Monday, June 25, 2007

Poetry Train Monday - 7 - Precious Friend

In honor of my best friend's birthday - today - here is a poem I wrote this past March, during my dad's last week of life.

Precious Friend

My heart can't find words
Your eyes fill with love
Your steps fall in with mine
My heartbeat lightens
You leave behind your day
Gather your own fear
You cross the threshold
Smile at my father
He reaches for your hand
Knowing for certain
He need never worry for me
With you there

Precious friend
The heart of the Happy Prince
The swallow who would not leave him
Nothing will stop the wave of loss
You merely place yourself
So my knees won't buckle

Copyright 2007 Julia Smith

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Poetry Train Monday - 6 - In Medieval English Woods

This one is from 1986. Twenty-one years later, and I've still got the same images playing through my mind! (Current novel takes place in Dark Age Britain)

In Medieval English Woods

The pound of hooves beginning
Bodies crouching
In the waiting

The hiss of leaves
And popping branches - torn
The rip of moss from earth
The thud of hearts
In night attack

Demon shadows leap
A fear-stained man
His arm to swing at air
While one who sees his moment
Their faces kiss
The slipping sliding for the stance
On blood-slicked rocks

The knights astride their mounts
Heavy spathas hacking
Stopped with wrenching force
By parries
Or the shield of breastbone

The sword sucks from the wound
The dying form
Slumps from his horse
And falls

Spirits linger
Cold tendrils hanging
From the shoulders of
The ones still fighting

Weary with the clotting blood
With steaming breath
The horses strain to bolt
Each head dragged by the bit
In the leaving

The knights canter from the scene
Indifference flowing from them
Like a billowing cape

The others slog
Exhausted through the mire
In confusion

Copyright 1986 Julia Smith

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Poetry Train Monday - 5 - 100% Humidity

And it's raining, right now!

This is from my June 1987 burst of poetry writing.

100% Humidity

Why do I feel like
Running out of the house
When the rain explodes over the
Seeds clogging the drainpipe
Obscuring the view
A camera's blurred focus
Flashing me backwards

If foundations should be
Swept away
I want to feel it on my skin
Want the danger
Of being smashed against the rocks

I've never yearned for wings
To split the speed of sound
No, I was the kid
Who dipped her boots
In all the puddles
Watched as Mom
Pulled the stopper from the tub
Sat till the last swirl down the drain
Left me run aground
Turned willingly into a prune
Unready to leave the water's embrace

Perhaps I suspect
This collection of raindrops
Will wash me out to sea
My powerful tail
Will kick off the cumbersome garment
My sisters will dress me in pearls and coral
My hair will sway with the tide
And I'll dance with the mermen
At King Neptune's court

Copyright 1987 Julia Smith

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Poetry Train Monday - 4 - Awaiting the Unicorn

I've been looking through my old poetry notebooks since I boarded the Poetry Train, and I noticed I had a big spurt of creativity in the summer of 1987. I had been in Toronto for a year by then, getting to know the real me. My best friend had just visited me for a week from Nova Scotia, and we'd done some shopping for her upcoming wedding later that fall.

She gave me a beautiful 'Writer's Notebook', a journal with quotes and lovely Arts and Crafts graphics, plus lots of space to write. And I filled it with poetry.

Here's one from June of 1987. At this point I was a few months away from meeting my husband-to-be.

Awaiting the Unicorn

Let those women
Dream of Prince Charming
Kneeling beside the bed

I shall wade into the wilderness
For I await the Unicorn

A feathery breath at the shoulder
Leaves me with thoughts of ghosts
Branches spring back into place
I happen upon his glade
But carry no sword
The pool of light cascading
Through the red veil of maple

My foot has no shape
To slide into slippers of glass
My bare soles
Curl beneath the folds of my snowy gown
My back settles gratefully
Into solid gray bark

Wind seeps in
While someplace beyond
The water trips, collects and plunges
He lifts his neck
Blue eyes scan the forest
The brook dripping from the perfect mouth

Twig snaps
Under careless hoof
His face lowers to my lap
An invitation to the arrow
Murderers could creep
To his very shoulder
Releasing the blue from his neck
Till it soaked the flaming bed of quills
On which we lay

His gaze through the forelock

Who needs chandeliers
Crowns or cotilions
When death
Blue eyes
A perfect mouth
Await by the brook
In the wood of the silver-white stallion

Copyright 1987 Julia Smith