Category Archives: Poem

I Am your Instrument, Play on!

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

Deep in the cold, silent snow-dropping night
when reason gives way to a dreamy wonder;
when it has no reason to be, to exist,
I hear your angelic music. I don’t know
where it comes from. I don’t need to know.
I just need to listen and to feel the feelings it stirs,
feelings I have never felt and how strange is that?

If I listen with my heart, surely it will tell me
what the music is all about. Will it not?
What it has to say?  If indeed it is for me;
played for me?  Such a selfish, unworthy thought:
for me?  Why?  Since when is such ethereal music
played for fools awake in the middle of the night?
Fools who will not let themselves slip into sleep
for fear of dreams and portents of doom?

Yet your music plays on, sadly, wistfully seductive
and I have to listen with my heart; to feel, to feel
what the music interprets; what it is saying
to the night; into the night.  Into my mind and brain.
I want to kneel down and pray though we both know
I never pray.  I find no solace or gain in it.
Perhaps there is a good reason, perhaps it’s but pride:
I don’t even know. Not while your music is playing.

I want to stand and dance a wild dance, someplace,
where a full moon shines upon a glistening sandy shore
and I can hear small waves wash and die upon that shore
and smell their sea-grown treasures as they’re spilled
upon the sands, a free-will offering to the morning sun.
But I don’t dance either.  I just don’t. Too flaunty
I told myself long ago.  Call it reverse pride, or:
there was a lot of religion back there, self-denial.

But I listen to your music. There’s mystery in it.
Like me, and I am your instrument, aren’t I?  You,
you play me so well, and who else makes me smile
like this, foolishly? You are an accomplished harpist!
You give me such tantalizing vibrations, I could
collapse at your feet now, and die so happily… If
I wasn’t your instrument; if I did not belong to you.
If I were free.  But you know I don’t want to be free,
not from you, not from this ecstasy you give me.

 

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I’m not a Broker of Emotions

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ a poem]

For a while we felt good together, didn’t we?
After I had agreed you could hold me.
You could also kiss me, and freely fondle:
I knew how much that made you feel good
and I’m all about that, you know,
making you feel good. As a woman
that validates me; gives me purpose.
And you know what else I like?
I like sleeping with you. You smell good,
you have such a warm, hard body.
Why would I not want to be with you?

So we spent time together and it was,
should I repeat it? Good, real good.
The more I gave you, the more I got
as you searched me for more pleasure:
I didn’t mind, believe me, I didn’t.
You were like a baby seeking a nipple,
I felt your desire and your hunger
and me anticipating your solace
finding your pleasure and satisfaction
in me, from me, me feeding, you suckling.
We had it all, I thought, oh, so wonderful
Until you looked down and felt your fear.

That’s when you deliberately spoiled it.
You wanted it to be more than I could give:
you wanted it to be love, you insisted
it had to be love though I had warned you
before the eyes, the hugging, the kissing,
The fondling and finally the naked fucking…
I don’t do love, OK? It is my prerogative
and why would I pretend to such a thing?
I’m not a deal maker or broker of emotions.
Yet you insisted; you insist: must be love.
I’m sorry, truly I am, but I don’t do love.
I can however, help you pack if you want.

 

A Winter Night’s Vigil

[a poem by ~burning woman~ ]

Deep in another long Winter’s night
when the stars sparkle as if covered in ice
that’s when I let myself, my heart, grow soft;
w
hen I dare to hold my world gentle
to my breast and give such assurance as I can
that all is going to be just fine.
Don’t worry, I whisper silently into the cold,
don’t cry in your pain and hunger.
Don’t be afraid, I speak more forcefully,
when you feel so very sick; when your body fails.
I know your pain for it is mine also.
I know your hunger and thirst, by the same token.
I know how cold you are this night
and the fear that haunts your every breath
haunts my visions and my dreams also.

Though of small comfort let me tell you this,
that this is a time of anticipated travail.
Tis a time of crossing, not a time of ending.
This for you, and for me, is our beginning.
Skeletal, we come from the desert, you and I,
already we’ve survived and overcome so much.
We did not come here to die, my beautiful one
but to transform these bodies of death.
No longer shall we beg for a crust of bread
or a place to sleep safe from storms and mobs.
No longer shall we wear the chains of slaves
or watch as they kill our children for profit.
Wake up, come, stand up and walk with me
looking neither to the left nor to the right
a few more steps, my lovely one, and it is done.

 

Child of Woe, Child of Wonder

(a poem by   ~burning woman~   )

I don’t do love (she said)
He looked at her dismayed
not knowing what to add;
not knowing which new bait
he could put on his hook.

