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We stayed up late again
Picking fruit from tall trees
The year was 2015
Taste testing togethers sweeter memories
Pretending I was not laying beside a body of another sleeping man
You say this is the longest we've been apart
And you are so hungry for more
You promise you have not seen her for over a month as if I don't understand the ripening process
The growth of loneliness
Leaving bruises from craving someone who isn't there when you need them
Fruit flies offering temporary intimacy
You asked if I remembered drinking orange juice together at 4am
I told you that every time I pull back the peel to sink my teeth into the skin of the pith
I taste your cracked lips
I **** on the seeds and spit them out
Forgetting the bad parts
Shaine Fraz Jun 2016
How fortunate
Our color blends unintentially,
Wildly with thoughts bleeding outside the lines what have we started: again

And again I stroke
And again you absorb
And again this easel-- summoned
And again your vellum-- softened

Perched on a stool,
Vibrant as mangos --ripening
I chose you, the spectrum
Unknown to most

The only museum I go to.
© 2016 by S Fraz All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of S Fraz
jane taylor Sep 2016
hints of auburn drift creating a soft cadence against the autumn wind
almost heard in lieu 'tis felt somehow awakening souls buried long ago
giving birth to falling crimson leaves tinged with maroon and gold
abandoned dusty roads transform under enchanting spells cast by fall

burnt orange pumpkins standing solitary on wooden porches threaten to reveal
hidden secrets held by dusk’s luscious cinnamon seasoned air
once fulgent sunflowers begin to slumber softly beneath the harvest moon
whilst autumn’s trance brushes all it touches with honey colored hues

i stand pensive as an amber leaf gently twirling falls to the ground
bewitched by thine supernatural powers; thine gifted artist’s hand
who with one stroke turns to butter amber all that once was forest green
and imbues my soul with thine exalted essence forever ripening

©2016janetaylor
Farrell Nov 2018
a spring morning is the ripening fruit of summer
easterly winds blow from the seashore
carried with song
the birds await
the exhale of summer
Matt Shaw Nov 2016
This hour is a special autumnal brew
The air is imbued with wet leaves, and mushroom
ripening soil in the early dew.

Reflection in preparation
Contemplation, the casting of our stars
in the early morning

To wake in the celestial sea
And experience a Day of Life on Earth
Tommy Randell Jun 2017
Used to think the world was an Orange in a black bowl -
It was a time of innocence and creativity.
Time added more fruit to my metaphor, a pomegranate, a pear -
My best friend's funeral was an Aubergine.
“That's not a fruit,” I said. Not fair. I was wrong.

My family and friends came to feed me again and again -
Peaches, Nectarines, and Strawberry goodness. Figs of wisdom.
But time ran its seasons, and innocence changed its eyes.
The world became a single blue Marble-berry in a black night – Lonely.
“Nostalgia is the taste of Childhood in a thirsty Man.”

Fruits are masquerading as Vegetables everywhere
And again and again the Bananas just sit there, ripening.
I won't. I'd rather die. Yellow is a colour that lies behind the eyes.
Google feeds me now - monochrome smoothies of knowledge.
“I pass the Turing Test every day using only a brain-pan of porridge.”

Fruit is dead of terrorism and anarchy. The more we know
The more we see sweetness and colour for what it is -
That Child in me back then he didn't understand
How just eating the Apple is a one way path down a narrowing road.
“The future presses in on every side and you cannot go forward … “

“There is all this fruit, everywhere, and no-one to tell you what to do.”

Tommy Randell 04th June 2017
I'm adding this Postscript after being asked what this 'Poem about Fruit' is really about. Well, of course it's a Poem so it doesn't have to be about anything. I would hope you find your own responses. If you want it to be about something 'clever' then of course I can give you a 'clever' answer: It is about Politics, especially here in the UK this summer 2017!
Mohamed Nasir Apr 2018
I'm one of billions out there hanging tough,
I've lived, loved in rain and wind blowing by,
So many fell to ground and kissed the rough.
But steadfast on the rattling stem am I.
Petals that shines on warm of day unfurled.
They hurl their heads to glorious sunlight;
And trees heavenly bounties fuelled
Marauding pests to carnage in moonlight.
Though crumpled by diseases every side;
Yet flowers blooming yielding fruits again.
Youths green to ripening men, time and tide
Of fortunes of life and death remains.
On stem I'll forever not hold, I'll fall;
My flesh to soil in darkest night of all.
Nigdaw Jul 10
“Come in and sit down”
said the celluloid voice,
smooth as silk.
Cautiously I stepped
through the TV screen,
to take my place.


“I will show you a world”
it continued,
“That bears no relation
to what you consider as
REALITY.”


The air around electrified,
as the set was powered to life.


Beautiful bodies playing on a beach,
running into the foaming sea;
sun ripening skin, bleaching hair;
Then, from nowhere a can appears,
elixir of every surfer, sun worshipper.


Somewhere in the distance
a distinctive throaty roar,
the romantic throb of a Harley;
ridden by a pair of jeans
giving identity to,
some muscular male *****;
A dream of America
and freedom.


Slow moody blues solo
hangs in the air;
a guitar talking to a journeyman,
familiar but not remembered.
Every note sustained, holding breath,
then carried by a riff
from a bottle of bourbon.


