Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Some Select Poems from the Secret Notebook

I write in a special Chinese notebook; it's not special because it is Chinese (that's the only brand of notebook we could find that had any decency), but because it houses some of my most precious literary creations.

That is, my poetry.

I'm mainly a novelist, but I must admit that I'm partial to a good poem.  Depending on my mood, there are times where I'd rather write poetry than prose.  (There are also times where I'd rather write theology than either.)

The poems have been accumulating lately, and I really don't know what I ought to do with them.  But writing is meant to be shared, and it cannot be shared unless it is read, and it cannot be read unless it is published.

So I'll park my poems here to ease my mind.  Take them or leave them; but if you do happen to read them, let me know what you think.


Don't Forget to Remember

I stood at the edge of an old mountain ledge
And the western wind tugged at my heart;
The sunset was red with dusky orange spread
And I wondered if I should depart.
But standing still there I felt in the air
A heaviness like saying goodbye;
I closed my eyes tight and around me the night
Drew the stars gently into the sky.

You'll find me there, you'll find me there,
Between reality, and memory
Trying to be what I could see
In everywhere, you'll find me there
In trying to meet what I had met
I remembered...that I forget.

I lay on the ground listening to the sound
Of the wind whispering in the trees;
There I was, at the brink, of a vast sea of ink
And from that sky came a chill midnight breeze.
I dug my hand in the dirt as cold clung to my shirt
It was that night in late December;
As I heard distant cars, I swore to the stars
I would never forget to remember.

You'll find me there, you'll find me there,
Between reality, and memory
Trying to be what I could see
In everywhere, you'll find me there
In trying to meet what I had met
I remembered...that I forget.

It was a night in late December;
As I heard distant cars, I swore to the stars
I would never forget to remember.


Pine Needles

I ran to the basement
And opened the door
And felt the pavement
Through linoleum floor
I fell to my knees
And crawled to the back
Behind Christmas trees
My reflection stared back.

The mirror was wide
And covered the wall
But as I looked inside
I saw something small
There was reflected
In the crook of the tree
Something unexpected—
You were waving at me.

I jumped to my feet
And stepped through the glass
And fell to a seat
Of knitted bluegrass
I blinked several times
And I looked around
The air smelled like limes
And wet earthy ground.

I stood and found you
In a huge Christmas tree
Ornaments around you
Far bigger than me
The wind swept you from
Your lofty green perch
And made my cheeks numb
The air white like a birch.

The wind came and brought
Me into the sky
The pine needles fought
Around me and I
Sailed above a wood
Of conifer and ash
And saw what I could
Through the pine needle mash.

I flew through a cloud
And the pine needles cleared
The wind whistled loud
Through a snowy white beard
And dropped me right through
The misty cloud floor
To a mountain all blue
With legend and lore.

You waited for me where
The water, cold and meek
Is tucked between the air
And craggy mountain peak
I saw my reflection
And looked from side to side
What greeted my inspection
Was home, and I sighed.

I'll move the mirror to
My room, and gaze inside
To stop and think of you
And me, side by side.
And sometimes in the night,
I'll hear the quiet sound
Of pine needles in flight
And dreams all around.  


Glassy Glory

The ocean is blue and clear as a bell
The waves are rising and crashing pell-mell
I look out for rocks, and since none can I find
I pick up from the sand a tiny sea-shell
It sinks through the waves and pays me no mind.

The white foam sparks on the surface of the sea
And floats and swirls on the waves around me
The high tide throws waves up over the shore
To empty in a lagoon the color of tea
And disturbs the crabs on the pond's sandy floor.

The underwater rocks are slick with slime
The submerged plants are covered in grime
I stand on the rock, look out at the banks
The sea's glassy glory as endless as time;
Life is too wonderful not to give thanks.


Daydream Sails

When the music soars in your ears
And the lyrics rise in your heart
When you're tired and ready for sleeping
But your mind won't let you start;

When the sea breeze like fog surrounds you
And the moon's face is veiled by clouds
When the ocean's call gives you grounds to
Take leave of the world's empty crowds;

When your heavy thoughts disturb the night
And your gaze moves beyond this world
When your weary eyes close and sight
The white sails of daydream unfurled;

Sail the moon across the star-strewn sky
Find me there, in almost-waking
Let the clouds go wandering by
While the stars are magic-making;

For there is a half-asleep realm
Far-flung across the briny blue
There, in the shade of a silver elm
I will close my eyes and wait for you.



Familiar dirt roads push me up on rocky arms
To touch the sky, to taste the wind with a taste like freedom
I spread my arms out like a cross—and open
My eyes to a rusty fan stirring the humid air
And the hanging white of my mosquito net. I sigh—
Look about me, at dust and dirty tile. I love
This place, dirt and all, but not like my home. My home
Stirs my heart like the Kansas wind in the pine needles
The arms of the bent old soldiers keeping vigil.
I love it. I miss it. My heart hurts for it.
The still small voice whispers, Was it worth this?
Yes, I say—if not in my heart, in my mind.
Would you do it again? Yes, with both heart and mind.
Will I follow still further? Yes, a million times yes,
Till my strength gives out, with my heart and soul and mind.
But I can't help but return, it still hurts. It was
Worth every illness and trial to follow—but it still aches.
The still small voice is quiet, and then I hear it like
The distant waves on a nearby shore, carried on the winds
Of my home; I know, my child. I hurt with you.
And I remain silent, and let the sea breeze carry me to
My bed, and my heart is satisfied. It is enough.


T.D. said...

Oh, ye wordsmith. Danke. You've graced the internet with these words and I am sincerely grateful. My very favorites are "Don't Forget To Remember," "Daydream Sails," and "Homesick" but I love them all.

I am never drawn to poetry. However, you are one of the two people whose poetry I take the time to read- because I know it will be worth it and honestly, I can't resist.

You transported me from the chair in front of my computer to places far away, to views I haven't yet seen, to a place only writers such as you can create. FIlled with feelings, honesty, sentiment that made my heart swell. Again, danke.

Sarah said...

I never knew you were such a good poet, Jake! I like "Don't Forget to Remember", "Pine Needles", and "Daydream" best, personally.

Bluebelle said...

You're an amazing poet! Certainly better than I am. :D You evoke very real emotions with your imagery. I think my favorites were "Don't Forget to Remember", which evoked a very nostalgic feeling, "Glassy Glory", which appealed to my love of nature imagery, and, to my surprise, "Homesick." I don't usually enjoy poems with that chunky of prose in it, but I really enjoyed the sentiments and the ending. Thanks for sharing!

Isaac Permann said...

Verrrry nice! I have never been to good at poems so when I see other people that can I have very much respect!

My favorite was "Daydream Sails"!
Swell job!

Tali said...

Wow. Don't stop, Jake.

Keturah Lamb said...

I liked your poems - not for sure which was my favorite though they all were so good. I also have a special notebook just gor this purpose:)