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POETRY OF DAWN ZAPLETALPOETRY OF DAWN ZAPLETAL

Peonies Lament Once an Orchard The Last Farewell
In the Woods Everyday Miracle The Lacemaker Paths of Memory
Insomnia Clouds
A Very Early Spring Nature Prompts
Aftermath Figs
Winter Stars
That Thing
As for Beauty Refinement Bottom Line The Kiss
Seams/Stress The God of Sleep Dromedary Sleeping Nude
Harbingers Evergreen Peasant Shoes Today
The Woman In The Moon

My Husband's Wife

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Peonies

The heavy headed peonies
Bend with the weight of their blooms.
Arched stems, bowed by their
Fulsome flower anchors,
Barely react when a gentle breeze blows by.

With enticing colors
They invite the passerby to sample
Their delectable fragrance
Wafting from their dew drenched hearts.

Nearby one blossom, still a bud,
Its petals tightly bound across
Its little cabbage head
Waits patiently till time says enough.

Then the turgid bud bursts, unfurls
And joins its sisters,
Like maidens waiting for suitors
To pluck them
And take their perfumed beauty
For their own.







Lament

When summer lay upon the leaf
I had a remedy for grief;
When autumn flamed across the sky
The cure was harder to come by,
And in the winter, wild, unkind,
No panacea could I find;
But, worst of all, though spring regains
Its green dominion grief remains.







Once an Orchard

Only a single pear tree remains,
its trunk split by lightening,
its crown half torn away
by last winter's storm.
Its limbs are broken;
some completely severed,
yet its sap still flows,
it buds, bears blossoms
and leaves;
even a few pathetic pears;
witness to the struggle
to stay alive and do more
than just survive.







Poet's Plea


Make mine a song of wind

And tide surging like mighty waves

That boldly from unknown depths arise.

A crashing, smashing surf of ink

Spilling across the white shore

Of the page like a blue surprise.







The Last Farewell

Coming home the Golden Gate Bridge was shrouded
in fog, the ocean tossing in troubled sleep.
In the tarnished twilight outside the car windows
The secret city passes by, and you and I
Secluded now in the hidden rooms of our hearts.
A sliver of pale moon raced us all the way home and then
Like a heart murmur the memory of the evening
Just passed, a friend, a father, a son, a poet, was freed from
The tabernacle of his soul, the trapped birds of memory
And song joyously winged among the mourners,
Recalling him in those far away green boyhood years,
And a loving friend sang for us a song of sad times turning;
And I thought then that the curse of age is memory;
of youthful days forever with us and now his last song stilled;
Turning to you I saw the tears in your eyes,
Knowing we would keep this moment forever like
A photograph to treasure wherever our days or ways might take us.







In the Woods

In the company
Of bog lillies and corn flowers
And the bored hum of bees
The purple violets
Are back in the long grass.
I haven't heard a peep
From them
Intent as they are
On doing whatever it is
They're here to do.







Everyday Miracle

Dawn shyly slips into its first pearl self,
Welcomed as though the world would be
Cleansed of all its hostilities.
The sleepless, sad, those bereft of hope
Brighten ever so slightly
As a pale gray full of unearthly tenderness
Visits the tallest trees and spires first;
Painting their random peaks
With soft wrappings of light.
What's to come is foreordained,
Beginning delicately and swelling
Like music into casual shades of rose,
Peach and lemon, leading
To formal gladness, and indisputable gold.
The heart leaps at this everyday miracle;
The dawn light that braided
With a calm through fleeting beauty
Leads the heart to hopefulness.







The Lacemaker

Beside a casement window,
Back lit with lemon light
She makes lace on a well worn form.
From its padded bosom
Bobbins hang like fishing lures.

With patient practice
Following her map of upright pins
The threaded matrix morphs
Into a pattern of intricate design,
With nodes of knots and trails of thread,
Fragile as any spider’s web.

She surveys it with critical care:
An object of perfection
Made to adorn some modest maiden’s gown;
Edge some staid burger’s ruff,
Or grace some frivolous fop’s cascading cuff.







Paths of Memory

I'm old, but rich with memories;
Memories of a meadow merry with lambs,
Colts and calves grazing on new grass;
An old oak where the lark sings
And the sun dappling spring's
Welcome mat of faithful violets.