But I’m OK with friendship
(she added with a smile)
I’m also OK with closeness
I can do togetherness
at night when the moon is cold.

I’m also OK with silent tears
when there’s no more wood
and the hearth is only ashes
when there’s but crumbs
left on the kitchen table.

I’m not great with good times
(she added looking serious)
I know they cannot last
and how long can it hold
when so many fall through?

I really dislike promises
(she said pointing to her heart)
for I know my weaknesses
being the bane of humanity
No hero, no angel, am I.

Stay close to me then
let my body warm yours
Let’s blend smiles and tears
and perhaps make a child
though she will be of woe.

Fields of grass swayed green
year by year the stars circled
and trees grew tall in the sun
their child of wonder also grew
to pen these lines for them.

A Single Rosebud

[a poem from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]
Do you remember, it was so long ago,
before the time of earth’s labour
and the sounds of chaos made unbearable?
We stood alone, you and I, on the shore
of a black sea scape.  The wind blowing,
ruffling our hair in each other’s faces
and waves crashed upon the wet shale.

There was no moon; there were no stars,
it was our world nevertheless and love,
how we loved it just as it was.  Did it love us back?
We assumed so.  It took care of us,
just the two of us, do you remember well
before there was anyone else to care for?

Do you remember the cries and moans
of all those as yet unborn, inexperienced.
Were they eager to enter; or frightened?
It was our own love that calmed them,
and gave them substance.  We made light
so they could see their way from shore to land.
You watched, I held them and nurtured them.

So you do remember, so long ago, after
when we believed we had done all that was needed?
We stood again alone on the shore, waiting.
Waiting to go home, to be taken aloft to our stars,
certain the ship would arrive in time. Instead
a single rosebud fell down between us.

There was a single thorn attached to its stem:
it pricked both our chests, our blood mixed
and we understood the meaning of pain.
We knew then no ship would ever approach
this frightening world of light and darkness.
We knew then we no longer had each other.

Abandoned and lost, you repeated in anger,
abandoned and lost, I replied in my sorrow.
We walked away from each other then,
unbearable to one-another, unspeaking ’til now
old we are, and grey, together again, but not
to be taken home, only to touch once more and die.

You can’t stop them from seeing (your broken life)

(Lyrics from the song, Hallelujah, by Leonard Cohen)

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

City streets can be colder than stone
when you’re vulnerable and all alone
nor ever paved with the rich man’s gold
in threadbare clothes, wet and cold.

She comes to a familiar doorway
in the night when she’s lost her way
remembers the days of her short life
how desperately she’d run from strife
finding a hallway, a basement stair
then running again from every nightmare.

The deskman knows.  She tosses her hood
and puts her hand on the worn wood.
Her words, like a voice from the tomb:
“Please, I need a cheap room.”

He smiles at her – or is it a leer?
He replies, she can smell the stale beer —
“Forty dollars for a night at the inn –
or free, and I’ll tuck you in.”
His hand slips over her cold wrist:
for the mill she will ever be grist.

Through the window, two sheets, a case:
she grabs but he says, “No need for haste.”
Here’s the key – it’s three – o – four –
and don’t forget: don’t lock the door.”

He watches her walk to the rickety stairs,
shoulders slumped, broken by despair
and as she steps on the very first rung
comes a line from a song she’d once sung:

“Baby I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked the floor
used to live alone before I knew ya
But I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Our love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah”

The White Swans

[poem   by Sha’Tara]

Autumnal flocks of white swans
fly across the skies, land in fields and waterways
and feed.  They’re not being romantic or special:
they’re feeding.  That’s it and that’s all. Also,
like all of life, they enjoy being alive, rain or shine.
So, Mr. gunman, why don’t you just leave them be?
You’re such a fool, Mr. gunman, such a loser.
You’re not the hero you think in that little brain:
you’re a death dealing dead beat.
I wouldn’t say you’re a killer: that implies will,
you don’t have any of that.  Just brainwashing,
washed-out drained brain, any good flushed away.
Long gone what was there in forgotten times
when you were a very young child and could still see
a butterfly or bee, squirrel in a tree, swans in flight
at which you pointed hearing their great honking;
seeing the white wings against Autumn’s grey skies.
Now a gun toting mind-blind idiot wandering rainy fields
in muddy waders and saggy jacket, with runny nose and
soggy, sloshy feet .  What are you thinking Mr. gunman?
Obviously nothing.
A wandering scarecrow in a dying land
would not think or become self aware –
too much of an inconvenience.