Outside the set
beautiful bodies are burning up,
through a hole in the ozone.
(Too many limousines and Harleys)
The alcoholic looks on, wide eyed,
trying to see a way in,
really believing there is one.
Z Sep 2018
2
Your fingers move like lightning
my skin, my mind is bare
and our time is ripening
a wedding fills the air

All I do is think of you
it's true, it's all I am
everything is over, still,
I want to hold your hand
THE PATHWAY OF HER SONG

Granny's garden
she's in there somewhere
only her song visible

camouflaged by
her ripening gooseberries
Granny sings to the summer

I follow
the path of her
song

pillowcases & tea towels
drying on bushes & branches
Granny and the birds sing

I step on each note
a pathway
through the air

Granny's garden overgrown
with Time
her song still rests upon the air

Granny's garden
she's in there somewhere
hidden by Death

I step upon each note
still following
the pathway of her song
Only love in it's fullness...
Can caste out the grievances
Of the past; the anxieties about
The future.  All emptiness is prey
To unhappiness.  What can stop it?
Yet though we may know this-what
Good is this knowing?  Can we make
Love up; manufacture it; call it into
Being; find it in some desert place?
The seed of its being must already
Be in us,  The seed planted by our
Father and we must cherish  it as a
Gift given to the soil of  our soul.
Giving thanks for sun and rain in
Their proper measure; praying that
We are given the time to wait for
The ripening grain to be harvested in
The fullness of love. This tillage is our
Work from which we are given peace to
Rest.  To work and to rest  in faith and
In Hope we go forth learning patience
In the the contemplation of the now and
Rejoicing in the  fullness of the time
To come is our   life fearless= full of love.



ed




To  Love
hot
Lucrezia M N Sep 2018
I cultivate the subsoil, the separation, the height,
the thoughts crossing the sky,
then I let them go.

The rhythm of new boundaries
It’s the beating of changes
I carry on ripening
and I give them a name, a sense,
as simple as it might be
is essential.
Any experience is a tile on the path of life which each time further seems to be safer, know, useful and understood. All makes sense in the end.
Dr Peter Lim Oct 2018
That hidden* silent something
the heart hankers after
for dear life--would set aside
never, never ever

like the final note, unforgettable
of the symphony in its splendour
the fullest radiance and pride
of the pristine blowing flower-

like the sun clearing its way
from the grey clouds in cluster
to smile for and warmth the waiting earth
to fill it with wonder and laughter-

like you and me still in incompleteness
the last piece to crown our life we are yet after
the patience, the faith, the endurance
to the ripening of hope, beauty and love we surrender.
* typo --word amended.
Gods1son May 5
Did you hatch all the lessons
in your past losses?
Don't be trapped by your previous wins
'cause those can also be limiting

Failure is part of the process of success
Actual failure is giving up before
the ripening of success
So push through
till you reach the height that
you desire and beyond.
ConnectHook Feb 2016
by John Greenleaf Whittier  (1807 – 1892)

“As the Spirits of Darkness be stronger in the dark, so Good Spirits which be Angels of Light are augmented not only by the Divine Light of the Sun, but also by our common Wood fire: and as the celestial Fire drives away dark spirits, so also this our Fire of Wood doth the same.”

COR. AGRIPPA, Occult Philosophy, Book I. chap. v.

“Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow; and, driving o’er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight; the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden’s end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier’s feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.”


EMERSON

The sun that brief December day
Rose cheerless over hills of gray,
And, darkly circled, gave at noon
A sadder light than waning moon.
Slow tracing down the thickening sky
Its mute and ominous prophecy,
A portent seeming less than threat,
It sank from sight before it set.
A chill no coat, however stout,
Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,
A hard, dull bitterness of cold,
That checked, mid-vein, the circling race
Of life-blood in the sharpened face,
The coming of the snow-storm told.
The wind blew east; we heard the roar
Of Ocean on his wintry shore,
And felt the strong pulse throbbing there
Beat with low rhythm our inland air.

Meanwhile we did our nightly chores, —
Brought in the wood from out of doors,
Littered the stalls, and from the mows
Raked down the herd’s-grass for the cows;
Heard the horse whinnying for his corn;
And, sharply clashing horn on horn,
Impatient down the stanchion rows
The cattle shake their walnut bows;
While, peering from his early perch
Upon the scaffold’s pole of birch,
The **** his crested helmet bent
And down his querulous challenge sent.

Unwarmed by any sunset light
The gray day darkened into night,
A night made hoary with the swarm
And whirl-dance of the blinding storm,
As zigzag, wavering to and fro,
Crossed and recrossed the wingàd snow:
And ere the early bedtime came
The white drift piled the window-frame,
And through the glass the clothes-line posts
Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts.

So all night long the storm roared on:
The morning broke without a sun;
In tiny spherule traced with lines
Of Nature’s geometric signs,
And, when the second morning shone,
We looked upon a world unknown,
On nothing we could call our own.
Around the glistening wonder bent
The blue walls of the firmament,
No cloud above, no earth below, —
A universe of sky and snow!
The old familiar sights of ours
Took marvellous shapes; strange domes and towers
Rose up where sty or corn-crib stood,
Or garden-wall, or belt of wood;
A smooth white mound the brush-pile showed,
A fenceless drift what once was road;
The bridle-post an old man sat
With loose-flung coat and high cocked hat;
The well-curb had a Chinese roof;
And even the long sweep, high aloof,
In its slant spendor, seemed to tell
Of Pisa’s leaning miracle.

A prompt, decisive man, no breath
Our father wasted: “Boys, a path!”
Well pleased, (for when did farmer boy
Count such a summons less than joy?)
Our buskins on our feet we drew;
With mittened hands, and caps drawn low,
To guard our necks and ears from snow,
We cut the solid whiteness through.
And, where the drift was deepest, made
A tunnel walled and overlaid
With dazzling crystal: we had read
Of rare Aladdin’s wondrous cave,
And to our own his name we gave,
With many a wish the luck were ours
To test his lamp’s supernal powers.
We reached the barn with merry din,
And roused the prisoned brutes within.
The old horse ****** his long head out,
And grave with wonder gazed about;
The **** his ***** greeting said,
And forth his speckled harem led;
The oxen lashed their tails, and hooked,
And mild reproach of hunger looked;
The hornëd patriarch of the sheep,
Like Egypt’s Amun roused from sleep,
Shook his sage head with gesture mute,
And emphasized with stamp of foot.

All day the gusty north-wind bore
The loosening drift its breath before;
Low circling round its southern zone,
The sun through dazzling snow-mist shone.
No church-bell lent its Christian tone
To the savage air, no social smoke
Curled over woods of snow-hung oak.
A solitude made more intense
By dreary-voicëd elements,
The shrieking of the mindless wind,
The moaning tree-boughs swaying blind,
And on the glass the unmeaning beat
Of ghostly finger-tips of sleet.
Beyond the circle of our hearth
No welcome sound of toil or mirth
Unbound the spell, and testified
Of human life and thought outside.
We minded that the sharpest ear
The buried brooklet could not hear,
The music of whose liquid lip
Had been to us companionship,
And, in our lonely life, had grown
To have an almost human tone.

