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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Approaching Darkness




                                over
Darkness marches            distant mountains,
a solemn, menacing figure
in a swirling grey cloak
His intentions shrouded and mysterious
face masked by smiling stars,
blanketing all in his wake
with a cover of gloom,
Earth at his mercy
as she waits...
                           for beneficent sunrise

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Innocence Blinded

Innocence
unseeing
her vision taken
by Seduction's blinding glare
could only stand
helpless
frozen
turning slowly to stone
in a world
which now denied
Her very existence

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Gift of Time




No candy cane is sweeter
than the taste upon your lips.
No falling snowflake softer
than your stirring fingertips.

No tone of bells so resonant
as your voice within my ear
no presence is more welcome
than your being, drawing near

No star could shine more brightly
than your eyes' revealing glow.
No fireplace is warmer
than the love that you bestow.

Sweet harmony, you bring to life
a gift of precious worth,
gives time with you a value
unmatched upon this earth.


(The picture is of the star Betelgeuse, taken by the Hubble telescope, a star nearing the end of it's life cycle.  It brought to mind, as so many things do, the value of time.  The original image can be found here:  Hubble)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Yearnings


No earthly gift could rival your smile
no worldly treasure compete
with the warmth that you bring when you stay just awhile
to the way that you make life complete.

Your hand's soft touch is poetry found
your warm embrace a song.
Your presence brings a love unbound
though you cannot linger long.

I count the hours when you're away,
the minutes 'til your return
knowing that somehow, some way
you'll feel my heart's sweet yearn.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ending


Leaves of our humanity
fall silent on the ground
mark the end of man's existence
with not a single sound

We go without a protest
consumed by crippling fright
fading to obscurity
as day dissolves to night

A ripple in the pond of earth
a mere moment in time.
Our shortcomings are many
complacency our crime

Vital lessons never learned
our arrogance supreme
compassion's depths were never plumbed
humility ungleaned

As each leaf falls to quiet death
lies broken in the mass
Rain down a tear for all mankind
his time and chances past

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Favorite Poems: There Are Men Too Gentle To Live Among Wolves

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who prey upon them with IBM eyes
And sell their hearts and guts for martinis at noon.
There are men too gentle for a savage world
Who dream instead of snow and children and Halloween
And wonder if the leaves will change their color soon.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who anoint them for burial with greedy claws
And murder them for a merchant’s profit and gain.
There are men too gentle for a corporate world
Who dream instead of Easter eggs and fragrant grass
And pause to hear the distant whistle of a train
.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who devour them with appetite and search
For other men to prey upon and suck their childhood dry.
There are men too gentle for an accountant’s world
Who dream instead of Easter eggs and fragrant grass
And search for beauty in the mystery of the sky
.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves
Who toss them like a lost and wounded dove
Such gentle men are lonely in a merchant’s world
Unless they have a gentle one to love
.

James Kavanaugh


This is one of a few posts of favorite poems that I've timed to go up while I'm on vacation.   This poem became a favorite for me because it describes today's world so well.  A world so focused on the power of the almighty dollar--the merchant's world.  Where every holiday, every event, even every emotion, has been turned into a way to make a profit.  Where every one of those "too gentle" men is a gift and an inspiration.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

New Music From My Favorite Poet, Russell Crowe

My favorite poet (and the inspiration for this blog's name),  Russell Crowe, is at long last releasing new music. 

"Wait a minute," you say. "You just said he was releasing new music, but he's your favorite poet?  And isn't Russell Crowe an actor anyway?"

Yes.  And yes.  He's an actor, a musician, a poet, a National Rugby League team owner (South Sydney Rabbitohs); the list goes on and on.  I'll try to keep this on the subject of poetry and music, though, since poetry is (supposedly) the focus of this blog.

Several years ago I discovered Russell Crowe's music, totally by accident, on Youtube.  He'd been my favorite actor for several years before that and, at the time, I was just looking up clips of his movies when I came across a video of a song called Testify.  (See the video here.)  I was mesmerised.  He could sing too? 

