Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I Made Myself...

I made myself an island
And carved its edges mild
I made myself an island
But It still became the wild
I made myself an island
Safe from all the waves
I made myself an island
Where I’ll dig my grave
I made myself an island
And it stands here still, alone
I made myself an island
When I really want a home
I made myself an island
And my walls became the sea
I made myself an island
Oh Lord what’s become of me?

Friday, September 30, 2011

I Defy Despair

I defy despair
till the moment after my last breath
takes me elsewhere.

I defy despair
in the midst of turmoils
economic, environmental and emotional

I defy it
when all I own is dust
when all I know is gone
when all I love has passed
I defy despair

I defy it when
those in charge act like children
when suffering spreads like a wound
when the rational seems defeated by madness
when the voices of children
starved and helpless
go unanswered
I defy despair

And I do not defy it with anger
I do not fling impotent rage into the wind
I do not shout at the sky
Or rail against the stars

I defy it quietly and simply
serenely and constantly
persistently and resolutely
with that powerful
four letter word...


Just try to defy that.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

She Walked Between

Who walked between my winters
And left a warm impression there
Who walked between these islands
Reminding me of bridges fair

Who scaled the walls so frozen
Who added life to all the bare
And plain facades I'd chosen
To mask me from a luring stare
Of eyes that keep their secrets
While calling one to care

Who left before the winter
Could freeze her anywhere.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Odysseus' Folly

Bind me to the mast I said
Bind me good and tight
Plug your ears with wax I said
And don’t give into fright

Release me not till we’re long past
If I order or give plea
Loose me not until we’ve gone
Leave me bound here to this tree

We passed that fateful isle then
They were close enough to hear
The singing pulled at my frail soul
Its beauty brought forth a tear

I fought, I strove and tore my flesh
The ropes they bit and burned
I screamed, I wailed, I begged to leave
My efforts my crew just spurned

And when we passed away from there
I felt the loosing my mind
But the soul in me was rent in two
There’s no rest that I can find

I should have passed another way
I should have closed my ears
I should have stopped my wondering
That’s caused these restless years

And now I’m home; my journey’s done
I’m with family and my friends
I've battled monsters, men and seas
Yet the haunting song still rends

I hear it in the ocean’s waves
It’s hinted in the tide
The wind suggests its melody
From their voices I can’t hide

I’m called to cross the barren seas
I’m drawn to the rocky shore
I stand upon the brink of doom
And question what it was for

Why did I need to hear their song?
And pass so near that isle?
The sirens they are calling still
Across the watery miles

If I had stayed in ignorance
I may have saved my bliss
But now at home I’m wandering
Looking for what I miss

Some songs are much too wonderful
For these human ears to hear
And some are much too terrible
To add knowledge to innocent fear

I went through veiled and evil lands
I traversed the dim shadowed shore
I heard a dire forbidden song
’Fore Lethe I’ll rest nevermore

(This is an old one I never published on this blog for some reason. It seemed appropriate to post it now with the mythology theme over at the garden.)

What Creeps By My Bedside

Self-pity crept in by the bedside
Laid a languorous hand on my back
And pressed me into smothering covers

I fought back not a bit and sunk
Into the soft, motionless depths
Of a savoured sorrow
That tasted dry and overwrought
Bringing me back to restless immobility

What tossing and turning did this ship—
Myself—endure upon the sea of sleeplessness
I fought with rage and pride against a foe
That dared to offer out a hand to save me

“Grab hold and live!”
He cried from the deck
And still I screamed futile rage and sorrow
Gurgling against the waves

“Give me this!”
I shouted
“Give me one wrong to remember;
One grudge to nurture.”

But he stole the dead weight from my hands
And carried me to shore
Back to my bedside
Where self-pity lay defeated

Then instead of weeping
I gave in to sleeping.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Wreck

The waves of the sea flow unknowingly
Where graceful ships once sailed
Where swimming backs glistened in setting sun
Where dolphins and turtles swam
            And still the waves come.

The waves have no memories
Not like the land and the sea-floor
Memories can’t be written in the waves -
Like they are in the rock -
Or strewn across the water
Like they are in the sandy bed of the ocean
            And still the waves come.

