Category Archives: Sad Poems

Dead Possum

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Dead Possum

A rude surprise,
it lay like breakfast rejected
on the patio outside the dogs’ sleeping room.

The dogs were restless this morning,
barking for their kibble,
unwilling to follow the rules
that decreed paws known all too well
as lethal weapons needed to be contained,
the dogs in their open cages before I’d venture out to feed.
But some wildness recently sated
drove them to assault the door
and refuse repeated demands to
go to their beds.
They staged their impatient war dance,
telling with growls and claws
the tale of the hunt—
That won battle.

I lock them in their cages
and, order restored, I dish their meals
and free them to their feed.
I walk behind them to secure the sliding glass door,
gather dust pan and broom, plastic pail.
Their quarry too large to fit, let alone be lofted
by a dust pan, I grasp the tail and lower the possum
like a colossal tea bag for a dipping,
into the wash bucket,
walk the long path down to the lower wall,
heft it over into deep underbrush
of the vacant lot next door.

I own that land.
It has been the burial place
of sixteen generations of those possums
too slow for escape,
with teeth and claws insufficient for defense––
every one a battle won
by the dogs
and each one equally mourned––
their wild ferocity not enough
to best even dogs seemingly grown docile
until these night battles
gone unnoticed in my dreams
are brought to view in light of day.

The possum’s fur wet and matted but only slightly torn,
every time I hopefully delude myself
that perhaps it’s playing witness to its name
and only playing possum.
Optimistically, I don heavy gloves and winter coat,
ready for the struggle as I try to save
what an adult part of me knows
no longer is in need of saving.

Each corpse ironically made heavier by loss of life,
that dead weight of it
is echoed in a central part of me
as I try to lift with reverence
this newest evidence
that most of life
and all of death
is out of our control.

Burning Your Journals

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Burning your Journals

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.

 

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The prompt word today was trance.

Against the grain

 

 

Against the Grain

On those days when constant rain
spits against my window pane
with droplets forming into chains
and rushing down like liquid trains,
I try to keep my thoughts in rein
to guard against the certain pain
of remembering one who was the bane
of my existence. So I fein
a cheerfulness that is inane.
Attempts at humor that in the main
go against sincerity’s grain
are voiced in vain.
They do not light a shrouded brain.
They do not stop the constant rain.

The prompt today is grainy.

Special Delivery

Special Delivery

You hide yourself in shadows deep
to watch me as I fall to sleep.
Half-lidded, with your sleepy stare,
you cup my cheek and stroke my hair.
I do not know as I fall deeper
that you stalk this drifting sleeper.

Once I have no power to resist,
you give my hair a painful twist.
I try to jerk awake but fail.
I tense my muscles, fight and flail,
but I cannot escape your grasp.
I call for help. I moan and gasp.

Sir Nightmare, from where do you come
with death knoll beat on ragged drum?
I hear its pulse now through the day.
At every hour, it sounds the way
back to the horror of the night––
a pathway to that final fight

when I will mount at last that steed
that nightly stands to do its deed
to carry to oblivion
this sleeper off to meet her kin—
that father lost, those lovers three
who wait for my delivery.

Is this nightmare just a dream—
a mere digression from the stream
of conscious thought—a nightly swim
through a fantasy most grim,
or a window showing me
an inevitability?

The prompt word today was delivery.

Blind Misfortune

DSC08409Mixed Media collage “Macho” by Judy Dykstra-Brown, jdbphoto


Blind Misfortune

What you blindly get into
in youth can be the end of you.
Those days of passion, counting coup
are never risked when days are few.
The shorter our remaining years,
the greater seem to be our fears.
Thus, old men send the young to war,
forgetting what life’s really for.

They forget love’s throb and ache
and living just for living’s sake––
that need to feel adventure’s thrust––
the drive to do what’s fair and just.
Once passion ebbs, the quest for gold
drives these men turned crass and old.
They give libido other names
as they turn to other games.

Warheads coming now erect,
it seems a waste not to connect
them to their targets, so far away.
It’s only strangers who will pay.
All those enemies of mind,
with no thought of age or kind:
mothers and children meet their ends
and old men never make amends.

They send their own youth off to war
because this is what they’re for.
And young men taught by fantasy
on football field or on TV
are fodder for the greed of those
billionaires in evening clothes.
So the young men blindly go
for reasons that they barely know.

The WordPress prompt word today is blindly.

“I Imagine” dVerse Poets, Prose Poetry

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I Imagine

I imagine one more holiday.
My mother sits at a large picture window
looking out over a broad beach,
watching dogs fetching sticks.
Then, because she cannot help it,
she takes her shoes off to walk through packed sand.
I imagine her sighting the offshore rock
where puffins nest.
I imagine footprints—hers and mine
and the paw prints of the dog—
someone else’s—
who joins us for the price of a stick thrown
over and over into the waves.

My mother could count her trips to the beach
on one hand,
and most of those times have been with me.
Once, in Wales, we sat on the long sea wall
under Dylan Thomas’s boathouse.
A cat walked the wall out to us,
precise and careful
to get as few grains of sand as possible
between its paw pads.
As it preened and arched under my mother’s smooth hand,
its black hairs caught in her diamond rings.

The other time we went to the beach
was in Australia.
We stayed out all afternoon,
throwing and throwing a stick,
a big black dog running first after,
then in front of it,
my dad sleeping in the car parked at the roadside,
my mother and I playing together
as we had never played before.

My mother and the ocean
have always been so far divided,
with me as the guide rope in between.
I imagine reeling them both in toward each other
and one more trip.
My mother, me, a dog or cat.
Wind to bundle up for and to walk against.
Wind to turn our ears away from.
Sand to pour out of our pockets
to form a small  volcano
with a crab’s claw at the top.

So that years from now,
when I empty one pocket,
I will find sails from by-the-wind sailors
and shark egg casings,
fragile black kelp berries
and polished stones.
The bones of my mother. The dreams of me.

From the other pocket, empty,
I will pull all the reunions I never fought hard enough for—
regrets over trips to the sea we never made.
And I’ll imagine taking me to oceans.
Walks. Treasures hidden in and hiding sand.
Someone walking with me—
someone else’s child, perhaps,
and a dog chasing sticks.

Note: I never took that last trip to the ocean with my mother, but I think of her every year when I come to stay at the beach on my own, and this year in particular, every time I throw the stick for Morrie and every time children come to play with us.

Written for the dVerse Poets prompt, Prose Poetry.To play along, go HERE.

Advance and Retreat

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Advance and Retreat

The farther we grow apart,
every time we try once more to merge,
the hastier the retreat must be
back to ourselves.
B
ut still we try, over and over,
little incursions, trying to find
a level meeting place more suited
for festivities than battle.
We work our whole lives to become ourselves,
yet must regret losing those less-finished times
when we all floundered together,
no one right enough or formed enough
to be sure they were right.
Every step forward is
a step away from something else.
Every progress a departure, as well.

The prompt word today is “retreat.”