Intrigued, I looked up more videos of his music.  After watching several and being engrossed in the sincerity and emotion I could hear, I did a bit of further research.  Turned out he'd written most of the songs himself , either alone or in collaboration with a few others, most often his friend Alan Doyle, lead singer of the Canadian folk-rock band Great Big Sea. (more great music and lyrics you should check out)

As I read the lyrics of those songs, I was touched by the imagery in them as well as the pure emotion, the depth that I could feel from them.  You know that feeling when something quite apart from yourself--something you're seeing, touching, hearing for the very first time--literally speaks to you?  It can happen with almost anything--a book, a song, a movie.  A scent in the air, the touch of a breeze, the sound of a child breathing.

This was the sensation I felt as I read those words.  The same sort of feelings I'd had hearing the songs, but...more somehow.  As though the person who'd written them had somehow pulled the thoughts from my mind and the emotions from my heart and had put them into words.  I first discovered poetry at the age of 12 and, from the beginning, I loved it.  I've read Keats, Tennyson, Browning, Shakespeare.  Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, James Kavanaugh, Charles Bukowski--the list goes on and on--and I've always had favorite poets and particular poems that stirred feelings in me.

It was in reading the lyrics of songs like Other Ways of Speaking, Never Be Alone Again, Land of the Second Chance, Raewyn--again, the list goes on and on--that I felt as though someone I'd never met was speaking his own mind and heart to me more clearly and distinctly than anyone I'd ever met face to face.  Those words and the way they were written have moved me and inspired me time and time again since then. 

That's how a true poet makes you feel and that's when I began to respond to the question of   'Who is your favorite poet?' with the name Russell Crowe.  The responses to it are varied.  I get questioning looks, blank looks, smirks, hidden grins and, my favorite, the 'She's lost it' look.  None of it matters.  It doesn't change what the words say and how they speak to me.

So...  That was a long and roundabout way of getting to the matter of Russell Crowe's new songs.  Since I first discovered his music and poetry, Russell Crowe the actor has kept me and many others entertained with fairly regular movies, but Russell Crowe the musician and poet has been a bit on the silent side.  That will come to an end on August 2nd with the release of  The Crowe/Doyle Songbook Vol. III on iTunes.  On August 9th, it will be available on Amazon, eMusic, Rhapsody, Spotify and other music sites.  Wherever you get your music, give it a try.  You won't be sorry and you'll probably end up as a fan.

You can hear samples of the tracks right now at Amazon: The Crowe/Doyle Songbook Vol. III  and you can hear the full song Too Far Gone at SoundCloud: Russell Crowe and Alan Doyle-Too Far Gone.  It's a beautiful collaboration between Russell and his wife, singer Danielle Spencer.

Here are some of those touching lyrics that I always love so much, borrowed from Mary Murphy at her Russell Crowe News site on Murphs Place.  I hope the poetry touches you even half as much as it does me.  Thank you once again, Russell Crowe and Alan Doyle for the music and inspiration.

Too Far Gone (To Be Saved)
Crowe/Doyle



I am drowning
 not waving
here in the darkness
I'll find my peace

You'll try to save me
but you are suspended
Beneath the surface
In way too deep

Chorus

And your fingers tear at my skin
Release the blood let the feeding begin
Your intentions will never be blamed
We're both too far gone, to be saved

When times were simple
And the journey clearer
Before the circles
And deja vu

Before all the bombs fell
And we lived in craters
Before all the sharks came
And had their fill

Chorus

Bridge

I should have spared you
And you might have warned me
The glory is fleeting for birds in flight

Now I'm sinking
 weighed down by regrets
I see clearly in this dying light

I am drowning
 not waving
Will you just love me
It's not too late

Here in the darkness
No-one can judge us
Kiss me completely
And seal our fate

Chorus

Friday, July 22, 2011

To Look Upon Grace

A stone's throw from grace,
but he never quite gets there
Always something out there
pulling him back in