The ocean keeps her secrets below the surface
Men get caught up in their reflections
While beneath lies something greater
In the shallows or the depths
More mysteries are hidden
Than the ever-undulating surface tells
            And still the waves come.

Near the white sand shallows
Of a palm speckled beach
Lies a secret there for any to see
Anyone who looks deeper
And has an aluminum lung
            And still the waves come.

Past a carpet of timid garden eels
And schools of shimmering jacks
And flashing barracuda
Is the waves’ hulking secret
Weighed down by bright orange fans of coral
And the black, yellow and green of feather stars
It is the wreck
            And still the waves come.

What was once a ship, now a secret garden
Flowing soft corals and multicoloured hard corals
Darting gobies and ponderous groupers
Fish of every colour on a painter’s pallet
Grazing turtles
And slowly patrolling sharks
Tired out from a night’s hunting.
And still the waves come.

This secret garden
This Atlantis beneath forgetful waves
Is hardly touched by man and rarely seen
An oasis in the underwater desert
            And still the waves come.

But if you go where the waves can’t remember
And where the storms have long passed
Where the turtles and the white-tips roam
You will see a slice of Eden
Buried from man forever
Beneath waves with no memory
            And still they come. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Even Pinocchio Knew His Maker

The puppets mock the puppeteers
not noticing their strings
They dance and hop and raise their voice to sing...
All they know are peers
of wood and wire
of paint and polish
of termite hollowed ash
of ventriloqu’d voices
and mimicked choices
that with their pride does clash.

“We are the kings
We hold the strings!”
They obediently say
not knowing who in the air
above holds fatal sway.

Don’t you see the enemy?
He wishes you to dance
your time away until you say
it was nothing but mere chance.

Don’t you see the enemy?
He wishes you to hide
him behind a myth or blind
tradition that you deride.

And what if sin and evil
are more than dated words?
What if they hold meaning
more than the absurd
notion of a god that acts like a child—
notion of a god that is anything but mild—
For what does this race earn
if not cruel death
by turning on itself and ignoring the rest?

We rape and burn and pillage
We steal and break and kill
A child takes a village
But one father has no will

We sow our own destruction
And arm our future foes
We revel in corruption
To what end? No one knows

And all us so-called-people
Who think ourselves so good
With hubris higher than a steeple
At the wayside we all stood

The spectators are guilty
The watchers did the crime
The reclining ones have blood-stained hands
We all live in the grime

Not one of us is sinless
We all hold equal share
We can make ourselves all kinless
Or admit there’s burdens to bear

When we see that we’re all brothers
And sisters straight from birth
We’ll be halfway to discovering
Our purpose here on earth.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Were I to Scoop Out a Star...

Were I to scoop out a star
from an isolated sky
and place it in your hands...
Were I to feed you its brilliance
spoonful by spoonful...

Were I to feed you Polaris
or the gem in Orion's Belt...
Were I to feed you the Lion's tail
or the entire milky way...

Were I to wait
until the glowing bits
went down inside your slender neck
and gathered in your stomach...
Were I to wait
until your body absorbed all the sparkling pieces
and your heart pumped the light through your veins...
Were I to wait
'till your eyelashes sparkled
and every strand of your hair shone
you would not be more beautiful than you are in this moment:

In the blanket of sunlight that embraces you
with your hair down
with your eyes lit by laughter
with your laugh lines tickling your temples
and your smile breaking my heart

(You shatter me so gently
See the pieces sparkle)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

At the End of Their Conquest

The conquerors looked around
At all their ashen mess
They stood there all quite silently
Not one to call them blessed

And from the ashes came the wail:
"We conquered our brothers, our sisters, our selves
We conquered our conscience and in our hearts delved
A dark little ship without oar or sail

For Acheron, Phlegethon, Cocytus and Styx
And most of all Lethe!
To memories nix."

