hot wrath,
If unspent for weeks on end.
Or cold doldrums, when denied:
Raw, frigid mistress of grey.

Yet, in a good year, she might
Swing Sun’s brazen shield
High above, shedding welcome beams,
And let us bask in its bright rays.

July, you sometime traitor,
When we expect you to behave,
Spend promises of warm weather,
No doubt you demur on that alone.

We await your pleasure,
As brides gnaw manicured nails in
Helpless wonderment at your
Selfish woes.

Month of Caesar, choose one attitude or the other!
Either thirty-one days of rain-soaked sulking
Or, better, allow one of selfless, sun-baked joy…
This might even please poor you!
I was very hot and sick of the stickiness of July, which can also seem like March, at least in New England. She also reminded me of a woman who shall remain nameless...for now.
Sharon Talbot Feb 2019
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
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.
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