HARLECH CASTLE

stones speak in lost tongues
to sheep grazing by the wall
clouds gather laughing

voices of dead kings
echo off cloud shrouded hills
she whispers in dreams

a November wind
cuts deeply across the keep
distant hills crying

slash of claymore
glinting in the morning sun
bird with wings unfolded

moss encrusted stones
remember long past ages
sun smiles knowingly

distant bay waters
stare lovingly at the stones
winter wind grasps me

echoes of the pipes
reverberate in mourning
village awakens

a lone sailboat
floats aimlessly in the bay
dead kings laugh aloud

winter wind whispers
fingers touching ancient stones
laughter of a gull

her smile reaches out
across the expansive sea
King Edward approves

sheep dot the hillside
in the great castle’s shadow
slowly munching grass

ever fragile moss
dances on November winds
remembering once

AN OFF YEAR

The was a winter, once
where even in the north
the snow refused to fall
and ice rejected jamming the culverts,
the sky stared down in amazement.
That was the year trees would not bud
and flowers fled deeper
into the sweetness of the earth,
grass singed and lay indolent.
It was a year my coat of many colors
was taken, pieced out among brothers
until each had a color and none a coat.
I would sit at the right hand of kings
dreaming of a day when dreams
might refuse to visit and then,
starved of images
I could reinforce foundations
preparing for their visit.
I am strapped to the altar
and the knife is poised in the hand
of a man who would like to be a father,
both of us looking up for intervention.
There was a year, once
when the ram broke free
of the thicket and picked his way
down the hill to his young.


First Appeared in Arnazella, 2001. Reprinted on Website of Poets
Against the War, 2003. Reprinted in Legal Studies Forum, Vol. 29,
No.1, 2005.

DEFIANCE

The stone defies the flame,
drawing it in
unyielding,
until it is licked
by the snow of winter

The page defies the words,
denying them purchase,
they are flat
without eyes
to see them
the repose
unbroken

The barren earth
defies the king
who orders it fertile
as sand swirls
engulfing
the palace
tearing at its face
casting it
adrift

The beginning
defies surcease
for it is new
in this moment
and in the next
and so on
and on
a wave
on a borderless
sea

FOR THIS MOMENT

The sea is calm today
not the petulant child
thrashing at the harbor
leaving her stone tears
in the sands.
Perhaps it is the sun
stroking her dappled skin
or perhaps she is merely listening
to the whispers of clouds
sliding off into the horizon.
We don’t question the sea,
that is for Jonahs, and God
had trouble enough
with the original.
Even the angry sea
has something to say,
and some kings
are deaf to whispers.
Sitting on the beach
listening for the waves
that barely lap the sands
I know that this day
the sea will keep her secrets.