Poems of birth to early youth.
Poems of childhood to adolscence.
Poems of later life and death.
Chapter 1: Beginnings
to my son
Hold you ever near me through a passing night of time and ending scene of cradle pleasure lent between this romp of sky and dusty floor. Kneel, offer hands awash to mending all went wrong within our whitewash walls set of texture sunlight and the lime of dying planet. For you my artist posing head within His palm shaming light upon the seemingly eternal master only dazzling pastels for landscapes brushed of memories.
a father's love letter
Would I ever lose you to the whirlwinds of romance and the hours once shared found the younger man my heart will hide as evening wren in the memory of your child.
Can a father’s love unweave the nest of instinct? .....rescind the Southern journey?
in your grand scheme will you know I still see girl forever in our field?
where once never minding of the father who would bring her down over again from ever persuading fields to softly settled linens
where I’d practice my happiness for the day you’d wake to find the sequel to our love
There was once in playing fields all the wavering carefree ways of wisdom. And childern brazen, weary in nightfall returning always longways home to afterglows of kitchen and visions of Mother tending favorite violets flowering all around you.
Till evening’s gentle wheezes ending on a sigh inside such room you dreampt a thousand high adventures and staring roles cast you, Slept on.
From a wayside gathering sweetpeas oneday wonder and awake the ever-after species: Yearning, fading, returning, finding Mothers plastic violets still silly towards the stars.
cycle of moonshine our windows bleed through blue branches
no fear now my young one close your eyes
our time for quiet reserved their time to sing resurged
seemingly eternal nocturnal symphony
resonate while young in slumber reap the dawning of another sun- shine day
while elders in leisure sew the closing of another child- less night
downy-drowned, the captive child dances amber eyes to cosmic chatters, tune-filled moon, and pitch of distant warbling sun
through unkempt corner of curtain glaring aura wrinkles the Maker’s mending heads with planetary vision:
that worlds converge with increasing purpose disavowing tossed beginnings
as we his inklings of time and reason can only oneday cease to imagine
induced low tide moments after midnight spilled me to your fertile shore so soothed in others' features huddle rose of soiled linen our first ordeal serenely over
water always christens harbored worlds rose and fell to ivoried edges surging seedlings through a fissure fractured of affectioned rhythms leaving love a form uniquely yours
never leave me untended in the manger till moments move as years and sudden hunger rouses flesh beyond the wells of milky Eden to silent graceless lands falsely fed
Author's note: The format of this poem reflects the pattern of contractions I saw in the fetal monitor
just prior to the birth of my first child.
Chapter 2: Middles
knowing that smile rapture of wide brown eyes forever affectioned me to you
scented summer play ours were baltic blue and whitewashed days where choppy watered pools mingled waves of bobbing faces
till losing moments sight of chatty anxious mothers sipping sweet mint tea feeling for popcorn in terra cotta bowls
in youth our minds always racing faster than our hearts
so reeling sought pieces for a whole of wheeled racing cart finding board formed body jolly lady lent plastic seat another donned dented buckets of congealed paint
and searching the whole of known world I found the wheels and rods from strapless summer lounge to propel you on
my senses still feel
radiant warmth of lazy leafed and shaded summer driveways where you and I labored to our finished image
of gleaming machine forged of a happy peopled world over swigs of Kool-Aid and salty sunflower seeds
so soon summer errands sent me off to corner store to fondle melons and fill the empty bellys of gumball machines with tarnished pennys
never once knowing you would ride on through life without me by your side dear one
in age our hearts always racing faster than our minds
as the iris in your yard
so too I remember emerging from your loving arms to sprouting green and native pastures too new to know you'd set me straight
dying soon left me lone to bloom
the last laugh
of all the gifts of childhood I remember you most Stevie your gentle style of illuminating minds amidst the malice of adolescence enriched me more than you’d ever live to learn
your insightful eyes sensed the tense-filled times between lamenting lessons meant for those requiring facts and figures beyond a simple passion for life
and tickled us with bashful animate anecdotes inspired of the easy carefree life you never planned yet always ventured to play the favorite comic actor in every starring role and sideshow our ridiculous world could offer
and then the moment the two of us aside of stage I’d see you falter and lose the crucial timing that jokes require and learned instead your pain and worry resembled ours merely transfigured through laughter
Stevie so fittingly you left life on a high note one final searing smile to a laboring world as you slipped down uncharted slopes of Switzerland relinquishing your role as entertainer to glide within hidden crevasse as final curtain
somewhat anticipated yet never seriously expected
your lost body lovingly preserved your flirting mind still mingling amongst the many your former burden forever in my care
friends and lovers
finding open avenues to stride arms entangled dizzying heights
words delight colliding eyes till dawn subdues impassioned nights
riding carousels of gendered affection we will remain as always bridled
lovers and best of friends
our heavy afternoon broke free and sketched the slanting thoughts of raindrop’s shiny style the world- under
drawing us children ever nearer essential memories unaccustomed yet to salty tendings
I will remember, always.
