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

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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.

(Refrain)
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.

(I)
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.

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

(Refrain)
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.

(III)
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.

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

(Refrain)
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.

(V)
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.

(VI)
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.

(Refrain)
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