At The Water’s Edge

Here we are again, wading deep in the words,
our smiles perched like houses on stilts,
our serene expressions a temporal shoreline. 
For I saw it too, a lucid meaning beneath layers
of reflection, sinking quickly to the bottom
when we kissed. I tried to retrieve it,
our fragile link, so easily cut. These words,
if left misunderstood, twist in the lambent light
of our movements, leading to misgivings. 
But we continue anyway, sustained by decorum:
an understanding that comes with many years. 
Once upon this shore there is no returning
to before. Love, despite its idyllic description,
is the tension at the surface holding us afloat.

 

SLAUGHTER OF INNOCENCE, A POEM

For Lisa Saunders;
For the kids in Columbine and Utoya;
For the kids at Sandy Hook and in Peshawar
And for the kids crossing borders, fleeing the brutality of our kind.
For you and all the other kids abused by our species:

What a pity, our children must grow up!
to struggle through the early movements,
limbs unfolding, limbering; to laugh aloud or cry;
to experience the touch of a stranger’s hand;
to smell the richness of wet earth,
and taste the sun’s light in earth’s greenery
and hear their own voices answering the wind. . .
To articulate these blessings is the miracle of the mind.

A pity, they’ll throw it away as we did in the prime
of our lives, at the height of our abilities when the promise
of success filled our lungs with the sweet air of spring.
A pity, they’ll sow the whispering seed we call truth blown
from our parched lips that will germinate in their innocence
to clamor again in cloudy blooms of grey invective.

And you say, it’s better they be slaughtered by the sword
when young, than become the bearer of the sword searching
for the peacemaker. You say, better they die in their own blood,
than carry in their blood the tragedy of our species.

And I say, a pity, when the world and its endless gifts
are always within our reach, here, in the birth cry of a child.