Saturday, August 19, 2023

Requiem for Bear Manor

Where the dogwood tree’s shade casts last shadows

and the wind from the wood through the branches

of time winds its way across the blue manse,

here, pools of inward fancy are shallows,

veins curving distinctively in untoothed leaves.

Large white petal-like bracts composed a mind

for the botanical nuances, signs

of celestial appearings, dark speech

from realms beyond the cloudless pewter sky.

At this one pulpit I alone would stand,

preacher of secrets held within a God,

the breeze Nantucket, dress blue striped and dyed, 

and orator of whisperings of lands:

where singular speaker outdid the mob.

Hinting of the moments of sunshine bright

I stood apart listless, pale like a moon,

I breathed of air far above clouds and crooned

while playing my guitar of broken light

streaming through famous panes on afternoons

with shadows hiding under wood antiques,

and strumming of new song and chords oblique,

when lentils simmered, the stove ladled soup.

I saw a glimmer of hope in lyrics

that wore sundresses, with lip gloss tinted,

where the bedraggled look melded away,

and our singing was observed by clerics

dressed in dark suits and starched collars minted,

the dead were carried to funeral bay.


The parting hand clasp of the deeper sea,

as she spit on shore the killer whale—black—

who had passed and was mourned in a large stack

of bulletins with tide’s finality.

There was the figure here now dressed with sand,

who in coral sea star found her earring,

and with culprit sage seaweed blistering,

decayed beneath the heat upon the land.

This body wreathed with torment there would lie,

where bitterness was gathered ’neath her breast

departed, there horizon would vacant

stare, unhindered at beautified sunrise.

Her once maternal sentiment and breath

had soothed the hungry untimely vagrant.


Without the home of the oceanic

temple, deep water could not be broken

top to bottom, and if wine-like token

paired with marine’s illusive sacrament.

Loitering crabs now would scatter beneath

ruined masts and shipwrecks of galleons

from medieval drime, pea sheen of bullions

in lorish trunks that once shone with god speak.

Flashing aqua fins of silver mermen

were like lush music in velveteen sea,

where pearl illusive crowns with wisdom’s down

as swans upon the salt of hard sternum

of a mortal dowager’s frosty tea,

premeditated wrath bequeaths her frown.


Heaven drawing close with finality,

feather’d angelic host peered ’round the door,

while hell slammed shut the bottom bunker poor,

they strummed with brass congeniality.

No music rivaled this one strain on earth,

for its equal none could eloquent sing,

nor dine without the meringue recipe

that was featured in flute-like hall of mirth.

Champagne be then poured for one and our pearls,

we would bow our heads at graced royalty, 

among reed grass—the winsome laughter rings, 

chocolate mousse, topped with chocolate curls

that from the mermaid is glass loyalty, 

among the elite of heaven, they sing.

At this poor pot, the peppermint reaches

from the shadows to the light of the sun,

it dilates its veins to climb and running

from morning to evening, dark green stretches.

From this lesson, our orator took note,

whereby she often listened to Jason, 

placed the bust of Medea, she wrote him,

with blue and green lines floating from her boat.

What verse and of what pow’r shall I be best

visited? she asked. Frequented, she was,

by supernal beings, heard poetry

from afar, and it was fleeting soul rest,

yet she longed for the divine as tall mast,

on this ebullient ship lucidly.


The textured isle of power she now lived on

was rough to the touch, and her skin was smooth

and resinous with milky and opaque roots

in former times. For here was the dream long

into the night, the place where running drummed

and met the pavement, every house, dark-limp

an audience to her sounding trumpet.

She hit the mark, star-shone and illumined—

with one round white gleam that was her flashlight—

the stark dead, for she travelled there alone

and she exhaled the truth in bitter moans.

A warrior now at battleground to fight,

birth pains of Christ within her feet were stone,

and in her wrecked palms, the wretched nail holes.

Photo used by permisssion: Armstreet Clothing Company

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Requiem for a King's Coronation March


How vast the verdant air seeped to the crux

of cathedral close, rising innocence

as Westminster Abbey’s purple incense

catapults sun into a sky of doves.

They fluttered, blotting golden light still blush,

and with their wings they heralded a new

day, bright with cheer. Yesterday, one or two

stragglers doubted, casting our crowns for us

into an abyss of thought and deed. Smoke

rose as sacred as our naked blue heads

shivering with cold: would mercy take us

with pity into her fold? The sword smote

all fear of the future, thrones in deep reds

were lit from underneath as they were just.


What was the reason we came to this place,

alongside the vast bloodlines, majesty

draping her fingers in a serene pool

where grew the remnants of the Queen Anne’s Lace.

I was picking wildflowers, carrying

them in my bonnet for the table’s height. . .

a poem or two were clippings with light

from an herb garden, fragrance varying

with words undone, yet casualty, each rhyme

of price would droop and die with winter’s frost,

and I could no more keep them there alive

with a black thumb—I could no more grow thyme 

than give a lark flight—its fledglings in moss,

hidden within ringed nest, the rain baptised.


I carried a leather book to write notes,

guarded for a King and Queen, and yet my

frivolous scribblings were nothing, yet lies,

compared to oratorio in throats

of singers, delineating past lands

of royalty who would stand here to be

crowned. Coloured symphonies, tragedians

would even bow, their feathered hats in hand.

All humble commoners took note, blissful

to see a coronation they would stand

for hours under searing heat, space of cloud,

the chorus, loud, soft,  still mingling, wistful

with children running underfoot, and bland

as inebriated rioting crowd.


It was time I grew up to my full green

stature, it was time to write a dark prayer

in despair at falling translucent tears

on earth after plague. All governed clear sheen

of dreams cast light-blue dew on cloak of grass,

society having lost the cloaks off

their backs, now hunched with misery at loss

and fire. The blood of loyalty seeped mass

into the fray of dust and fear. Now hear,

listen to my soft-spoken words of glass . . .

For a time we will enter reunion

with life in the midst of hell. Now, my dear,

don’t tell me you don’t wish for latent tasks

to keep busy, that good days were common.


For a time we are once more nightmare-free,

our chained slavery, blinded, as a god

we pay futile homage to in a mob,

we served without Justice or Liberty.

For long hours the afternoon sun slanted

tall windows, noisy, the street beneath me;

I poured through Emerson, Whitman, and Keats.

There was, like water trickling grey, blunted

from a stone, with deep cooling poignant verse—

the realms of cobalt-pure revelation

in visitation austere, and languid

eyes of a Madonna: her cupped hands, purse

in every gold realm, variation

of plenty, and the earth now turning sanguine.


I stopped in vile terror of a leader

so resplendent that the sage sea married

the shore, the corpse of life now ferried

with the wave of time in blue-black meter,

in salt crashing into its rocky crags,                                                      

with an aggressive tumult at life’s end,

without much hope left to entirely mend.

Yet we would array in vast red parade

the plush side of a splashed pomegranate

hiding beneath a spray of leaf entwined

where sky meets tree, and all fruit breathes in stealth.

The silver bowl now holds its pale manna

as life drains the juice of country supine,

archaic, old blue blood of Commonwealth.


Stay here, while I sing you one last lullay,

country of many countries that in one

dying moment forgot what made its song

live. The Commonwealth sang its lullaby

in dependable rhythm, its nature rung

to princes under its prism-withered eaves

bound-laid beneath its browning lifeless leaves.

Oh, forgotten me and my mother-song

of hovering spirit and milk-white breast,

promised land, honey hospitality.

Breathing iridescent through the curtains

hung with lace against the neck of time, rest

here for a glass of timid lime, cold tea,

bubbling to surfaces of castle earth.

Emily Isaacson