From many places, speaking truth
and making magic happen. Celebrating language.
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DAWN ZAPLETAL - Page 2
|Water Colors||Awakening||Corn Song|
|Falling, Falling||Half Moon Bay||Haiku (5)|
|Haiku (7)||Like a Princess||Safe Harbors|
|The Tender Leaf||Waiting Worlds||The Link
|Haiku (8)||The Blue Hour
||Joy and Pain|
Go to Page 3 . Page 1
of brilliant blue
billows of supple
sea grass bend and swirl.
flash, dart, hover
then in sudden fear
take quick cover
among pink coral caves
and on the coarse canvas
of the ocean shore curl
the silent pastel waves.
There was no urgency
only a curiosity
to discover desire
I was not guilty
of erotic visions
but of beautiful
an innocent lust
in virtue until
the absolute candor
of my naked need
made me aware
of my blood speaking
a wild insistent
then like the center
of the sun
I was all fire.
All through the middle of America
there was a trumpeting of corn,
It's full yellow tremendous notes
pressed close to the swelling sky.
There were acres and acres where
the corn blared; consumed the frailer
human reed, swallowed up all lesser
themes, unable to stop itself.
Against the full golden theme of corn
was the lighter pizzicato of human
voices and the counterpoint of houses;
the bass of barns and lilting passages
of ponds and pastures. Bird calls
were a frill of flutes twisted round
the higher theme, to grace, but only
grace, the symphony of life.
Two coiled themes, the impetuous corn
song and the deliberate accompaniment
of man, bird and beast; each endowed
with the same integrity of purpose
and being, and the music of creation
soared glorious and triumphant through
the heartland of the nation.
The sun, visibly falling,
turned the sky thin blue
as the light shifted its weight
pulling the color toward the sea,
then a flash, a momentary shaft
of white slicing the water
like a sword of light.
Merging with the horizon
the sun trailed in its wake
a triangle of burning green;
a flame that lingered as sparks
behind the eyes.
A slow sunset would have soothed,
but there was no setting
to this sun, just a hot falling,
then purple darkness;
the sea suffused with afterglow.
Above the drowned sun Venus
appeared and red Mars;
behind them dim Jupliter,
and night began with sudden stars.
Half Moon Bay
And still, today and every day,
the dunes are lifted
stacked and slowly shifted;
their crests migrate
and reassemble with the wind.
They do their best
to raise their backs against
the weather and the sea
and block the wind borne
sorrows of the world.
In the tide pools
between rocks and coast
are small worlds of sand slide
and trapped seas; quiet
clones of the clamorous
blue water where all its wild
white gardens of spray
blossom and fall, blossom
and fall; to end
as broken flowers in the bay.
lights on my arm
I stand holding my breath.
a comforting sound
in the hot silence.
In the moonlight
a spider's web
like silver lace.
flattened by hailstones
then a rainbow.
Among the lily pads
play hide and seek.
In frightened glee swimmers brave
the surf while the timid
sizzle on the sand
or hide beneath giant lollipop umbrellas,
their color sucked up
by the thirsty sun.
Behind them the frizzled grass is
busy with mothers and loud with children.
Newspapered old men sleep
with the headlines pulled down
over their eyes, their brows
marked with a frown.
In the fading light of afternoon
picnickers surfeited with sun and sand
abandon play; retrieve their sleepy eyed girls
and boisterous boys,
catch the dog, ignore their trash, and leave.
The assault and battered beach is left
on its own to convalesce,
bandaged only with darkness.
A mug of tea, strong, sweet, soothing,
exactly what I needed. It warmed, calmed,
leaving me with a quiet mind and not thinking
about the subject of the poem I would write,
which seemed more like conjuring something
out of thin air than constructing lines.
I was at peace with the virgin light,
the tender leafed maple polished with morning dew
and seeing heaven in the heart of a rose.
Out of the silence came the muffled cry of gulls
full of sorrows; an almost human lamentation.
