Poetry 101 Rehab: Dark

Afraid of the dark?
Don’t be.
If anything,
you should be thanking it.

The dark  keeps us sane,
It is the black envelope that rescues us
from the boring, repetitive mundanity
of life.

The great unknown that stops us
from becoming robots in our own skin.
The night and its terrors make us human,
enable us to feel even while daily repetition numbs us.

Even feeling that fear,
at least you’re feeling something.

So, next time you find yourself bored and alone,
Don’t look for something to do.
Turn out the lights
And let something find you.

A response to Mara Eastern’s Poetry 101 Rehab Challenge


New_Forest_ClearingIn a sheltered grove, the young hunter’s life ebbs away.
His prey, catching him unawares, became
His predator, and now
The forest floor is a canvas for
His dying masterpiece.

The flowers, that were the rainbow,
Now crimson and black as they mourn, ready for
When his last, struggling breath finally
Leaves his mauled body.

Through this scene passes Love herself,
Riding upon her gallant white horse.
Drawn in by the picture of the man,
She cautiously approaches,
Ever weary of the hunter’s traps.

Love, for the first time, is struck by her son’s own arrow,
Lost in the pools of his eyes and blood.
His flawless face, perfection
As he gazes helplessly up at her, pleading.
A gaze that becomes ever weaker
As his life flows out through his wounds.

It is too late now, though he returns her affection.
The tree stump must serve as their marriage bed,
The nightingales as witnesses
To their untimely union.

Majestically, as befits such a woman, she carries him
To his final resting place, where,
Laying her head down beside him,
She watches as he drifts away from her.

To A Dry Elm Tree


To the old elm, split by lightning
and rotten to its core,
with the rains of April and the sun of May,
has begun to sprout some fresh green leaves.

The old elm up on the hill by the river.
Whose worm-eaten, dusty trunk
is stained by a yellowish moss.

It will never be one of those poplars,
those that guard the road and the riverbank,
a shelter for the nightingale to sing.

Even now, an army of ants march in file
through it, while in its entrails
the spiders spin their silver webs.

Before the woodsman cuts you down
with his axe, old elm of mine,
and the carpenter makes of you
a bell frame, or a yolk for a wagon.

Before you burn red
at the hearth of some miserable hut
at the wayside,
or a river carries you to the sea
through valleys and ravines.

Before that, Elm, I want to take note
of the beauty
of your green-speckled branches.

And secretly, despite the beauty of the
here and now,
my heart still wishes that you
defy the odds
and that next year, there will be
one last miracle of Spring.

This poem is a translation and adaptation of a work by Antonio Machado entitled ‘A Un Olmo Seco’.