Poems & Stories
Copyright 2016 Robert Reed Paul Thomas
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Published by Robert Reed Paul Thomas at Shakespir
Cover Design by Author
To my niece Karen Elizabeth
• Chapter 1: Words
• Chapter 2: Encounters
• Chapter 3: Memories
• Chapter 4: Dreams
Duality: The Poet & The Smith
I am the artist as technician, my technique is artistry. I analyze the aesthetic to create a masterpiece. Technology is art to me, art a tool to use. My poems are machines that serve intuition’s muse.
“Wordsmith” was the term I heard,
an image came to mind
of letters on a white hot hearth,
the anvil close behind.
I see a man who’s drenched in sweat,
a leather apron worn.
As old and weathered wood reflects
the light of words reborn.
From stone to bronze to iron age, we learn from what we do, and with our parent’s handiwork we alloy something new. Hebrew, Latin, Arabic, Shakespeare like Damask steel are steps upon the road I take and swords that I wield.
His rippled flesh is marred with soot
from labor’s great demand.
He twists and pounds out sentences
alight with firebrand.
The coals are white with forge’s heat
to temper each new link.
His chain of thought solidifies
immersed in writer’s ink.
Concepts swirl within my grasp like threads of gossamer, I weave these insubstantial thoughts to feel emotions stir. Then suddenly they crystallize with vivid clarity, transformed into the written word who’s power is subtlety.
Through billows both of smoke and steam
enlightenment he seeks.
Then welds the stubborn paragraphs
and checks for any leaks.
So with his work now fully wrought,
he wonders, will it last?
Or will it rust, then fall apart
and fade into the past.
We build this world in which we live from steel, stone and mind. Steel rusts while stone erodes, discarded in its time. But of these three, I say to thee, the third shall pay for all. Written, sung or told aloud, words shall be our hall.
Awareness is geometric, in part.
From the void,
point becomes line,
Genetic predispositions align,
augmented by experience
to form the facets of sentience.
Lines of logic radiate, inward,
intersecting to create pattern.
Complexity is perceived.
The light of inspiration’s flash arches over line,
through plane, piercing structure.
Comprehension of creativity, nonlinear.
Concepts rotate, transform.
Ethereal colors flicker in a dance of enlightenment.
Linear reason becomes abstract thought.
He dines alone.
Muted conversations swirl just beyond comprehension. He stares, eyes unfocused, while his hand plays with an unused spoon. An after dinner drink, ordered and untouched, waits patiently as its ice melts with entropy’s inevitably. His expression reveals a subtle mixture of concern and unease brought forth by forgotten details banished to the echoes of subconscious.
Within his polite isolation, the day’s events seem to scroll before him like movie credits in a dark theater:
Presentation . . .
Client Review . . .
Sara? . . .
His expression briefly reveals an aspect of doubt that is quickly dismissed, or perhaps, avoided. He looks to the empty seat across the table as if the matter in question were about to materialize and speak its name. For just a moment he experiences the regret that accompanies a realization of issues left unresolved and abandoned.
Glancing at his watch with a bravado of certainty that only a true fatalist can exhibit, he rises from the table and dons a mask of absolute confidence. He leaves for home secure within his illusion of control, where blank walls, half unpacked boxes, even cookware bought and never used will continue to go unnoticed, unheeded.
A busboy clears away the dinner’s debris. The untouched drink, a few ice fragments still intact, gets dumped unceremoniously onto the evening’s pile of culinary jetsam. One more item; desired, attained and forgotten.
Alone, the sailor stands his watch
on rippled cobalt seas.
As the infinite of night unveils
its wondrous majesty.
His gaze is drawn beyond the mast’s
A voyage incorporeal
to realms as yet unknown.
Where colors sing in astral light
the music of rebirth,
Conceived in distant stellar wombs,
composed of spectral verse.
Across the sky come shooting stars
ablaze with glory’s bloom,
a symphony of requiem
accompanies their doom.
But where is she who rules this eve?
Eclipsed, and so at rest.
Lay nestled in the Milky Way
as child to a breast.
