Colours of the seasons

My colour was autumn 
in a fading colour kind of way
as I scrambled for more time
as time slipped away

then my colour was winter
cold bleak and grey
the shortening of daylight
gave more night than day

when my colour was spring
and more light filled the air
I felt for a green time
my happiness was there

but my colour became summer
coming in bright yellow hues
til the landscapes went dry
sun extracted summer dues

now my colour is a rainbow
arching over seasons
casting no shadow
coloured joy without reason

Spicing it up

Basil had finally arrived
in Arizona dreaming
of repeating Krakow nights
with his saffron love,
Garam Masala.

After leaving sunny Paris
they had spent thyme 
watching Tuscan sunsets
before mulling spices
into a mural of flavour 
for adding some Aleppo pepper
to their long awaited reunion.

Laced with dill,
pickled appetisers set
a savouring mood 
for their evening

Cumin, coriander paprika
zatar and mustard seeds
ensured the main meal
was saucy, spicy and hot.

Sea salt, lemon grass 
fennel and sesame seeds
added potentcy to the salad

Nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla
heightened their senses
throughout dessert.

By the end of the meal
they were ravenous
for the after dinner mints.

Merril set this week’s dVerse prompt for we poets to spice things up using at least three of twenty-five listed herbs, spices, flavors, and spice combinations. For a bit of fun, I chose to cook up something that used them all.

Any door every door

One of the strange houses of Lee Madgwick

Today’s dVerse prompt was to undertake a very interesting ekphrastic challenge from Sarah. Sarah asked we dVerse poets to choose one of five fascinating images created by UK artiist Lee Madgwick . I chose the image displayed above.

How many times do you step through a door and
that decision changes the course of your life?
How many times?

You step through a door and
whether you know which way you are going or not
that decision changes the course of your life.
Many times.

You look through open doors and glass doors and
the view beyond each threshold can look better
much better with broad vistas of more promise 
than the narrow one in which you are standing.
You are a stand in
many, some days, every time.
How many times do you go through these doors
to where the grass is greener?
Many times.

You look through closed doors, opaque, the cracks and 
keyholes of doors
to wild skies of threatening, black clouds, heavy and 
threatening cloud banks of stormy weather
oppressive and threatening with worse to come
you know it will be worse for at least a time
many, some days, every time.
But still, consider.
How many times do you go through these doors?
Many times.

How do you choose which door opens 
to the best passage for the rest of your life?
The green of desire or of envy,
the passing black of fear or courage?
There are no obvious silver linings.
The lines are not clear.
Can you say your lines?
Your lines are not clear.
There are no obvious wishes to guide you.
Your wishes are not clear.
Can you articulate your wishes?
When will you wish honesty for yourself?
When honesty is a necessity?
Don’t close that door.

When is the right time?
Or the right place?
Or do you bother to choose at all?
When the right door opens for you?
Even when no choice is always a choice and
change will come regardless.
Change will come.
You know this.
Do you know this well enough by
understanding there is only luck at play?
Only luck is at play.
Do you know this?
You might not know this.

How often do those doors that are closed to you and 
blank with no offerings
get ignored because there is no obvious gain for you?
You walk past new worlds of wonder and peril everyday.
All the time.
Any door every door any time every time.
Every step is a decision.
Every decision is one to please, regret, grieve or rejoice. 
At the time or
in time.

But, you never know and
that is the reason for looking at doors
any door and every door
and always wondering about going through
into some place else. 
It should never be otherwise because
time is linear and time is limited.
All doors are only one door 
any door every door
in front of you when and where ever you are. 

And each door has its own nature
protecting you from the elements
or exposing you
locking you in 
locking you out
shutting quietly behind you 
slamming in your face 
creaking with foreboding or
letting in the fresh air.

You my be attracted by doors to the light.
It seeps in around the edges and under the woodwork and
you think to be in the light must be a good
place to be, you cross that threshold.
That threshold will be crossed.
to find a good place to be,
And sometimes it is a desert, a blazing sun, a hot, dry furnace and 
you retreat desperate with thirst, burned and changed.
Other times it is a moonlit field and you run through the soft green grass
before realising you have strayed enough to
never return to be the same person.
Does either door scare you?
Are you scared?
Hope is the latch, fear is the key.
Finding a way to use them
is finding a way to be.
You never have to stray far from yourself to change.
Crossing that threshold is no distance at all.
One that can take you al long way.
Crossing that threshold.
You are changed forever every time.
Many times.

