Denis Foley ≈ Three Poems

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Past Time

I live and dream beside the river. Wondering when my ship will come to take me away to those lost horizons of yore.

Sometimes I sit and listen to the river
Watery sounds spilling fragments of words
Shards of shattered conversations
Drifting with the current
Querulous rips and eddies
Disputing at the rapids
In angry protestation
Disagreeing with the rocks
Questioning the price of admission
To the canyon’s narrow throat
Busy bustling down the valley
Forever yearning for the sea.

On the sandbank in the river
Birds nests perched
Where the coyotes cannot reach
Logs marooned spike broken trees
Flotsam of forests bleach
And driftwood lies in sunblind ease
Slowly drying on the beach
Limbs stripped to the bones
Segmented ancient carcasses
On summers warming stones.

Dark pools of resentment
Lurk sulking in the shadowed glade
Puddles leaking apologies
Gurgle tearful explanations
Into dappled shallows shade
Where the weeping willow
Reflecting contemplation
Calms and weaves
The fronded leaves
And pleads for expiation.

The language of the river
Holds all these broken promises
These babbled incantations
Countered logic, gorgeous lies
And includes a glitter in the gravel
A tiny golden gleam
Some contraindication
Where the bride has thrown her wedding band
Bouquet forlorn and dying on the strand
Below the bridge another sunken dream
She did not want to linger
And a twinkling arc
Described her liberation
Gold returned to river sand
For someone else’s finger.
But absent children still prattle in the water
Somewhere son and somewhere daughter
Giggles, splashing hidden laughter
Never now, before or after
Prying beneath the weedy rocks
Where nervous rainbows hide.
Limpid strings of syllables force
Through freshets parsing ripples
Into absolute abstraction
Vowels amazed agreeing asking
blessings from the pebbles
And the stones beneath the surface
Tapping incoherent Morse.
Now I on watch forever more
Hear the legend, heed the lore
Waiting for that foggy night
When the cold wind keens an icy score
And the black ship waits without a light
Hove to, impatient in the river.
Old hands ready to sway me aloft
To sign me on for the last trip
And the last great run ashore.

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Poetry Murdered. The Death of Lorca in Granada

There are times when I could happily die
Moments when I know there cannot be a higher high
A greater, finer glow. As we, gasping range and echo
Wandering full of flinching nerves
Moaning through the smouldering wreckage of our senses
When shy desire has overwhelmed modesty’s pretences
Hot blood melting all our doubts and defences.
Where the scorched earth decrees
Applied between the shoulders and the knees
Frantic fumbling, directions, pleas
Sends time and motion reeling
And then the pillow muffled squealing.
We would find ourselves reclining, shaken,
in splayed array, in mutual amazement
At the immensity, the depth of feeling.
So a thunderbolt through the ceiling
Just wouldn’t hurt at all.
On the subject of firing squads
I swear by all the gods
I will take the blame and will never give your name
So when the rifles take their aim
‘Beloved’ will be the last thing that I say
Or Viva Anarchismo, La Revolution or
Something romantic anyway.
So dying wouldn’t matter, on a Spanish Saturday.
But one must have declined the blindfold offered
When by a fascist proffered
To maintain a certain style
So ignore the handcuffs pinching
As they lead you down the aisle
To face the empty bullring
Much too early, much too soon
At four o’clock in the afternoon.
However… until then, I’ll hand you down from our truck
Like an exiled Princess, down on her luck,
As though the silken train of your gorgeous gown
Was sliding to the ground from your Phaeton carriage
And by your hand in marriage
I’m the envy of every man in town.

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Song For A Sleepy Child

There are no lines upon your face
Engraved by fear, fatigue or haste
Your shining eyes show no guile
Mere innocent love at your father’s smile.
When hunger wracks your fragile frame
Tiny flower hands with unerring aim
Seek for their haven, their place of rest
Warm, scented pillow, your mother’s breast.
Oh Child come to me, come sleep in my arms
Safe from all hexes, hazards and harms
There I will tell you the mysterious part
Of the secret song of my beating heart.
A message so old, from the dawn of time
Now written within us as rhythm and rhyme
Then I will hold you so only you can hear
What it repeats and repeats to your perfect ear
I love you, I love you, I love you.

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