A voice that is the universe
commands her forth by name,
Queen Luna casts aside her cloak
displaying regal flame.
The weaker stars then bow good night,
the brightest serve in turn.
A color guard as knights of old
their fusion fires burn.
Grand mistress of the cosmos now,
she looks to her domain.
Then summons a parade of clouds
to venerate her reign.
Above the sea, below the stars,
afloat within a dream;
the ranks of pillowed cotton balls
arrive upon the scene.
As elephant or dragon’s head
transmuted by the breeze,
in pageantry of silent change
they drift with timeless ease.
This sorceress we call the moon
beguiles the sailor’s sight.
Through clouds that pass before their queen
flare rainbows in the night.
She wreaths herself in pastel robes,
a prism’d cape appears
of copper rose and light mint green
refracting heavens tears.
For those who do believe in myth
can hear the Siren’s call,
then look toward the dark night sky
to see Valhalla’s hall.
Alone, the sailor stands his watch
on rippled cobalt seas.
A hand at rest upon the helm,
his wheel, a galaxy.
Shannon (age 2)
Oh what a life
so full of wonder,
with pretty flowers
and claps of thunder.
Although at my height
I would like to see,
more than just
the occasional knee.
So lift me up
to clear my view
of birds and trees
and everything new.
There is a dear friend
I worry about.
She passed through a time
of troubles with doubt.
Lessons were learned
as she held from the fall.
Strong and self certain,
she came through it all.
Though where is the woman
who partied ‘til dawn?
Who lived and had loved
‘til the feeling was gone.
Deep in a dungeon
that darkens the soul,
a once happy young woman
awaits her parole.
Their hands touch timidly.
Sunlight warms her shoulders as they walk, rapt in the silence of adolescence. A cool breeze carries the clean fragrance of spring scented with floral rebirth. He moves forward, his hand firmly in hers, and leads her toward a wooded glade.
They sit. Her smile flashes like morning light glinting through newly budded branches. She bows her head, heavy with naiveté. He moves nervously with the thrill of untried emotions. Hesitant, on the verge of discovery, their euphoria is tempered by trepidation:
What will this be like?
Is this love?
What of the future?
Pristine faces, as fresh and open as the flowers that surround them, bloom with a radiance of vulnerability. Wisps of clouds in a deep blue sky are mirrored in eyes held wide with awe.
Aglow with new found pleasures, they speak only in the smiles of innocence. His arm rests lightly on her shoulders as they walk, her head against his chest, her arm about his waist. In her gaze there is a depth of feeling that does not come often in life. He looks into her eyes unaware of the priceless gift.
How long will they walk together? No one knows, nor where their path will lead. All we know is that the path begins on a bright spring morning as a light, cool breeze reawakens life.
I could not help but notice
as I glanced across the room,
the power of your lovely smile
to lift me from my gloom.
Think not of me as forward,
for indeed I am sincere.
Let us live within the moment,
allow me to come near.
To bask in such sweet beauty
that the angels take to wing,
I’d like to sit and talk awhile
about most anything.
We’ll discuss a new found book
or sonnet that you’ve read.
I’ll tell you that, until this night
my artistry was dead.
For with that first endearing smile
you’ve won a poet’s heart,
And so you do illuminate
true meaning of the art.
Dammed should be this pompous crowd,
no reason now to stay.
Alone and bored in paradise,
a ruined holiday.
I turn to leave, my exit clear,
then start to make my way.
And end up on my ass instead,
blind sided I should say!
My wrath about to bellow forth,
I only need but aim.
That’s when I see her auburn hair,
a rich prodigious mane.
I rise to vent my head of steam
to thoroughly rebuke.
She smiles with apology.
I stand there silent, mute.
Her question as to recompense
allows me time to breathe.
I ask her to accompany me
on a stroll along the sea.
[I, being born of woman and distressed]
In homage to Edna St. Vincent Millay’s 1923 poem
[I, being born a woman and distressed]
I, being born of woman and distressed
by all the massed illogic of your kind,
am urged by your proximity to find
the nearest exit, which I would egress.
