One night

One night in the late moody spring,
when the humid air lay as a shadow,
a cosmetic darkness lit only by fireflies,
through a garden window lattice, I saw you.
With smoky eyes a solitary, sultry woman,
cradled by I know not what, though
I felt that deep beneath your breasts
an Andalusian Palos held your beating heart,
its rhythm a sensuous dance of Gitanos.
There seemed to be a sigh upon your lips,
Perhaps a whisper, or an invitation,
An intent that you were want to speak.
Did a past of secrets bind your tongue,
Guiltless life lived without love,
A treasure of a soul’s stored jewels,
Unspent, saved for life’s one truth.
There was nothing that could be said,
Not enough words to express you,
The old masters painted women in your image,
Capturing the essence for all to behold.
And then, you were gone, leaving a void,
Now every night I come here again, and again,
Waiting in the shadows in the garden,
The fireflies have gone to bed, but
there is memory and the latticed window,
and mind cast upon the glass,your vision
One night in the late moody spring.

©2014, Donald Harbour

What makes her so

She approached, softly,
a pink flamingo perched
upon a frozen lake, each step
a fluid motion creating
a sensual languid moment,
the tableau hers alone,
time stopped to watch,
oceans ceased movement,
the air held its breath,
she is the whisper of mist,
lilac scented crystal dew,
a lover’s passionate sigh,
the space she occupies, a
captivating sacred temple,
where others fail, what
makes a woman so, what
magic does she possess,
in a field of weeds,
she is that one blossom
standing alone, rising
above the common grass,
her entrance silences a room,
it is not beauty, it is grace,
that indefinable essence of a woman.

©2014, Donald Harbour

The song still plays

there is a violin playing
like a desolate dove cooing
feather ruffled beckoning
it is the quivering voice
of an inner emotion
the wrist held too tight
choking the flow of melody
a long lonely echo filtered
through the song of spring
the scent of the chord
plucks at the mind causing
remembrance of smiling lips
pursed to blow a gentle breath
upon my flushed cheeks
a sweet orchid moment of love
the days gone to our youth
while the symphony still plays
it is no longer our libretto
change is the rhythm of time
we have become its constants
metered ticks of life’s metronome

©2012, Donald Harbour

The youth of 1916

A response in the poetic form of a ballad to a line from the novel “Into the Silence”.
By the end of 1916, every boy I had ever danced with was dead.

By the end of winter 1916,
Every boy I knew was dead,
A bullet for their dance of life,
Cold dirt the blanket of their bed.

When the call for war first went out,
Our boys joined with happy glee,
Not knowing loves kiss goodbye,
Was the last to ever be.

Their women mourned so pitiless
With tears their eyes did swell,
But boys thought the better of it,
Formed ranks and marched to hell.

By the end of winter 1916,
Every boy I knew was dead,
A bullet for their dance of life,
Cold dirt the blanket of their bed.

Rose colored was each manly cheek,
Their hearts were young and brave,
But soon their faces turned to ash,
Hearts stilled by battle’s grave.

Their country gave them medals,
Chiseled names in granite stone,
Everyone sadly shook their heads,
But their widows cried alone.

By the end of winter 1916,
Every boy I knew was dead,
A bullet for their dance of life,
Cold dirt the blanket of their bed.

So when you think to take up arms,
And kill another man’s kith and kin,
They too are someone’s father or son
Who will never be kissed again.

The great war should teach us all,
There is no reason for such slaughter,
In the end the pain of  death,
Is carried on by wives and daughters.

By the end of winter 1916,
Every boy I knew was dead,
A bullet for their dance of life,
Cold dirt the blanket of their bed.

©2012, Donald Harbour

That moment

There it is, that moment,
That gut felt knot, a pause,
Neither person speaks, then,
You think: “I feel so wooden”,
Dancing violates private space,
You both strain to be held,
But, there it is, uncomfortable,
A suppressed panic attack rises,
The dance floor a grassy plain,
Tugging at your feet, entangling,
No more gliding steps, stumbling,
Arms, legs, every joint, hinged,
A tenuous relationship, splintered,
Your emotionless faces, blank,
Carved representations of dance,
Still, there is something in touch,
A gentle palm resting on the back,
A brush of breast to chest,
A skirted thigh caressing thigh,
Cheeks that show a slight blush,
Quickened breathing, parted lips,
Body heat mixing aftershave, perfume,
In an instant its just you two,
Wrapped in a glowing amber mist,
You both know, together, you feel,
Neither person speaks, then,
That gut burning sensation, attraction,
There it is, that moment.

©2011, Donald Harbour

Beads, bell bottoms, and butterflies

Floyd Pig- the embodyment of Pink Floyd's albu...

Pink Floyd, when pigs fly.

Putting on a purple flowered shirt
And easing into grandpa’s Knickers,
I strapped sidewalk skates to my feet
Vaulting into glorious free space.
Flying pigs zoomed passed my eyes,
I marveled that they could fly,
Witches on brooms rode round the room
Where giant butterflies covered the sky.
The world was a Pink Floyd dream,
For nothing made any reasonable sense,
And nothing would ever be as it seemed.