My heart hears the soft splash
Of a waterfall
Created by Nature in a playful mood,
And in that blissful solitude
A mocking bird fills the air
With music even angels envy.

Yesterday memory took me to a grove
Of birch and flaming sumac
Where in autumn leaves fly by
On wings of crimson and gold
Fleeing from the threat of winter's cold
Like migrating butterflies.

Last and dearest, my thoughts wander down
The green tunnel of sycamores
Cool even in the heat of a summer day;
Beloved of a barefoot girl who walked
And dreamed its secret way.







Insomnia

Sleep, too, is old, has fought the losing fight,
Together we await the coming light.
Through the sad night the slowly ebbing tide
Slinks from the broken shore unsatisfied.
A strange wind blows, then darkness like a shroud,
And the moon is devoured by an angry cloud.
With dawn sleep is slain, and the day again
Fills with the dreadful monotone of rain.







Clouds

Evening now, past all
the distractions
of the changing light
and brilliance of the summer day.
Where earlier a hundred swift young clouds,
each small and white as snow,
sailed high through the morning sky,
completely free,
to rise and sail even above the sun itself,
or so it seemed,
and roam the far reaches of a day
that never left off brightness.
Those careless clouds
innocently unaware, had flown too fast,
grown too hot at midday;
and fell with falling afternoon,
now not knowing what to do
lay all huddled as if almost asleep
beneath the setting sun,
robbing the western sky of glory.







A Very Early Spring


The fields are full of melting snow,
With little blue lakes
And flags of tender green that shiver.
So many white clouds,
But the blue of the sky is cold.
The sun walks in the forest
Burnishing the boughs with gold.
Sweet is the sound of spring's
Waking laughter
Yet the little blue lakes
And the flags of tender green still shiver.







Nature Prompts


When April with its quick showers

Has pierced the drought

Of March to the roots and bathed every vein

Of earth with its sweet elixir,

When the flowers, trees and impatient grass

Are freed from Winter's sleep;

When the zephyr, too, with its dulcet breath

Has breathed life

Into all the tender shoots and the Spring

Sun has given way to dusk

Then the nightingales, as Nature prompts

Them in their hearts,

Open their throats and sing.







Aftermath


This morning, after last night's storm,
Crimson clouds huddle on the horizon
Beneath a white washed sky.
On the hillside redwoods loom
Dark and dripping and willows
Weep into the swirling stream;
Violets turn their sodden faces
To the sun and in the hush of first light
A meadow lark breaks the silence;
And my heart.







Figs


I stood in the slatted shade
Of the tree
Through which the morning sun
Slipped softly.
On the ground lay burst figs
With their fleshy
Purple pulp and golden seeds,
And all around me
Satiated bees powdered with pollen
Hummed in the green light.

 





Winter Stars

Above the treetops and the high
Mountain snows they silently appear
As mosaics of the atmosphere;
Glittering as if fired to whiteness
By a cold burning far beyond
The mere mid-wintering of the year.

Stars are ignorant of sin,
Their innocence untouched within;
Sending a quiet steadfast light
Through the violet void of night,
While the sleeping earth
Serves out its yearly sentence
And spring's simple carpenters begin
Rebuilding the house of our repentance.







That Thing


Imagine a fire glowing,

The wood snapping

The way it does when it's still

A little green;

Wind and rain rattling

The windows,

And music that feels

Like sorrow and ecstasy

All mixed together

Pouring into the room,

Filling your soul,

And you have a hint

Of happiness;

Or just reading by lamplight

With the soft sound

Of pages turning,

And for a moment

You dare to be happy;

You do that brave

And dangerous thing,

You dare.







As for Beauty

It may indeed
be in the mind
of the beholder
but it's the heart's
need that plants
the vital seed
that feeds the soul.







Refinement

Through latticed boughs of cherry branch
Dart hummingbirds at lover's play;
As silently as silken fans
And not a petal dropped all day.







Bottom Line

Cut down the trees
Put up more houses
Dam the rivers, pollute the air,
Will someone ever
Draw the line somewhere?

Put all the animals in a zoo
. Crack open the mountains
Destroy the view.
Build super highways
Where orchards grew.

Proliferate. Contaminate.
Exterminate.
Profit, profit, profit,
That’s the bottom line!