Instead, you take your place as honored guest
while playing little games upon my mind,
assured you have the master plan designed
that in the end will prove the very best.
Would honesty be a crime of treason?
Perhaps, cause you to recoil from the pain?
From your acts I cannot fathom reason,
you are enough to drive a man insane.
All I ask, is that you choose a season
to enrich my boring life once again.
The Bard Is Back!
There once were two girls from the West
who teased a young man from the East.
With beauty and sex
they beguiled and hexed
this shy, quiet man and his beast.
Though married the were,
it did not deter
these two from making him blush.
For when they would speak
his knees would go weak,
unsteady and feeling quite flush!
Poor celibate bard,
he found it so hard
to attend to the task then at hand.
His computer would freeze
with each little tease,
his hard drive would spin like a fan.
But what could he do
with balls turning blue
and a definitive stilt in his kilt?
“Oh what a nice guy!”
People said by and by,
“Too bad he walks with a tilt!”
My skin tingles as a light morning breeze caresses my cheek and I awaken to a room aglow in pre-dawn light. Warm beneath our comforter, I lay motionless as I listen to the soft rhythm of your sleep. My thoughts are torn between a desire to hold you and my love that whispers, “Let her sleep.” Snuggles and kisses must wait, I have work to do.
Ever so quietly with the stealth of a master thief, I slip from the warmth of our bed to shave and shower. Once renewed, I return to our door to find you still asleep. “Excellent!” I note, and descend the stairway with quiet care. My mind drifts to thoughts of our morning together as a loud good morning creek from the wooden step betrays my movement. “Oh, I’ll have to do better than that!” I muse.
At last I arrive at the kitchen and to work. Let’s see, tradition is best I think; eggs over easy with bacon, toast with mint jelly, and fresh ground coffee for the pot. Speaking of hot and delicious, where did I put those chocolate croissants? Ah yes, bottom shelf all the way in back. As I reach for our decadent treat my anticipation heightens with the thought of warm chocolate on your lips and I long for your chocolate kisses. “All good things to those who wait!” I chide myself and set to the task at hand.
My training comes to the fore as old habits kick in. Hands deft and sure of movement extricated a frying pan from a pile of mismatched metal without a sound. “Whoa!” Startled, I look down as warm fur caresses my ankle accompanied by a very loud “meow.”
“Hello Pips, of course I’ll get you your breakfast.” I place a dish of her favorite food on the floor and implore her to, “Just keep it down.” As I stroke her smooth fur it occurs to me that all my stealth could be for naught if my sleeping beauty were to be wakened not by a kiss from her prince, but by a playful ball of fur looking for attention. Oh well, life has it’s uncertainties, but bribery should help.
Did I close the bedroom door?
There, all set. I place a rose on the tray and retrieve the croissants from the oven. Warm melted chocolate awaits your lips, as do I my love. Up the stairs with tray in hand, I turn the corner into the bedroom and stop. I see your beauty bathed in the morning light, graced with the serenity of dreams. In that perfect moment emotion overwhelms me, I finally understand every trial and task that life has thrown my way. It has led me here.
Laying the tray bedside, I put on soft music and raise the volume slowly to fill the room with a hint of melodic perfume. I sit beside you, brush the hair from your forehead, and gently place a single kiss upon your lips. Your eyes open, lids still heavy with sleep.
“Breakfast is served my Lady,” I whisper. “All of your favorites; snuggles and cuddles, whispers and giggles, but first let’s eat.” Looking into your eyes I accept the gift of your smile on Sunday morning.
A woman stands before us
grown from youth with grace and ease.
Her time has come to waken
and fathom the mysteries.
In your eyes the world will bloom
like a rose in dawn’s first light.
Breathe in the heady fragrance
for your spirit will be bright.
Go explore the unknown seas
where wonders never cease.
When you find the Holy Grail,
search on for the Golden Fleece.
And as you venture outward
to reach that hard won goal,
please stop at every rainbow
to nourish heart and soul.
THRUST . . . IMPACT!
The sound of drywall cracking.