Then I knew what I had to pay atention to;
I knew what my poem should be.
In the breeze the twilight trees
are gently quivering;
from overhead an apple falls,
red gold, like one in Eden,
and in the disheveled air,
tempted, we turn and touch
Beneath the fig tree
Of last summer.
The bird on the branch
The girl on the grass.
I run into the field
Waiting for lightning.
Enamored of spring
I see your face
No matter how tight
I close my eyes.
Electric transformer becomes
A giant sparkler.
The peonies bloom.
Like a Princess
Sleeping, a white rose hugged to her heart,
the petals flaring in her breath gently fall apart.
Innocent child, her face aglow; a dream comes in
with stars, the curtain blows, scattering the rose.
On the paper walls are painted trees; behind the trees
a castle shows, and a proud silver steed galloping
goes. The child stirs, rises. Still half in dreams
on the stairs comes softly down, like a princess
in her white sleeping gown.
Out into the almost breaking dawn; her bare feet
barely denting the dewy lawn. Stars flicker, grow faint
and one by one are gone. While the watching moon sheds
a tender light she wishes not on the first star,
but the last, for midsummer night is fading fast.
Child of dreams, fragile and like the white rose,
fair, makes her drowsy way back up the spiral stair
to the crystal castle waiting for her there
with its haughty horse that races round and round,
its pounding hooves making not a sound.
Before the last star's fled, nestled snugly in her
downy bed dreams once more fill her angel heart and head.
We need safe harbors in our mind
Away from life's turbulent sea;
A golden strand where unconfined
Our weary spirits can breathe free.
A day, a minute or an hour
Of solemn solitary thought;
Perhaps gaze upon a flower
And contemplate perfection caught.
Safe harbors are the heart's retreat
To silent serenity's shore,
Where sweet dreams and memories meet
And courage on white wings can soar
The Tender Leaf
Grief too great
to find the ease of tears;
tears can only bring
relief to lesser grief.
Grief so deep it sears
the marrow of the bones
and turns the world
to ashes and sharp stones.
Grief like a storm
raging in the brain;
darkening the days
like winter rain.
But even grief can't outlive
its bitter season
and life, like spring,
once more unfurls
its tender leaf.
Last night I had a dream sublime
Of a world somewhere out of time,
where lived a people kind and wise
With dusky skin and amber eyes.
Clothed in robes of purple and gold
Their beauty wondrous to behold.
Though foreign to my earthling ear
Their speech was magical to hear.
They dined on fruits that freely grew;
Drank a wine of sparkling dew,
Wore fragrant flower coronets
And kept white unicorns as pets.
They lived in castles made of glass;
Played sweet music on harps of grass.
No discord marred their peaceful land,
Built on shores of turquoise sand.
Their sky was red, their moon was blue
And silver birds in twilight flew.
Crystal clear was their sapphire sea,
Singing its song of destiny.
Impatiently I wait for night
To dream again that lovely sight,
Of waiting worlds with skies of flame
In galaxies that have no name.
My childhood home sags with the weight of age;
Ruined now, but proud on memory's page.
Upon its crumbling walls a climbing rose,
Though feebly, with some strange devotion grows.
Autumnal leaves lie rusting on the ground
Where once the pale amemone was found.
The garden's glory, lost to time's neglect,
I can, with perfect detail, recollect.
White, pink and purple hollyhocks stood tall;
Bright sentinels against the grey stone wall.
Nasturtiums trailed their blossoms in the grass,
Gleaming like ancient coins of burnished brass.
Tiger lilies towered with feline grace
Over ferms delicate as Spanish lace.
Those scenes of my lost innocence and youth
Were golden with the purity of truth.
Now past and present forge a fragile link
As life's brief twilight trembles on the brink.
Just before dawn,
in the garden
a rose bud opens.
From the parched hills
in the moonlit orchard.
into the soft grass
a ripe plum falls.
Tying a shoelace
just like my father's.
I stand at the window
the last leaves fall.
