Tricks of the mind

Often, drifting on the edge of sleep, or
wakefulness, I am visited by ghosts.
Diaphanous images floating across memory,
lost to the passage of years, but now found.
As after a rain, a desert springs to life,
there grow long dormant seeds, friends and
lovers, words and deeds, sorrow and gladness,
pain and pleasure, all the dichotomies
of life resolved to join together again.
I find them a reassuring comfort, they are
glimpses at treasures buried by the mind’s
age, cloistered in a monks habit, hooded
by the cloth of years, gliding for an encounter
to shine their life’s lantern light upon my path,
for a moment pushing back gathering darkness,
then fading toward a sunset, into forgotten time.

©2013, Donald Harbour

That smell

it is recorded in a brain cell
that one particular scent
the bouquet of it stains
as wine on a linen dress
an ambrosia of memory
carrying its own fetidness
that stench awakens consciousness
a cloddish backhand of the past
one only need savor its tang
the rankness of remembrance
is not the perfume of passion
nor the musk of desire
no it is the foulness of battle
searing nostril burning smoke
the odor of fear of stale sweat of pain
the stink of the jungle
the rancidness of the rotting earth
all nature returning to dust
the sounds can be dismissed but
never the malodorous carcass of death
an unwanted smirch upon life
the vial is opened so easily
bacon cooking on the stove
the smell of a gun oil rag
acrid Fourth of July fireworks
a red fluid reeking of iron
road kill baking in the sun
the obscenity permeates the nose
that offending orifice of breath
then like a passing bullet
it is gone until some noisome finger
pulls that mentally stored trigger
to fire that one overpowering sense
wounded by the mind again

©2011, Donald Harbour

A child’s memory

She stood alone among the trees
a woman formed ripe with life,
a perfect beautiful figure
alone and naked in the light.
With confused mind I watched her
while peering through the leaves,
blushing at the vernal scene,
her auburn hair dancing in the breeze.
I could not find air to breath,
my lungs suffocated with my guilt,
yet hidden I viewed her mesmerized,
shuddering with the disgrace I felt.
She stepped into a placid stream,
a bare ripple on the watery plane,
slowly swimming from my sight,
disappearing among river cane.
As if the moment was yesterday
I still smell wild flower’s bloom,
I hear the tinkling water flow,
and the call of a lonely loon.
Fifty-six years have passed me by,
the spot grown over where I stood,
yet an adolescent emotion haunts me,
shamed by a vigil in the silent wood.

©2011, Donald Harbour

I will wait for you

When my race is run with living,
And, the door beyond I step through,
In the next life I will be, I promise,
I will wait for you.

When the silence of twilight
Casts a shadow of violet blue,
In the dusk between night and day
I will wait for you.

When the path is now trod by one
Where once hand-in-hand walked two,
Stop beside memorys bend,
I will wait for you.

When you feel the sweet kiss
Of a morning crystal drop of dew,
In the touch of dawn’s gentle breeze,
I will wait for you.

When your heart fills with sadness
And, you feel that life is through,
In the comfort of our love, I promise,
I will wait for you.

Copyright: 2009, Donald Harbour

Your Melba toast gets soggy

I suppose that one day I will wake-up to a bad dream
finding life the effect of a salami on rye sandwich.

You see, in this circus, balancing the flaming debris
of the corpus on the chin will burn you.

Is a bad dream really a metaphor for poor choices,
of leaving, staying, saying, mocking angst?

Or, is it a pyrotechnic pentagram filled with all the magic
and ridiculousness that follows an outcome, as remorse?

We are all zombies trudging through our existence until the door
slams shut on tomorrow and your Melba toast gets soggy.

If I swallow this torched frame of life will I disappear, will tissue
papers of the past become fly ash, smokey wisps to my memory?

Copyright: 2009, Donald Harbour

In contemplation of lazy days

Lazy days become yesterdays,
Time spent in contemplation.
Memories replaced with
the unknown of tomorrow.
The cool contentment breeze
Dulls the anticipation.
There is a waiting,
A joy for that to come.
Breathe in, breathe out,
Day becomes night,
Night becomes day.
All the nuances of life
Flutter by, a dying moth
Seeking light, attracted
To the heights of stars
That cannot be reached.
Lazy days, reposed
In the lap of mortality.
Observing in a half sleep,
Dreaming in the shell of now,
What could have been.

Copyright: 2009, Donald Harbour

The heart is a vivant tableau

This poem is a Sestina. If you would like to know more about this type of poem click on this site, Sestina. The nouns used were randomly chosen. This is a very difficult poem to write and the content of this one may challenge you. I hope it does, my desire is that you take it to heart.

Everyone dreams from a fading tableau,
A trickster plays with our crowded memory.
A memory that rises from mental conviction
Anchored in the musings of unreliable experience.
The mind displays random useless imagery
Awakening dark and buried false reality.

How can dreamed fantasy pretend reality?
These illusions set on a chimera tableau.
Given to phantasm’s flighty imagery,
Nightly created by primitive memory,
They are selected from the mind’s experience.
These illusions bounded by haphazard conviction.

They are falsehoods of believed mental conviction.
What decides this misconceived mental reality
Viewed through the windows of mind’s experience?
Is the heart, or mind keeper of this tableau?
If not the heart then the rule is the memory,
The unleashed insane cauldron of imagery.

These dreams are but scraps of discarded imagery.
The mind projects a fractured conviction
Dragging up bits and pieces from memory.
They are illogical dreams not scripted from reality
Rather a collage to form a nightmare’s tableau.
There is reason none to trust the mind’s experience.

Its rationale masquerades as an experience,
Projecting dreamed vision in false imagery.
The mind does not select a rational tableau.
The only truth is that of the heart’s conviction.
The heart chooses life’s faithful reality,
Not the mind’s wild rambling confusion of memory.

The cerebral caverns are filled with culled memory.
But, the heart contains life’s true experience,
And that is the only single believable reality.
All other dreams are the minds twisted imagery.
The heart reflects all of life’s real conviction,
The Kodachrome emotions of dreamers cherished tableau.

The mind confuses memory as veracious experience,
Expressing imagery as a myopic conviction.
The reality of the heart is a vivant tableau.

Copyright: 2009, Donald Harbour