The Kiss

The smooth interplay of our lips
Altered subtly
With each contact and release
Filling me with light and longing
Spinning both into a single
Luminous thread of sweetness.
I surrendered to the soft insistence
Of your lips so infinitely moist,
Your mouth a warm coral cave,
Your tongue quivering
Like sea grass.
I saw your eyes change
The pupils lit with fiery points
As if you burned somewhere inside.
The long kiss plunged me
Into a private pool of sensation
A dark rapture where I felt
The death of longing, waiting,
Love woke inside me…stirred.







Seams/Stress

I hate the hectic pattern of my days
Cut along the rush of work
With small tucks of time for thinking,
Darts of discontent, neatly turned
Into a tight lipped hem of hurt.

Nights I lie beneath a patchwork quilt
Of tattered dreams; ripped and faded along
The seams, cursed with restless
Pins and needles in my feet.

If I could I’d change the color
And fabric of my life and create a design
For inner calm couture,
A placebo for despair, if not a cure.

Snip out the stitches of my years;
The many mends that hide the rents
Of wear and tear; careful not to let the garment
Fall in pieces to the floor, and remake it
Into a semblance of the way it was before.







The God of Sleep

In a room for pills and pillows
With two curtained beds,
A Purple Heart veteran of hospitals
Waits for dawn and morning meds.

Outside aides laugh and converse,
Some in English, most in Spanish,
Until told to hush by the night nurse.

Through sleepless night stupor
I hear footsteps approaching our door,
Each purposeful step slapping the tile floor.

Through the slit in my curtain I see
The an aide come in carrying
Towels, pads and anonymous potions
Used when performing morning devotions.

Alone again my fellow patient
And I sigh, shift restlessly
In our elevator beds
And pray to the God of sleep
To please turn off the thoughts in our heads.







Dromedary

I lie against your muscled wall
As dawn reveals the outline of your back,
A broad barrier throughout
Our many years.

It looms up to its shoulder height
While I, a female camel, with folded limbs
And words unsaid
Rest beside your mound of flesh
Upon this desert bed.

With your sad eyes and stern lips
All on the other side,
My breasts nudge their entreaty
And I can only beat my heart against
This Wailing Wall.

I tuck my knees beneath yours;
We fit together like two spoons.
I nestle, thankful
That your body's warm,
That comfort has not gone away.

Since I can last for weeks against a drought,
With dogged, dumb belief that
Our wells are capped, not drained.
I’ll wait till memory may seep,
Compassion flow, an oasis
Of love once more may grow.

But if not that…
I’ll put my arms around you seven nights,
Whisper loudly, and your wall
Will fall like Jericho.







Sleeping Nude

Her smooth pale brow,
Blushed cheek
And sweetly convoluted ear
Caressed by candle light.
Her silky skin shadowed
Between sharp elbows
And rounded hip;
Angle of shoulder blade
And slender neck; a serene sea
Of hushed softness where
Nothing stirs but her warm breath
And the candle flame.







Harbingers

The hummingbirds
came today leading the sun into
the shady hollows where violets cling;
and lilies of the valley,
anemones and bluebells fling
their fragrance over yet another spring.







Evergreen

With age will my sweet store of desire
Shrink, wither and waste away
Will I, against my will, be separated from it?
Will it fall, leaf like, unheeded,
Or will I shed my leaves with passion,
Still resilient in the winter winds of time.
Evergreen…evergreen.







Peasant Shoes

In the stiff heaviness of the shoes
Is the accumulated tenacity
Of his slow trudge at first light
Through the far spreading furrows
Of the field swept by a raw wind.
The cracked soles rich with soil
Grip the wet earth as he follows
The sun in its rising and setting,
One step at a time.







Today

Today is the unspoiled page in your book of time,
It can be your opportunity to practice what you have learned in all your yesterdays.
All that you sought and failed to find is hidden in today, waiting for you to seek it out.

All the good deeds that you vowed to do you can do today.
In today lies the potential of all you dreamed, but didn’t dare to try.
These dreams slumber lightly, waiting to be awakened by the touch of an enduring purpose.

Today, the first day of the rest of your life, is your opportunity to renew your faith
In yourself, in the truth, and in the beauty of life.

 



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