Being thrown through that wall
had left me impressed,
though the memory of pain is illusive.
Getting hit with a bat,
now that I remember!
Growing large in its slow motion arc.
I don’t mean to offend,
but they do not comprehend,
I am not a small leather wrapped ball.
Walking at dusk
alone in the woods,
safe in my isolation.
Duck! Someone yells.
A warning from hell,
as rocks go flying through air.
Have you ever really been stoned?
I remember the blood,
its thick, salty taste
that seasoned my hospital food.
I remember the years
of scorn and contempt,
the names with which I was branded.
Faggot and pussy,
wimp they would say
these brave little men of my youth.
Some parents would grin,
their sons could not sin
merely playing with a subhuman toy.
ENOUGH ! Let the past be at rest.
Community has a dark underside
that no one likes to admit.
Of choosing a lamb from our very own flock
force fed with our unwanted sins.
Who’s humanity then, is forfeit my friend
and so can be cast to the wolves.
Pain I have found can cause bitterness
when stewed in memory’s pot.
From experience though, wisdom may grow,
if you simply let go of the pain.
It was costume jewelry, obviously, but not to her.
I still remember that one spring morning so many decades ago. The sun had a tantalizing warmth of summer as an early May breeze recalled winter’s last breath. To the unsuspecting observer it might have appeared that I was merely a boy out with his father, eager to spend the profit of my childhood endeavors. How little they would have seen, by age ten my imagination could soar.
Thanks to a newly acquired paper route, I saw myself more as a fabulously wealthy publishing magnate in search of a priceless gift. Along with my father in the dual role of chauffeur and financial adviser, I scoured only the most exclusive shops. Which in this case happened to be the local department stores. No price was too high or gem too precious for my mother on Mother’s Day. Assuming it was under forty dollars of course, that was everything I had saved. Still, that was quite a sum in 1968.
I was as relentless as my father was patient, and my determination to find the perfect gift was rewarded handsomely. Buried deep below the shelves of bawdy trinkets I came upon the ultimate expression of the jewelers art. It was a broach of the finest silver fashioned into an artist’s palette, flawless in it’s simplicity and elegance.
There were six vibrantly colored stones along the outside curve, the crystal dabs of color portrayed paints at the ready, rich with depth. Two neutral stones were added to represent the thumb hole and bristles of a brush that laid across the palette. I reveled in its brilliance, its perfection.
Six stones for the number of the children that she bore.
One for the husband, her love, that she adores.
One to truly symbolize the creator of my world,
the artist who conceived of me, with brush strokes bold and swirled.
While the memory of my search for her gift remains relatively clear, the actual presentation seems to be obscured in a haze of love and acceptance. I suspect that the experience was somewhat overwhelming. As with all youth, my attention span was limited and once the day had passed I went on to other things. I vaguely recall that as my youth progressed, I made the gift of jewelry an annual event on Mother’s Day. Later as I began my adult journey, I seldom gave this childhood whim of mine much thought. Life however, decided to remind me.
Being the youngest, I arrived later in my parent’s life. At twenty-one I graduated from art school and was the last to leave the nest. My father retired that same year. Barely three months later they had sold the family home and had moved into a small house on Cape Cod to enjoy a life that was once more their own.
Some of the happiest times of my life were the weekends my wife and I spent there. I had always thought of my father as a larger than life granite monolith of responsibility and integrity, so it was somewhat unnerving to discover that he was also the progenitor of my admittedly strange sense of humor. Bad puns it would seem are a genetic legacy. This scientific fact was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt during our marathon cribbage games.
A usual weekend at the Cape would find mom out with my wife looking for the best bargains on knickknacks while I helped dad with his seemingly mandatory eight hours of yard work. There was one weekend however that was completely different. This particular weekend the four of us were playing with my father’s new camera. It had all the latest bells and whistles that money could buy. I should know, I bought it for him. I was a young, successful photographer showing off for his father. If I had only known what would come of my hubris, I would have smashed that dammed camera the instant I bought it. Some gifts have too high a price.
