Poetry Archive I

True Blood
Do I bleed because I hold the lovely rose,
Or is the rose so lovely because I bleed to hold it

The Grove
Let’s walk together, you and I,
as our two paths converge,
and see with eyes still loving,
when they drift apart in turn
Your heart will ever dwell in peace,
secure within my care,
and mine will ever be amazed
to find it waiting there
When one of us is called in time
to leave this lovely grove,
to blow away on autumn winds,
the other shall stay brave
If truly love we ever could,
then let this be our measure,
that others see and stop to say,
these two did walk together

We played the games for weeks on end,
‘cross time and space, with spirits bold
Your spectral teases sparking flames,
and casting thus a spell to hold
You won, yet so did I….
lusty treats for purest gold
My own desire, that you would share
your secret dream, your inner hope

You asked each starry night,
what prize of you I sought
But worry not, I’d only want
what never could be bought
That’s not so much, but maybe yes—
a moment’s touch, a tender kiss
A boon for one who’d be your knight,
if you’d dare ride the wild hunt

Your alpha wolf, your eagle king,
your phoenix guarding treasured love
Lust’s simple charm to banish fear—
fear not my darling, we shall thrive
I saw a vision of my prize, a dream,
of you and me supine on crystal shores
On beaches far, in azure seas we swam,
lovers wed ‘neath countless stars

I lay with you awhile, not long enough,
told fairy tales and kissed your lips
Made love and rolled on golden sand,
then took our leave on ghostly ships
So take my tickets darling, take my heart
so wildly beating, quickly to your breast
I’ll wait for you to turn your gaze on me,
then challenge fate to love you last and best

Night Owls
I fall asleep to sweetest smile,
awaken longing for your touch,
and taste of lips forbidden
You respond, open secrets to me,
and we are joined as one this night
in fate’s hot carnal forge
There is no word but cherish
that will set this tale aright, but
imagine me gone speechless now
I grasp at needful words and
they elude like spectral fireflies,
or faeries’ dance in dark of moon
There’s magic yet on hallow’s eve,
which wizened birds shall seek
but lovers never tell that tale…
When night owls roam the streets

Cruz du Sol
When first I saw the Southern Cross,
breath stilled, heart raced, skin tingled
A thousand needles of icy water
sprayed my face, perhaps, but of course
real ice would come soon enough

It was, still is, transformative,
each passage from north to south
That alien world below ours,
feels so much like true home,
without the chatter and chaff

Because man came from Africa,
perhaps we long for something wild
Wild and lush beneath bare feet,
toes curled like talons midst dust and mud,
and endless grassy plains to take our blood

Proud she shines ‘gainst billion stars amassed,
night sky shot through with diamond dust
Brilliantined light from worlds too far
to ever imagine they once passed this way
before our mother world was born

My life forever changed that night,
and neither could I bear to sleep, but must
I cannot watch a ship cut waves, without
longing for Magellan’s wrath and Orca’s grace
to thrill my sailor’s soul once more

Why come back to this place?
Struck dumb by this question once again
Why did I roam far shores at all,
I would have asked…
Still do in dreams of Africa

A hundred lands and more did I search
to find my true calling thus waiting,
by dappled creeks and long leaf pines,
Paradise rebent to mind’s eye’s image

No answer serves for wanderlust
but tramping, passage paid
in blood and anger
Then, burnt down like waxy candle thus,
home hearth’s warmth must replace

Here, barely in time, was simple truth,
waiting, waiting patiently with purpose
If I had listened then,
would I have heard the song
of hoofbeats and Fey horns blowing?

“Come stay with me awhile on my sun-drenched isle,”
she called to me

“Why me, I’m no prince of thieves, nor even hero’s liege,”
I replied in wonder

“You cast a shadow and I have none,” was her simple reply

“But the light shining through you is lovely,
you are luminous, you glow with passion’s last lust”

“That’s as may be, but you are solid and whole and innocent
You give me respite as I lie beneath your shade

So I took her at her word, unwary, unconcerned,
slowly melting, disregarded, in the flame of her desire

Scarecrow’s Lament
Dorothy was a fool to yearn for Kansas dust
She could have had Catalina or Starbucks,
if only she’d clicked once with feeling,
and ditched the witchy red shoes
The secret of Oz was infinite potential,
and flying monkeys….
The Wizard tried to warn her he was a Narc

The Secret
Memories, like kisses on rose petals,
seem pretty enough and sweet

When crushed underfoot, as if to make fresh soil—
Only then is their wonderment released

Warrior’s Path
From Beaufort to Boone, and a little more,
the news so consistently dire,
a daily assault on sweet Carolina,
stripped bare of everything good and whole
I long for my Old North State, my true place,
never Brigadoon nor Camelot surely,
neither trapped in time nor space—
 we made our steady way ever forward
The once great table stands bare, stone bereft,
bowl empty, sword gone rusty, edges nicked
It can be keen once more, table made round, grail filled
Come, sit with me, and find the long way home

When you danced, little bird,
you grew such wings 
as let us fly with you
in heedless joy across the oaks
When you danced, little bird,
we watched in stunned awe,
your beauty, your grace, your art,
your power, your very soul
When you danced, little bird,
you owned the stage, the music,
our hearts, the very air,
that piece of blessed eternity
When you danced….

