astral projection

Twice now this week
I have woken from dreams
Of Chicago.
They are filled with meeting new people and
Sharing meals and conversations,
Airports and brownstone neighborhoods.

But I have no idea why Chicago
Though I do have two beloveds living there.

My nightly adventures could not be more different
Than this quiet life,
Near woods and water
In the back hills of the Missouri Ozarks.
No busy streets with milling folk,
Street lights or traffic noise here.

But the dreams feel so real
It makes me consider astral projection.
And I wonder if I should check my pockets
For L train tickets
Or notes written on the back of receipts
From fine restaurants along the magnificent mile.

dusk and twilight

June evening 2013

dusk saunters up the lane
whistling for his dog
and filling his pipe

leaning against the fence post,
he squints into the setting sun
and waits for twilight to arrive

wrapped in a mantle of early evening stars,
she skips down the lane
her steps light and lovely

tipping his hat,
dusk climbs the western ridge
trailing shadow
and wisps of smoke

as twilight fills the darkling sky
with the smiling crescent moon
and the scent of sweet honeysuckle

yes, the answer is yes

If I met you today,
for the first time
again,
would that first spark
be the same
as that long ago feeling
in a bar
in the foothills of Colorado?

Would I be as bold,
and you as cool
in the midst of another rowdy crowd?

Would our kiss
be that kiss
when the room held its breath
in awe of the lightning
crackling along the ceiling,
sending sparks cascading
into our white hair.

Eastertide on the Ridge

Eastertide on the Ridge

The passion of spring awakes
with the blooming of the serviceberry,
first blooms for the early spring graves.
The rocky paths are soon strewn,
not with palm fronds,
but the blown blossoms of redbuds,
a confetti of papery pinks and faded roses.
Earth’s resurrection promise
is finally in full view
as the dogwoods bring forth their flowers,
decorating the hillsides
in Christ’s wounds.

He is Risen
He is Risen, Indeed!
Happy Easter!

Continue reading

the abstraction of poetry

How is it that the kinship of words and emotions leads us
to birdsong and moonlight.
If I write
‘Birdsong’
what do you hear?

What moon?
Whose skin?
If you read the words
‘The cold light of the moon shone on her skin’
Is it not the same moon?
No.
Non.

I heard you were once a small child in a garden filled with flowers.
Were you there
Or only words in a verse?

The sadness overwhelms me and I long to drift away.
But is that poetry
Or just wishful thinking?
The abstraction of poetry only reveals itself in the emotional response of the reader.

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
And the dawn refuses to break
As my heart has broken
And that is not abstract
Nor poetry.

From a branch of the family tree

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I am from breakfasts in the watermelon shed
Dr Pepper and pear preserves
made of the knobby fruit from the side yard tree
Hot humid summer nights with pallets on the floor
populated by long legged, freckle nosed cousins
From sturdy Texas stock and dog people, mostly English setters
and crazy long tailed pointers
I am from Baylor homecomings and tearful home goings
I am from Albertine and LeeRoy

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I am from tall pines, dark swamps
and paper mills with their pungent smell
Fish fries in Crossett Park and tea parties with delicate china cups
I am from church on Sunday crowded with great aunts and uncles
and quarters to place in the collection plate
From armadillos, white tailed deer and tail-less blue jays
And from trips to the graves at Promise Land
I am from the kids table at Thanksgiving
I am from John Henry and Marie

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I am from prairie dog towns and bluebonnet Springs
From family dinners and station wagon road trips
Moving boxes and new school rooms
From brothers and beagles and capture the flags
I am from swimming pools and man made lakes and creosote creek
Home movies and John Wayne and Swiss Family Robinson
I am from Tammy and Old Rugged Cross and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
From special occasions and occasions made special
I am from her songs and his laughter
I am from Rose and John L.

*** I publish this poem again today in memory of my parents,
John L. Gresham 8/1/30 – 4/10/94
Rose A. Gresham 6/1/31- 4/26/16
I miss them everyday but I am proud of their legacy of love for their family and friends.

bar ditches

Feb morning sky

Driving along the ridge,
Bright sun in a cold sky,
The bar ditch is filled with the first blush of spring.
Effervescent purple henbit covers the ground,
Weeds of childrens delight,
First bouquets of the season.

When my nieces were babes,
These weeds were their favorite flower until their father
Mowed the yard,
Decimating their wild flower garden and bringing bereft tears.

Did my grandfather tell me the tale of why we call the ditches
Along the roadside ‘bar ditches’?
The dirt was borrowed ‘bar-red’
To raise the road, flattened for the wagons then model Ts
To travel above the fields.

Memory sometimes obscures the truth.

I remember that my father died on Palm Sunday,
Though it is not the truth.
But that is the memory I preserve in my life’s mythology.

And it is Palm Sunday once again,
Not the date of his leave taking
But still the day I grieve.

And it is the first day of spring,
The day I remember my nieces’ grief
Over the heaped green weeds across their yard.

On this day, memory, unreliable and exact,
Borrows the joy before the grief…

Its the first of spring and all the birds sing
And little children palm frond process
Waving welcome the King into Jerusalem.
Alleluia!
Alleluia!

(revised)