Three days later my wife and I were back home dealing with the normal day to day when the phone rang. It was my father, he had called to let us know that their house had been robbed the night we left. When I asked what was stolen, he replied “The camera equipment and a few things from your mother’s dresser.” He suspected a rowdy group of young men renting a nearby house for the summer. Unfortunately, the police were unimpressed with his theories.
I made a mental note to pick up another camera for him and didn’t give much thought to the rest. When we returned the following Saturday dad was reserved but mom looked devastated. “They took your palette.” She said, “They took it all.” Anyone could tell that tears had been her constant companion that week.
All her jewelry was gone. Most were gifts she had been given throughout her life. Insurance would cover the few with monetary value but all were forever emotionally lost. “Why would they take your Mother’s Day gifts?” She asked, “They weren’t valuable.” She seemed to be pleading with circumstance more than discussing the theft. As I looked into her eyes my heart burst with her pain.
My mother and I had always been close. Many evenings at the Cape we would find ourselves talking for hours late into the night. I listened avidly, mesmerized by her tales. She grew up during the depression, of course she hadn’t known it was ”The Depression.” Then as now, children tend to take life as it comes and seldom pine for the good old days. Although in retrospect it was true that her life had been hard, but what else had she known.
As a young woman she was as much a rebel as anyone and more than most. I learned this when I discover a box of faded black and white photos from her youth, each more intriguing than the last. Among the shots of her with boys, at picnics, and at parties, there is one image that stood out in my memory. She was standing tall dressed in workman’s overalls with her shoulders back, chin up and smiling from ear to ear beside a department store window. It was 1939, she was 19 and proudly posed next to the display she had just created. Her first job had been as a window dresser.
The improving economy and her marriage in April of 1941 gave her hope for the future, which was put on hold December 7th. Looking through her photos, I was somewhat surprised to find shots of her outdoors in the middle of a snowy winter. She was posing on a stool in nothing more than a tight short sleeve blouse and what the sixties would have termed a miniskirt. One night I asked her about them, her face lit up as she remembered. It seems they were for my father when he was overseas in WW II. She leafed through the half dozen images and pulled out a worn, ragged one. “This is the one your father carried for four years.” She stared at the photo for a moment and added with a smile, “Oh my, was it COLD that day!”
The love shared between mother and child is a powerful bond, but there is also something to be said for the experience of discovery when a parent also becomes a friend. In time, I found a greater understanding of this woman who happened to be my mother. Threaded through her many tales was one immutable truth, family is everything.
After the robbery I came to learn a new facet of this woman I had known my entire life. Something very private and unspoken. Perhaps because of her childhood, or the financial strains of raising six children on one man’s pay, I don’t know, but I learned much too late that her jewelry had not been pretty decorations. They were her personal talismans, her physical remembrances of life, love, sacrifice, and most of all of family. Among them were a few pieces of costume jewelry given to her as Mother’s Day presents by her youngest son.
I could not help but wonder if I was responsible for the devastation she suffered. It was a little too convenient to be coincidence that the house was robbed the same day we were walking around the yard with an expensive new camera in full view of the neighborhood. Especially considering that the thief looked for little else. Taking the jewelry case seemed an afterthought.
Weekends at the Cape were a bit more reserved after that. Our cribbage games were a bit quieter and my father’s sense of humor was noticeable by its absence. Mom and I would still talk at night, though most of her comments were on what to do when she was gone. Life returned to normal with a little less joy and a little more worry. One thing was certain, there was a void in her life that would stay forever unfulfilled.
The following March we received a phone call from my sister Marcia. Just two months shy of what I had hoped to make a very special Mother’s Day. Marcia gave us the news that mom had fallen into a coma and was not expected to live. Time and diabetes had taken their toll. We arrived at the hospital a few hours later and were told that a blood vessel had burst causing severe brain damage, her life would end in a matter of days. At 8 AM on a Monday morning she took her final breath. It didn’t quite sink in that I had lost her until the nurse reached up to silence the monitor’s solid tone.
Every year on Mother’s Day I think of the two thieves who stole my parent’s happiness, the one who broke in and the one who’s hubris invited him.
