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POETRY OF ROGER HUMESPOETRY OF ROGER HUMES

Lost Horizon The 14th Step For Emily Dickinson
Journey Joan of Arc The night I started traveling
I desire to adorn you Since before I read your poems Perspective
So little Echoing through this empty house All poets live in exile
Black to Black A Certain Comfort Distracted
Legal Tender Obedience School Shallow Grave
Go to Page 2 of poems

Fable: The Shaman's Hat









Lost Horizon

Lost Horizon
You were Jane Wyatt
while I played my best Ronald Colman
when we met one last time
below the cresting sunset
upon the fabled bridge in Shangri-La
where the evening’s chill reminded us
that parting is its own conclusion.

And now in this restored version
the footage of when I kissed you is missing
with only the soundtrack of memory
to tell of how we were once
more than a Frank Capra film.







The 14th Step

A history of sadness
etches the old man’s face,
a road map of suffering
where recent events
merely add one more line
on the journey of his life.

He watches quietly
the hands fold
the flag, the one last memory
of the body before him
that finally lays at peace

Who knows the images
that flicker in shadows
across his heart?

All that is certain
are the tears of resignation
flowing down his face.

My hand rests lightly
upon his shoulder,
the only solace that I can offer
is that the coffin is not mine.

In silence we walk
from the grave,
the roses we hold
a memory of the last time
the entire family
would be together.







For Emily Dickinson

We need to grasp
what we can while we may
or spend the remaining
of our fleeting days dealing
with our drawers full of regrets.

We need to touch
who we can while we may
before the ephemeral flame
is snuffed by chance
from the candle of our days.

So hide not behind the words
we weave in clever and cunning
with our thoughts crafted
swiftly beneath flying clouds
of long denied attractions
winding toward the turning
of that long good night.

Instead, take this moment to listen
where souls at last do wed
recognizing here their connection
before the what ifs become the now
and they are too late to ever be more
than what might have been.







Journey

One last breath before the tyrant of the fleeting dreams
gives way to the white sleeves of the morning
where the far-away call of the storied thunder
dances across the restrained plaintive pleas of life
calling you distant to the restless wings beneath your feet
that are the only true home you have ever known.

If I could offer you shelter for this moment,
if I could offer a land where to catch your breath,
perhaps you might find a love fulfilled for an instant
before you return to that unknown country
where beneath the restless rumors of your heart
lies the only true home you will ever know.







Joan of Arc

Come lay beside me, Joan of Arc,
the winds of change pass by us,
throughout the echoed corridors of Versailles,
across the cold silenced stone of the Arc de Triomphe,
along the whispered waters of the Seine,
as we disappear into the late afternoon
where the gentle touch of a Monet painting
greets the first glimpse of Van Gogh's Starry Night,
carrying the story of your name
beyond the fabled bells of Notre Dame
ringing forth into the growing dusk
which enwraps the legend of my heart.







The night I started traveling

The night I started traveling
in my mind you came to the door,
suitcase of memories in hand,
to offer me the compass of your heart
as a roadmap to trace the love
that had always existed between us.

The night I started traveling
in my words you came to the window,
lamp of possibilities in hand,
to offer me the vista of your heart
as a ribbon to bookmark the love
that had always existed between us.

The night I started traveling
in my dreams you came to my bed,
cup of passion in hand,
to offer me the passage of your heart
as a comforter to swathe the love
that had always existed between us.







I desire to adorn you

I desire to adorn you
with words placed as jewels
upon your lips and fingers
before I kiss you
taking you down
unto a universe
that is ours
alone.







Since before I read your poems

Since before I read your poems
I have loved you,
since before I found your soul
repeating my thoughts
prior to when I uttered them
I have loved you,
since before your face
walked the depths of my heart
I have loved you.

I have loved you before our time was born,
I have loved you before the sky was formed,
I have loved you before the stars settled
into the universe and found at last their names.

I have loved you before either of us knew of love,
I have loved you before you were aware of our connection,
I loved you before when silence was the only companion
who shared the journey of my days.

So ask me not what this moment brings
when you cross my thoughts
with a slight smile played
upon the fingers of my words,
ask me not for this is an instant
where all that is required of us is to listen
to the sound of Solomon’s harbinger
wafting idly the wings of Sheba's dreams
while your reflection observes
in the teacups of my existence
an offer of the surety that at such a time
a breeze breaks the most sardonic of quiets

with the whisper “I have loved you…”







Perspective

Tears focused
below the depths
of perception,
promises chill
the slate grey sky.







So little

So little we have been told
is truth, so little we have assumed
is correct, and in the sunset of days,
in the turning of the final clock,
we realize in the end
that we have done so little
and that it means even less...







Echoing through this empty house
(for Nathalie)

Echoing through this empty house
the sound of your packing pervades the air
with the perfume of the hoopoe’s song
while outside the streets are crowded
with memories of a life whose day to day
no longer exists in the world where you live
alongside the ghosts of an ache one like me
can never touch or comprehend, just wipe
the lack of tears from your face before
you pick up your suitcase of resignation,
returning to your journey while I stand
lost amidst the shadows that play
with the dancing sunlit dust motes
entwined in the accidents left by the wreck
of these foregone conclusions.







All poets live in exile

All poets live in exile,
she said while pulling the sheets over
the words between the lines
as her head lay upon his chest
to hear the ocean of his heart.

Only by letting go
may we hold on to what we have,
only by releasing
may we survive this moment apart,
only by giving away all
may the memory of your heart
burn with the eternal gift of mine.







Black to Black

I listen to the quiet of my heart
wondering if this will be the time
that paused breath returns no more
and that black shall become
the only word to define black
while the stillness of the night
deafens like the last ticket
to catch a ride on my tears.

For in a handful of days
the wind has been ripped
from the sails of my soul
while this oh so savage heart
grips it fingers knuckle-bare
onto the whitest sleeves
of the fast now approaching
most despondent of dawns.

Scalded innocence served up
upon a forlorn pyre collapses
under the weight of the realization
that every time I go back home
there is one less person to visit
and every time I come back here
there are more tombstones
staring somber at my sorrow.

If allowed to rewrite
the dictionary of history
my definition of acceptance
would be those shunted names
now cloaked in the growing haze
of their own cold distance memories.







A Certain Comfort

There is a certain comfort
one finds when the experience
of discomfort
becomes expertise.

Now I understand why
my father would chain-smoke
at 2:30 in the morning
while staring at the remainder
of what his life could have been.







Distracted

Distracted you failed to notice
the changing of the seasons
or the portents the wind did omen
or the wearied moments lost
when you forgot I was there
waiting patiently across the table.







Legal Tender

Every life has a price:

for some it is love, for some it is death

for all there is a cash register of regrets
where they hoard the legal tender
of the mistakes of their existence.







Obedience School

Love is a dog rummaging
through the garbage under
the sink: the brain is aware
punishment is inevitable but
cannot resist the imperatives
demanded by the stomach.







Shallow Grave

The faces return to me before we share
the regrets of our shallow graves
where just above the loosened earth
voices remind us that in the end
who did what to who matters not
when all that remains of a lifetime
is a box of faded photographs and poems
whose only solace and companionship
are the stillness, the mice, and the dust.




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