Any door every door any time every time
go through. 
You change so the world changes
You change me and everyone else irrevocably.
You change us all.
All of us change.
Neither you nor I, neither will we and 
us ever be the same we, you and I.
For passing through any door every time will change 
us here and now in time.
The person you thought I was is no longer mine.
The person I thought was you is no longer in time.
The world changes instantly every time without design.
We pass through many doors many times.

How many times do you step through a door and
that decision changes the course of your life?
How many times?

You step through a door and
whether you know which way you are going or not
that decision changes the course of your life.
Many times.

magpie

that magpie
has been
sitting on that bough
for half an hour
black and white
against the crying sky
it chortles and carols
from time to time
i watch and listen
biding my moment
despite the march of time
i look up and down
magpie looks left and right
we witness the crying sky
present and separate
each in place
some kind of joy
and the sky cries on

enclosed

today i am wrapped in a cloak of rain
enclosed in my own world
the smallest of human worlds
rain’s grey shawl renders me invisible
everything around me, invisible
the sky is invisible
the only thing i know to be true is that my feet are on the ground
i can almost believe
i am the only person
to ever have been here and now
then i realise i am
and it is kind of nice

The art of deception

 
 To be deceived by art
 Is where the pleasure lies
 As Oscar Wilde said
 When the finished work dries
  
 Art unexplained
 Awaits reference in time
 For art to have context
 Someone must find
 An intrinsic meaning
 An enchantment or spell
 A hard fact or history 
 That explains it well
  
 So ethereal
 This imaginative bent
 Where art creates product
 But may not pay rent
  
 The elusive success
 Of an artist such as me
 Depends on the work
 And conveying what we see 
  
 To be reminded of something
 That may not be there
 Is the way we see art
 Reminiscent or bared
  
 The artist displays 
 What the artist portrays
 The observers creates
 What the observer says
  
 And the feeling is surreal
 This fraught disconnect
 Must artists defer 
 To the critics subject
  
 Is it in artist’s deceit
 Where the pleasure lies
 Taking the work 
 and working it wise
  
 Psychological or literal
 The interpretation applied
 Is anything worthy
 In a meaning belied
  
 With all the definition in 
 Every artists hand
 The lines of description
 Are at critics command
  
 The intensity of design
 Or depicting a glance
 For artist and critic
 It’s the art of chance
  
 Is ugly ugly
 Or is it brave and true
 Is beauty beauty
 Or a sop to me and you
  
 Only the artist knows
 Where the artist goes
 But as deception grows
 Across art shows
 The artist bows
 To the stories faux
 As the critics row
 And the sponsors crow
 And the buyers coo
 Gallery owners woo
 speculators too
 Attempt to choose
 The number 1 pick
 That makes art slick
 To turn a buck
 Art by the truck
 Instead of art refined
 As in the artist‘s mind
 But only the artist knows
 Where the artist goes

Kookaburra

Portrait of a Kookaburra
Ever watch a kookaburra
Sweep in from on high
In a perfect arc
Geometry made art
Beak as an arrowhead
Body flat as an arrow
Piercing the air
Fletched tail as rudder
Precision steering
A dart to the bullseye
Wings not moving a millimetre
Purposeful focussed targeted
Missile like glide
Ever watch a kookaburra?

Brittle

Brittle branch breaks under weight of bird landing
Falls to ground
Alarmed bird flutters to new bough
Insects break down branch
All is right with the world

Butterfly lands on native flower head
Tongue extends for life giving nectar
Butterfly moves on
Flower is pollenated
All may be right with the world

Mountain Water flows over rock
Down toward the sea
Sediment forms floodplain soil
Landscapes bloom with new life
All was right with the world

Forests, grasslands, wetlands and ocean life
Breathe for and cleanse earth and sky
Working together
part of a whole
All is not right with the world

Broken branch is tidied up by gardener
Native flower is replaced by agricultural product
Mountain water is harvested for commercial gain
Land and ocean are raided
Diversity is diminished

Brittle the world breaks

The Gambler

 
Precedence
is chance
The roll is a fast
chaotic dance

The die is cast
numbers spin
Will luck outlast
the spin I’m in?

