Although she was our portal to the world, with little pageantry we laid her down. No trumpets blared, the flags full mast unfurled, for it was small, the realm of her renown.
And yet the limbs were bare, the whole world brown as though the trees she planted all were lief to shed their full green finery in their grief.
The prompt today was cloaked. Also for the dVerse poets prompt, Rhyme Royal.The rhyme royal stanza consists of seven lines, (usually) in iambic pentameter. The rhyme scheme is a-b-a-b, b-c-c. It was the standard narrative meter in the late Middle Ages.
Why does the loveliest flower have the sharpest thorn
so you had to pay the tariff of young flesh pierced and torn
by the most splendid ornament that you had ever worn
as he clasped you to the music of the saxophone and horn?
It’s been true each day you’ve lived, was true when you were born,
and your father brought fresh roses—your bedside to adorn.
And it will go on being true on that future morn
when roses will be carried by those saddened and forlorn
as they place your ashes where you’ve asked that they be borne:
back to that same rose bush that so long ago was shorn
of the roses that you carried when your wedding vows were sworn.
Who knew fidelity’s even stance could be mitigated by circumstance? That a subtle smile, perchance, exchanged between you at her advance would wind up in a swift romance that flourished in that small expanse between us and her winsome glance.
Who knew that you would go freelance when love became our ritual dance? And that I, still in loving’s trance, would only learn it later, by chance. Reading your words, caught twice askance. First by your death, then grief enhanced as I suffered loss anew with this further death of you.
Bleach all the colors from the flowers. Cancel out the sun. Stay the music. Still the dance. Tell laughter it is done. She will not walk this way again so all must cease to walk. Her conversation’s over. The whole world must not talk. Earth upon its axis should still its constant motion. The cook must quiet his cooking pots, the chemist trash his potion. The universe must end itself now that my true love’s dead, and I lay myself beside her on our wedding bed.
A hand releases mooring lines and I go floating free.
Unmoored and unamóred, I float upon the sea.
Each time I find a tether, it lets loose of me,
for nature seems to be at odds with propinquity.
Nothing lasts forever or even long enough.
Each time the tattered sleeve of time shakes me off its cuff,
I am again amazed that the rules won’t change for me.
Each time I am newly surprised by mortality.
So many friends and lovers, so many family members
who once were bonfires in my life, flicker down to embers
then fade to ashes in a jar sitting on a shelf.
and once again my tether becomes only my self.
It is a cruel truth of life, this ephemerality
that severs every hawser as ones we love go free.
No matter what allegiance, what solidarity
is promised, still the vow that lasts is mutability.
In them, I talk about his eyes. What they say to me across the room. His foot against my foot under the table. The rush of air as he walks by. His body’s honest odor. I can’t pull away, he can’t look away. And yet we do what is necessary.
When I write what I really want to say, I stuff the pages in my shoes. Limp over them. Dance over them, too. Let other gentle men dance me over songs of him.
I’ve folded him a paper mouth to house his tongue. I want my words on his palate where he can taste them salty fragrant cheeks gums tongue.
I want his tongue to press my words against my cheek, tattoo them on my face where I can see them in the mirror.
Instead, I fold them into origami castles, set them on the sand, hope the wind and seagulls free them before beach squirrels shred them into their full cheeks and carry them to hidden burrows in the hillside.
The NaPoWriMo prompt today was to write a letter in the form of a poem. This poem is about love letters.
On Sunday morning under orange bougainvillea, Your picture spills from an old album. You were on a verandah under purple bougainvillea, drinking the hot noon from your coffee cup as I drank passion fruit and watched Lake Tana birth the Nile.
Later, kneeling by the river, I made my hand into a cup, but you called out that slow death swam the blood of those who touched the river, while behind you on harsh branches, black birds barked stark music.
Now, on Sunday morning under orange bougainvillea, half a world and half a life away, I restore you to your proper place, remembering how, when they laid you down to dream beneath the purple bougainvillea, it was passionfruit’s sweet poison that flavored my life.