Song of the Cicadas

Sometimes I can still feel

Your fingers tracing lazy circles

On my shoulder

Your arm draped around me

On a summer’s night

The taste of honey and whiskey

On my tongue

The song of the cicadas

Humming beneath the lines of Shakespeare

As we watched a play in the park

A phantom touch

That feels like yesterday

And not years ago

NPM: Fresh Glory

Two cardinals hopped

Through the budding branches

Of my Japanese maple today

A mated pair

And I was transfixed

By the color of the female

Normally, the males are revered

For their vivid red hue

So bright and unusual

But her tones were subdued

And sublime

The colors of the dawn

Soft cream, pale yellow

And the flush of purest rose

She was the morning sky

The promise of a new day

Unmarred, unsullied

And to me, her subtle beauty

Far outshone her flashy consort

There is fresh glory in the overlooked–

In nature

And in us

The Symphonies of Heaven

Moonlight pools in the furrowed fields. 

Each grain-topped stalk reaches up

To caress the dark sky’s face.

A hush has fallen over our common earth,

But the heavens are alive with song.

The stars pour forth melodies, harmonies,

Endless arias, spiraling refrains.

Their silver voices sing clear in the night.

Who but God has ears to listen?

Who but God and his legions of angels?

If we could hear but one chord of that song,

We would never again doubt the beauty of existence

Or the perfection of eternity to come,

Wrapped in the symphonies of heaven. 

NPM: Constant as Galaxies

Oh if I could tether you

To me like the moon in orbit

If my gravity could draw you

Into a never-ending dance

Intoxicating and inexorable

Constant as galaxies

If our love had the lifespan of a star

Its radiance could blaze on 

For millennia

And once it had flickered out

A distant planet would still see its glow

Distant lovers would still meet under its light

Thousands of years after we had passed

NPM: Nascence

The earth itself is crumbling 

Along fault lines and fissures,

Its body wracked with spasms.

The earth heaves

And lets out a guttural cry.

It trembles, it flails.

And suddenly, all our solid structures,

Our concrete and steel,

Are like anthills, like straw.

They collapse like cards,

Trapping us inside, if we are lucky,

And crushing us, if we are not. 

A man in Ecuador was pulled from

The wreckage of a pharmacy. 

He thought his life would end there in the dark,

Such a short twenty one years. 

But as they pulled him 

From that stony womb, almost a tomb,

He was reborn. 

He swears he was reborn,

And now he is one year old. 

His life started over

When he emerged from certain death. 

His nascence came at the moment of the end. 

NPM: Of Queens and Marigolds

We bought four small marigolds 

Yellow heads held proudly high

Regal splashes of rich color

To stand as sentinels at our door

Before we could plant them

Some creature snuck up

And chewed through the stem of 

the tallest, fullest bloom

Its golden crown toppled

Death by guillotine or squirrel

Instead of throwing it away

I brought the flower inside

And put it in a cup of water

It floats there now

Reborn as a water lily

Vibrant as ever

While its stripped greenery remains outside

Soaking up the sun and

Working up the strength 

To send forth another golden bloom

A monarch returned from exile