The dotted faces
turn and prop
bounce and hop
My future turns
on fortune’s stop

Excitement
Anticipation
Fulfilment
or suffocation

Desperation
Indecision
High risk taking
recidivism

Bound for glory
is my folly
Wracked and ruined
that’s my story

Highs feed lows
on pure vainglory

Today’s dVerse prompt from Ingrid was for a subject of each poet’s choosing. This one came from a draft I had on gambling, a subject I have been trying to get my head around.

Stops

The lock stops access
The clock stops time
The drug stops abscess
The organ stops rhyme
The boot stops turning
The period stops lines
The water stops burning
The cleaner stops grime
The valve stops pressure
The jar stops brine
The ruler stops measure
The law stops crime
The plug stops water
The wave stops sine
The truth stops laughter
The pump stops prime
The grass stops growing
The bottle stops wine
The gardner stops mowing 
The devil stops divine
The food stops hunger 
The hunger that is mine
This stop goes no longer
Than this very last line

Their hands

 
Their hands when they touch
Flow from rolling of wrists
Each touch is a signal
Each touch is a kiss

Their fingers are folding
On whispers and secrets
Cupped hands are holding
All ahead that will be

Their fingers trace circles
On their palms telling futures
Tender are the touches
Of their hands as their tutors

Their hands rest together
One on top of the other
Their hands mark their measure
Their harmonious hands

Their hands spread out
Open and true
Telling each story
Each soul on view

Hands hold each heart
Supporting each core
Their hands do the learning
Of what more to adore

The extension of hands
The parallel lines
Pads of sensitive fingers
Their dreaming defines

There are fists and shaking
The are dips and rise
There are quivering fingers
Before flickering eyes

When hands arc with arms
To gracious embrace
The lovers say nothing
As hands touch each face

Delicate lines are drawn
Across soft skinned cheeks
Then with touches to lips
Mouths start to seek

Two seeing hands
guide the blind
Sensuous and caressing they massage
to unwind

Four hands synchronise
to breathe in kind
in waves of love
entwined

life is to death as tears are to rain

Bright is the light that shines on me 
as I dwell finally
in deathbed reverie
the doctor he talks
and talks and he talks

my wife she weeps
and weeps and she weeps
and time it creeps
and creeps and it creeps

what is this light that shines above
lights pallid face of death
to my love
the darkness it resists
and resists and it resists

in brilliance it glows
and glows and it glows
in radius it grows
and grows and it grows

this light that calls me as my light fades
this light that draws me
to the night of shades
with death it walks
and walks and it walks

my feeble hand I raise and wave
I waver and it waves
faces watch uncertain so grave
grave and so grave

I see my hand stir dust in the air
second last thing I will see anywhere
the dust it wafts
and wafts and it wafts

my brow is mopped
and mopped and is mopped
my hand drops
I drop and it drops

as dust I settle back onto deaths bed
into the pillow sinks my head
life’s weight I shed
I shed and I shed

looking down into the room
I am surprised it is lit
by only gloom
the husk has collapsed
collapsed collapsed

hollowed of life
of life and of life
beside my wife
my wife my beloved wife

the dust dispersed draws my spirit in
and back to dust
I go again
the gift I leave is small but complete
I was loved and I loved
I am replete

Today’s dverse prompt is from Laura, to write words of departure based on your choice from a set of quotes. I chose the quote from a favourite and most remarkable movie – “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.” Roy Batty, Blade Runner.

Juliet and Romeo

Juliet
is all slick and wet
her long hair in her eyes
she has been hit
by an idiot
drunk driving by 
bye bye

Romeo
roams idly by 
sees the girl on the ground
He looks at her 
quizzically 
then realises what he has found

Juliet
breathes in gasps
as blood pools under her back
She looks up sees Romeo
last look last love
as limbs go slack

Romeo’s
not much you know
but this time 
things are different
He wipes the hair from glazed eyes
and wonders where 
her life went

Juliet
rises above the scene
She watches Romeo
He cradles her head
gently in his lap
He whimpers out a moan

Romeo
struck by love’s full fist
his only love has gone
He whines he weeps
at his loss
Death into his soul creeps

Juliet 
bears final witness to 
Romeo’s last testament
“Did my heart truly love till now?”
he whispers
For the first time 
he knows what love meant
“Good night Good night”
“Thus with a kiss I too die”
He declares to her 
death pale face

Romeo 
bends his head down
tenderly brushes her cold lips 
with his own
he lets her head down 
lightly beside him
as he lies quietly beside her
takes her right hand
with his left

