Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On a Trail Few Find

I suggest you scroll down and turn off my music player before viewing the video.


Fading Away

The old woman like a prophet sat deep in the café.
I took a table with coffee cup and folded paper at my hand.
“It is fading away,” she said, her voice a gravel pit of age.
Nodding politely, I tapped my paper and gave a grin.
Across the way sat condiments of sweetener and cream.
I reached the pitcher and poured a stream from the lip
And watched the dark brown color fade away to mud.

Fade away like the sun, like the day, like the time
And the lady sat dissolving into the background dim,
While I read of war and crime and drug abuse
And slowly sipped away the liquid in my cup
As if sipping away the bloodlust and greed of life.
“It is fading away,” she said, this soothsayer behind.
“It is gone,” I replied and went for another café au lait.

The hours passed and daylight faded from where we sat.
The paper lay wrinkled, no jobs were certain found,
Just hopeful circled blips in the shrinking classified.
I stared at my hands and the fading circle from a ring.
The skin was spotted now; the palms are growing soft.
“It is fading away,” she said this seer of cosmic truth.
“The world we knew?” “No,” she sadly replied, “my sight.”

Photo: The Canal, Lewes, DE. Taken by the author, 2009

In My Villanelle

I think I am the villain in my villanelle.
I wish I could break out and be free form instead,
But I’d rather stay the rules than languish in Hell.

Of course I want to do my own thing and rebel,
Not count my syllables, my rhythm or my rhyme.
I think I am the villain in my villanelle.

What if I changed the pattern, rambled a spell?
Is anybody counting? Is it such a crime?
But I’d rather stay the rules than languish in Hell.

Over the corpse of rhyme some have rung the knell.
Though it is easier, I’ll not lie in that bed.
I think I am the villain in my villanelle

Because I chafe against what others do compel
And rant of how I suffer to compose each line,
But I’d rather stay the rules than languish in Hell.

So it is the fate of man since Eve and Adam fell,
This struggle with obedience till we drop dead.
I think I am the villain in my villanelle
But I’d rather stay the rules than languish in Hell.

Photo: The author in Lewes, DE, January 2011 taken by Ronald W. Tipton.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Painters and Poets


Edward Hopper lived in my world,
He and Andrew Wyeth, too.
Stark, dark and bare to the bones.
No pretentious guile within them,
Just lonely truth in the shadows.

Nighthawks and Yellow Labs
Cornered in expectations.
Naked women with corn silk hair
Or questioning eyes,
In poses of expressionless emotion.

Every person is a solitary figure
In the geometry of the city
Or the vastness of the country field.
Rooms are claustrophobic prisons
Streets are exitless exiles of night.

John Donne was not right at all,
Every man is an island
That can never be explored.
Our shoreline might touch the sea of humanity
But our heart is a jungle impenetrable.

Like the ladies in the window light,
The woman of the “Morning Sun”
Staring straight into the view
Or the one of “Lovers” turned away
Every man’s mind is a mystery.

Illustrations:  “Morning Sun” by Edward Hopper
“Lovers” by Andrew Wyeth

Better Off Dead


First you kill all the lawyers,
That’s what Shakespeare said.*
This kills two birds with one stone,
For politicians would be dead.
Then comes the media,
Whether spoken or read,
We’d all be better served
If we severed some talking heads.
Our armies all could do
With much more fewer Brass
And let’s not overlook
Each and every pompous Corporate Ass.

And one final note,
Given how this winter has been,
I feel I could gladly strangle
Our gleeful Weathermen.

* Henry VI, Part 2

Shakespeare’s Statue in Leicester Square, London, England.


Some folk believe in fate and destiny
Say it caused all that was and will be
And don’t give God any slice.
It is their general sentiment
We’re all Big Bang and accident,
But the two do not jive.

If you have no God, no Divine,
Everything a freak of time
And nothing guides your life.

No God, no immortal scheme.
No earthly hope or cosmic dream
No reason to be alive.

If you wish to be an Atheist
Then you must forsake every myth
And accept a world of strife

Without reason, without rhyme.
Where human life’s not worth a dime
With no goal for which to strive.

Oh what a pathetic breed
If we are but mutant seed
Our worthlessness be rife.

I don’t know about destiny and fate
And have no proof on what I await,
But in God I will abide.

Illustration: “Hecate or The Three Fates” by William Blake

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dinner Conversations

The couples sat at separate tables
Sipping at their drinks waiting their food.
 The man at Table One said,
“George says that sales are down.”
The woman was looking at the walls.
“I’ve been thinking,” she said,
“About the colors in this room.”

At Table Two silence prevailed,
Beyond stating their order not an uttered word.

The man at Table One said,
“There is talk of closing a plant
Or two and cutting staff.”
The woman sipped her wine.
“I like the color of these walls,
We should paint the living room.”

At Table Two the food arrived.
The man and woman there said, “Thank you”.

The man at Table One said,
“If this economy stays down
Much longer, then I think we’re through.”
The woman tapped her chin,
“But then the rugs will never match,
We should buy new carpets too.”

At Table Two there was not a word.
They chewed their food and stared down at their plates.

The woman at Table One said,
“Oh, I hope we never get like that,
It is such a sad thing to see,
People eating out for dinner
Who can’t communicate.”
The man at Table One asked,
“Are you getting desert tonight?”

Illustration: “New York Restaurant” by Edward Hopper

Old Billy

Hay bales,
Out in a field alone,
Strange forms out of season,
Capped with snow
And withering in the winds.

The farmer lived long and alone
After Lizzie died that spring a-ways.
A man with outsized hands
And sinewy arms
Who spoke in long silences.