The greatest gift they give to us
is warmth and loving care.
If only we could tell them that.
If only they were here.
What comes uncalled to devastate
that leaves one in an altered state?
When summoned forth, they stay away
waiting ‘til the end of day.
In quick response to thought or word,
or unexpected news you’ve heard.
A comfort to their grieving host,
seldom there when needed most.
Still held in shame by ignorance,
exalted by intelligence.
Though neither one has got it right,
this stain upon a pillow’s night.
A male’s bane, a woman’s pride,
free to flow or held inside.
It should not then surprise, my dear,
the fickle nature . . .
of a tear.
His skin had the look of ill-tanned leather.
He accepted the pain of each slow step without expression as he stubbornly refused to acknowledge his body’s disloyalty and the betrayal of time. Well worn shoulders, once held square to face the morning of life, now stooped with the weight of every friend and loved one who had preceded him to the grave. Their lives had faded from society’s memory, relegated to dry history and mundane statistics that now exist solely as fodder for corporate actuarial charts.
BORN: (this date)
DIED: (that date)
CAUSE OF DEATH: (this, that or the other)
What of their humanity, the wealth of their lives? What of the triumph of their personal victories, or the intimate sorrows of their limitations? What of their courage to simply have risen and faced each new day? It remains awhile, with him.
He knelt reverently and with delicate care placed a single rose on the grave. His eyes were drawn to the horizon as he righted himself with his cane. The setting sun accentuated a field of granite, marble and shadow that lay before him. The even rows were a crop that would never know harvest.
A smile briefly touched his lips as he looked out on a world bathed in nature’s sunset colors of life. The reds of her roses and the orange of her tiger lilies blend with the yellow of a buttercup to fill the sky with another day’s farewell.
His expression softened with a hint irony as he turned his back to the west, last to face the blue-black clouds of night.
A Parent’s Gift
Gathered once more in the town of our birth,
we six who are one,
the last to the first.
Christmas is here. We have answered the call
taught to us early,
instilled in us all.
Remember a time in winter’s long past?
The house on a hill,
front steps weave a path.
Our childhood home where laughter abounds,
Dad always building
and Mom always ‘round.
Christmas Eve was their night, all must attend,
eating the meatball
with pineapple blend.
Mom in the kitchen kept watch on the grog,
Dad at the fire
adjusting the logs.
From under the tree spilled presents galore
a vibrant cascade
burst onto the floor.
Then it was time. Everyone would draw near,
when one lucky child
played Santa that year.
We’d each have a pile, unwrapped one by one,
“Thank you Aunt Doris!”
and on with the fun.
After the blizzard of paper subsides,
tired but happy,
a parent’s small pride.
Now Mom has been gone these seven years past.
Dad left to join her
one year ago last.
Although I suspect they’ll pay us a call
to watch us unwrap
their gift to us all.
It took forty years of labor to make,
built from sheer love
For family’s sake.
Adorned in ribbons and bows made of hope,
carved with an anchor
surrounded by rope.
So gather the children close in at hand,
its also for them
from parents most grand.
We open the box and share it about,
to hold us throughout.
The Classroom of My Youth
I do remember with distaste,
the daily challenge that I faced:
-The classroom of my youth
To study was a chore, thought I,
immorally imprisoned by:
-The classroom of my youth
And so I left to seek my fate,
not knowing to appreciate:
-The classroom of my youth
Now work’s become the daily grind,
at thirty-six I look to find:
-The classroom of my youth
I take a class in adult ed.,
to face the foe I thought was dead:
-The classroom of my youth
And learn a lesson in the end.
My aged foe had turned to friend:
-The classroom of my youth
My hair is gone, my belly slack,
but what the hell, I’m glad I’m back
to the classroom of my youth.
Beatnik’s Nap Rap
Enter my dreams and you will see
the worlds beyond reality.
Colors so rich and hues defined,
to startle the eye and capture the mind.
Use the power you hold within,
take a deep breath as we begin.
Feel it grow, expand, consume,
to master the fear and banish the gloom.
