Black water

There is a dune-wall with its bags of sand,
Infinite shore, black water, shadows of waves,
The night swims in it, and bones of fish indifferent
To a frigate bird flying the sea sky.
The sun is cut into squares — gray, papery
Floating like little boats snagged in a tide.

A fence now, wired and rusted,
Is there no way out of the dunes?
Footprints in a drift searching for a water well.
There are no blackened trees here looking for a drink,
There is only the silence of sand shifting, opening
Closing — granules like pale hands of a fisher.

A white capped wave winces on a shoreline:
Wet fists shaking on a cold, pebbly sand,
A world moving in a winter —
Flakes are flat and blowing in a wind advice,
Dissolving on a sea surface, yet clawing across
The hardened scape of folded dune and sand.

A frost on the bent grass, a fog sirens
In a sea howl; the whine of wind on
The rigging of breakwater — a distant rote
In barren shoals. A little light is filtering, trailing
A warmth; astounded winter. Into a wind’s tail, into
Littered dunes of snow. There is silence in the cold.

Copyright © 01/24/18 lance sheridan®

Black water


Summer song

Born pale they were
in a cottage so utterly thatched,
where a wafted wind blew over a garden
where little children hid;
and their parents who fed them
with buck, fowl and trout, till tiny bellies
were full as a flowering elm.

Paves the sky like a road cloaked with clouds,
darkened light ready to muddy
the quarts of berries picked by youthful hands,
kneeling children among the rows,
eating and cupping
eating and cupping
smiles smit and white as a crystal pool.

Sweet the rain where blue eyes stare,
sings the thrush in dampened leave and brush,
with richness grows the primrose, foxglove and hollyhock;
innocent minds racing to, jumping,
leaping awkward into puddles,
toils the water having been flung in all directions,
yet deeper grows the merriment.

Grows forth braided adolescence, a dazzle, their bloom
a freshness of honeysuckle,
be beginning down winding roads, wisdom is early;
airs innocent, daughters walk with the wind,
fonder a care in a letter, sealed with tender love;
the tall sun’s tingeing, the clouds undone,
the beauty of youth everlasting.

Copyright © 01/17/18 lance sheridan®

Summer song


Storm water pouring from a ceiling,
Plaster walls soaking a bed;
In a windowless tenement, a bare bulb
Winces on and off like a terrible illness, paper
Strips for fires, for the cold.
And a girl, face dragging the floor —
Child labor puppet kicking her age, muted with lies.
A city stuck her youth in the street
Selling poppies, selling herself;
Her mama deaf to tears, deaf to a bastard child
In a cement well drowned out
By the sound of the poor; by the staticky noise of the selfish.

Meanwhile in a tenement, there’s the stench of dying,
The smog of hell. Thinning bones
In orphans who are diseased, cold air gives them T.B.
Lumping together, flogged of their health
They’re silent up to their necks,
Slumped in their speech, they’re put out of windows with the
Mulatto cats, drowned in the cold;
Thick, thick air flapping and blowing, the sun slumping
In snow; skyful of factories spilling black smoke; impotent lungs.
In a hard apart city, that life, that doom — a half-brain lunacy.

Mothers selling their children, selling their cats,
Peering through peepholes
Like whores — they know what their lies are for,
White and black every day until
Their mouths close like a fist, you know who you hate;
Once they were beautiful.
Once picking up compliments and loving it.
And then they grew old,
Scared to death; poverty a beggar.
Orphan. Orphan. You get a life without dreams.

Copyright © 01/13/18 lance sheridan®


Published poem

“Writing every day is a way of keeping the engine running, and then something good may come out of it.”

It did. My poem, Red Crow, was published twice, and repinned 24 times on Pinterest.

Red crow

Black cloth i saw flying in redden rain
flapping wings laden, beckoning
the tree held together with paper and
bark. …it awaited the saw of men;
black night straying, straying towards
the cloth of dark; rain has its foot
on the neck of the crow. …arrogant rain

Lo! the swollen creek, no more of drink
for the thirsty crow, the rain drank
and it drank till there was no more to drink;
i heard the voice of black cloth
arising, demanding solace. …be you
immovable where you stand, i
thought; i isolated myself in thought

The crow, substance of earth, water, trees,
redden rain laden plunged into the
creek, red tide to the sea. …through the
pasturage, the cottonwood died; i
sat alone, rejected everything, rejected
nothing. …nothing is sinful; i saw
black cloth dying, dying with flapping wings.

Copyright © 10/13/2015 lance sheridan®


Leave-taking by a spirit

In an Eden live the unpraised in a gray void,
In a perpetual morning where the sun sputters,
Where souls are dragged and rubbished into
An obscure other-world, muttering prayers
With hands aloft — Oh keeper of the Holy Grail,

Signify your origin in those white, tattered sheets —
Hail and farewell. Get thee ready for a revelation
In a sulfurous dreamscape, lest anyone forget,
Adolescence to the good book is purgatory
As thee are on the cusp toward which you teeter now.

Goes a spirit point of exclamation in darting orange
Into the fringe of a new world, mystical atmosphere;
Leaves behind telltale tattlers, Christians with the
Mundane vision; knotted thinking, dwindling
On obscure, pious inquisitions — the draggled lot.

This is not the Kingdom of the Godly utterance,
Of the father and the ghost. And so departed,
Away from the speaking in sudden devout tongues,
Away from the swabbing of his religious beliefs —
A penitent heart newborn, a virginal tongue bespoken.

Copyright © 01/08/18 lance sheridan®

Leave taking by a spirit


Light floating around a high church touching
The steeples, touching
Colored fresco. Light through stain-glass panes
On polished stone, on gilded
Wood. It fractures through the quiet, holy water.

Candles burning heavenward, but never marry
A cloud; their wax, dull as pearls.
The altar — a hollow of shadows and verse,
Holy man’s fingers grown milky
Like a nun’s skin. Both invalids wearing white.

Pews drag out the false; in hymns, they weep.
Their souls burn when they kneel;
Part with loose change to aggrandize collection plates;
Yet, they plod wondering,
Wanting to be saved by the holy scriptures.

Come you indoors, sinners, come into the light,
Mollify your sins of an earthly
Life. We praise thee. Mend your ways in your
Heart’s vault. Be taken in by the
Halos of saints and their judicious, lofty views.

We thank thee who have come to this sanctuary,
Who have been christened —
Infants to a birth. The night is no longer a shawl;
Your faults are mended.
Glorify the light and whence it came, strangers and wayfarers.

Copyright © 01/02/18 lance sheridan®


In a fish puddle

Puddle water, dunking
For the fisher; waiting for a
Quenching sea, for
The vein of a tide. He married a
Cupboard of dirt for a
Worm, birth of a fish; reel and line
Wallowed on a pole,
Scales later in a dustbin.
Hook in a mud-sump bottom,
Shame this shallow,
None to spill in the crisp of a curl;
Silver fish dart by
A crag, into a shadow dark as a bone;
Scythe in a gullet,
Widow-maker in a school.
High tide caps in peaks and whorls,
The puddle
Arose and breasted the rabble;
The elder man tastes
Salt like the sea, a numbness hanging
Onto his skin, to his name;
Rock, and no water, wasteland for a fish.

Copyright © 12/26/17 lance sheridan®

Erratic in tidal pool on isle of Taransay, looking towards Toe Head on South Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom, Europe