Monday, July 25, 2011

When Your Eyes Are Green

In the dim light
Or the rain
Or when you’re looking away from me
And I gaze aslant into your eyes
They appear to be green...
Not the bright green of sun kissed grass
Or the dark green of alpine forests
But the green at the surface of deep waters

I want to lose myself in those waters
I want to dive into those eyes and never come up for air
I want to explore the deeps that the surface hints at
I want to find all there is of you, there, in your eyes
Find it
And embrace it as my own

But who can own the sea?
What man can claim the waters he treads as his?
The more he watches the sea
The more he pursues her
The more he dives in
The more he finds
That it is the sea that owns him...
The sea embraces him
The sea holds him up
The sea threatens to drown him
And the storms of the sea can always cast him on some deserted shore
Never to find home again...

Man does not own the sea
Though he may claim her
Though he may sail across the surface
And gaze at the shores
Though he may hunt the deeps
And find the hidden places
Though he may declare his love for her
He may never own her.
For the sea is free
And fair
And unfathomable.

So it is better not to quest for ownership
It is better to make no claim
Or conquest
But to remain in awe
And wonder
And hoping that the inexplicable may be:
That when that dive is taken
That dangerous dive down deep
You find yourself in the fathoms
Not needing to breathe

Monday, July 11, 2011

I Stayed My Eyes

I stayed my eyes from closing down
I stayed my head from rest
I stayed my mind from thinking till
I could cope with all this mess...

But all I do is wait and watch
And all I do is waste
While all I do is passing time
To seek a little taste...

The mess it stays upon my eyes
And it stays upon my head
It stays when I go down to rest
It will stay here till I’m dead

But when I’ve left a question hangs
Above my final peace:
Did this one, just like the rest,
Make this mess of man increase?

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Rooster and the Race

The rooster crowed thrice
and I remembered...

I should have run
I should have run the race
I should have run to win
I knew about the race
I knew I was in it
I knew about the prize
But somewhere



And go.

I forgot the finish

I forgot the line
Between racing and ran
Between the race and what's after
I somehow forgot the purpose of it all

And the rooster crowed thrice.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The History of a Book

I love used books
with their crackling spines
and musky scent
their easily turned pages
and caressingly rough texture.

But most of all I love it
when there’s a name
written with care on the front inside cover.
Or when some handwritten note or dedication
remains like a precious artefact
speaking of another place, another time
some memory of a person I never met
some legacy of one I may never know.

I wonder where they are now
What kind of life do they live?
Do they have children?
Do they have a warm place to call their own?
Do their friends call them often?

I wonder what caused them to get rid of the book
Did it get accidently thrown in with garage sale items?
Did they grow tired of the words?
Or did it simply mock them from the shelf?
—Saying, You’ll never read me again
you never have the time to read anymore.

I wonder if perhaps they died
and the book was sold or given away
and passed from hand to hand
until it found its way into mine
to share with me some piece of that person’s life.

What influence did the book have on them?
Did it make them cry?
Did it make them angry?
Did it make them want to share it with the world?

I write my name
right below theirs
never crossing out the history of a book.
The book is mine now
but it will not always be.
It could pass down generations
leaving only the fading list of handwritten names
the yellowing pages
and the creases in the spine
as memories.

I hope that one day someone will pick up an old book
see my name
and wonder who I am.

Friday, April 15, 2011

His Legacy

They say he took his own life
Like she once tried to do
But where she was saved
By miracle or luck
(I’ll take the former)
He succumbed
To leave that everlasting question:


He passed on
Like we all must one day
Leaving too soon it seems, too young
Leaving children behind
Children old enough to have given him grandkids
But too young to have tried.
He passed on before that empty-nest-hope for grandkids could sneak in.
Yet she
Who once tried to take her own life—
She who got a second chance—
She lives and begins to feel that empty-nest-hope stir.
She lives and dreams and hopes and plans.
She works and suffers and fails and cries.
She calls her son at 1 a.m.
                                 With tears in her voice
                                                               Asking if he heard the news

He, who was close by after she met those bright unblinking eyes
                                           On top that unforgiving asphalt
He, who came on that horrible task to pick up her car
                                           Abandoned at the side of the highway
He, who came to talk to a baffled husband wondering
                                           What did he do wrong?—What signs did he miss?
He, who came to talk to a father with no way of explaining impossibilities
                                           To children confused and afraid
He, who offered to help in a situation most would flee from,
He, who waded into the incomprehensible mess of it all
And offered a warm hand,
Is gone.

