If there is a witness to my little life,
To my tiny throes and struggles,
He sees a fool;
And it is not fine for gods to menace fools.
Stephen Crane

Friday, August 26, 2016

'Should the Wide World Roll Away'

Should the wide world roll away, 
Leaving black terror, 
Limitless night, 
Nor God, nor man, nor place to stand 
Would be to me essential, 
If thou and thy white arms were there, 
And the fall to doom a long way.
The Black Riders and Other Lines ~ Stephen Crane

Storm Clouds, Maine ~ Marsden Hartley (1906)


There came a day in early Spring
when I woke to abandonment.
“You did this to us,” accused my soul
and I bowed my head to weep.
As fast as tears fell into my cupped hands,
they dwindled and when I rose
my heart was a husk, left out to dry
in a world grown grey and dim.


I called for a witness to my loss,
as if I could measure what life remained
in me, but no one came
so I sealed my grief in a chest of bones
and smiled for all the world to see –
instead of that small, shiftless thing
anxiously awaiting the ominous hour,
I hid in plain sight, lived on an empty stomach.


Nights fall behind my back, consecutively,
as sure as the rolling cloud of dust
upon the bent horizon yawns to swallow
a vestige of life in one gulp. What remains?
A pulse submerged in loneliness
and every joint leaking sweet honey.
Thought dwindles upon a dying ember,
a single point of light goes out.


With cold fingers pressed to rib-bones,
I delve for the empty space below;
undetected, this cavity,
and once abode of my heart.
It’s no easy matter to find as deserted a place
where blood now pools without a beat
that I should dip my pen in such ink
to write of loss upon this page.


I began to write this poem several weeks ago, and kept getting stuck. It is part of my series inspired by Stephen Crane's The Black Riders and Other Lines and I wrote part IV before the other parts.
Marian shared the musical genius of Brandi Ediss, in particular the song Little Tiny, in her post in the Imaginary Garden this week (Music with Marian) and this gave me the inspiration to return to this piece and complete the missing lines.

And the light pours through my window 
But the rain is coming down inside my head...
Little Tiny ~ Brandi Ediss

Saturday, August 6, 2016

'Three Little Birds in a Row'

Three little birds in a row 
Sat musing. 
The Black Riders and Other Lines ~ Stephen Crane

Two Birds ~ Wassily Kandinsky (1907)
Public Domain


Yes, some days, the sky is bleak
with wind grinding the clouds
and birds stolen on the wing –
and on those days, your heart
feels full of pebbles
slowly grinding your blood to dust.


A man came to me once, in a lonely place,
and offered to show me
the waterhole where he kept his heart.
He drew it out, and cradled it
like a pet; it clawed his hand.
I saw it had the beak of an eagle.


There are no answers in the firmament;
but here is my garden, waterless
and dying. Every bird comes of its own
volition, or hunger, to eat the apples
I have halved and skewered,
a purposeful dissection of my own heart.


If you have a song, sing it for me now
before the drought has broken
that I may pick each note apart to wear
on a grey string around my neck.
And I will love you for life;
I will love you in the lonely place.


Dreaming with Stacie in The Imaginary Garden.

I will love you for life, if you will sing for me…
Meadowlark ~ Stephen Schwarz

Sunday, July 31, 2016

'Aye; But, Beloved'

And you love me
I love you. 
You are, then, cold coward. 
Aye; but, beloved...
From The Black Riders and Other Lines (XL)
Stephen Crane

Woman with Outstretched Arm
Odilon Redon (1868)


I wandered far alone
to waterless lands,
where blood was stone,
where big-beaked birds
pick over my bones,
and I found my heart still beating
and willing to atone.


Never more than two paces
from the brink of disaster
in any direction,
I reach out.
Never more certain
when your fingers grip mine,
and you hold so tenderly
the cactus by the hand.


We came in from beyond
and made this bed
upon the floor;
we covered ourselves in midnight,
stars and planets caught us up
in their downhill cartwheel through time.
Our moans seeped through
the cracks in the walls.


This night presses hollow and chill
against my window pane;
the plague dogs are out.
I hear their baying
and breathing under the door.
But, with your head upon my breast
I am content to let them howl.


If love were all
would you come for me
where I sit, at the edge of the world?
Aye; but, beloved –
when the world exacts its price,
a mere morsel of my flesh
will bleed a river.
Even so, will you come?


Because It Is My Heart ~ Micro Poetry Challenge in The Imaginary Garden evokes the work of poet, Stephen Crane, entitled The Black Riders and Other Lines.

While I have taken much from his style and form, I hope the voice of this piece remains my own.
And thanks to Hedgewitch, who put me on the path of the artist Odilon Redon by way of illustration. I found his piece only after I had written the poems, and could not have wished for an image more perfect in mood and subject.