Shades on the old house
Pulled well down against the light.
Inside the shadows
And cobwebs mingle like lovers.

Barn roof
Sagging against the weight
Of age and the weather.
Silo boards rotting,
Only the odor lingers in the barn.

The bales
Curled in fetal rolls
Across the neglected landscape
Just a remainder that
At the auction no one wanted the hay.

Photo is of Bill and his youngest sister, 1903.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

After a Day of Listening to Radio News and Public Service Commercials Blues

I suggest scrolling down and turning off my music player.

Give me a brandy,
Make it a double shot.
Give me a brandy,
Make it a double shot.
Got to drown me some blues, man.
Got to drown me a lot.

There’s been much rust and ruin
And closets full of moths.
Must have been so much rusty ruin,
Then closets’re full of moths.
I think the world’s got pleurisy,
Got that whooping cough.

I say if the terrorists don’t get you,
If they ain’t no riots up your street,
Oh no, if your workplace ain’t collapsing
And you still got bread to eat – maybe meat!
You will probably find your suffering
From, from terminally fatal stinky feet,

I’m sweatin’ out the news that the sun’s so hot,
If I open up a window my skin is gonna fry.
My, my!
And god Forbid it, if my team loses the super duper overhyped doing the pregame all day and night bowl,
My heart is going to explode and it’s gonna make me die.
Yi, yi!
And you know, and you know, and you know,
I heard it all on my radio
And broadcasters never lie.


Give me some whiskey, man,
And follow it with beer.
Yeah, yeah, give me that Black Jack Daniels, mate,
And douse me in beer.
If I wasn’t so creeped, bleeping, weeping scared,
I’d be paralyzed with the good old, good old
Radio News and Public Service Ad fear,
That Service Ad fear!

Make that another pint, lad.

Photo property of Ronald W. Tipton: The author, his wife and the photographer at Irish Eyes, Lewes, DE, February 2011, picture taken by the waitress.

How to Make a Sandwich

Feeling kind of peckish?
What do you do?
A little bit of meat,
Cheese slice or two,
Squirt of some mustard
Slapped between bread.
Now your belly’s
Quite well been fed.

Each week on Sunday the Monkey Man gives a challenge to write a poem in only 160 characters. Like writing a tweet – it takes some doing to convey thought in so few words. Come join the fun!  

A Succession of Progression in the Sound of A

This getaway, two nights, one day, quiet hotel stay overlooking the quay near where the ship Overfalls lay along the canal to the bay.
But the weather was rainy and gray, which kept us prisoners not so gay.
February in Lewes may not be the best time I say, with even a sunray or two, and do pray, more fun and play.
What the hay, for yay, we survived.

Photo: Light ship Overfalls, Lewes, DE. January 2011. Taken by the author.

Ode to Masaccia Restored

That big or fat or messy, clumsy Tom,
Masaccio, the painting master
Realistically portraying God’s Kingdom
On canvas framed and on walls of plaster.
Upon the latter such he did receive
Censor by prudes who blushed and brushed his lines
With fig leaves put across Adam and Eve.
All do they hide is their own impure minds.
This artist deserves much more man’s respect.
Though died so young, he gave such influence
To those who followed his point of perspec-
Tive, the Vanishing Point for evidence.
            It is not the nudity that’s evil.
            It’s the censorship plays the Devil.

There are those delicate souls of less wit
Who take offence at innocence and truth
Fearful of natural depiction. It
Drives them to destruction with oh such ruth-
Lessness they hide from us the whole; forsooth,
            These many generations, until some brave
            Soul restored it to what the artist gave.

We perceive
Adam as he was
And so does
Woman Eve,
Thus not shamed by nudity,
Shamed by sin they be.

NOTE: This ode consisted of a Sonnet as the Strophe, a Rhyme Royal as the Antistrophe and a Shadorma as the Epode.

Masaccio (December 21, 1401 – autumn 1428), born Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone. His penname means big, fat, messy or clumsy Tom.

The illustration and poem concern his painting, “The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden” (1425), which was part of a larger work on the Brancacci Chapel in Florence. This particular panel was many years later censored by someone painting fig leaves over the privates of Adam and Eve. The painting was smoke-damaged by a fire in 1771 and in the restoration the alterations were discovered and removed.

Wild Goose Fancy

First you hear the call, the cry, no, the cacophony.
It is the trumpet of triumphed recovery from near extinction
That edges up to the sound of a world’s destruction.
How do you turn away? How do you stand against such noise?
Over the hill they come, first in vanguard,
Then canopy of multiple V’s,
Darkening, darkening and it is an awesome sight
And a frightful fright

When the wild goose take flight.

I walk into the woods alone, into the silence of the trees.
The path is rough with ice-encrusted snow, the going slow,
And far behind the circling cloud, the noisome crowd
Is drifting off in searching groups,
Scouting out the water flows beneath our frozen earth.
But I see this no more or hear that roar,
They are there and I am here on my own mission
Finding my own solitude, I no longer listen

To the wild goose take flight.

That pale winter ghost has stolen everything,
Coated it with his seal and slippery trails
Are teasing, taunting my every caution step.
Sister wind blows love songs in my ear
That freeze my heart and soul to the bone.
How dare you, sir, steal into my home
And poke about with your icicle thumb
To gray my days and turn them numb.

When the wild goose take flight.

There is beauty everywhere and death.
All the color has been drained away
From tree or cloud or lake or field.
To fall is lost and you’d shiver there
Until the gracious sleep eased the pain
And lifted you upon its frigid wing
Into the last cold dark night,

On the last wild goose flight.

Photo: Over 300 Wild Geese in flight over Alapocas Run State Park. Taken by the author