His hand is cold and sapped of strength
He has left his family and this world behind
                                            But he is not dead.
For he was there for a man at the height of a freefall
A husband who had left all he understood behind
A father falling through thin air grasping for something that makes sense.
He was there for a family in the disarray of impossible chaos—
The impossible that somehow was
He reached out and was there.

And there he remains.
His legacy lives on
In the warmth of a father’s hands
In the tears of a mother’s eyes
In a son’s trust
In a daughter’s love
In the family he helped to heal
He lives on.

His death is still a heavy thing to bear
A weight too large to understand.
So shed your healing tears
And wail out your confusion—
The whys that heave out your chest—

But after the rawness passes
When the memories still remain
Remember he still lives in my family
And in all who he touched in their pain.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


They say, "love is blind"
Well so is hope.

Hope is blind.
Unafraid of darkness
Unperturbed by danger
Unmoved by failure
Hope is blind.

And there in the darkest night
There at the pinnacle of failure
There surrounded by enemies
Hope lives on.

Hope is defiant and lasting
And for as long as you hold on to hope
Hope holds on to you.

No tunnel goes forever
No valley or gorge is without bottom
Every ocean has a shore
And the sun will rise
For a million years more.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ne Me Quitte Pas

I was walking through a blasted grove
Of figs and berries burnt to ash
This land once full of green and growth
Now brought that memory down to crash.

And in that land of blackened pillars
That seemed a Hades temple cold
I saw a flash of white above me
Too bright for prematurely old

Eyes that squint against the gleaming
Inside a world that has gone grey
Oft miss a beacon’s guiding
When from the path their feet do stray.

And here despite my squinting wonder
I saw alight upon a tree
A dove as bright as morning’s splendour
And brighter still than memories.

And there I froze awake in awe
To see so near such beauty live.
Why his pause and hesitation
Where life so long had ceased to give

Its hope and splendour at its being
It seems now just a heavy weight
But yet that bird came down alighting
As if defying seems of fate.

And here he stays nearby beside me
Though he seems so out of place
He should for every ’visioned reason
Take flight from this our burning race

Perhaps because he came to meet me
In this unholy blasted waste
He may remain right here beside me
To guide me to a better place.

(Ne me quitte pas)
You’re all the hope that I could find.
(Ne me quitte pas)
Without you I’ll just wander blind.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

If I Knew That I Loved You

If I knew that I loved you
I would tell you in some grand ridiculous gesture
Something out of a Hollywood romance
Flowers and chocolate would not be enough
A dinner and a movie would seem too easy

No, if I knew that I loved you
I would write it in seven scripts
I would write them in seven places
Seven permanent locations around the world
Each continent would know my love for you

If I knew that I loved you
I would go on three quests for you
To the ends of the earth
To the bottom of the sea
To the very centre of your heart

If I knew that I loved you
No wall, minefield or gorge
No sea, mountain or stair
No cliff, army or void
Could keep me from getting to you.

But I don’t know if I love you,
I wonder and question and wait.
I don’t know if I love you
So let’s just get coffee at 8.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Shadows Lit and Fled

The shadows lit and fled within the cave-
The hole of past iniquities piled high
And packed closer than stacked Parisian ’combs
Of bones on bones; mixed neighbours friends and foes
Till numbers disappear with all the names.
Yet when the crack of earthquake, pain and trial
Broke through the granite roof of strong facades
And split the cave in two down to the roots
The sunlight shone on bones in milling piles
Where darkness once held uncontested sway.
And in those dry and dusty bones within
That cold Platonic cave new life begins
To spark a fire in marrow stiff and old.
Life from death; a life renewed as phoenix
Wings and lasting beneath the phoenix star.
For now a valley is where once a cave
Held its crowded prisoners beneath dark,
Heavy earth and rock to dry out and wait
For what they did not know. These bones they have
Memories but no knowledge and hoping
Not much for futures, they forgot the hopes
In pasts. Before the end they grew as they
Now appear: cynical and hard and lone.
They saw only I’s and me’s and not we’s
But each a king, each a queen in their own
Reckoning, till parched and lost they became
All indistinguishable pale, dry bones.
The names and titles and wealth and everything
They once were and thought and fought over was
Forgotten; nameless heaps in an arid
Valley. There they should remain, forever,
A hidden mystery of death and woe.
Yet despite everything that lives and seems
And all that had ever lived a whisper,
A voice, a word arose beneath the sun
To light the still burning fire in these bones.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What Silences Say

