A common gull that flew toward the dawn
Was suddenly with pinkish orange aflame,
As lead by alchemy had undergone
Its transformation, baseness overcame.
I knew it was a trick of light, and yet
Its unexpected beauty gave me pause,
I fixed it in my mind, not to forget
The transient perfection that it was-
For who among us would not wish to be
But for an instant, thus illuminated,
That all who were so lucky as to see
Should with the memory be ever sated?
As sunlight may banal surfaces gild,
Am I when I with gratitude am filled.
With heartfelt thanks to those who helped me through 2014 with their support and kind words.
I soar above the waves with little clearance,
As if an unseen cloak fashioned of breeze
From choppy waters wanting interference
Protects me over other devotees.
I rise in joyful arc into the sky,
Then turn my shoulder to the sea below
To dive upon what fodder I espy
And fill my bill, and through its grace I grow.
The ancients thought that I would pierce my breast
To feed my young, a sign of sacrifice,
But for the fish that I would fain ingest,
I’m not a favored heraldic device.
Thus, any symbol others may exalt
I’m sure to take with a large grain of salt.
The darkest hour is often said to be
Before the dawn, but those who know the verges
Of night and day acknowledge they will see
A lightened sky before the sun emerges.
The hour at which the night is most persistent:
That midmost point between sunset and rise,
As any solstice should be equidistant
From equinoctes as each season dies.
And now that I myself am just beyond
The bleakest hour of this, the longest night,
I scan the sky for signs that it has dawned
And hope that looming clouds sun shall ignite.
Obscurity I seize and find a handle
Because I choose to face it with a candle.
Through one, I watched the dogs observe the rain
That started falling just as we returned
From misting walk to home and hearth again,
For future outings they were unconcerned.
And on the bus another, blurred by fog
Within with rain without, the route by rote
I know, or orientation’d be a slog,
For those with bags strapped underneath their coats.
At night, though salty drops obscure my view
Of audience beyond proscenium,
I see the now-familiar born anew
And to the present ecstasy succumb.
So welcome, showers, to this thirsty clime
You have arrived at an auspicious time.
A pair of red galoshes for my feet,
An a-line skirt to ward off puddle splash,
With tights to help retain my bare knees’ heat
And extra shoes for when the boots I stash,
A cotton sweater to wick off the damp,
With matching scarf for my cold-roughened throat,
My dapper raincoat, belted like a champ
Combine to make a potent antidote
To hostile elements, and over all
I spread my monumental bumpershoot,
With which I may withstand the wildest squall
Until the hissing, thunderous skies fall mute,
The cataclysm earth and soul revives,
That is, if the predicted rain arrives.
When one lives in a coastal chaparral,
The joke is that we only have two seasons:
One dry, one wet, and by that rationale
Our climate is monotonous, and reasons
To shun it are abounding, for the mild
Of winter weakens us when faced with cold,
Expecting it to suit us, like a child,
As if to human wishes climates mold.
Endemic plants cannot hope to compete
With foreign trees and irrigated lawns,
Which means that autumn isn’t obsolete-
Merely that in an instant it is gone.
When fall’s bright fifteen minutes have been spent,
Then comes our frosty hour of discontent.
My evening walk brought me up to a wall
Where previously a set of stairs had been-
A set of rotten roots had caused to fall
A mighty eucalpytus, clad in green.
When morning dawned, the screen of leaves had gone,
The trunk chopped into manageable blocks,
Though doughty bannister had undergone
A transformation from the sudden shock.
So when today a much beloved tree
From whose progenitors I also grew
Succumbed to unrelenting gravity,
We in her shade were also knocked askew.
Though we feel broken now, we are protected
And strengthened having been interconnected.
In memoriam Audrey Evans Lee. August 6, 1943 – November 7, 2014.
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.