LAUREL LEAVES POETRY


Monthly Poetry Magazine



Read the Poems

POET AND POEMS OF THE MONTH

ATTY. RAFAEL E. EVANGELISTA




Read the Poems

poetandpoemsofthemonth

DECEMBER 2014

Mary

SELECTED POEMS

 

CHASING BUTTERFLIES

I watch you roll in the grass, toss up
a dandelion, bat puffs of fluff that float away.
You are a tabby kitten
long and lean, faster than the wind,
quieter than a whisper. You bound
across the garden grounds, hide under ferns,
spring onto the fountain in a graceful leap
and scramble to the top	
to scare a cardinal into flight.

I turn and see my injured son hobble
up beside me. He watches you in silence,
a smile chases away the pain. For six
long weeks his bed was home.
For years he’s raced at motorcross
and each time injuries stopped his dreams.
I hope this break will be his last,
his dreams take to a different track.
We watch together, mother and son,
as you jump into the dogwood tree,
chase a yellow butterfly.

 

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CLAUDE MONET’S GARDEN

I walk the summer gardens of Giverny,
on gravel walks that wind past fences twined from apple trees.
I gaze at walls of sunflowers and bright yellow dahlias.
I fancy that I can hear the ring of bell-shaped flowers.
They remind me of Monet’s “Summer Days”.

I float past fields of Queen Anne’s lace
and white daisies, shining in the sun.
I absorb the scents of lavender, irises, and rows of roses.
In Monet’s house, a long two-storied home of pink stone,
trimmed green, with ivy climbing the walls,
the windows face the garden where
Monet’s children played “Tea Party” under big oak trees.

In his home I wandered through narrow halls and rooms
filled with his memories and sketches of Japan.
He returned with flower bulbs to fill his garden
so all seasons would bloom. I think about his hands,
so talented, paint-stained, digging in the soil.
In his early paintings, each flower’s texture 
and color are vivid and pure,
but in his latter years, as his eyes dimmed
the colors blend in a blazy haze that others try to imitate.

In his pond every type of water lily abounds.
Giant weeping willows, with golden boughs
drape round the banks. I lean against the rough
bark and see Monet’s painting “Nympheas,”
willows reflect in a pond of floating lilies.
“The Japanese Bridge” from 1895 is new today.
In exotic reverie, wisteria grows, and rose trees, 
azaleas, rhododendrons, and ferns too. As the seasons
change Monet’s “Water Lily Studio” lives on.

 

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FALL’S EMBRACE

The sun peeks through the trees
bare as arthritic fingers
and other trees hold fast to rusting leaves.
Our fat dog shifts along the path
sniffing bushes and a moss-covered log.

Goldenrod has taken the fields,
the grass turned to wheat.
Yet the mockingbirds still chase and squawk
at our tabby cat. He hides under the privet hedge
waiting his revenge.

The wind speaks in chilly whispers,
clawing the leaves, changing some into helicopters.
We took down the hummingbird feeder today.
The weatherman said they’re on their way south.
I’ll miss their darting glances,
the frenzied beat of wings.

The green is still with us in the pines.
Their song as sweet as a caress.
Their long needles as fragrant as Christmas Day,
though Thanksgiving is not yet here.

Our dog returns and licks our hands,
his chocolate eyes turned amber by the evening sun.
He has a trusting look, like our son’s when he was young.
You say, “I talked with Tom today.”
It’s funny how our thoughts run parallel.

The sunset paints the leaves a golden wine.
We drink with our eyes.
I find myself kissing you.
Let’s light lots of candles
and eat the last ripe tomato from the vine.
MICHELANGELO’S PIETA

I only have to look at stone to feel
the grain beneath my hands. With marble grand
and cool, the color flesh on tan unveiled
the shape of her to me. With lines concealed
inside I boldly stroke my mallet’s heel
and feel for hair to chisel and reveal.
I strike the master’s touch with God’s own hands
on mine. Till bursting forth she comes to stand
before the church. With son in arms, her tear-
ful eyes appear to bless those souls with clear
respect for Him. In reverence I pray
my simple offering may show the way
to heaven’s gate. We drink wine filled to brim,
and reaffirmed, we pledge our faith to Him.

 

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ROOM FOR MEMORIES

I stood rooted to the floor
just inside the door to your room.
The room is just as you left it
forty years ago, a nightshirt hanging
from a peg, your satchel resting
on the carved-wood blanket box.

I see the child I was back then
sitting on the extra bed
--used by a nurse on your bad days--
sinking deep into the feather mattress
and you would give me a piece of pie
and not say a word about the crumbs.

I played hide-and-seek inside your bed
surrounded by curtains yellow, red,
some days a tent, or chariot to take me
back to ancient Herculean days.
While I played you read thick books
or wrote letters at a wood table.
And you would read to me
taking me places only dreams could go.

I don’t remember you outside this room
though at sometime you must have walked
grandma’s garden, or fed the chickens,
or ate in the dining room on Sundays.

Now, the feather mattress has aged
to honey-brown, spotted like your
aged hands that had tenderly touched
my face, my heart.
I was sent to clean out your things,
to gain room for guests.
But you’re still here.

 

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THE BARN*

Red paint flakes
from roughened planks,
like cinders from a flame.

In the morning light, dull
panes whisper a sad song of dust.
The blackness inside does not brighten
when the lamp is lit.
No sun can penetrate.

Grey boards reach and grab
 like blackberry thorns along the path.
Dust sifts down from the hay loft,
makes one’s throat ache and eyes blur.

The creaking ladder sags.
In the loft hay bales decay.
The sun struggles to break through cracks.
Dust pulls the breath from my lips
as a ghostly wind drains strength from the frame.

The ladder sags again.

Memories... I ache with your embrace.
Breathe one last breath. Then
shut me, close me tight.
For thou hast touched this door...
...This heart of oak.


				
*Through the eyes of a man who has just lost his son.

 

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