We steal our flight from gravity
at last unbound, afloat and free.
Aloft we sail the skies to find
adventures ahead and worries behind.
Appears a vast and crowded room,
marble inlaid with golden moons.
On music’s notes emotions flow
and dance in the air. Now where did they go?
We stroll among the varied guests,
their starlight gowns and heaving breasts.
You sit upon a tea cup rim
while angels debate with the cherubim.
Our host unfurls her dragon’s wings
as waters fall from magic springs.
We dive into the water’s crest
Through rainbows we glide on a vision quest.
New worlds await our every turn,
sailing the stars to secrets learn.
Our starship streaks across the sky,
we glance at the earth as we wave, “Bye bye!”
Sunday Morning and The Sea
Our bow dips as we pass the breakwater and enter the gentle swells of open sea. Sunrise peeks through the last of evening’s deep blue clouds as dawn sparkles on water’s rippled surface. You guide the wheel as I go forward to set the mainsail. A warm summer breeze caresses our canvas to fill its soft curve with the ancient element of a mariner’s life. The centerboard, as it has for millennium, takes command and accelerates us effortlessly. Your sure hand guides us into the wind.
I go below, only to reappear a few moments later with our morning’s first pleasure. Navigating the angled deck, I take care not to spill a drop of my precious cargo. I slip in from behind and take the wheel as you settle back against my chest, your hands cup the warm mug as you savor the fragrance of coffee sweetened with a tang of sea air.
Before us, the morning conducts her symphony of light and color. Beacons radiate like spotlights through the clouds as a being of pure light emerges from its soft and puffy shell. The sea joins in the melody with a choral of turquoise, blue and green as billowy white clouds glide onto the stage with the grace of swans on a tranquil lake. The day begins as we listen to the music of two hearts that beat in rhythm to the sound of waves against our bow. Minutes seem like hours, hours like bliss filled days. In a place where time no longer exists the only sin is to break the spell.
“Port tack.” I whisper. You look first to the sail, it’s graceful curve still true to the morning breeze, then turn to me silently questioning. I look into your eyes, their power fills my soul with emotions no mortal can describe. From your loving gaze no secrets can be kept, I smile as I look to the horizon. You follow my gaze to search the sea between rail and cliffs. As if on cue, two bottlenose dolphins arc into the air to welcome us.
My laughter rings as you hurry to unlock the mainsail sheet. “Hard about, port tack,” I yell with the gusto of Blackbeard. I stand with my hands firm upon the wheel as you move with the surety and confidence of one born to the sea. “Don’t forget to duck!” I add whimsically. You of course respond with the time honored gesture that is as old as it is rude. “Is that an invitation?” I ask with a grin and add, “I don’t think we’ll have time!” Together, we set course toward the sheltered inlet with a dance of cresting dolphins to lead the way.
We come to rest about a hundred yards from the weather worn cliffs. The pod, like children at play, beckon us to join their fun. “Can you set the anchor while I get the gear?” You ask. “Hurry!” You add as if my heart isn’t pounding as hard as yours. We two, what a pair. Within moments we’re over the side with snorkel, fins and mask.
We enter a realm of beauty and magic. Time once more suspended, we feel ourselves adrift within a cathedral of life. Light ripples through pristine waters to set fire coral aflame with brilliant crimson while yellow flashes with black as a school of angel fish dart in unison. Reality is extended, magnified. We approach the masters of this realm cautiously. Beautiful and sleek, they move with effortless speed. We are but guests caught in amber as they exhibit the grace of beings truly in their element.
We watch as the pod’s intricate relationships play out before us, their interweaving dance choreographed by their personalities. We see couples moving in perfect unison, while lovers swim belly to belly sharing the freedom of movement with the intimacy of touch. In the center, children swim with their mothers while adolescents explore the world around them. Powerful tail fins propel sleek gray bodies swiftly to the surface as they breach to experience flight in another world.
