Aubade: Vale of Tears

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Photo Brian Federle, Sun in Trees, Russian River. April 2016

Morning fog
caressed
my winter tears

as unseen geese
(noisy gaggle)
crossed the opaque sky.

Things well hidden
confuse
my fragile faith,

so when bright, piercing rays
broke through
this lonely vale of tears

I thought it was only the sun
not the golden light,
desire of my fleeting years.

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Father’s Lament

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Photo Brian Federle, Hawaii, 2016

Spring fills this dry land
With life, yet

I cannot see your face
or embrace you with a father’s love
as I did when last you filled our lives
with your easy laughter
and beautiful eyes.

Shall I speak to you, tell how
small birds gather
in the budding apple tree
hungry no more,
filled with joy?

I cry out to you
and the startled birds
fall into silence,

Let me tell you, then,
Of my new life without you.

Deep in my side I feel endless pain
where my heart once beat;
now I merely breathe
emptiness.

My son, oh, where have you gone?
Call to me from the brilliant heights,

for deep in darkness I lie
crying to see you just
one more
time.

(for Brian Federle, 3/4/86 – 3/25/17)

Miserere

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i
In October
golden days suddenly fly
as unexpected,
brutal
nights arise.

ii
You died last spring
when love seemed
to promise life
never ending.

iii
Thirty-one years before,
when I first held you,
your bright eyes
gazed on me
with wonder,
my son —
my love at first sight!

iv
But the cruelty of March
surpasses even winter’s rage.

I prayed for God’s mercy
On that bright, green day.
but bereft in my soul,
only bitter darkness
remains.

Storm

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Driving home
the rain lashes our car,
waves slash the road.

Like blood running,
red blurs stream
from tail-lights.

The anger of the sky,
grief unleashed
consumes all the world.

Hands clasped
on the steering wheel,
I guide us home

where we remember
you are gone.

Tears stream
down our window
panes.

Memory

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“Memory”

sometimes in mass
as sacred songs
wash over me like rain,

I break free
and drift
into memory,

and again you rise,
your tears flow
as tears fill my eyes,
your dying breath
whispering
good bye;

after so many years,
the knife still cuts
and again, and
again

I cry.

(20 May 2015)

and fell the crane

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painting, September 2001 by Hung Liu

rising high
godlike I gazed
from where the crane flies
unconcerned, over
the placid waters of
the harbor of
the world,

when, driven to madness
it pierced
my throat.

I burst
and burned
and to earth
fell,

and fell
too
the crane.

reconciled

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a bird peers down from
my neighbor’s roof, waiting for
my silence to fall.

where there were five trees
are now three; survivors morn,
buzz-saw’s anger quenched.

softly clear water
falls; brown to green rising, coaxed
into life again.