Romeo
from his pocket
retrieves a knife
meant for other men 
he eases the blade
between his ribs
it finds his broken heart
As blood pools under his back
his life is also gone

Juliet 
utters one last cry of grief
before she disappears
or was that one last cry of relief
in hope he reappears
for never was there a story of more woe 
than this of Juliet and her Romeo

Ingrid’s prompt for this week’s dVerse poetics was “Homage to the Bard.” I chose to write a poem approximately on the theme of Romeo and Juliet. https://dversepoets.com/2022/04/26/poetics-homage-to-the-bard/

Okra

Two women sit under a thatched roof 
supported by rafters
coarse wood brown
smiling and chatting together
Chickens scratch at the edge of their shelter
a bold shiny colourful rooster
a big shiny black hen

Their surroundings are a circular patch
dry dusty earth red
small mud brick dwellings
define a perimeter orange
The late autumn day is lit by a cold sun of
clean blue light

One woman sits above the other higher
she is perched
Her long thin legs hang over a shallow edge
a rug covered platform
She is the older in a thick faded purple
dress a pullover yellow
is topped with a scarf white around her neck
Her head is swaddled in a woollen wrap crimson
it frames a face sun
lit, weathered and aged by decades of labour

Spaces such as this
fields such as she can choose
to see at anytime
will forever be green and brown
She gazes pensively across
open communal space
She ponders her past with pleasure and regret
she speaks of things new
old, deep and trivial
Her arthritic hands clasped in a lap
of gratitude flesh
Her battered Nike sneakers peek out from
the long layers of fabric above grey and yellow
her face is calm
Her future as it will be

The younger sits cross legged
a woven mat under her strung tan
Together cultivating lines of okra
drying under sheltering eaves ragged
shadows of indigo host
hangings vertically in bright green
coloured lengths
unclasped necklaces ornaments
of metres adorn the space with a decorative
interior that creates a sense
coming festivity
The drying shed colours the day, the place
it’s people making
according to the crop
a pride of place for transient
prettiness and implications
security, work well done

Here for generations other
younger women have
sat for hours
days post harvest preparing
sustaining products of manual fieldwork
multi hued
for deep grey winter consumption
Her dress is brighter golds
magentas her hands are as yet
unaffected by the gnarly
growths destined by labour
She repeats centuries old weaving
patterns confidently efficiently unhurried
listening quietly thoughtfully respectfully

Tales of the past wash over her black and white
through her as water of life in delicate pastels
as hope as comfort
She knows here there are will be
still lessons to be gleaned
conversation the reflections of her elder
The younger a willing learner of
a quasi meditative state borne soft pink
by the methodical repetitious
nature of her work it is was as surely known
the best way for learning lessons
by the word of her people
successes and failures
myth legend
retelling that never ceases to inform
warm warn entertain and delight

There is comfort in the learning
a knowing that all the natural obstacles over
which there is little control life
will continue on on on
There is no question about how
time is to be spent
day by day this is dictated
by seasons culture necessity
green yellow brown grey

There is no concept of time ticking away
each day is known-quantity where
choice is limited but colour rich
life is sometimes unpredictable dangerous
set fluid simple
giving and taking with impunity
Time has no measure
life itself opaque

Two women commune as did
two before them
back it goes into the dark
blue of distance
where many women become every one
sitting together, stringing up green okra
another part of every year’s never ending
rainbow

The Tall Brown Woman in Green

They told me about her hair
before I met her.
It was green.
I thought it the best hair
I’d ever seen.
The fall of her locks
topped long flowing frocks
that ran neck to toe
as they swept the ground clean.

In bare feet
so she walked
or sashayed
I should say
her hair bounced away
like gentle waves of the sea.

In long flowing robes
from her head to her toes
luminous bright green
and shimmering a sheen,
she moved as one
supple, undulating dream.

Her hips that were square
rolled sensually there
under rippling fabric I deemed.
Her shoulders carried smoothly.
Her pose held beautifully.
Her skin smooth as polished gold.
Her head held proud,
and defiantly bold.

Her face was of grace
framed in fine green lace
at the edges of the green hood
folded around her neck.
From the dripping sleeves of her gown,
where long hands emerged brown,
slender fingers completed the scene.