This poem can be read in several ways. It explores the theme of silence, among others. The brackets can be read in many ways: emphasizing the words within, as if the words have been removed, with no audible difference, etc. Each way of reading the brackets alters the meaning and sense of the line but keeps the main theme/message whole.


- F. L.

Are you listening?
-Listening to what the silences say;
The (gaps) between words
And (spaces) between glances
Between (the seen and) the heard
Between (pauses and) second chances
Between what is and what may
Are you listening?

It’s in the flutter of autumn leaves
It’s in the floating winter’s flakes
It’s in the patter of distant spring
It’s in the summer and in the wake

I’ve been listening-
I’ve been listening for (all) my life
To authority’s (steady) voices
To the rambling of my mind
To the plethora of choices
And through (the wastings of) my time...
And the hollow (music) rife
With silences
I’ve been listening

In autumn’s floating leaves
In winter’s fluttering flakes
In spring’s distant patter
In summer’s shadowed wake

To what the silences forgot;
To past (and present) tied
By ponderous (muted) string
To noise and shouts belied
As another (dumbshow) thing
(The sounds) signified as rot
Are you listening?
To decaying

Pale leaves mouldering
White flakes congealing
Black drops pattering
Red sky mummifying

Are you listening now?

And in-between
The silences
There is much to hear.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What happens when?

What happens when

that little, growing light

at the end of the tunnel

seems less enticing





Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Broken Spears

Dropping old tools;
Last of
Our recourses

Laid heavy so
In our
Letting arms

Matchstick shafts snapped
And scattered
Like sparks

To light warming
Fires in
Cold hearts

Never to burn
Eyes like
Molotov fear.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Beneath a Fearless Sun

Beneath a fearless sun
I wander
With only a name and a face
And no story to put to them

I remember the stars
Their light once guided me home
But now
Beneath a fearless sun
I wander

I could stare for hours
Into endless blue
And never see another star
I remember the stars
Their light once guided me home

Their light
And the light of that smile
The one that lit towns from here
To that land of heavy winters
Facing that smile
I could stare for hours
And never see another star

But from here
To that land of heavy winters
I wander
In search of the story
To put to this name (and face)
Remembering the stars
And hoping
Their light will guide me home
To a smile
That lights towns
Beneath a fearless sun

Monday, February 21, 2011

Musty eye weight

Must I?
Like a burning stinging sight
The tear blurred light
No. Not me.
Eyes so dry
They belong on a British tele

Yet a deadpan face
Belies all that happens inside
And the eager tail-chasing race
Of puppy dog hopes abide
In this eye-browed, scruffy-bearded kennel

In the quiet minutes of the night
I think I must fight
Hours and days
That hang like a weight around my neck
A weight of waiting
And as I weigh theses hours
Against the days that went before
I think I can take a few more
But I want to know what’s in store
So I can purchase or walk away
But that’s not how it works today
That’s just selfish and mean
(As in: on the fence)
That’s not the routine
(I don’t even know how to fence)

I wait?
Not sure, perhaps a few ounces
A few too many perhaps.
Eyes weigh heavily on the mind
Ounces don’t weigh into it
Pounds and tons neither.
A ton perhaps
As a wait and not a weight
A ton of waiting to see those eyes again
But I’ll try the part of a patient man

I’ll play my act
(It’s the little button with the triangle)
Wait for the finale
(And the crescendo!)
Skip the applause
(The joys of modern technology)
Hop off the stage
(I swear it was genuine)
Go out the door
Of this week, month (or however long it takes)
And dance with a smile
Into her arms

Must I wait?