Two For One

MY OFFERING 1

I planted seeds
Not good enough
The rain god spat
Turning his face from my field

I bought goats
Not good enough
The grain god sneered
Turning his face from my herd

I wove cloth
Not good enough
The hearth god growled
Turning his face from my loom

I approached the altar
With empty hands
Ah, it is good
The love god smiled
Laying me down on the coals

MY OFFERING 2

I planted seeds that failed to grow
And other crops forgot to sow.
My water fell on thirsty weeds
That blocked the sun from tiny seeds.

My goats are thin, a sorry sight,
The chickens vanished in the night.
Moths destroyed the rugs I braided,
Sheep and cows by wolves were raided.

All I touch is dust and ash,
I’ve nothing left, no goods, no cash,
No sacrifice, no offering,
No dance to dance, no song to sing.

I near the altar bowing low
Awaiting death, God’s final blow.
Instead I’m met with just a wink,
A hint that life’s not what I think.

A Dreamed Wedding

WEDDING DAY

Your day at last,
With me a witness.
I choose carefully
The clothes I’ll wear.
Nothing too flashy
Next to white satin
And lace.
I didn’t plan for rain.

No gentle kiss this
Wall of water.
Who wears boots to a
wedding?
I wade barefoot to
Your side,
White dress gray now.
Slicked clothes reveal
Naked bodies.
We didn’t plan for rain.

I’ll hold your hand,
Keep you from floating
Away,
While we wait for
Guests and groom
And god.
No plans, just rain.

Soon Comes the Fall

GILDED APPLE

righteousness
embellished rage
a gilded apple
in a rusting cage
rattling oaths
to curse the night
protect the heart
from slightest slight
falsely curse
offenders pale
wraiths who haunt
your iron jail
drop the bones
invoke the sage
seek wisdom
from the magic age
let the golden
heart reveal
your tenderness
your mass appeal
scratch the gilt
expose your shame
pretentious power
shadow’s game
strength in daring
lays all bare
the fear, the guilt
the thick despair
confess through bars
that peel and flake
you’re nothing rare
you’ve made mistakes
cloaked in sorrow
starkest shame
an apple bruised
with none to blame

I’ll Try Anything

BIRTH CHART

Look, they said, to eastern sky,
Note the planets floating by.
What spins near sun? What holds the moon?
Watch! You’ll find the answers soon.

Where in heaven sat the Earth
At the moment of your birth?
What stellar snapshot marks the day
Your brand new soul awoke to play?

Did planets cluster, gathered near,
Or were they scattered, leaving clear
Great expanses ‘round your bed?
What stars were dancing overhead?

Trace your circle, squint and stare,
All the information’s there.
Understand your hidden soul
Through starlit glyphs that rock and roll.

Tensions build, the aspects show,
Tugging on us here below.
Some planets rule, while others hide.
In retrograde they slip and slide,

But still they make their presence known,
More subtle, yet still there in tone.
The sun, the moon, the rising sign,
Conjoining planets all align,

With some squared off, and some opposed,
Each angle open wide or closed,
Cosmic dancers on a stage
Defining lives from age to age.

And so I search the heavens too
For insight into all I do,
The interplay of mask and role,
The psychic drive that fuels my soul.

I search the heavens asking why
I am this me, so answers Sky:
Decode the myths, set stories free,
Embrace the night’s psychology.

Tag! You’re It.

“You know those categories at the end of your posts? Does WordPress pick those, or do you?”

I tried to keep my voice calm. “I do.”

Damn tags. I hate them. Why was he asking me about them? What had he read in my post that made him question the tags I had chosen? One question and there I was, back in English class, being asked to explain the theme of the day’s reading. Ugh! I wanted to scream now as I had wanted to then: I DON’T KNOW! It depends. It’s not that easy.

At least it wasn’t for me, and that got me in trouble with teachers more than once, as they insisted that I should be able to discern the author’s intended theme, always so cleverly woven into the story, while I resisted pinning it down. I wanted it to remain subjective: the meaning should be up to the reader, no matter what the author might have had in mind. (Besides, I was never convinced that the author HAD an intended theme that was supposed to be that obvious and sticky and universal and clever.) And if the meaning IS up to the reader, the reader has a right to decide the meaning on the spot, depending on the mood of the day and the emotions brewing within.

That’s why I hate tagging poems; I don’t want to force an interpretation that might not hold even for me. What’s that poem about? I don’t know. I just like the way it sounds. But ask me on Tuesday and every poem will be about death, depression, and loss, whether or not I had any of those feelings when writing. What does it mean to you? Maybe a poem about nets is just about nets. And maybe a poem about sand castles is nothing more than a reflection on a day spent at the beach with my granddaughter, coupled with an offhand comment about retirement made by my husband when getting ready for bed. I can say it’s about relationships, and impermanence, but maybe it’s also about fearing the unknown, or fate, or loss of control.

I’m talking in circles, aren’t I? All to say—you decide. You pick the theme. My interpretations may not be the best ones. I was never good at this game. Ignore the tags. They’re suggestions, nothing more.

You Decide

AN IMAGE

Made alone
In fiery clay,
An image of surrender
Not peace,
For war within mars
The glossy treaties
Painted there across
The hardened surface.
Cracking, crumbling,
A piece falls here
Revealing puzzles
Unsolved by
Clever hands.
More pieces resist,
Curling edges in disdain,
Lying flat for no one,
And yet holding
Shape, form,
Handles, edges,
Colors
Uniquely identical.
Still never seeing the picture
Carved to make you,
From which you spring,
An image.

Soon It Will Be Dark

SAND CASTLE

We liked the view
Here, close to shore.
You built walls
And windows
Open to sky.
The moat was
My idea.
Ringed with rocks,
Our castle
Built for two.
The tide is
Rising now.
Waves crash close,
Walls crumble.
The moat that
Kept us in,
Keeps others out.
There’s no rescue.
We liked the view
Here, on the edge,
Open to sky,
Ringed with rocks,
Our castle
Built for two.