Till oneday ceasing I’ll emerge from ash
the Rain- maker . . . . seeding clouds changing child’s tired dust to clinging
mud and memories.
My dear, lie down tonight and never know that life's a whore who charged for times of love and laughter now leaves you naked in discord
Smile, I am here having found you drowning in currents of tears and upward years
pull you now towards me
Let us lie together and feel the passion once more that brought our bright bloods surging renewed with life and love
For ours is a wave sung isle with shifting sands of disrepair and Love's come down from her star-lit sky to give us blessings
and uncharted lands
my hunting lesson
I was to see you once again all sprawled out amidst the maim of fallen Elders, bending reeds, and beercans. Reclining as some Lord in concession of surrounding flocks. Toying his favorite pipe. Till lambs in your meadow suddenly changed to fleets of wild bleating geese freer till your sight and steeply rise of oily pistol lewdly blew and shouted through the wince of winking wings and wonder, spilling devil's red desire as clotting flecks on vacant upturned pastel faces.
That deeper night I drew in bolder colors. Filling pages. Making light and dark of what you taught me. So as to remember you by and bye.
games and players
unfittingly a famous maker of childern’s games manufactures plastic playing pieces in jumbled urban slum better known for chances persons take when venturing out
where are you, childern of the city?
playing board games?
rolling dice for a chance to ease tired bones? spinning wheels for a second lease on life? dealing cards for the hand that will soothe your head?
in your frozen moment shall I roll for you?
I who never fathomed, in my happy family fun-filled nights around the table,
the last move you may have made was in sheer self-defense for the chance at yet another ghetto game- filled day
come home feel reasons for wooden assemblies else time will emerge the instinctual creature within you
forewarned of impending storms you'll part for cover to find only immensely open fields
greened with appareling rain incensed of decaying glade jeweled to a rousing sun but washing you away
and away you'll remain
and the cycle unfurls another cloud laden of rain
and human tears
Chapter 3: Endings
hands and knees
I wander a world transparent now the night I felt your hand unwind from mine they wheeled the capsuled body out to yet another hiding place
still entranced my heart untimely burst a thousand ruby marbles upon the marbled floor
collecting those I could confused left most as lost forever within the folds of your surrendered robe
I still search on hands and knees where do I turn to? what door will deliver the world I grew with you? when will I emerge my very own? someday?...or oneday?
I never wanted perfected miracles sacred visions of Virgin Mary tears from wooden Angels blood at plastered Christ's side
especially never sudden rustled breezes to whisper my name in your fading intonations
I only now know I only ever wanted the chosen link of mere human hand clasped tight with mine through perils of time
the imperfect, common love of mother and child
Goodbye From Tory K.
Mine was a wide Ohio sky where sun stooped, kissed the fields bright so frolicked, apron strings untied spilled the colors of my life
running all the whiles I am tired take me now I'm yours night
leaving play to dark with scattered stars planets hum child's now ours
Pass them on softly seamless night for day-worn childern gather light once tired, ride a lamb-white grave to sulk in moon-sown pasture's haze
old folks gone home
sensing kisses and simple hugs had ceased to come from those she loved
so settled head in final bow to busy world
leaving behind only time
and softened shell
happy endings re-told
happy ever afters with gleaming pictures in storybook covers often discolor in emerging life
turn to streetside and explore the many endings we the scriptors typically implore in the caricature of others
the merry dizzy man clutching bottled youth crisscrosses paths of persons unamused to fanciful dancing through gutters
the red-caped girl clasping basket once active strolls treeless streets forever searching hills of filth and litter for their chosen resting place
the many-minded Jack seeking fortune in open glowing neon streets slays envisioned giants with Saturday night specials for the fixings of tomorrow
so be warned young one the many ardent endings tucked neat in gilded pages comfort wishers for the moment
yet oneday may unknowingly be re-told
through the arc of my swing in the sixties I feared most the romping of foreign troops through suburban strongholds our fathers labored hard and died for
the nightly news spewed chaotic views of indigent peoples crudely carving boys I vaguely knew from my own home town of Middle America
once conquered what changes would they bring? what language would I learn? what response should I take to the losing of my ways?
through the glide of my bike I eventually strived to understand our soil was not at stake but merely ideals for a uniform world in which all would be understood from our point of view
through the commute of my car I haven’t traveled far after all from those early queries
my non-combated life no less severely altered through timeless wounds it took only the spilling of one boy in foreign jungle the absolute fear his mind acquired reduced to essence of animal instinct last thoughts of reaching home before dying
why couldn’t I save him? who should have protected him? who gave him final pat on back before departing? ...then let him go
in my simple wisdom I would have grabbed him as he turned away towards war and together ran to lands abiding life as the ultimate price you have to pay for living day after day
The fields burned unsteadily rimming night in purest fantasy. Windily bleeding wheatstalks. Partaking ancient ritual. Reclaiming tired soil. Scattering last the seething creatures replenishing unkempt hills.
