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Spring in Chicago

(While Running through Promontory Point Park)

 

I saw a man that first day of spring

With waiting rod and line.

He stood at the edge of the lake,

With hope both new-born and divine.

 

With baited hook and ready bobber,

He prayed the fish were few

Who could recall the prickly prong

Inside the tasty scrap he dragged along.

 

The girls and boys around the town

Had come to ply the lawn.

In happy groups of one or two,

They played their spring-time songs.

 

Dancing, laughing, kiting through,

They fell among the curling grass

While dappled with the falling light

They waved at strangers as they pass.

 

I skipped along the broken rocks,

Which held down the new-lush waters of the lake,

And slipped upon a blot

Of stubborn snow refusing the surrender of its spot.

 

It hid in shadows. It shamed the golden sun,

It could not see the tall and slender running girls,

Who with shirts and shorts greet the warm,

Enchanting fish the fisher landed as the season's charm.

Winter in Boston

(While Cavorting through a Blizzard in Allston & The Public Garden)

 

The city lived subdued before the freeze,

Before the blizzard slipped it into winter ease.

I wandered in that still before the storm

Into a park where abandoned, children swarmed.

 

They skated o’er pond, armed with sticks in hand

While I waddled 'cumbered 'cross the snowy land.

The ice then cracked; a boy, skating, grinned,

His pants soaked by a hole he’d slipped in.

 

The storm fell silent as snow embraced the town:

Streets buried in banks; buildings sank; and night descended down,

As traffic stopped, sportsmen floated by the faces pressing panes,

Which gaped to see the players sled the snowy lanes.

 

I skied between the slushy hills of tire tracks

While others laughed, throwing snowballs at each other’s backs

The night was bright, snow reflecting light of lamps

Which yellow illumined us, the winter tramps.

 

The watchers, less doughty and more winter-weary,

Suffered silently. They retreated blanketed, but not too dreary:

Their warmth they found in quiet employ;

Sipping steamy potions, snugly sheltered from our winter joy.

 

They read and consoled and worried over those

Who more careless, played about in sodden hose,

And returned our soaken steps to bring to them

A wet reminder of the winter happ'ning then.

August Mischief

(By a pond at the University of Chicago, diagonals)

 

A bushy-tailed squirrel ran through the clover.

He coursed beside a cool coy pond.

A congress of birds searched the seeds scattered on a stone:

Pigeons, sparrows, a young gray robin.

Together, pecking pleasant conversation.

 

Wily mischief bristling hard, sunflower eyes,

Standing in looming, curious contemplation of foul folly,

The squirrely fellow struck upon a fancy;

In excitement he mussed his furry little head.

 

Suddenly, he dropped.

 

In quick, dive bomber motions falling,

He dove a strafing, chattering display,

The squirrel dashed and circled among the feast.

 

Panicked, the robin, pigeon, sparrow sprang away.

Turning ‘round the pile, the squirrel abandoned chase,

And the seeded feast lay empty, quietly forgotten.

  

 

Before the Winter

(from my window)

 

Trees open.

Sky closes.

 

Leaves dangle by finger-tips with fleeting hope,

Brownly clutching branches with their last before they leave them open.

Storms roll across the sky and block the sun,

Grey blankets cool the earth, closing in its final warmth.

 

Stop to rest.

Begin again.

 

Birds return, up from down, and breathe,

They can’t wait. Tomorrow pressing on.

Spring and fall collapse, a muddle.

The only difference, direction.

 

Colder wind.

Relenting heat.

 

Summer heaves last overheated gasps,

It dies as days fight for warmth.

Some are hot, bringing sweat beneath our jackets,

While most turn to winter.

 

Browning yellows.

Greying Greens.

 

Leaves have no hope,

They dangle on the rope.

Birds know the time to leave,

Before the cold decides to stay.

 

After the Blizzard

(from my window)

 

White and weary.

Low and doughty.

 

With snow, heavy arms sink, laden, dead;

They, once proud, once sun-worshipping limbs.

Now they struggle: weighted, freighted with ice.

They wait for wind to rise and brush them free.

 

Pearl and slate.

Tree and sky.

 

Though dusk, the sky is far from rosy.

The twilight glimmer has frozen shut:

It, a sunset, yet sun-abandoned,

Its purples warmed by distant fire.

Buried under heavens, monotonous grey, sprout iv’ry trees.

 

Standing tall.

Shaking free.

 

Trees in winter blankets hide the forest in the background.

Snow and distance blurs the trees, terrestrial clouds.

