jacksonville

you walk along
the silent strand
shadowed
on the horizon

we carried burdens
for months and miles
only to collapse
when we dropped them
in the sand
and watched the tide
bury our sorrows at sea

you walk along
the silent strand
shadowed
by quiet and calm

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Reflections – RS Thomas

The furies are at home
in the mirror; it is their address.
Even the clearest water,
if deep enough can drown.

Never think to surprise them.
Your face approaching ever
so friendly is the white flag
they ignore. There is no truce

with the furies. A mirror’s temperature
is always at zero. It is ice
in the veins. Its camera
is an X-ray. It is a chalice

held out to you in
silent communion, where graspingly
you partake of a shifting
identity never your own.

– from No Truce with the Furies by RS Thomas
I haven’t written much lately, or more accurately, I haven’t revised anything that I like enough to post here. Instead, I offer this poem by RS Thomas.

croup

croup

we re back in the e r
you couldn t breathe again
this time 3 am and your little
lungs straining for life and breath
your cough shook me from some dream
your eyes were desperate
daddy
yes son we re going
will i get a shot i don t want a shot daddy
no son you won t get a shot today
because i don t want a shot
the doctor will help you breathe son here hold my hand
and i won t get a shot

the white walls of the tiny room
are the same as they were five years ago
the time you stayed three days under a plastic canopy
i slept in a chair
friends brought food
nurses brought needles and tubes
and i find the same thing now
as i realized back then
you are stronger than i am

periphery

we wait for something to intervene,
anything to take away
this monotony of chaos. the pace
exhausts us to the point of mindless
motion. keep going. another step.
then unsettled sleep, for tomorrow
we begin again what never ends.
we long for the hand of god to lift
us from this routine of madness
when all along the slightest flicker
on the periphery is food
enough for the starving soul.