Light and Death

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Death’s cloak of souls
waft in soft candlelight’s
smoky illusion.
A mere flicker from orange mouths
is acquiescence
gleaned from smouldering smiles
tilted skyward,
looking inward
for those elusive answers
before their time melts
and soft wax woefully transcends
this columnar life –
all but spent.
Candles snap and flicker
at dusk
lest death should befall us
before twilight’s shoulder
thrusts to assist the burial
of our burdens,
and because we have questions
to ask:
who will light the way now
and lift the veil of sunrise
while the air is thick and suffused
with sour grief?
Why are those precarious guardians
like paper dolls
dancing on our dying embers’
flameless combustion?
And who is it that beckons to us
through candlelight smoke?
Who?

A Little Ditty

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Flaming hearts and dying embers
Burning coals from hell
Telling tales when love remembers
Turn cold from tears that swell

Trodden paths and countless journeys
Always meet dead ends
No pavements lined, save for illusion
Regardless we still wend

Dying smoke and smouldering ashes
Lay naked on our feet
A dearth of kindling adds more torment
We venture forth with deceit

Dawn (Ghazal)

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Poetry challenge #44: Ghazal by Jane Dougherty

3rd draft and final attempt  – slightly diff but technically accurate.

Maidens tell tales when love remembers,
flamed arrows shoot a heart’s dying embers.

A stinging love’s smouldering ashes cry,
on dove cheeks, cute, unlike hearts’ dying embers.

Awaken Dawn with a dearth of kindling,
two souls, torn fruits of hearts’ dying embers.

Day perfumes rosewater of sullen dreams,
day wakes to salute  hearts’ dying embers.

Clasp as partners to the edge of all love,
hands sieve moot ghosts from hearts’ dying embers.

2nd Revised version – I had missed out the internal rhyme, but this spoiled the first

Maidens tell tales when love remembers,
flamed arrows shoot a heart’s dying embers.

A stinging love’s smouldering ashes cry,
on dove cheeks, mute, like hearts’ dying embers.

Awaken Dawn with a dearth of kindling,
two souls, red fruits, hearts’ dying embers.

Day perfumes rosewater of sullen dreams,
drank to salute hearts’ dying embers.

Clasp as partners to the edge of all love,
hands sieve moot ghosts from hearts’ dying embers.

1st draft – without internal rhyme

Maidens tell tales when love remembers,
flamed arrows shoot a heart’s dying embers.

A stinging love’s smouldering ashes cry,
on dove cheeks, plump, like hearts’ dying embers.

Awaken Dawn with a dearth of kindling,
two souls laden with hearts’ dying embers.

Day perfumes rosewater of sullen dreams,
drank to enliven hearts’ dying embers.

Clasp as partners to the edge of all love,
hands sieve ash ghosts from hearts’ dying embers.

 

Winter’s not gone yet, if the wild geese chatter.

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The hollow cheeks of winter scantily cover
the skeletal lantern jaw of spring; bones
bleached white by receding frost are free
to begin their stiff rattle for warmth
and to generate the spirits who come armed
with bare bodkins. Spindled fingers, barer
than the twigs, mesmerise waves of air;
cajoling it, shaping it –
sieving from it whiter ghosts whose jangling,
laden necklaces jump up and down
to distract nature while they attempt to mix
together taboos with pestle and mortar
made from the wood of hardy grapevines –
its pounding fists crush green snakes with albino
to sedate her lust for colourful concoctions.

Meanwhile, the elixir created for the belly
of spring is fed intravenously – nature’s essential
essence and innate disposition doesn’t allow
for winter’s voodoo to dance past its time to rest
and it calls sap to rise, but not before
veins of ochre pump the hesitant glimmers
of warm sun to feed feathers on new growth –
the fair down worn by earthy women – dancing
to death storms under foot – mulching in croaking
remnants of damp and decomposing cloth.

The gaseous canary sings louder, happily shifting
its weight until coldness is gone
and its old clothes are discarded for new
they are tossed into the fire; smells
from warmed bones meet a sky heavy
with murmuring, and amber sparks
hanging from its underbelly cling like
new born kittens from snagged cotton
waiting for a cushion – as time waits for new flesh
to stick to spring’s ribs. And, like the certainty
of kisses, sweet and plenty, winter’s stuff
will not endure the warm rains of its graven image
burning in effigy –
springtime’s triumphant rebirth
is the flame of winter falling as golden daffodils.

*Title partially nicked from King Lear.

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