A steeple peeks, tall, wearing a thin, ivory hat.

Its eye glows a yellow coal.

It fights to find its way in fog.

 

Flat, blue, steely.

Creamy cool.

 

Pearl softly glows against the slate

While trees bear a heavenly burden.

Rising, they seek to conquer free,

Yet mindlessly search through frozen fog,

Asking: what happens when the sun returns?

 

After the Winter

(from my window)

 

Open yielding.

Warming soft.

 

Bursting from their buds encased,

Sprouting in the ready dawn,

Growing out to spread their hands,

Leaves breathe deep again.

 

Greenly flutter.

Chirps the sound.

 

Foliage dancing to windy rhythm,

Rustle laughter ‘neath the sun.

Birds singing freshly tuned,

Fluttering black against the green.

 

Fast-float blue.

Lightly cloudy.

 

Loose and relenting, past the winter’s chill,

The sky, spreads, opening with trees and birds,

The sun shines, brightly, beaming to warm the heavens,

Displaying joyful, lustrous hues.

 

Hot and cold.

New and old.

 

Broadening skies forever promise,

The spring dawn’s spreading branches.

When flowers blow without the chill,

Birds welcome back the new. 

 

 

Northern Rain

 

Counterfeit rain falls in counterfeit storm,

The air's too thin to hold the shrunken drops,

The earth's too rocky to drink it up in gulps.

 

In Vermont’s tinkl’ng rain, I mind a Southern strain.

Where not fearful but brave, nor hesitant but dour,

Rain falls during lightning shower,

And wind howls while thunder earth disdains,

 

But now I sit under mistaken truth,

Lis’ning to whispered steps upon my roof,

Rememb'ring storms courageous, intrepid, bold,

Where thunder giantly peeled and lightning rolled,

Where great, pregnant dollops slapped window-panes,

Where after all the sun shone through sheets of rain.

 

Counterfeit rain falls in counterfeit storm,

The air's too thin to hold the shrunken drops,

The earth's too rocky to drink it up in gulps.

 

To an Empty Night

 

Long the dark hours are idled away,

‘Mid snowy northern bowers,

Through books my fingers traipse,

Through exotic landscapes imprisoned by impression,

 

I see the desert and the forest as words upon a page,

Mentally I find myself a tourist,

Locked at home in search of the exotic,

Surrounded by toxic habitude,

 

As similar word is similar image,

The strange turns abstractedly familiar,

They combine to make my trip from eye to page,

One of confusing rage: the desired sensual cum intellectual,

 

I reach out an eye to touch,

A hope to satisfy,

But I am barred from all escape,

For when I lift the drape, when I close the book,

 

I’m wallowing alone in my chair, increasing my despair!

 

 

The crab who wasn’t scared.

 

On the beach there stands

A sandy suit of armor

For the champion of cancer,

Now vanquished.

 

No longer having strength:

To fight the foamy wave,

To snap at bitter surf,

To wage war ‘gainst giants

With uplifted arms.

 

Dusty, empty, forlorn

A shell waiting for the tide

To hitch Valhalla ride

 

Or

 

To end

Ignominiously

In a sea gull’s belly.

 

 

Lethe

 

There's a river running

Free and clear through a rocky path.

When into it a person steps,

It stops, waiting 'til it's crossed.

 

When you turn and return to pass,

The river wends its winding back

And once more is the river

you once crossed.

 

People stop, amazed.

They cross and recross

The river many times,

Growing old and young again.

 

But then get bored and take the path leading home

And they leave,

A river running

Free and clear through a rocky path.

 

 

Barcelona’s Flowers

 

Grey city lying in the Fall with,

Flowers stamped upon the sidewalks.

Barcelona grows a,

Medieval thicket of

Wandering vines and

Twisting branches opening to

Clean modern gardens of

Florid expanse.

 

Autumn grey mutes the

Sidewalk flowers with

Dirt and rain and muddy passing steps, the

Streets now crowded then are empty as

Crowds escape the dreary rain for

Hot cups of chocolate.

 

I wander over the paths of

Drab concrete gardens and

Trample flowers underfoot as

Gentle, drizzling rain slowly soaks the
Bone, then suddenly I turn.

 

A smell attacks me,

Striking straight upon my nose

I turn a corner round and see.

 

The blowing reds and yellows of the

Shop with flowers grown in pots, they

Aren’t on the pavement, but ’re

Alive with all the scents of

Flowery Spring smelling their

Scarlet lemon shades, the

Hot-house flowers standing up

To the falling city’s chilly rain.

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