©2011, Donald Harbour

The magical joy of poetry

Writing a poem has no form or fancy.
The words tumble across my mind,
Falling, fluttering as snow flakes
On a barren field of conversation.
I am struck by the pose of a tree,
A jagged sentinel, it watches,
As it has watched the long count years.
Its song in the breeze whispers to me,
Words spoken in raspy coughs and sighs,
Rattled in the tenuous verse of leaves.
I write its words, sonorous wisdom,
These words spoken on the wind.
A poem does not require thought,
It exists in the moment of its creation.
The waters of its spring flow in tendrils,
The lines course across the paper
Pooling in a readers heart and soul,
There the conversation takes life,
Living in the magical joy of poetry.

© 2011, Donald Harbour

Love’s dew studded web

Juicy Fruit

Image via Wikipedia

I squandered my youth searching for love.
Investiture in butch waxed duck tails,
penny loafers, skinny belts, unused condoms,
and a truck load of Juicy Fruit gum.
Rock ‘n roll songs guided our choices.
Elvis and Do-Wop instructed us in love.

Between the Dairy Queen, King Kone, and the
Lion gas station was the promised land. Fifteen cents
a gallon for regular, nickel popcorn, twenty-five cent
Ritz movies, and fifty-cents for a hamburger. What
does this have to do with love, everything. It was
where you cruised to meet your bobby socks Venus.

Love is a learned habit structured by teenage
passion, Teen Town, the Baptist preacher sermon
on Sunday, and a pimple faced young man’s ability
to court. Expectations are high from all those that have
molded your view of beehives, petticoats and falsies.
Love is camouflaged in giggles and ponytails.

It should be noted that at this age there
is no logical definition for love, no
rustic ancient veneration of poetic
expression that surmounts that other four
letter word, lust. The buffaloes are
stampeding, the hormonal hounds are loose.

I remember the first time that magical word
escaped my lips. There was a sweaty pause in
the Old Spice and Evening in Paris scented night,
two wads of gum stuck to the dashboard, the
word hanging there glistening like a dew studded
spiderweb in which you are now trapped.

Growing older allows time to mellow your
reflection on the past choosing practicality
over emotional calamity. The lust is gone, so
is the gum. No minister, pimples or expectations.
Gas is $2.87 a gallon, a burger with fries $5.00.
Now the buffalo are disappearing, the hounds won’t hunt.

Love is the comfort of familiarity, trust, a history,
growing toward middle ground, hoping that you will
wake up in the morning, alive. Love is bringing her
a cup of coffee in bed, a tender smile, a warm touch,
the reassurance that you are needed. Still finding joy
in that glistening dew studded web that gave you wings.

Ahh love! It endures no matter what age, just changed.

© 2010, Donald Harbour

Herald of Southern Summer

Tithonus is proclaiming his immortality,
After seventeen years he shouts, sings it,
Shaking his timbals with mighty thunder,
Leaves of the trees quake and rustle,
The world vibrates with tettix joy,
All creation turns to hear the magical song,
He proclaims his many names across every hill,
Yellow Monday, Cherry Nose, Red eye, Whiskey Drinker,
Double drummer, black prince, La Cigarra,
Higurashi no Naku doro ni, summer’s jar fly,
A symbol of reincarnation he is the benign molter,
And yet the trickster, the ninja decoy utsusemi,
He represents insouciance singing into the night,
He is the ubiquitous herald of the Southern summer,
Ancient, praised in fable, the everlasting, cherished cicada.

Enjoy the  summer herald’s song

©2010, Donald Harbour

Viva el Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla

The scribe scribbled in pointed prose,
Writing the missive with his ink soaked nose.
El Presidente invitation to a party grand,
For nobles far flung across an enchanted land.
He ruminated the words so as to be clear,
Struggling to define the who, what, when and where.
In the musky corner of his hovel room,
He consulted with magic the portended gloom.
Rolling with thunder an arc shot across the vault,
A spirit’s voice proclaimed the day would be without fault.
The scribe scribbled faster consulting his master’s list,
For he knew uninvited nobles would really be pissed.
Alas and alack time had worked its evil task,
Memory had faded so he consulted a tequila cask.
The golden warmth of the brew up lifted his addled brain,
Shaking his body with giggles mordant and insane.
Drooling he squinted his blood shot watery eyes,
Confused and confounded he sobbed whimpering cries.
There he saw a parchment hanging on the wall,
Rising he staggered toward it swearing lest he fall.
He had swallowed the worm that now wiggled within,
And it spoke in a voice condescending and thin.
“Senor, queire usted por un fiesta mas grande,
Un dia con musica, mujeres, comidas, tequila y brandy?”
Not understanding the words or really giving a damn,
He poured another flagon downing it with a slam.
But as always the worm was now in complete control.
He approached the parchment with a staggering stroll,
Holding his gnarled hands to his unshaven face,
The scribe knew the worm had his brain replaced.
Thus he pointed his finger to a blurry calendar page,
With foaming spittle on his lips he cried the ‘when’ in rage.
The worm had won; ‘arriba’ it would have its say,
The when ‘September sixteen’- Mexican Independence Dia.
El gusano-gritó: “Viva el Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla.”

Copyright: 2009, Donald Harbour