Water from a sea well

Wooden skull on a cold sea shoulder,
Rib bones waist deep in a wash
In white hair, white beard foam.
Once rowed when a sea was low, fringing
The spine of rocks and dusk deep
Tidal pools.
An old man fisherman now walks the Kingdom’s
Border, exiled to a shelter bed,
He defied questions
He defied the holy book.
Father in heaven, I gazed unhindered
Into depths of blue,
Dropped the silver thread line with bait, I breathed
The water.
Kettle of fish thickened in my sight,
Caps with white waists
Spread a tinted fin.
Knotted, caught, I kneeled in the iceboat;
Falling, falling in a trough,
Slim pointed gulls drooping behind.
Tugged the oars, shivering hands; smooth tipped blades
In cresting waves.
Careless of me to a thundersnow — crowded down
In a jostling thick, far from
A land; the cold made me slumber, a piteous state.
When time had lapsed to a sea
In a floating tide flowing stretched to a shore,
My tears plashed amidst
The billowy sand, a sadness veined in my soul.

Copyright © 12/19/17 lance sheridan®

NP Water from the sea well

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Dark city

No one in an alley, and nothing, nothing but blackwater,
Blackwater over rails and cobble, mainline to poverty;
Somewhere at the end of it, gangs throng,
Squeezing the dark into your mind, cut you with a blade,
Blood squandering on their fingers. Wrestle with
Your money, footfalls to shadows in a doorway.
The victim falls to the worm in an earth hook,
Theirs is the only voice protesting in a warm laid grave.

Overhead, black clouds clapping, boisterous wind,
Hard down on the city. Deluge of rain
Slapping window panes; quenching the thirst of gutters,
The rash smart sloggering pour.
Beating and beating on the asphalt ground,
Storm drains to a siphon. I was under a roof without
A rent, followed the path of the homeless here,
Drank water dripping from a ceiling, uttered a prayer.

The only thing to come now is the light,
Not a day dazzle nor darkened recompense.
On my knees, prayed for a day spring to the dimness of me,
Heaven, the word of, words by and by,
Let it ride like a dice roll; dispatched and have done
With its doom here; lower than death, shoot
The vein for the visiting. Let my last
Breath be penitent fetched from the Gideon book.

Copyright © 12/15/17 lance sheridan®

NP Dark city

Stargazer

He stands wobbly-knee in a dark room,
Aging face gone wrinkled with the years,
His clothes worn down to the cotton bone
From his life’s trade — plough and a horse,
Bottom land crops lay seeded in his hands;
A telescope lens fuses his past with his present.

Stars and moon enter his failing sight, a hazel pair
Fresh leaved out in birth, Come, my child,
You shall be our son,
In sickness and in health. The father looked at each
Most dear, all to each other; You shall be fit for
A farmstead. Slowly he spun the thread.

I see an orchard coupled by apple branches,
Intertwined with fruit and bees
Springing buds in the bee house,
Thriving days — crops increased in the soil,
And rain blindly gutted the drinking barrels;
He fixed his eyes in the star center, engraved mind.

Hardship then, their small price paid, the wedded ones
Walked forth into the dead air, he braved,
Church curse to kin — the crooked oath, they
Shriveled like cinders at the fire source,
Love blazing hearts to an end, earth’s ever green;
He focused on the half moon squatted in a sky.

God’s work stood anchored in a glare, night’s black
So a beggar might aim a look at time’s core,
Stalwart to a life — to this house of stone and sand;
Whatever trials to come echoed in his words,
And grinning fierce at death’s head, would live by
Wits alone. Stars ever bright to a minion.

Copyright © 12/12/17 lance sheridan®

NP Star gazer

By moonlight

This is winter by moonlight, carrying
The black horsehair of night across the
White cold floor, across a creek
That feeds the woods.
A hoarse wind crawls along
Foliage fallen in a frost
And lets their shadows wither in snow.
It is so late, a candle burning in my
Window tolls the hours.