Bright brown eyes
looked curiously around,
‘til she stopped,
tall and sure
image of a noble queen.
She had turned toward me.
I, the watcher was seen,
and I found myself bound
to the tall brown woman in green.

Hades begets Persephone

 
She awoke with a raw sense of dread
A cold sweat soaked the sheets of her bed
The sounds that night were not nighttime’s she knew
A hint of smoke contradicted the dew
 
Shadows danced on the bedroom wall
Where dancing shadows should not be at all
The normal still off white of the paint
Was lively with movement and firelight feint
 
She fumbled with billowing robe and nightclothes
Tying her robe up tight as she rose
Into a world of self doubt and fright
She stumbled out into the cold of the night
 
 She touched the back of the door to sense any heat
 Realised she’d no shoes put on her feet
 Sidestepped and slipped into a pair of sandals
 As her hand reached out for the frightful handle 
 
 When she dared to look through the gap in the door
 Using light flickering lively onto the floor
 From her half awake hazy sleep deprived daze
 She wondered if the place was already ablaze 
 
Further she pushed open the portal
Considered precious life and all that was mortal
Within her tiny flat B number 144
She wondered if she could take the fear anymore
 
And she listened alert for other clues
Thought about the price of paying her dues
She heard the crackle and pop of combusting wood
Her only thought now to get out if she could
 
She peered out into a reddish early morning gloom
To an apparently deserted yet eerie lounge room
But there at the side a large shape sat in a chair
Exuding an oppressive weight of despair
 
 The wood fire aglow had strangely been lit
 It certainly was not her who lit it
 A monstrous head turned to look into her face
 An inhuman form by nature disgraced  
 
 He had discreetly followed her around town for weeks
 In peripheral vision never seen when he seeks
 Creating acute nervousness from endless teases 
 A cat playing with a mouse its tormenting pleases 
 
She knew instantly her time had come
It was not to be as life had begun
No comfort from her mother’s caress
No strength to be found on father’s chest
 
 Hades stood to meet her towering ominously above
 Leering and smug antithesis of love
 She resigned herself to the monster’s arms
 Wishing after horror would come blessed dead calm 

In this d’verse challenge https://dversepoets.com/2021/08/03/poetics-persephone/ Sarah asked us to take inspiration from the myth of the abduction of Persephone by Hades. I saw ancient (and not so ancient) patriarchal rituals and modern parallels as I read Sarah’s summation of the story.

What I said to the other animal on my journey to the end of the world

 
I think you might eat me
I‘m scared that you will
If I run you beat me
No light on the hill
In the hope of appeasement
Still desperate to run
I appeal for lenience
For my trashing your home
So I’ll say I’m sorry
That we humans are dumb
I’ll say we forgot
Where we’ve been and come from
You don’t need to eat me
Because we’ll eat ourselves
Let me go quietly
From the home where you dwell
Humans all will be leaving
It’s our destiny
There will be no grieving
And your world will be free

The reality / truth paradox

The only reality is in one place, at one time,
as a fleeting perception of what a truth may be.
That is to say, no reality at all.
Reality is a thought of a truth in the here and now,
only ever understood by one mind in one instant,
only internalised by one heart for less than one heartbeat.
Then lost forever, to ever evolving interrogation, explanation and dissertation.

External attempts at understanding another’s reality and truths are just that, attempts.
Interpretations of another’s reality are creative, transient similitudes at best.
Knowing of another’s truths can only be attempted by association.
Association by its very nature denies the accuracy reality and truth demand.

History is a barely valid interpretation of past reality and its truths.
Yesterday is reappraisal of reality, mere perception of memorable truths.
The future has no reality where truth is elusive and aloof.
Tomorrow is simply anticipation based upon expectation come proof.
Proof is a contextual misnomer ignoring the reality question, what is truth?

Strathbogie poetry
#strathbogiepoetry

A response to this week’s d’verse challenge regarding the Hemingway quote, “There is nothing else but now. There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there tomorrow.” - For whom the bell tolls (1940). https://dversepoets.com/2021/06/22/dverse-poetics-one-true-sentence/

These first two lines of the quote cited immediately drew me back to a repeated personal exploration of what I call “The Reality / Truth Paradox”. If the word “certainly“ had been “certainty” it would have been a perfect fit.

I think this is a discussion Hemingway would have willingly engaged in with me if we had met. I would start with the question, “Do you apply fundamental realities and truths to your characters at the time of their creation?”