Category Archives: Free verse

The Years of Purple Mountains

[a poem by   ~burning woman~]

 How well I remember
The years of purple mountains
Rising above morning mists
In a distant west;
Of bright blue skies
Dotted with white clouds
Shadowing green hills
And higher still
Dark lines of evergreens
Demarcation between grass
And stark grey rocky faces,
Postcard of nature’s mantle.

I remember placid cows
Peacefully grazing
Rolling fields of rich clover;
Colourful barns and tall silos
Enclosed in white fences
And colts galloping freely
While a mighty river
Flowed majestically
To the grey ocean.

How well I remember
Those years of growing up,
Dreaming of such a land
As images passed by
On the breakfast table
Day after day after day:
Pretty labels, pretty ads
On cans of milk;
On cereal boxes
That fed childhood dreams.

Years later I did see
The purple mountains in morning mists,
The placid cows and gamboling colts.
I saw that river flowing to the grey ocean,
Made my home by it’s shores
And learned to paddle its currents.
I smelled the spring flowers;
Tasted the briny air while watching
Grey waves slither and slide
Over gravelly and sandy shores

And I fell in love.  Long ago.

Now many more years have passed:
The mountains are scarred,
Dry and dead, snows melted off;
Streams of mud and slash
Fill a poisoned river with mud;
Gated communities and high-rises
Replace the grass, feedlots
Mud and steel replace white fences
And flowers no longer grow
Along the roadsides.

One generation, armed with science
Technology and moved by greed:
All it took to kill it all. 
Has this horror made it stop?
No. Like the forever war,
The killing continues apace.

Death, the only possible legacy
of a generation of the entitled.

Paraphrase:  Esau came back from his fields hungry.  His brother Jacob had a pot of beans cooking on the fire and the smell stirred up his hunger even more.  Give me some of your beans, Jacob, I’m dying of hunger.  Jacob replied, I’ll feed you if you trade me your elder’s birthright for my beans.  Esau reasoned thus, What good is a birthright when I’m dying of hunger?  He made the trade, sold his birthright for a “mess of pottage.” There be a lesson never learned in that biblical tale.    

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Innocence finds her Freedom

[a poem, by Sha’Tara]

Innocence, what is that,
that anyone should care?
What does it produce
but chatter and silliness?
Innocence, how wasteful
of a life in need of direction.
We are here, we are here,
bring the child to our doors,
we’ll take her from here.
We’ll mold her character 

and teach her the Way.

Innocence flew off
frightened by the noise,
the angry words, the tears,
the blows that fell upon
that soft helpless flesh.
Farther and farther it circled,
rising up to the windows:
finding a broken pane
it slipped out and flew away.

On the cement walk
three floors below
the old school yard
a small body lies
battered, bloody, dead.
Innocence has broken out,
free at last, and happy
once again laughing
among the blue and the white
where the free winds blow.

What price freedom?
Don’t ask why: you know
there was no better way.

 

Suddenly

[from   ~burning woman~  by Sha’Tara]

Suddenly,
It was sadness,
A sadness so deep
I peered down it’s well:
There was no bottom there.

I stopped to think,
To scratch my head;
To wonder at this feeling
And asked, what is this I feel?

‘Tis but the world
resting its tired head
upon your firm shoulders
For a few moments of respite.

Why mine?
I thought to ask,
Looking for a reason
A particular worthy reason.

Why not?
A tired world
Cannot be particular:
You were there, convenient,
Simply available – repeat: why not?

That’s it?
I was just  there?
No more to it than that?
No meaning other than that?

There is none,
Why should there be?
But if you want more to it
No one stops you from walking,
Carrying the load, making it your own.

 

The Gryphon and the Poet

griffin1

I wish you good wishes
Said Gryphon from her stony perch
as Poet passed her by in search of inspiration.

Good wishes indeed, and for what?
Replied the Poet with frown and down-turned lip
Annoyed at the interruption to her thoughts.

The night!  I wish you a good and long night
For not another will there be
‘til tomorrow is complete,
done and fully accounted for.

Much ado about nothing,
Replied the Poet scornfully, boastfully:
Of nights and of days
We have many and for some, to spare!

What hubris, said Gryphon;
Only a human would thus speak
So irreverently of time.