He reaches for Heaven,
but can't seem to make it
No rest for the weary
in a world full of sin

He battles the devil
that's always inside him
no matter what form
it takes at the time

It's just that the bad
always seems to be winning
A whirlwind of sorrow
without reason or rhyme

There was once in '69
the fight nearly killed him
It was thirty days in jail
that kept him alive

Now he's not sure
just what it is keeps him going
Some damned drone of a bee
always back to the hive

One year in his twenties
he thought he'd caught her--his Grace
but the stranger within him
took the love from her face

Now, he's just a man
who fell through the cracks
with grace just a memory
a weight on his back



Grace is a word, an idea, a concept, that I always find myself returning to in writing. I'm not sure what fascinates me so much about it over other concepts. Do we find it or earn it?  Stumble over it in the middle of the road or work until we drop for it?  Or maybe it's a combination.  We work like hell for it and then, if we're lucky, we just happen to run across it one day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Patience


Our hours end in love's soft flow
I dare not ask you not to go

For though I know you honour me,
you cannot heed soft-spoken plea

Life takes you elsewhere, off in time
You must obey its gentle rhyme

While I exist in silent faith
'Til you return and love awakes

Monday, July 18, 2011

Face of Life

If I had but a moment's grace,
I'd gaze once more upon your face

On distinct features, weathered lines
where knowledge lives and ease reclines

Where eyes say more than winsome lips
their glance a touch like fingertips

A face that speaks of brimming life
of love and pain, both joy and strife

Visage of human beauty true
of faith and trust, and hope anew

The face reflects the complex man,
the sum of parts that lie within



With thanks to my usual, yet-always-unusual, inspiration.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Life's Joys

I live with beauty
I live with light;
with hopes and dreams;
love always bright.

My world each day
sings out with cheer;
with fortune's gifts
brought to me-near.

When darkness comes,
there's no despair.
It's fears and woes
I do not share.

For this life's joys
I honour you,
a guiding force
in all I do.




A short, simple but sincere poem for my brother on the anniversary of his death.  He'll always be part of me.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Souls' Marks


The heat of passionate loves
     and courageous causes
Memorialized in poignant rainbows
     on cold, grey canvas
Tombstones
     marking man's everyday existence
In fleeting, flickering glimpses
     of heart and soul


Shared with One Stop Poetry for One Shoot Sunday.  Photo courtesy of Chris Galford.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Heart's Winter


Heart buried-
     under shifting drifts of memories
Emotions shrouded-
     buffeted by gale-force winds
Left cold-
     by life's icy breezes
     and fiery blizzards
Frozen-
     in winter's flashback
Awaiting-
     enlightenment of spring



Shared with One Stop Poetry for One Shot Wednesday.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Sister's Tribute




Memories of you fill hazy spring skies.
I hear your lingering voice when birds sing.
Always you're there in your daughter's brown eyes.
When she speaks, your quiet, laughing tones ring.
As family gathers, you're at our side
with all the warm, happy feelings you bring.
Through life's ups and downs, you'll be my best friend
Brothers and sisters endure to the end.



Written in memory of my brother and shared with One Stop Poetry for Form Monday which, for today, is ottava rima.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Confinement


 Steep canyons of man-made madness
humanity's inescapable facade
jailed in brick and glass
forever entombed in
my prison of
civil society
eulogized in a
disappearing
sky



Shared with One Stop Poetry for One Shoot Sunday, and with  Monkey Man for Sunday 160.  Photo courtesy of Scott Wyden.



Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Life Abandoned


I belong not to you,
   but to an ocean of night
To some dark, lonely kingdom
   which will never know light

To a world undefined
   both empty and cold
Where hope is for nothing
   no happiness sold

In this realm of darkness
   domain of despair
I shed bitter tears
   alone in nightmare

Fear and unhappiness
   meld into one
Beloved companions
   spoils of wars they have won

Isolation complete
   no protector to trust
A life filled with ashes
   surrendered to dust
  


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Soulless Man



You hear, but don't listen
     no music in your ears

You see only darkness
     your eyes without tears

You sense no fine fragrance
     smell no pleasing scent

No taste on your lips
     no smile of content

You touch without feeling
     with no soft caress

The man with no soul
     can know nothing less.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Features of Wisdom


Features of Wisdom

Face of life
etched in deep-carved lines
Wisdom's skilled 
countenance
imparts his hard-earned wisdom
with kindness and smiles


Shadorma for One Shoot Sunday at One Stop Poetry. Incredible photo credit of photographer Fee Easton.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rise and Rise Again


Rise and Rise Again


When lambs become lions,
--victory's part
holds much less importance
than matters of heart

Brave men come to honor
--through trials and travails,
though courage may falter
and hope sometimes fails

Their leader inspires
--resolution unfailed
men's faith and belief,
as his own doubts he veils

Through battles and burdens
--ideals will ascend
their substance and truth
over time still undimmed

They fight not for glory
--but for hearth and for home
not for riches or kings,
but for liberty's throne

They will rise, and again
--'til tyranny's fall
until lambs become lions
Free men one and all



Submitted to Friday Poetically's challenge to write a poem using a movie preference, at One Stop Poetry.  Thanks, as usual, to the inspiration.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Heart Notes


Heart Notes

Songs of the heart
always on key
and in perfect pitch.

Silent music
of infinite volume

Lyrics nonsensible
yet always making sense
to the heart which sings them.



Monday, May 9, 2011

Broken Circles




Broken Circles

It's said that life's
     a circle full
Three hundred sixty degrees

But circumstances 
     sometimes
Cut the cycle to its knees

For those who are
     affected by
Such vagaries profound

Blindsided by
     floodwaters
In which the cycle drowns

Know that life
     is also kind
The circle made askew

Through nature's strong
     and healing touch
Will be restored anew.


Shared with One Stop Poetry for A Look At Rhyme by Gay Cannon, also known as beachanny. With thanks once again to Russell Crowe, who always provides inspiration.



Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Flash 55



The Face of Darkness

I saw the darkness
and it saw me
It grasped me 
in blind, black fingers
holding me helpless
in unyielding grip

The darkness laughed
daring me to resist its will
smiling at my feeble efforts
to break free to light

It showed me its face
human in every conceivable way


My muse has been on hiatus or, actually, it's been held in restraints by time, or the lack thereof.  Feels good to get back to things.  This is being shared with the good folks over at One Stop Poetry for Friday Poetically, and with The G-Man at Mr. KnowItAll for Friday Flash 55.  Be sure you check both of them out.  Thanks for reading.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Shadorma


It's Form Monday over at One Stop Poetry.  This week, they're exploring Shadorma with Anne Welch. Since I discovered One Stop Poetry, I've been having a great time experimenting with forms and the many challenges they offer!  Shadorma is a syllabic poem with six lines and the structure 3/5/3/3/7/5.  I enjoyed trying it out and I'm looking forward to doing more.  This could become one of my favorite forms!  Here are my untitled efforts:


My Shadow
shady companion
dark psyche
cryptic self
hiding in murky fissures
of identity


Unformed soul
silent terror waits
in darkness
eternal
to grasp in evil fingers
the heart of mankind

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Haunted

Haunted

My light, disturbed sleep
Fraught with your vague, blurred image
Soft breath wakens me
No longer a yearned-for dream
Your spirit haunts my true realm


*This poem, my first attempt at the poetic form of  Tanka, is in response to Saturday Celebration at One Stop Poetry.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Inspiration: Happy Birthday, Russell Crowe





 Inspiration


The world's a rough place
It judges a man
Can't be too hard or too soft
It's not part of their plan

Not allowed to break down
The world won't forgive
They'll remind you of it
To the last day you live

Truth is, they can't stand-

To see such a man
A man who won't bow down
Who won't play their game
A man who's not easily bound

They can't forgive you
For not seeing things their way
They blame you for being
Everything that they're not
And they're bent on making you pay.