As night drew on, and, from the crest
Of wooded knolls that ridged the west,
The sun, a snow-blown traveller, sank
From sight beneath the smothering bank,
We piled, with care, our nightly stack
Of wood against the chimney-back, —
The oaken log, green, huge, and thick,
And on its top the stout back-stick;
The knotty forestick laid apart,
And filled between with curious art

The ragged brush; then, hovering near,
We watched the first red blaze appear,
Heard the sharp crackle, caught the gleam
On whitewashed wall and sagging beam,
Until the old, rude-furnished room
Burst, flower-like, into rosy bloom;
While radiant with a mimic flame
Outside the sparkling drift became,
And through the bare-boughed lilac-tree
Our own warm hearth seemed blazing free.
The crane and pendent trammels showed,
The Turks’ heads on the andirons glowed;
While childish fancy, prompt to tell
The meaning of the miracle,
Whispered the old rhyme: “Under the tree,
When fire outdoors burns merrily,
There the witches are making tea.”

The moon above the eastern wood
Shone at its full; the hill-range stood
Transfigured in the silver flood,
Its blown snows flashing cold and keen,
Dead white, save where some sharp ravine
Took shadow, or the sombre green
Of hemlocks turned to pitchy black
Against the whiteness at their back.
For such a world and such a night
Most fitting that unwarming light,
Which only seemed where’er it fell
To make the coldness visible.

Shut in from all the world without,
We sat the clean-winged hearth about,
Content to let the north-wind roar
In baffled rage at pane and door,
While the red logs before us beat
The frost-line back with tropic heat;
And ever, when a louder blast
Shook beam and rafter as it passed,
The merrier up its roaring draught
The great throat of the chimney laughed;
The house-dog on his paws outspread
Laid to the fire his drowsy head,
The cat’s dark silhouette on the wall
A couchant tiger’s seemed to fall;
And, for the winter fireside meet,
Between the andirons’ straddling feet,
The mug of cider simmered slow,
The apples sputtered in a row,
And, close at hand, the basket stood
With nuts from brown October’s wood.

What matter how the night behaved?
What matter how the north-wind raved?
Blow high, blow low, not all its snow
Could quench our hearth-fire’s ruddy glow.
O Time and Change! — with hair as gray
As was my sire’s that winter day,
How strange it seems, with so much gone
Of life and love, to still live on!
Ah, brother! only I and thou
Are left of all that circle now, —
The dear home faces whereupon
That fitful firelight paled and shone.
Henceforward, listen as we will,
The voices of that hearth are still;
Look where we may, the wide earth o’er,
Those lighted faces smile no more.

We tread the paths their feet have worn,
We sit beneath their orchard trees,
We hear, like them, the hum of bees
And rustle of the bladed corn;
We turn the pages that they read,
Their written words we linger o’er,
But in the sun they cast no shade,
No voice is heard, no sign is made,
No step is on the conscious floor!
Yet Love will dream, and Faith will trust,
(Since He who knows our need is just,)
That somehow, somewhere, meet we must.
Alas for him who never sees
The stars shine through his cypress-trees!
Who, hopeless, lays his dead away,
Nor looks to see the breaking day
Across the mournful marbles play!
Who hath not learned, in hours of faith,
The truth to flesh and sense unknown,
That Life is ever lord of Death,
And Love can never lose its own!

We sped the time with stories old,
Wrought puzzles out, and riddles told,
Or stammered from our school-book lore
“The Chief of Gambia’s golden shore.”
How often since, when all the land
Was clay in Slavery’s shaping hand,
As if a far-blown trumpet stirred
Dame Mercy Warren’s rousing word:
“Does not the voice of reason cry,
Claim the first right which Nature gave,
From the red scourge of ******* to fly,
Nor deign to live a burdened slave!”
Our father rode again his ride
On Memphremagog’s wooded side;
Sat down again to moose and samp
In trapper’s hut and Indian camp;
Lived o’er the old idyllic ease
Beneath St. François’ hemlock-trees;
Again for him the moonlight shone
On Norman cap and bodiced zone;
Again he heard the violin play
Which led the village dance away.
And mingled in its merry whirl
The grandam and the laughing girl.
Or, nearer home, our steps he led
Where Salisbury’s level marshes spread
Mile-wide as flies the laden bee;
Where merry mowers, hale and strong,
Swept, scythe on scythe, their swaths along
The low green prairies of the sea.
We shared the fishing off Boar’s Head,
And round the rocky Isles of Shoals
The hake-broil on the drift-wood coals;
The chowder on the sand-beach made,
Dipped by the hungry, steaming hot,
With spoons of clam-shell from the ***.
We heard the tales of witchcraft old,
And dream and sign and marvel told
To sleepy listeners as they lay
Stretched idly on the salted hay,
Adrift along the winding shores,
When favoring breezes deigned to blow
The square sail of the gundelow
And idle lay the useless oars.

Our mother, while she turned her wheel
Or run the new-knit stocking-heel,
Told how the Indian hordes came down
At midnight on Concheco town,
And how her own great-uncle bore
His cruel scalp-mark to fourscore.
Recalling, in her fitting phrase,
So rich and picturesque and free
(The common unrhymed poetry
Of simple life and country ways,)
The story of her early days, —
She made us welcome to her home;
Old hearths grew wide to give us room;
We stole with her a frightened look
At the gray wizard’s conjuring-book,
The fame whereof went far and wide
Through all the simple country side;
We heard the hawks at twilight play,
The boat-horn on Piscataqua,
The loon’s weird laughter far away;
We fished her little trout-brook, knew
What flowers in wood and meadow grew,
What sunny hillsides autumn-brown
She climbed to shake the ripe nuts down,
Saw where in sheltered cove and bay,
The ducks’ black squadron anchored lay,
And heard the wild-geese calling loud
Beneath the gray November cloud.
Then, haply, with a look more grave,
And soberer tone, some tale she gave
From painful Sewel’s ancient tome,
Beloved in every Quaker home,
Of faith fire-winged by martyrdom,
Or Chalkley’s Journal, old and quaint, —
Gentlest of skippers, rare sea-saint! —
Who, when the dreary calms prevailed,
And water-**** and bread-cask failed,
And cruel, hungry eyes pursued
His portly presence mad for food,
With dark hints muttered under breath
Of casting lots for life or death,