Silent Running
If a tree falls in the forest 
and no one’s there to hear it,
 does it make a sound?
Would Kierkegaard say 
it cannot even exist with no one 
to experience the green?
Would Jung wonder just why 
you dreamt of something 
so archetypal as a tree?
Would Freud surmise
 when you dream of trees,
 you long for harder wood?
Would Emerson note 
there is no forest, there is
 only Tree, and you, no more?
Would Tolkien suggest
 you’d be better served 
painting one perfect leaf?
Einstein, of course, would say 
religion, art, and science are 
branches of the same tree
And he’d be right, as usual

Splitting Heirs
When we seek to repoint
the brickwork of the universe,
we risk replacing style with fashion
Still just children, playing carelessly
with matches left by the old trickster

Icarus and Daedelus
When you fly, young one,
glide with me just a little way
Then launch yourself boldly,
directly into endless stars,
Heedless of plumage stolen,
dripping off fiery shoulders
I will weep for you, my son,
for lost ages earthbound
But they will be tears of joy,
unheralded in our poor time
For I see you will win through,
and reaching back for me, soar

Waking in the night, so cold
I reached out for you, wanting
but you weren’t there
I spied you sitting, soul-bared
watching with pensive eyes, so wet
and heard your quiet sobs
In my room you wept, so softly
broke my heart to pieces
with every tear that fell
And then I woke in truth, alone
Dream within a dream, so real
It haunts me why you cried….
I dreamt again last night, hoping
Shadows stood in mysts, darkly
but none of them were you
Alone in dreamscape, ghostly
Too dangerous by far to love….
Come quickly to my arms, and sleep

Each of us one small, unfinished,
yet still perfect leaf on this great tree
Painting ourselves, never complete,
to a standstill, if not a standoff

We won’t complete the task—
were never meant to do so
Our bliss is in the work, our place
in the whole never challenged

Yet who then are we to doubt,
when the eternal path calls for us
simply, with grace, to be taken,
finally, by the wind

Tabula Rasa
Must a boy become a man, paint a lifetime
with sparkly night colors gray on gray,
the time it takes to spill blood and tears
listless onto one sandy, macadam street

Chase him, he’ll turn on you
Confront him, he’ll fight
Shoot him, you came ready to kill,
to feel hard flesh surrender, slacken,
heart flutter, pressure lost

The street knows, drawn with chalk,
what difference lies between man and boy
Which is which, when dawn breaks,
and why do angels weep at night unheard

A relic, so I once thought
Then no, came early, too soon
to the party without a gift
But I took breath, reckless,
coughing out the past,
future leaking away wetly
And knew I was made this way,
imperfectly perfect for this place,
this universe alone, just now—
Never out of time

Faerie Tale
Shimmering jewel of summer,
crimson and emerald iridescent
Hanging just so, just beyond
mind’s eye at twilit reckoning

Mercurial ghostlet past knowing,
piercing swiftly into fertile heart
Dreams unheard, unseen, unexpected,
unbidden, unrealized, never sated

Lithe, bewitching little sprite,
now here, yet nowhere found
One drop of rubied kiss to taste,
then softly, surely, gone

Pretty young girls in little
 flared skirts
Bending legs like tapered steel
Flexing a storm
 of pity on awestruck boys
Pumping passion through 
hearts of silver melancholy
Riding over rooftops
 of regret, careless—
on bicycles of freedom

And God Created Woman
In Babylon where Lilith ruled,
a willow grew to be her throne
The serpent coiled around its trunk,
a hero slew to win his doom

A goddess borne on ocean foam,
Venus tamed the fiery Mars
By Vulcan’s chains their passion torn,
released from blame, unleashed the stars

From Adam’s marrow Eve was made,
she reached too far, a queen dethroned
Cast from the garden, epic-failed,
sinned together, strove to atone

Venus stumbled, demon vanquished,
fallen firstlings rose once more
Mate and mate forever fated,
Goddess, mother, lover, whore

August Knights
We were kings of armies unvanquished
Endless lives throttled in heedless joy
Nectar pulled recklessly from sweet blossoms
of pleasures yet unknowable
But soon, too soon, young princes….
We were twelve

The score’s the thing, the message read
To win is all that’s in my head
Came the reply, that very day
The fun is ever in the play

Taking the prize is all I want
You complicate a simple jaunt
If you would only do my bidding
You’d not regret the ride, no kidding

Well listen closely dear, you know
I hate to break it to you so
You’ll never, ever score with me
If you don’t play with me, you see

A strong tree grows
from Octavian’s sorrow
Not one he imagined…
He would pluck the green olive
and revel in its bitter love

American Templar
They lived, they loved,
they oh so fiercely fought
the enemy they knew not
from themselves

Long years since late
one winter’s eve,
candles lighted in sky
of Levantine delight

The rockets came from
north, from south and,
on that smoke-gloomed Christmas morn,
a child stood ‘lone midst broken toys

What swords their
 flames had wrought,
reached outward through
o’er-blacked sky

With stardust stolen,
let angels not see this,
what we have made of
their precious gifts

Would that I might see
that day too far away,
one last tin soldier
 off to battle glorious

Finds not his faceless foe
standing lonely vigil,
but one like himself, through
hopeful eyes cast down

And on that day he stands,
salutes no more
Grasps hand in hand,
and turning thus

Rides off toward home,
to words ne’er spoke
In armor dusty, spirits raised,
one last tin soldier rides away

~AJ Mayfield

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