But, insisted the Poet,
Are you not Gryphon, immortal, timeless?
What can a day and a night mean to such as you?

They call you a Poet, a writer of wisdom,
growled Gryphon with a deep sigh,
And cannot answer that?  Fie on you!
A journey of a thousand miles
Begins with a single step, not so?

A Truism, bah! A bumper sticker!
Is that the extent of your eternal wisdom, Gryphon?

Foolish human, speak not of what you know naught.
Speak not of eternity, of that
which forever lies beyond your ken.
Do you not see, can you not comprehend,
Immortality is made of days
Each day accompanied by a single night?
What is more sacred, the journey?
Or the road by which the journey is accomplished?

The Poet opened her mouth to reply:
Gryphon put a sharp and heavy claw across her lips:

Silence!  Small-minded, foolish human,
Do not make me entirely dislike you
For I know you would venture a choice,
An opinion borne on wings of ignorance,
Choosing one over the other
As though you cannot see
One cannot be without the other.
Would you have the day without its night?
A bird without its wings?

 

Before the Owl Calls my Name

  [a poem by   ~burning woman~  ]

[Explaining the title: According to the Kwakiutl people of the British Columbia coast (Canada) if you hear an owl call your name, your death is imminent.]

The night fills me with its seductive darkness
A moon’s halo slides through thin clouds
All is silent, as silent as the deep of space
And I lie here in the back seat of your car,
Your big old Buick of romantic days gone by
But we are young yet, or almost young
And all that matters now is that you are here
Naked against my own throbbing nakedness
My heart beating in the moment’s madness
Orgasm and death blending so well together.

Hold me and press your maleness into me
But don’t just make love to me, I want more
possess me beyond my dreaming
Devour my longing, my hopeless desire
Eat my flesh
Leave nothing of what I once called me
But the lingering scent of your moaned pleasure
When my body turns itself inside out
To give you all my life in one thrust
Do this to me, do this for me
Before the owl calls my name
And tells me I will not see another sunrise.

 

Life Exists at the Sufferance of Darkness

[poem by  ~burning woman~  by Sha’Tara]

I heard the music in the darkness
Or it could have been the night
Low and ponderous, it came in waves
With which the ocean of time washed
Glistening shores, but not of healthy light
And I thought, I thought, I need to think
About good things, nice, kind, soft things
I tried, I really tried to think upon such things
But the music changed into angry noise
Waves of it thundering against the shore
Loosening rocks, pulling them down
Where they can never see the light again

I cried for the rocks enslaved into darkness
As I stood between the remaining ones
And the black waves thundering forward
I screamed a warning to the rocks
Hold on!  Save yourselves from death!

But you see they were rocks, only rocks
And they could not listen even if they heard
The last of the rocks were taken then
Clattering helpless past my prostrate form
I could but watch them tumbling down
Into everlasting darkness, so it seemed
I learned thus that thinking good thoughts
Really changes nothing, nothing at all
I learned it is wiser to think all thoughts
The good, the bad, the indifferent
To read what the mind writes between them

That’s when I discovered the truth of life
That life precedes death, and death, life
That life exists at the sufferance of darkness
That darkness is the prime mover, the arbiter
Of all that lives, all that was, all that will be

Beware of your own great realization
All ye worshipers of what ye call light

Their Pleasure is Starving Me

    [a poem by   ~burning woman~   ]

O, Mother, I get so tired at times,
Yes I thought you taught me well,
How to meet them, to please them,
To try to guess the different ways
They expect me to pleasure them.

O, Mother, how they take and take
And how I give and give and…
Nothing.  They give me nothing
Back, and I’m so very tired
But now I don’t know what to do.

O, my Child, I’d hoped you’d learn
Without being told, you’re a woman
And now you are food to them:
They see you and they hunger
And they’re always, always hungry.

O, Child, listen to me once again,
And pay attention this time
Before they’ve eaten your body
And nothing’s left but a husk
And a dis-embodied spirit.

O, Child, listen carefully:
They do not know how to give
It’s not in their nature although
Some may think they’re giving
When they offer you a dollar.

It’s up to you Child to feed yourself
And the only food you’ll find
Is inside them as they lay with you
As they come, and before they go:
It’s up to you to feed off them.