Adrenaline heightens your every sense as you reach out to a male. He pauses, then swims behind you. The speed with which he moves leaves you suspended, frozen. He circles beneath your still outstretched hand, electricity courses through your body as your fingers glide over his satin skin. You look into eyes older than humanity and feel his curiosity as he senses your wonder. For a brief time we share another world, one of freedom and family.
Minutes are forever for those to whom time has no meaning, but where there is life, there is change and the pod begins to move off. Your friend returns one last time. Perhaps he wonders why his new playmate hasn’t joined the exodus. Once more he swims beneath your outstretched hand, his dorsal fin placed in your palm. Your grip tightens as he surges forward. You feel the power within the gentleness as he accelerates, your body against his, satin to silk. Together you break the surface. Water courses over you, the warmth of the sun above, his rhythmic power below. You release.
Slowly, ever so slowly, reality returns. Once more on board we find ourselves lost in the silence of our own thoughts as we rinse the salt from each other. You put away the gear while I gather the wine, cheese and fruit. As we lay on the foredeck in the afternoon sun, we speak only with our eyes, one to another. Within those beautiful windows to your soul I see the timeless depth of an experience that will never be forgotten. You rest your head on my chest as the sea gently rocks us to sleep.
Between reality, hope and dreams,
who’s to say where one ends and the other begins?
We listen to the whispered voice
of waves at meeting shore,
while night entices us to risk
a walk through inner doors.
Our words reveal we share the scars
from sorrow’s whetted blade.
The rough hewn coast, a symbol for
life’s price our choices paid.
Along the broken trail of rock
with no sure path in reach,
appears a small secluded cove,
soft moonlit crescent beach.
Light summer breeze off gentle surf
recalls the child within
to enter water’s revelry,
indulging frolic’s whim.
Our echoes laugh from silent stone,
you find this game worthwhile.
My thoughts of play are innocent
until your knowing smile.
You come to me, a mystery
in lingerie of living sea.
With waters warmth
we are embraced,
our bodies close
A soft first kiss sets mind adrift
as muscles shake with pulses swift.
In Neptune’s grace
afloat we glide
Onto the sands of night ascend
we two souls as lovers, friends.
Smooth silken skin
respond in kind.
Impassioned lips with skill explore
your body’s cache of mystic lore.
I learn by chance
one special place
your heart beat’s pace.
Where pleasures wait and secrets hide,
on hip’s slow curve my kisses ride.
We seem to find
a rhythm joined
As waves of tidal force we rise.
Waters blend, instinct cries.
Enveloped in sweet leisure’s gift
before the walls can form,
my hope outweighs reality,
those walls will be stillborn.
Asleep, you dream within my arms
held safe from morning’s chill,
rapt in the glow of loving trust
that permeates us still.
Perhaps this time.
About the Author
I am a visual storyteller by trade. I’ve created imagery in one form or another most of my life as a photographer, graphic designer, and motion graphics designer. I discovered the enjoyment of creating imagery through words quite by accident.
I was in my mid thirties, and while I enjoyed reading, I had never given any thought to writing until one day when I found myself sitting in front of a blank card. My niece Karen Elizabeth had invited me to her high school graduation and I wished to express my hopes for her future as well as my admiration for what she had already accomplished. Somehow, “congrats” didn’t quite cover it. After a few stumbles and false starts, the poem ‘Karen Elizabeth’ was written. Luckily for everyone involved, the ‘roses are red, violets are blue’ version went by the wayside rather early on.
To my complete surprise, I then found myself with pen in hand every spare moment over the next few years. What I lacked in talent and skill, I made up for with determination. A few classes here and couple years of making myself get up at poetry slams there, and I discovered that I had written what amounted to a resume of my being.
For years I thought that I would some day meet the woman for whom I had written this resume. To that end I had loving placed each piece into a red leather binder as it was written. Years later I did meet her, and although fate did not choose a happily ever after for us, the writing remained. Such is life. So in your travels if you happen to meet a woman with a red leather binder of poems and stories, please say hello for me and give her my love.
Other Books: Forest & Kingdom Balance
A fantasy novel written for adults who have not forsaken their inner child.
Robert Reed Paul Thomas