Offered, if Heaven withheld supplies,
To be himself the sacrifice.
Then, suddenly, as if to save
The good man from his living grave,
A ripple on the water grew,
A school of porpoise flashed in view.
“Take, eat,” he said, “and be content;
These fishes in my stead are sent
By Him who gave the tangled ram
To spare the child of Abraham.”
Our uncle, innocent of books,
Was rich in lore of fields and brooks,
The ancient teachers never dumb
Of Nature’s unhoused lyceum.
In moons and tides and weather wise,
He read the clouds as prophecies,
And foul or fair could well divine,
By many an occult hint and sign,
Holding the cunning-warded keys
To all the woodcraft mysteries;
Himself to Nature’s heart so near
v That all her voices in his ear
Of beast or bird had meanings clear,
Like Apollonius of old,
Who knew the tales the sparrows told,
Or Hermes, who interpreted
What the sage cranes of Nilus said;
A simple, guileless, childlike man,
Content to live where life began;
Strong only on his native grounds,
The little world of sights and sounds
Whose girdle was the parish bounds,
Whereof his fondly partial pride
The common features magnified,
As Surrey hills to mountains grew
In White of Selborne’s loving view, —
He told how teal and loon he shot,
And how the eagle’s eggs he got,
The feats on pond and river done,
The prodigies of rod and gun;
Till, warming with the tales he told,
Forgotten was the outside cold,
The bitter wind unheeded blew,
From ripening corn the pigeons flew,
The partridge drummed i’ the wood, the mink
Went fishing down the river-brink.
In fields with bean or clover gay,
The woodchuck, like a hermit gray,
Peered from the doorway of his cell;
The muskrat plied the mason’s trade,
And tier by tier his mud-walls laid;
And from the shagbark overhead
The grizzled squirrel dropped his shell.

Next, the dear aunt, whose smile of cheer
And voice in dreams I see and hear, —
The sweetest woman ever Fate
Perverse denied a household mate,
Who, lonely, homeless, not the less
Found peace in love’s unselfishness,
And welcome wheresoe’er she went,
A calm and gracious element,
Whose presence seemed the sweet income
And womanly atmosphere of home, —
Called up her girlhood memories,
The huskings and the apple-bees,
The sleigh-rides and the summer sails,
Weaving through all the poor details
And homespun warp of circumstance
A golden woof-thread of romance.
For well she kept her genial mood
And simple faith of maidenhood;
Before her still a cloud-land lay,
The mirage loomed across her way;
The morning dew, that dries so soon
With others, glistened at her noon;
Through years of toil and soil and care,
From glossy tress to thin gray hair,
All unprofaned she held apart
The ****** fancies of the heart.
Be shame to him of woman born
Who hath for such but thought of scorn.
There, too, our elder sister plied
Her evening task the stand beside;
A full, rich nature, free to trust,
Truthful and almost sternly just,
Impulsive, earnest, prompt to act,
And make her generous thought a fact,
Keeping with many a light disguise
The secret of self-sacrifice.

O heart sore-tried! thou hast the best
That Heaven itself could give thee, — rest,
Rest from all bitter thoughts and things!
How many a poor one’s blessing went
With thee beneath the low green tent
Whose curtain never outward swings!

As one who held herself a part
Of all she saw, and let her heart
Against the household ***** lean,
Upon the motley-braided mat
Our youngest and our dearest sat,
Lifting her large, sweet, asking eyes,
Now bathed in the unfading green
And holy peace of Paradise.
Oh, looking from some heavenly hill,
Or from the shade of saintly palms,
Or silver reach of river calms,
Do those large eyes behold me still?
With me one little year ago: —
The chill weight of the winter snow
For months upon her grave has lain;
And now, when summer south-winds blow
And brier and harebell bloom again,
I tread the pleasant paths we trod,
I see the violet-sprinkled sod
Whereon she leaned, too frail and weak
The hillside flowers she loved to seek,
Yet following me where’er I went
With dark eyes full of love’s content.
The birds are glad; the brier-rose fills
The air with sweetness; all the hills
Stretch green to June’s unclouded sky;
But still I wait with ear and eye
For something gone which should be nigh,
A loss in all familiar things,
In flower that blooms, and bird that sings.
And yet, dear heart! remembering thee,
Am I not richer than of old?
Safe in thy immortality,
What change can reach the wealth I hold?
What chance can mar the pearl and gold
Thy love hath left in trust with me?
And while in life’s late afternoon,
Where cool and long the shadows grow,
I walk to meet the night that soon
Shall shape and shadow overflow,
I cannot feel that thou art far,
Since near at need the angels are;
And when the sunset gates unbar,
Shall I not see thee waiting stand,
And, white against the evening star,
The welcome of thy beckoning hand?

Brisk wielder of the birch and rule,
The master of the district school
Held at the fire his favored place,
Its warm glow lit a laughing face
Fresh-hued and fair, where scarce appeared
The uncertain prophecy of beard.
He teased the mitten-blinded cat,
Played cross-pins on my uncle’s hat,
Sang songs, and told us what befalls
In classic Dartmouth’s college halls.
Born the wild Northern hills among,
From whence his yeoman father wrung
By patient toil subsistence scant,
Not competence and yet not want,
He early gained the power to pay
His cheerful, self-reliant way;
Could doff at ease his scholar’s gown
To peddle wares from town to town;
Or through the long vacation’s reach
In lonely lowland districts teach,
Where all the droll experience found
At stranger hearths in boarding round,
The moonlit skater’s keen delight,
The sleigh-drive through the frosty night,
The rustic party, with its rough
Accompaniment of blind-man’s-buff,
And whirling-plate, and forfeits paid,
His winter task a pastime made.
Happy the snow-locked homes wherein
He tuned his merry violin,

Or played the athlete in the barn,
Or held the good dame’s winding-yarn,
Or mirth-provoking versions told
Of classic legends rare and old,
Wherein the scenes of Greece and Rome
Had all the commonplace of home,
And little seemed at best the odds
‘Twixt Yankee pedlers and old gods;
Where Pindus-born Arachthus took
The guise of any grist-mill brook,
And dread Olympus at his will
Became a huckleberry hill.