I was the Maker. Planting the whole of noon and night, and a heated season of tending. Orderly tendrils brimming to boisterous field. Golden, earthly tickles of sun.The harvest shone within us. And without us.
Now the family farm rough-hewn of generations braced to bantam embers flung at pleasure. Neighbors came to battle chuckling flames. Forces leapt at chances to be reckoned. Old man blinded fell. Woman clasped for hand of child. Ashen faces winced amidst the brawl of chaos.
While behind the barn confounding vulgar scene my body bent for pardon to a world I’d failed to tame.
unto your own from ancient inlaid chambers grown drift on unteathered now for every earthly turning boldly beacons life from heaven
senses drenched so swell the cells in forged profusion cherish now your human form
never unlearn tides that spilled yourself to yearning earth so trusted you in pristine nursery
where tucked inside assembled cells the remnants torn of all past life lie reconciled
If brothers were as kind in life, Michael, you know I would have found you halfway towards home, long before our mother would have kissed the creases of your forehead.
If forgiving was as natural, Michael, you know I would have held you halfway towards forever, long before any world would have summoned lovers from her waters.
If Angel was my essence, Michael, you know I would have met you halfway towards heaven, long before any star would have seized your sparkle as her own.
In these, the stillest hours, I will have felt you, brother, till my steadily fading heart empties of our blood.
little kitten, my way again
Little kitten I hear you first thing, some thirty years the future of the person now slipping out of conscience. Why do you come my way again, unblemished, as the nighttime ride of a furious adolescent never met you headlong to allow your memory only. Where once, you slept so contently in the shelter, the euthanasia shadowing your every morning.
In a merciful mood, I played at savior. But I’m no good as god-like, giving you no living equivalent to a fallen star. Or even close to a patch of dirt you could flourish. And your delicate body, balanced between two worlds Of joy and joyous, spirit of a butterfly ,halo of a tail, Still frees my every emotion, then disappears.
never in nursery your once in a past was barely mine. of longing I’ll die, endure, as my undoing.
till driving rains untill the soil once our fertile fields. and saviours can leap the wind as seedlings will.
where can it end? unteathered angel, in worlds conceiving endlessly over. So again the embryo sails on to a new haven,
restless as our rosy shores.
im like that cat who finds ways home nine times before dyin
release my precious closed eye kitten
freer than humans would have you
nearer to fields purer than sleep
warmed of wisdom mastered in tails
can night pretend just once to love us ever again as felines?
Edsel save us from extreme wear and tear. the deadpan hours herald another passage smudged in the blue cold plume of an idling motor coach. a turnkey plea powered out of passion. the road of life detoured.
expose our kissed fume. excuse, and send us shank-end of the fellow. re-layer of shale whatever remains. the rubber that held a generation, recycled. the chain-drive hole of the home, returned.
Childern of the Marble
Visit to the Wall, Washington, D.C.
Your days were many of the lovely thoughts of children grown around you suddenly here
Mending in their touch your simmer of desire spent to drift a darkest marble
Tell me One last time, My only given brother, The reason why you could not stay And hid in what seemed paradise Reaping all your softest features
Withdrawing us the bone.
And where we once lay in our home I’ll rise a thousand times To hear the children of the marble Screaming to return
Where rather than a monument We’ll forge for them instead The promise of a lifetime
As well tended and preserved.
Daily, we continue to endeavor the ruin of ourselves. Brought into this world an offering of renewal. Complexity of flexing skin and mineral bone.
When did my heart turn round and beat inwardly? Seeping reason in endless circles. Soaking limbs in fluid constrained of single tissue.
Times I suffered. Medicines conjured from depths of imminent minds would never recover the troubled heart. Only conceal, linger the skipping of beat, the continual quiver of undeveloping body.
Unannounced, one night narrowing vessels went immeasurable; sent the body bereft of sensation. Departed, partaken of the torch. Lost to dust were all connection and atonement.
Merely being was the more difficult. Consider, the rescinding of your touch was but the offering to Another.
And I’ve ceased to consider the other.
All poems above Copyright © 1997, 1998 Tod Duvall
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