But you don't let them break you-

You live your own life
That's the way you find grace
It's there in your eyes
It's written all over your face

The toughest thing a man can do
Can be to take a stand
But you do it every day
Yet can still hold out a hand

With  your work and your words
Every day you inspire
With a heart full of love
And a soul filled with fire



*Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary to my favorite poet--to someone who never fails to inspire me--Russell Crowe.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Heavenly Goddess

Heavenly Goddess


The moon imagined her hair
impossibly long,
a wild, icy white in the biting breeze.


Her piercingly blue eyes
aglow amidst the jungle
of wintry, white stars.


Pale, slender limbs
entangled in the heavens
as she pointed accusingly earthward


Denouncing her impotent subjects.
Holding them to burden
for her every shameless indiscretion.


 My entry for both One Shot Wednesday at One Stop Poetry and Day #5 of National Poetry Month at Not Without Poetry. With thanks to  Prompts For Writers for the words which inspired me.

Monday, April 4, 2011

In Good Time

In Good Time


Love comes all in good time
his mother had told him.
But now, as he gazed at the beautiful,
ethereal-looking woman
lying in perfect repose on his bed
he knew it wasn't true.
It was not a good time
to discover he loved her.
He had just murdered her.


*Written for National Poetry Month at Not Without Poetry.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Her Perfect Man


Shucking her robe
dressed only in heels and her perfect, gleaming skin
she gazed raptly, but calculatingly, at her creation.

Her perfect man.

She had brought him to vital, breathing life
only a brief week before.
Every night out since had been a dream.

Her perfect man.

No matter where she chose to go, what she chose to do
he was the ideal date.
Would, forever, be the flawless companion.

Her perfect man.

This evening would be no different
Another unmatched social event.
Her escort was already impeccably dressed
The only question remaining now-

Voicing her most immediate concern-
"What face shall I give him this evening?"
She had narrowed her choices to six
Perfectly aligned along the top of her bureau
all awaiting her final decision.

Humming softly
she filed her nails and considered
the possibilities before her,
pausing for a moment with a slight frown
to adjust the almost imperceptible
slant to his otherwise faultless bow tie.

Her perfect man.





*This poem was written in response to a prompt by Kirsty Logan at Not Without Poetry for National Poetry Month.

A Picture of Goodbye





Upon seeing you, the camera and I blinked once, collecting your pale, solitary beauty forever.  The bold, teal hue of your flower reflected the image of the resolute woman within, revealing your serene face, as well as the strength and courage in your eyes. Neither of us knew it would be the very last photograph.



*This story is my first foray into Flash Fiction 55, in response to the One Stop Poetry Sunday Picture Prompt Challenge at One Stop Poetry.  The picture prompt is by photographer and poet India Hobson.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Invasion

Invasion

I tried in vain to shut out life
     to keep it from my door.
Yet in it came, with all its strife,
     to complicate things more.

Uninvited causes, uninvited sounds,
uninvited people
crossed my silent bounds.

All attempts to scorn them
   proved to no avail.
Once alone in quiet solitude,
   now cacophony prevailed.

To my awe and consternation,
   though uneasiness was rife,
I came to reconcile myself
   to this thing called life.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fearful Dawn




Fearful Dawn


Dawn's hesitant light creeps into the sky,
as though fearing the return of last night's vicious thunder.
Accompanying rose-petal clouds,
bravely challenging the anger of their steel-grey brethren.
Once more, the calm clarity of day
declares her equality over rival night,
lying in feral, hungry wait
for his opportunity to hunt once again.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, Robert Frost





Robert Frost, born March 26, 1874,  has long been one of my most-loved poets.  One of my favorite things about his poems, other than the style, is the realism I've always seem in them.  The scenes and situations Frost chronicled always appeared very clearly in my mind, making me feel as though I were there.  