A careless boy that night he seemed;
But at his desk he had the look
And air of one who wisely schemed,
And hostage from the future took
In trainëd thought and lore of book.
Large-brained, clear-eyed, of such as he
Shall Freedom’s young apostles be,
Who, following in War’s ****** trail,
Shall every lingering wrong assail;
All chains from limb and spirit strike,
Uplift the black and white alike;
Scatter before their swift advance
The darkness and the ignorance,
The pride, the lust, the squalid sloth,
Which nurtured Treason’s monstrous growth,
Made ****** pastime, and the hell
Of prison-torture possible;
The cruel lie of caste refute,
Old forms remould, and substitute
For Slavery’s lash the freeman’s will,
For blind routine, wise-handed skill;
A school-house plant on every hill,
Stretching in radiate nerve-lines thence
The quick wires of intelligence;
Till North and South together brought
Shall own the same electric thought,
In peace a common flag salute,
And, side by side in labor’s free
And unresentful rivalry,
Harvest the fields wherein they fought.

Another guest that winter night
Flashed back from lustrous eyes the light.
Unmarked by time, and yet not young,
The honeyed music of her tongue
And words of meekness scarcely told
A nature passionate and bold,

Strong, self-concentred, spurning guide,
Its milder features dwarfed beside
Her unbent will’s majestic pride.
She sat among us, at the best,
A not unfeared, half-welcome guest,
Rebuking with her cultured phrase
Our homeliness of words and ways.
A certain pard-like, treacherous grace
Swayed the lithe limbs and drooped the lash,
Lent the white teeth their dazzling flash;
And under low brows, black with night,
Rayed out at times a dangerous light;
The sharp heat-lightnings of her face
Presaging ill to him whom Fate
Condemned to share her love or hate.
A woman tropical, intense
In thought and act, in soul and sense,
She blended in a like degree
The ***** and the devotee,
Revealing with each freak or feint
The temper of Petruchio’s Kate,
The raptures of Siena’s saint.
Her tapering hand and rounded wrist
Had facile power to form a fist;
The warm, dark languish of her eyes
Was never safe from wrath’s surprise.
Brows saintly calm and lips devout
Knew every change of scowl and pout;
And the sweet voice had notes more high
And shrill for social battle-cry.

Since then what old cathedral town
Has missed her pilgrim staff and gown,
What convent-gate has held its lock
Against the challenge of her knock!
Through Smyrna’s plague-hushed thoroughfares,
Up sea-set Malta’s rocky stairs,
Gray olive slopes of hills that hem
Thy tombs and shrines, Jerusalem,
Or startling on her desert throne
The crazy Queen of Lebanon
With claims fantastic as her own,
Her tireless feet have held their way;
And still, unrestful, bowed, and gray,
She watches under Eastern skies,
With hope each day renewed and fresh,
The Lord’s quick coming in the flesh,
Whereof she dreams and prophesies!
Where’er her troubled path may be,
The Lord’s sweet pity with her go!
The outward wayward life we see,
The hidden springs we may not know.
Nor is it given us to discern
What threads the fatal sisters spun,
Through what ancestral years has run
The sorrow with the woman born,
What forged her cruel chain of moods,
What set her feet in solitudes,
And held the love within her mute,
What mingled madness in the blood,
A life-long discord and annoy,
Water of tears with oil of joy,
And hid within the folded bud
Perversities of flower and fruit.
It is not ours to separate
The tangled skein of will and fate,
To show what metes and bounds should stand
Upon the soul’s debatable land,
And between choice and Providence
Divide the circle of events;
But He who knows our frame is just,
Merciful and compassionate,
And full of sweet assurances
And hope for all the language is,
That He remembereth we are dust!

At last the great logs, crumbling low,
Sent out a dull and duller glow,
The bull’s-eye watch that hung in view,
Ticking its weary circuit through,
Pointed with mutely warning sign
Its black hand to the hour of nine.
That sign the pleasant circle broke:
My uncle ceased his pipe to smoke,
Knocked from its bowl the refuse gray,
And laid it tenderly away;
Then roused himself to safely cover
The dull red brands with ashes over.
And while, with care, our mother laid
The work aside, her steps she stayed
One moment, seeking to express
Her grateful sense of happiness
For food and shelter, warmth and health,
And love’s contentment more than wealth,
With simple wishes (not the weak,
Vain prayers which no fulfilment seek,
But such as warm the generous heart,
O’er-prompt to do with Heaven its part)
That none might lack, that bitter night,
For bread and clothing, warmth and light.

Within our beds awhile we heard
The wind that round the gables roared,
With now and then a ruder shock,
Which made our very bedsteads rock.
We heard the loosened clapboards tost,
The board-nails snapping in the frost;
And on us, through the unplastered wall,
Felt the light sifted snow-flakes fall.
But sleep stole on, as sleep will do
When hearts are light and life is new;
Faint and more faint the murmurs grew,
Till in the summer-land of dreams
They softened to the sound of streams,
Low stir of leaves, and dip of oars,
And lapsing waves on quiet shores.
Of merry voices high and clear;
And saw the teamsters drawing near
To break the drifted highways out.
Down the long hillside treading slow
We saw the half-buried oxen go,
Shaking the snow from heads uptost,
Their straining nostrils white with frost.
Before our door the straggling train
Drew up, an added team to gain.
The elders threshed their hands a-cold,
Passed, with the cider-mug, their jokes
From lip to lip; the younger folks
Down the loose snow-banks, wrestling, rolled,
Then toiled again the cavalcade
O’er windy hill, through clogged ravine,
And woodland paths that wound between
Low drooping pine-boughs winter-weighed.
From every barn a team afoot,
At every house a new recruit,
Where, drawn by Nature’s subtlest law,
Haply the watchful young men saw
Sweet doorway pictures of the curls
And curious eyes of merry girls,
Lifting their hands in mock defence
Against the snow-ball’s compliments,
And reading in each missive tost
The charm with Eden never lost.
We heard once more the sleigh-bells’ sound;
And, following where the teamsters led,
The wise old Doctor went his round,
Just pausing at our door to say,
In the brief autocratic way
Of one who, prompt at Duty’s call,
Was free to urge her claim on all,
That some poor neighbor sick abed
At night our mother’s aid would need.
For, one in generous thought and deed,
What mattered in the sufferer’s sight
The Quaker matron’s inward light,
The Doctor’s mail of Calvin’s creed?
All hearts confess the saints elect
Who, twain in faith, in love agree,
And melt not in an acid sect
The Christian pearl of charity!