Under rock ledge
the scorpion waits.
The Blue Hour
There's nothing quite like it
that blue hour at twilight
when the air is soft
and all sounds are muffled
by the power of pale colors
which can only be seen
out of the corner of the eye
like an obscure star.
The heat exhausted flowers
and night tinged trees exude
a minor, but compelling,
perfume and for a heartbeat
the evanescent atmosphere brings
to mind a time and place when
we had all been lovers and beloved.
Joy and Pain
Writing poetry is more
than free associating,
it's allowing a graver
voice to be heard beneath
that nervy lyric one
and like a heart slowed
by its burden
missing a beat the sound
and we experience,
as if for the first time,
the joy of seeing
and the pain of being.
Flock of crows flying
over fields of golden wheat
I think of Van Gogh.
By candlelight her
face a pale lotus blossom
fragrant with desire.
in the green depths of the sea
the whales are singing.
Eyes like violets
scarlet lips soft as roses
girl in a garden.
a soul captured on canvas
Rembrandt self portrait.
In the blue of noon
not even the birds noticed
What shall I talk about?
He is so deaf I have to say
everything at least three
times and even then....
But I brave the smell of illness
in the halls, make my way to his
room, by wheelchairs whose aged
occupants frown, mutter, gaze
inward at some saner past.
His is the bed by the window.
He gives me a sweet smile,
and calls me by my mother's name.
Sitting close I hold his hand,
frail and withered as old leaves.
We sit, like lovers, speaking with
our eyes, feeling the love that
flows between us in spite of gaps
in age, health, memories. The
silence is a blessing. No need
to dread the lack of words.
Now is the quiet time.
At twenty five my days began
In revolving doors.
Clutching my badge of business,
An attaché case, I clicked my heels
Across the lobby’s’ marble floors.
Confident in my conservative suit
And perfectly coiffed hair
I was pneumatically propelled
Breathing second hand smoke
And recycled air.
In thirty years I progressed from a tiny cubicle
To a desk next to a noisy hall;
From cold tile to thick carpet,
Mahogany desk and window wall.
Now at seventy plus I get up late,
Or wake at dawn and watch the sun
Creep cat like across the lawn.
Later I play at gardening
For an hour or two, or simply
Put my feet up and enjoy the view.
But, strange as it may seem,
I miss the work I used to do.
It’s September and my child who is almost five has started school.
I’ve never walked him to the bus, been inside his classroom
Or seen him on the playground with his new friends.
In the mornings I pack his lunch; peanut butter sandwiches,
Carrot sticks and perfect polished apples.
Kissing his sweet cheek I smile and wave from the door
Like the best of mothers. But if I try to go outside I freeze,
Feel fear like an electric shock, terrifyingly real.
My heart races, my legs grow weak; my senses come unglued and whirl.
What good is free will if I can’t take my child to school,
Walk down the street or go into shops?
My world’s becoming an ever smaller place.
Can I exist as a prisoner in a house, a room?
Like a genie trapped in a bottle will I shrink to fit the space?
My immortal soul I’d give, if, free of fear,
I could go out into the world and simply live.
In Memory of Kate
Free at last.
The painting was finally finished
In a month when sunlight, at a certain
Hour and angle, still warms the air.
In the picture’s foreground a fringe
Of bleached bracken and crushed grass.
Near the opposite bank a young girl
In a yellow dress stands ankle deep in the stream
Looking at something or someone in
The distance, one slender hand shading her eyes;
Behind her on the bank are silver birches
And one sycamore that shows
A hint of autumn on its turning leaf.
Three clouds huddle on the right, faintly blue,
And a dark smudge of unidentifiable
Birds in the upper left seem a premonition.
At night you pull my body to yours, silently,
Acting out of appetite, not love.
Desperately I search for meaning in the act,
But find none beyond itself.
Satisfied, you turn your back, sigh, stretch
And sleep. Desolate, I stare
At the darkness in my soul and weep,
Cursing my imperfections and you.