I’ve never seen a more haloed radiance —
Moonlight’s wharves white and snowy,
I see its waxen color hefting
A flat blue mist. Sack of black clouds
Holding their breath until new snow creaks to life,
Then falling slowly, penciled white so
Softly, onto the boughs, the boughs are cold
And bare; their sap no longer weeps, no longer runs.

This is a cold passage heirloom to a sky,
A scarf of white slender to a Spring.
But if the rains be unbound, dank and wringing,
Will soon knead mounded flakes;
Is all the winter dare try?
With bales of rime a full circled moon fastens
A grip — backbends the waterdrops;
I see flakes turn and twindle onto the brae;
Brute beauty over the thick, voluminous soil.

Copyright © 12/07/17 lance sheridan®

NP By moonlight

Nine miles of dirt road

On the sillion road in a morning walk
Paced a tree’s branches in winded brisk;
A cold Autumn’s day, a dappled one it was
In bleak December. After a frost, dew
Sat chilled on browning grass, moles stippled
In a plotted earth, a crimson sky fresh
Fiery in eastward clouds like a phoenix.

I perchance a smelling of wood-smoke,
Comes the white bone ash slow and clutching
On steady air; a crow flight forth on wimpling wing
Sweeps smooth the bow-bend wind.

How crisply sudden the quilted hills, patchwork
In a fold edged by pastures dotted with cow
And horse, voices gnawing on winter’s vapor
Off forth in a breeze, snowflakes through them
Mells white on the fringe and fray of the dirt road.

Apart wide and trodden, is anything milk to
A thought, so sighs a mind, a touch of heaven
Furl fasts a journey, I grasp at the child things
In a memory; a time can there be such
Luring to a blind man in a world which barely
Breathes? What bareness like widowed wombs.
And yet, Spring and its pleasures wait for me anew.

Copyright © 11/28/17 lance sheridan®

NP Nine miles of dirt road

The sea path

The day winter came I went to the sea,
Past the wooden fence — slat by slat
Where the dune grass grew, tangled up
In black wire, withering, cramping for
A breath, just like the day I woke, I woke
On a dream; crowded sleep, six feet of
Covers dripping cold. Image by image

Worming their way into my head — my
Skull riddled with the past usurping
My rest, relics grinding grist down my thoughts.
And a ticking clock reaching with hands
To haul me into a morning; and the sun loomed
Behind a storm, behind a rain,
The sea battening down for a pour.

I moved humbly down a path, compelled by the
Sea and by charred driftwood cheated from
A limb; tidal pools littered the beach — fauceting
From a tide. I remember the day waves
Drank my sails and washed me to a shore, the
Bed of sand wore the stain of my tragedy;
I lay dreaming in the poorhouse of innocence.

The sea is not a charity ward askew by a wooden
Fence — yet its long used by refugees hunched
In a storm, betrayed by the mere chance of a
Sail; lays the voyage waste with blackened sky,
Ransacks timber with curded waves; white gulls
Vacant, no sign of a shore. Water drenched,
We seek a pact and walk the plank with strangers.

Copyright © 11/19/17 lance sheridan®

NP sea path

Pond in a field

In a field, by a pine, in a Spring air
A farmer dug a hole in the black earth;
And the rains in the loom appeared,
Filled the hollow, filled its thirst, extinct
Went the barren trench quick as a weather.

And the young ages surely swam while an
Orange sun was sacrosanct to a summer,
And the corn and the wheat kept their shapes
Intact till a crop in a fall; and the skipping
Stones disturbed a calm water and a wind

Throughout the warmth. And the winter came,
Leaning its cold on the plowed fields and
The crowskin flight, the stuffed scarecrow with
Lifeless eyes till a seed and a stalk; sunlight
Worn as coats by clouds and shadows.

And a skate and a meeting of blade and ice
At the freezing hour, frost on a pond; short days
Lobed into a season. Quick as it ends,
Leaves quietly over the dry still grass. On a
Warm light’s tint, new whispers in a wet hole.

Copyright © 11/14/17 lance sheridan®

WPNP1