So days went on: a week had passed
Since the great world was heard from last.
The Almanac we studied o’er,
Read and reread our little store
Of books and pamphlets, scarce a score;
One harmless novel, mostly hid
From younger eyes, a book forbid,
And poetry, (or good or bad,
A single book was all we had,)
Where Ellwood’s meek, drab-skirted Muse,
A stranger to the heathen Nine,
Sang, with a somewhat nasal whine,
The wars of David and the Jews.
At last the floundering carrier bore
The village paper to our door.
Lo! broadening outward as we read,
To warmer zones the horizon spread
In panoramic length unrolled
We saw the marvels that it told.
Before us passed the painted Creeks,
A   nd daft McGregor on his raids
In Costa Rica’s everglades.
And up Taygetos winding slow
Rode Ypsilanti’s Mainote Greeks,
A Turk’s head at each saddle-bow!
Welcome to us its week-old news,
Its corner for the rustic Muse,
Its monthly gauge of snow and rain,
Its record, mingling in a breath
The wedding bell and dirge of death:
Jest, anecdote, and love-lorn tale,
The latest culprit sent to jail;
Its hue and cry of stolen and lost,
Its vendue sales and goods at cost,
And traffic calling loud for gain.
We felt the stir of hall and street,
The pulse of life that round us beat;
The chill embargo of the snow
Was melted in the genial glow;
Wide swung again our ice-locked door,
And all the world was ours once more!

Clasp, Angel of the backword look
And folded wings of ashen gray
And voice of echoes far away,
The brazen covers of thy book;
The weird palimpsest old and vast,
Wherein thou hid’st the spectral past;
Where, closely mingling, pale and glow
The characters of joy and woe;
The monographs of outlived years,
Or smile-illumed or dim with tears,
Green hills of life that ***** to death,
And haunts of home, whose vistaed trees
Shade off to mournful cypresses
With the white amaranths underneath.
Even while I look, I can but heed
The restless sands’ incessant fall,
Importunate hours that hours succeed,
Each clamorous with its own sharp need,
And duty keeping pace with all.
Shut down and clasp with heavy lids;
I hear again the voice that bids
The dreamer leave his dream midway
For larger hopes and graver fears:
Life greatens in these later years,
The century’s aloe flowers to-day!

Yet, haply, in some lull of life,
Some Truce of God which breaks its strife,
The worldling’s eyes shall gather dew,
Dreaming in throngful city ways
Of winter joys his boyhood knew;
And dear and early friends — the few
Who yet remain — shall pause to view
These Flemish pictures of old days;
Sit with me by the homestead hearth,
And stretch the hands of memory forth
To warm them at the wood-fire’s blaze!
And thanks untraced to lips unknown
Shall greet me like the odors blown
From unseen meadows newly mown,
Wood-fringed, the wayside gaze beyond;
The traveller owns the grateful sense
Of sweetness near, he knows not whence,
And, pausing, takes with forehead bare
The benediction of the air.

Written in  1865
In its day, 'twas a best-seller and earned significant income for Whittier
Martin Narrod Dec 2018
well then shepherd in the mess why does that sharpened cowl of wheat surround those sweet yams in the satchel, some scene of loosening transgressions, no pear ripening itself one dull, and one unfulfilling afternoon, rolls down over its branch of sister and brother father and mother Bartletts from the stem, only to make its way into the bottom of that stretched out tawny hide. Where by the wayside every other nobody can see straight inside when a hand moves in, sweeps its fist and then goes deeply down into that can of rotten novelties we all hate, but you feel keeps us in suspense. I wonder will it ever end? Bells busting from the insides of their guts, another candy shock, up and bounces, popcorn kernels, roasted almond slivers, and some preceding green vegetable posted on the 8th St. Diner marquee display on 9th, another advertisement fighting at the sore, devoured hunger for that silhouette following closely behind the moistened wells where my brush dabs lightly into the cup before the gouache and paint mixture begin to dry, that is where I wait and wonder why? Why? Pained with hunger but besmirched with fright, skin sweaty, knotted like muslin yards growing weak against the coil. So humbling were the groans that nearly a decade crossed swiftly across his face, only five or ten minutes had passed before another twenty years flowed into the vast matrix of the rivers of blue sweat marked by estuaries, creeks, and streams across the brow, down the cheeks, and ultimately across the neck, lazing down into the chest, before settling its heavy panic soaking in the guts. Where a heavy glass brick has been vitrifying in the sun, never have two people seen the steamy and piping-hot quarry go from its conviviality and festivity of life, into this shriveled up tree having found its way into the prairie where giant winds bend its branches and enormous thunderstorms nearly strangle it with its own roots. Frisked by sin and pangs of nostalgia in which a thousand thoughts intersplice the whorls imprinted upon our brains.
Thought circles
Rockwood Aug 2018
Most late summer days fade into night holding a tepid dreariness in their breath, beating away with the tedium of the sun from late July through early September.
Yet ephemeral as it may be, the life of early summer is purely sanguine in the face of its oncoming age, as willowy saplings sway in the blustering breezes of June, and sprouts of vivid animation appear all around.
This is when the soul heals, and out of the mulch rises new beginnings and the ripening fruit of various works.

