Seeing

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There is much talk of sea level right now,
and of levels of the sea; as a boy I would stand,
stare and dream on that far horizon
where all pondered distance was gone.

The boy’s right brain carried more wisdom
than the later indoctrinated left side ever could.
And what drove the world? How did eons
of tides turn hard rock to smooth sand?

For that boy’s curiosity ever remains;
half buried windows along old streets,
the monochrome pictures of grandeur, destroyed

and replaced by boxes of brick, or cold steel and glass.
Sea levels rise and fall, as is nature’s prerogative.
It is not in anyone’s remit to falsify, or destroy.

Copyright Francis 2021

*Earthweal Weekly Challenge

Morphing (for Earthweal)

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“The stars are closer than you think.”
The shaman left me with this admonition,
hobbling away with his stick of gnarled ash.
There was a look in his eye,
glint of a star — his soul,
still stalking this barren land.
As the day began to break,
blue shafts were piercing orange and red,
a warning; creation speaking
and thought becoming instant form;
a mounting cumulus cloud,
shape of a lion’s head.
“The world is mind,” he’d said,
“dreaming us into existence
and what we may be.”
The cloud soon morphed
to show a crescent Moon,
then Venus, morning and evening star,
companions for my journey home.

Copyright Francis 2021

***Earthweal Weekly Challenge

For Brigid

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Brigid, we parted one February,
an ending for us as the swelling of spring began.
Your name was not Brigid;
the Irvines were lowland Scots, after all,
but you resembled that Irish princess
with the auburn hair, the green eyes,
that cover of the paperback you had lent me
which had entranced me so.
What is it about chemistry?
Or is it music, the way cello and violin
complement one another?
Does the body reflect the soul,
or is flesh mere pretense to mask the true intention?
Things are clearer now —
weren’t we in love with love?
So much easier to bear than with each other,
where loss, pain and misery are set off,
the ticking time bomb of this duality.
And I didn’t say… but I saw you the other day,
older, wiser, a family of your own
but with the same look in your eyes,
so green.
Brigid, though decades now separate us,
I am glad of our anonymity,
the memory of what love might be.

Copyright Francis 2021

***Written for Earth Weal Weekly Challenge regarding Imbolc.

The Walk (for Earthweal challenge)

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I must have strolled this ancient shore,
leaving no footprints in the sand,
seen the infant sun spill his light
over jagged horizons,
the glowing Moon ascend into sparse sky
to ride the assembly of stars,
a firmament at once remote
and intimate.
If you talk in eons — I see in seconds;
new life’s struggle to be born,
a fossil falling to the sand
from a cliff’s crumbling edifice.
For as I exist at the beginning
so do I persist until the end,
though I am not made of stars,
I merely follow the word
and the breath.

Copyright Francis 2021

***earthweal weekly challenge

Migrators (Poem for Earthweal)

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By the hard side
of the shore,
abutments jutting out
into raging waves,
I paused,
an incessant gale buffeting
my puny frame.

Dark promontories
primed me through sea mist;
they caught my gaze,
my historic sense,
like the herring gulls circling,
riding the howling wind.

I sensed you there,
your sea-grey eyes
staring into nothing,
your soft sing-song voice
of the Borders,
ready to spoil me with sweets,
port and lemon clutched
in your wizened hand.

Somehow you were left
in this nebulous place,
our collective cries screaming
“mother! mother!” —
plaintive calls unheard
in an entangled realm of souls,
given over to the elements.

Copyright Francis 2021

Earthweal Weekly Challenge

One May Smile

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The shark’s reputation precedes him,
demonized in the minds of millions,
movie-goers jumping,
or hiding behind
their darkened seats.
Predators must hunt,
unsmiling and relentless,
the prey must die
so they can live;
for nature’s complexity
is for us to understand — not judge.
A greater power than Man
put this realm together.
And as a poet once said:
‘…one may smile, and smile,
and be a villain–‘
So step back,
you silver-tongued fiends,
those who think
they know better;
Your power is temporal,
so brief,
whilst the shark’s honest instinct
is ageless, only taking its due.

*Quotation from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 5, line 108.

Copyright Francis 2020

Earthweal Weekly Challenge: Shark Poetry

I Believe (for Advent)

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As the song relates
in my happy-ever-after moments:
I believed in the Israelite.

What a circuitous, tortuous route
this mind has been dragged through,
chained to the runaway horse

called magic, or deception,
along with most of the world,
sore and buffeted

through cyclone and fire,
the machinations of men.
I take on board

the doubts and conjecture —
did such and such ever exist;
yet I have studied the shroud

and the napkin of truth — to me
science and the Spirit are one.
So this year as Advent moves

relentlessly on to that crystallization,
when Sol’s southern tropic is reached,
with the death of the sun,

the incarnation of the Son
and the Word,
switching northward towards Light and hope,

I feel my soul and sinews ignite.
This time, more than any other time,
I believe in the Israelite.

Copyright Francis 2020

earthweal weekly challenge — advent