You call us unruly children,
but you confuse us!
First, your cousin came,
eating insects, drinking honey,
shoving stubborn heads
under cold Jordan’s
Then along you come
laughing, eating, drinking,
with sinners consorting,
singing songs of paradise
So what’s it to be?
to John’s dirge?
to God’s piper?
(8 Dec 2011)
dark veins fill my sight
lying dendrites firing doubt
through my fragile faith,
denying all escape
but as these steps rise up the steep hill
and converge into the unseen sky
to my blue redemption,
(20 Aug. 2010)
Like red flowers they sit
awash in the sounds of the day
the frantic machinery of the garden,
saws, growling blades leveling
In the blue breeze,
the ascendant sun,
sovereign of the living afternoon,
with a solar embrace
and gently rocks them
all off to sleep.
restricted by this hard,
I speed past green scrub,
tenuous roots contending
with hot, graveled earth
for cool, deep waters.
Above the bleak plain I see,
steeply rising in folding
rock and rolling ridge,
shadowed mountains converge
Fill your life with bright morning,
breathe deeply the wave-kissed breeze
and run until you no longer touch the earth.
Pay no attention to the darkness that lurks
just beneath your feet, the swirling vortex
pulling you down, drawing your singing blood
into the unknown land. If you hear grieve
the morning dove, say it’s not for you he sings;
oh, fill your lungs with the pure,
cool hope of spring!
(23 March 2015)
light, liquid, over-
flowing bright leaf, washing clean
night’s graven, dull stain.
The Capitol Corridor moves heavily through the dark,
crossing the thinly guarded streets, blaring, berating
impatient drivers waiting for flashing poles, sparking
their rage as they glare at watches. The ground shakes,
rolling earthquake, Cyclop’s eye, headlight throbbing, crushing
bright straight rails, pounding diesel relentlessly hauling
into no-man’s land, receding rails guarded only by brush
and grassy grade and two white wooden crosses, with a basketball
and a balloon for the lost children; caught in the sweep of flashing lights,
they first see the flash, then feel pain, and then blackness swallows them whole,
the suicide, the missed warning, the lost opportunity, the crying
mother searching deserted tracks. But tonight nobody’s here, no
despairing child, drifting, desultory, home no longer an option; and so
undeterred, the silver and blue train rolls heavily on to Sacramento.
(Posted 12th May 2010 by Steven Federle)