In this early season of summer, many taciturn inhabitants of the flourishing earth made their home, and among them, Lily: a creature of reticence and intricacy.
She burgeoned in attitude and character as days crept forward, extending her limbs upwards in an eternal paean to the heavens― as such was her sinecure and quiet delight.

In this, she stood insular to her ubiquitous family, an outsider to the sisters who flitted about carelessly on the wind, satiny gowns of pink and yellow billowing as they twirled.
Always invited into the fray, Lily was evermore stalwart in her choice to keep out of their plainly sordid affairs.

Yet in her isolation, the night whispered to her many a berceuse.
The sleepy stars implored of Lily’s indolent nature as she gazed into their eyes, trailing across eternity into peaceful slumber.
The night sky held wonders and questions that filled her paltry existence but placed her in stasis with the decorated heavens of her dying season,
Left to wither away with the insidious heat and vibrant splendor of late summer evenings.
a short story i wrote for AP Literature. i hope it will suffice for my lack of summer postings.
The vines have turned the color of the season —
as red as the wine their grapes will spill.
I peer back up the hillside into the circling sun,
an infinite swath of yellow. Below it surges
Homer’s wine-dark sea, repeatedly, endlessly, effortlessly
spreading. Except the sea is never red in Greece or Italy,
or even in France, where I stand amid a sea of wine-red leaves,
in silence, under the sun, holding back the flood of invaders below.

From the crumbling wall of the vineyard,
I survey the village of Riquewihr in all its medieval splendor,
gorged with tourists like an unfortunate goose
gagging on grain forced down its gullet:
foie gras for the shopkeepers, who crowd the cobbled courtyard
in all its chaos and cacophony.
“Sample a macaroon for free under the ramparts.”
“Buy a reproduction of a one-of-a-kind watercolor of the bell tower,
built in 1291. (Only 400 Euros for the original),” the artist says.
“Reserve it now for Christmas.”

His stocking cap needs cleaning, I think.
I eye the village fountain, the half-timbered shops, the claustrophobic
stone houses, brightly painted, squeezed into walls like tiny fortresses.
The artist tells me how hard it is to make a living —
the global economy his impenetrable wall, which holds back a flood
of buyers from Germany, China, New York.

I decline his offer to buy and climb the steep hill out of town,
the wine-dark hill of the vineyard.
This is what it means to inherit the world:
to stand apart, high, distant, above the sea
of other tourists, just like yourself, who yearn to stand apart,
just like yourself, laden with bulky guidebooks,
just like yourself, looking for the perfect souvenir, just like yourself,
the one that will sit perfectly on their mantle. Just like yourself,
they seek a memento that will remember for them — remember
all they could have had if only they had had the village to themselves.
If only you had had the village to yourself, to make it your own.

On this sunny afternoon, the village is my own — for a moment,
from a distance, awash in gray-blue shadow. Only the vineyard beams:
isolated, fecund, teeming with dreams; ever gaining on the harvest;
angling closer to the giant wine press that will spew the scarlet juice
at my feet, the earth turned the color of blood.

I resist the urge to pluck a baby cluster of grapes, nestled safely
beneath a leafy wave of this wine-dark sea, these purple berries
springing from the ground: so many earthy bubbles, born to burst.
Le terroir in French: The dirt makes all the difference.

A handful of soil would prove the perfect souvenir, nest-ce pas?
sitting pretty on my mantle. The dust and debris would blow away
day by day, like ashes spilled from a funerary urn,
the sacred remains of my travels.

Let me be buried, then, in memory of the fertile furrows of Alsace.
Let me push up this hillside, along its ample paths of abundance;
its ripening rows of fruit; its wine-red passageways through leaves
and vines, steep and luminous; the sea of blood yet to be pressed
from the soon-to-be-crimson grapes.

“Does this vast vineyard hold any secret worth journeying halfway
around the world to find?” That is the question I scribble in the dirt.
“Does this village? Does this vision? Does this ancient, failing wall?”
Even if the answer is “No, no, no,” I shall reply, “Yes, yes, yes.”

Yes, let me be buried in Alsatian soil as a lasting souvenir.
Yes, let me lie here, as I stand: free and upright,
lighted by the autumn sun, unchanging, set apart
to revel in the marvel of red blood seeping into the soil
.
Yes, let me make this stained patch of dirt my own.

The vines have turned the color of the season —
wine-red, wine-dark, blood-red.
And I have turned the color of the vines,
in silence, under the sun, holding back the flood.
Zach Jan 29
I think of friends as trees, growing to and from one another, but you grew all by yourself.
You had scars and scratches on the bark. Your leaves hit the light like no other tree did. Our branches grew out to the same sun.

I think of a garden when i think of you, i think of strong stone pathways, crossing carefully through flowerbeds of secrets, laughter, and long face-time calls. Whenever we walked through that garden together, i counted every step and i watched every flower sprout carefully. I would water them and you would make sure they got enough sunlight, you always insisted on carrying the watering can. I carried the shovel high on my shoulder, it was heavy but i didn’t mind, the shovel was shiny and sharp.  

I remember sharing secrets with the snapdragons, the way we danced next to the daffodils, how we laughed with the lilacs, cried behind the carnations, how we imagined new lives beneath the irises.

I’ll never forget the way your boots squeaked when you threaded through our garden. I always loved the way they sounded, i never told you though. You always say i pay too much attention to things.

We both hated leaving the garden, but we knew we would come back the next day, we always did.

Sometimes people wanted to see our garden.

We didn’t want people in our garden, but we weren’t rude hosts. We showed them the snapdragons, the daffodils, the lilacs, the carnations, and even the irises. He didn’t think the lilacs were the right color purple yet and she didn’t know we even grew carnations and they all insulted the irises.

But we didn’t mind.

They wanted to plant their own seeds in our garden. But it wasn’t theirs.

Our garden had grown. Plant life filled the fields, flowers bloomed bolus petals, fruit was ripening trees were treacherously tall, there was color. I liked blue. Your favorite was green. I liked green.

One day it stormed. It didn’t rain. Rain was good. It stormed. It boomed and it clapped and it roared. I was scared but you weren’t. I wasn’t scared.

Things were different after the storm.

