That silence, death and darkness are interchangeable
is more myth than truth.
Death may end silent and sun-less
but spaces silent of visual contrast
can teem with palpable memories--
thoughts, people, words--
that breathe life heard from yesterday,
and spill into our days ahead.
My blindness is a silence of light;
denies me witness to gestures of unspoken love
informing fortunate eyes--
wiping a child's tears,
broad grin of a friend's approval,
strong hands grasping needing ones.
Loss of seeing in such light kills me with its denial.
Alive among the collateral of this dark debris
exist words—powerful, noisy, touchable.
Words in their varied distractions,
waiting to be assembled, freed into script,
possibly bearing promising sounds of love.
Silence, death and darkness can hold our light.
Never let it be a measure
of how dark we find a day.
They visit my dreams of late.
In daylight hours, glow in memory.
The twinkle, blinking lights,
Worry these wondrous visits might disappear.
I travel in night,
without moon, stars, sun.
My Labradors, my partner guides,
sleep unconcerned nearby.
What will happen— will,
in its time.
Still, I dream of fireflies.
Desire to whisk their energy
out of the black night.
As one tickles my fisted palm
with gentle flutters,
I reassure this nervous fairy,
no sealed jar for you.
Drawing her close, I urgently whisper
Tell me, firefly,
your secret of light.
Maybe it will unlock mine.
The Crickets' Song
In an arena of darkness this August night,
my Labrador, calico and I
are tucked into three front porch Adirondacks,
mesmerized by the summer music of crickets.
Individual sounds created by the hidden insects' vibrating shells:
intricate, varied, unmistakable as hearts beating.
Little time is left for August,
leaving less and less time for crickets to sing.
Do they sense their end imminent? Will death take them mid-song?
If I knew my fate so near, could I hold my complaint?
Keep strength in my voice? Have purpose until that finish?
Before our appreciative triad disappears into the silence of autumn,
a soloist bids us a sweet and clear good night,
enriching our dreams and tomorrows.
The crickets sing their late-summer song;
a tireless hum of chanting that swallows the black hours completely,
as sunlight swallows dawn's mist.
It is not about sadness or leaving, though it leaves me sad,
knowing they'll soon be gone.
Until that inevitable note,
I believe each member of their choir will shelter
the music of our summer nights,
beating within their wings.
Feel the Light
Jupiter, Venus and the moon are electrified.
Our earth spins among their shadows--
a stellar performance of visual art.
I look up. Shout at the stars in pain, prayer and hope,
offer my penitent's petition for light.
Will the spectacle of heavens, ever again,
treat me to its wonders?
My heart hears a refrain pierce the black night.
I look down.
An appeal for rescue . . . echoing mine.
Beneath the front porch, trapped in a well,
abandoned, a kitten circles alone in a dark world.
I rescue his bony frame, smooth his wretched coat,
so neglected of touch.
Despairing eyes weep illness and fear--
twins to mine.
Our souls touch.
The Universe answers two disparate cries of need.
Sparks from starry planets bless us in abundance.
Feel the light.
Feeling accomplishment, but also fatigued
I retire my harness.
Eight years of service, fifty-six
on my watch.
No more privileged access to destinations
outside my home.
My gold watch is that forbidden chair.
The door closes, leaving me alone
happily settled in this colorfully patterned,
wickedly comfortable chair.
An Open Window
I fail in the heat.
Feel weak after a succession of fiery days this late June.
I open the window.
Overcome its resistance.
Breezes bring breaths of pine, marigolds, lavender dust.
Calms wanting nerves.
Dries my damp skin with feather touch.
An opened window lets faith break away
from my nemesis—doubt—and ride in on the wind.
A breeze through the opened window
dismantles misery, worry, heat.
Backyard evergreens, currency of gentle winds,
speak their intentions.
We’ll carry the weight now.
A language translated by kindness and relief.
I open the window, a simple task.
The might of muscle required is minimal.
Developed from a lifetime of lifting,
my strength is faith.
When I left the light most life depends on,
nature's landscape became so very still.
I am always in darkness—alone.
It is late, dark, still.
I am here in the drive.
Hear a scratchy shuttle--
a lonely leaf speaks.
Back and forth, left to right, wind or no.
Separated from its mother limb,
disfigured by dryness,
pliability and color gone.
In the bareness between fall and spring,
silence is severe.
Admit fear within me,
not of being alone,
but of the loneliness
which finds me everywhere.
It is late, dark, still.
I am here in the drive.
I am desperate.
Are you here, leaf?
Steamy July evening—oppressive.
I take one of my dogs out for his last break.
Pass my garden privet hedge.
The scent awakens the memory
of when I was five years old on Cape Cod.
The shingled, rented colonial,
weathered dark, not painted.
Wood floors throughout.
My sister Anne claims everything was wood--
floors, walls, bathtub, toilet seat, kitchen sink.
Possible, fifty years ago.
A long, narrow, dusty road ran along the beachfront.
Colonies of family cottages dotted both sides.
We six siblings scattered,
playing everywhere, joined by similar summer kids.
Parents never worried, confident we’d reappear
when the bakery truck arrived,
the ice cream man’s bell rang,
or Wee Packet fried clams were served
in someone's backyard.
So excited, we walked the ribbon of sand and dirt,
to the arcade at this road’s end.
Think of it!
Paddle boats, miniature golf,
forbidden games of bingo,
cones piled high with strawberry ice cream.
I bring my guide dog back inside.
Weighted memories come in, too.
Sit down, dwelling on that road.
Maybe it was just a lane,
possibly, fifty years ago.
Was it the loneliness I felt this July day,
the evening's air so thick,
like my impenetrable blindness?
I wept, hard, loud, my animals silent, anxious.
Damn—my nose for filling up
with the smells of the privet hedge,
that perfumed and protected,
each side of that road I knew.
I never thought I wouldn't see Cape Cod again.
In the Sun
It was my last painting -
boats, buoys, gulls,
bobbing in the harbor,
bobbing in the sun.
Twenty-five years of images
painted on my internal canvas.
I have words now.
These bob in the sun.
I am painting again.