When I read "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening", I can see the dark trunks and branches of the trees and the white of the snow against them, as well as feel the cold pressing around me.  That poem and "The Road Not Taken" were my introductions to Frost in a middle school English class, but the following poem is the one I love best.  My own poems tend to be full of questions and in this one verse, to me, Frost asks one of the ultimate questions.


A Question

A voice said, Look me in the stars
And tell me truly, men of earth,
If all the soul-and-body scars
Were not too much to pay for birth.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Be a Book Character! Really Cool Contest

Mostest Awesomest Contest

So, I wanted to come up with a KICKASS C ONTEST to celebrate my first book being out.

The problem is I didn’t want to be like everybody else. I know, go figure right? I’m kinda high maintenance like that. I don’t wanna be bigger or badder, just different. SO I thought to myself, “Self, how can we make this different.” Then I came up with an answer.

Give the People What They Want!

“But what do they want?” I thought to myself after my brilliant revelation.

Money? Fame? Power? Their father back, you sonofabitch?  (Sorry, Princess Bride moment.)

Well I don’t have any of those to offer. Trust me as soon as I do, I will be having some seriously foshizzle contests.

In the meantime I did figger out something to offer!

“Huh?” you say!

You get to be in a book! Do you get money from this? No

Do you get power? Only from your electric company.

Do you get fame? Quite possibly. I’ll let you know.

Do you get to be a kickfrigginass character in the third book of the Demonkin Series? You bet your ass you do! Not only that, but you get to  chose if you want your character to be one of the GOOD GUYS (boo) or one of the BAD GUYS (yay)!

Lovely assistant, please tell them what else they win!

A new ca…Nevermind, wrong gameshow. You get to choose your character! You could be a vampire, a werewolf, an elf. The possibilities are ENDLESS! WOO HOO.

Oh. There’s one more thing. You get to be in the DEDICATION!

I hereby dedicate this book to Insert name here, WINNER of the Demonkin Mostest Awesomest Contest!

“How do I enter?” you ask.

Simple! Click This cover. Buy the book. Wherever you buy the book, in the reviews section, post your favorite part and tell people why they should buy ORIGINS! Once you’ve done that, just comment here to let me know you entered!

Could I have made things any simpler? HAHAHA! I don’t think so!

So, Click the book and get started! The contest will run until April 15th, 2011. Have FUN!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Shel Silverstein on The Johnny Cash Show



Shel Silverstein has been a significant inspiration to me. I've read his books over and over again to my niece, Sarah, and, like all great books, I'll pick one up and re-read it myself when I need a spark to jump-start my writing. Likewise, Johnny Cash has been one of my favorite singers and musicians, with my dad playing his songs for my brothers, my sister and myself from the time we were born. I was delighted to find this clip on Youtube.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Morning Muse

Monday Morning Muse


Is the absence of my muse
due to Monday morning blues?

Or did something go awry
as the weekend passed me by?

Perhaps the words do fail
and the wind has left my sail
because I labored hard and long
never taking time for song.

Whatever reason or excuse
I must locate my muse

For I'm helpless without she
who inspires poetry.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Our Dawn


Our Dawn


Is there any truth
in this game that we play?
Any chance at all
we'll be together one day?

You and your big dreams.
Me and my small plans.
In the end, are our lives
just putty in someone else's hands?

The proof's in how we see it,
but is the power in our heads?
Or when our dawn breaks fully
will we walk away instead?

Am I afraid of the dark?
But then, why should I be?
We make our own light,
so the shadow's in me.

I've tried to understand you. 
So fearful I've gone wrong.
That when our dawn awakens
your ship will be long gone.