When we came back. The fence had fallen down. Fruits were bruised. Vegetables were browned. Trees had branches snapped off. Flowers were wilted. The soil was flooded. But the stone remained untouched.

You didn’t water the daffodils but i didn’t mind i just stepped on the snapdragons but you didn’t like that.

Flowers started wilting but you couldn’t see it from the outside. We forgot to water them. We said we would remind each other, but we didn’t come back to the garden as much.

And this time we came back you didn’t want to carry the watering can. I even watered them this time. Sometimes you took the shovel, but you dragged it on the ground. It chipped the stone but you said we would fix it later.

We couldn’t fix it. Hell, we didn’t even try.

This time we sulked by the snapdragons, we determined damage next to the daffodils, we loathed the lilacs, we cut the carnations, we still imagined new lives by the irises.

Your boots didn’t squeak the same. I could barely stand it anymore.

By now we both stopped coming to the garden together. You left before I saw you.
I started seeing you in other places. You dressed differently in other places.

Your hair no longer kisses your shoulders. It’s tied back tight.
You wear jeans with patches covering holes in which only I know exist.
Your eyes are locked like the gates.
Your boots don’t even squeak anymore.

I still go to the garden alone
I don’t know if you come anymore
But i never harvest the crops we planted together.
I leave the gate unlocked.

I think of friends as trees, growing to and from one another. But your ax cries bullets. And our trees grow outward to two different suns.
L B Nov 30
The Harvest of Life Exchanging Itself

     “May I help you?” – More busy in my voice than hurried. A woman points to a quart of peaches she's been studying.  “Sure of herself.” I had been thinking,  “She won't buy anything else.”
Such delicate fruit—one at a time they must be placed in the brown paper bags. I've gotten quick at it.  Then the Standard: “Couple of those are pretty hard yet; Leave 'em out overnight in that bag, and they'll be ready to eat... Anything else?”

     “No nothing more,” small shake of her head.

     Late afternoon at The Farmer's Night Market in Scranton-- the intense bustle of of the early day over –  with its frenzy of bills and change and bags; a new line of faces every sixty seconds, waiting to be waited on.  Questions, peering, turning the fruit to see if one side's as good as the other, and it always is as the Michaels sell only premium fruit at their stand, where I've been “City Help” for two years.

     “No, we won't have cider till after Labor Day when the Miltons come in.”  Funny, I'm starting to sound like a farmer – even know the apples by their different tastes, appearances, and order of ripeness.  There are summer apples, fall, and the winter keepers; and a smaller, rather homely variety, MacCowans, are the best for eating.  I like Cortlands myself.  They remind me of making pies with my mother – the smell of dough and apple skins – the little scavengers waiting for the cores

     The customers have thinned now, scurrying like loaded pack mules – off to their trunks and station wagons.  I can even read their minds!  They're planning dinners, canning pickles!  Roasting corn for cook-outs, planning novel ways to prepare the bounty.  I know these things.  I've been a customer for twenty years from mid-July till Thanksgiving.

     Wiping my sweaty forearms on my jeans, I try to get rid of the prickly-itch of peach fuzz – small price to pay for the afternoons's sweetness.  Then leaning back against some crates, I watch the edges of the canvas shelters flap – storm later?  This place, I was thinking, not much changed from the markets a hundred years ago-- the gathering of life to exchange itself.  We city folk – dependent, fume breathers and asphalt beaters.  Machine-like, silly with wealth or lack; paying, playing, dining out – driving our bad-*** cars toward some goal – never enough – just to wait for old age on the steps of “check day”  Not that farmers don't have their desperate years.  Weather can't be trusted, and there's always the hosts of gnawers, crawlers, and rotters – the unexpected that comes with living things whether cows or turnips.

     I've seen it here: life exchanging itself.  The early yellows and greens of lettuce, squash, beans, and berries; ripening to August corn, tomatoes, and feathery bunches of dill.  Then descent with cooler days to pears and apples, corn, and squash. Late September brings the Indian corn and pumpkins, cider, bushels of potatoes, frosted concord grapes, and zany gourds.

     With the return of Standard Time, come the bare bulbs that light the stands of produce.  At Ruth's the sign reads: “Order Your Capon Here.”  There are hams and roasts and sausage for stuffing.  The winter apples – “Stock up NOW!”  Ideas for holiday decorations; recipes exchanged.  Bushels and bushels for the canners!  And, one farmer sells those branches, heavy with scarlet winter berries for the city doors...  “We close the Wednesday before Thanksgiving”  I always buy those berries.

Good-byes are brisk and sweet – cold breath steams the air.  City and country marking their seasons –  their lives by the market.  The warm greetings of July, “So good to see you again!”
...Marking their lives.  Our children grow so much between the markets.  Generations exchange.  This co-op started eighty years ago, 1939.  For so long, it was the last and only, farmer-owned, open-air market in Pennsylvania.  

     Generations born; some pass or retire in the winter.  Nancy never seems any older than her smile.

     The vegetables always look the same – they're not.  They are the children of last year's veggies.  I suppose if I were to come here for the first time, I would think everything hereå has always been this way.  And, perhaps, I wouldn't be so wrong.  It really didn't seem so different or so long ago in late October when I first watched the farmers huddled around kerosene heaters in parkas, rubbing their hands together, drinking soup and coffee to warm them – stamping a little – pulling off their gloves, reluctant to handle the freezing change.

     “Can I help ya?”
     “Yes... Where's the best place to store potatoes for the winter?...I'll take that one...Yeah, You got it!”

     Dust rose from the spuds, tumbling from the basket to paper bag, and I propped them in my red wagon on one side of my infant daughter.  She was bundled in a plaid wool blanket and wedged between the corn and apples.  Her cheeks were pink with cold in the midst of orange, red and yellow – the colors of life exchanging itself.
Okay, closer to prose and dated a bit-- around 1993.  Published in ergo Magazine  and this week on Facebook.  Check in now and then.  Ya never know.  I share my thinking there.
Travis Green Sep 23
You were a major turn on,
strong diction curled
under my tongue, ripening,
ready to release and explode
at any time.

— The End —