The Story of Here Begins

To read the first post in this series, "The Story of Here Begins" click here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More Poems by Alan Wartes


Come closer to know a secret.
The frog you hear at sunset
Telling his story to
Cattails and red-winged blackbirds
In that innocent bicycle-bell voice
Is no mere amphibian,
No more than Mozart
Was merely a primate.

He is a spy, an agent provocateur
Hidden in the muddy grasses.
His mission? To disseminate
Dangerous misinformation,
To sweetly sing there’s more to life
Than malls and mortgages,
More than profit and loss,
More than ever and ever more.

Beware. He will hint each evening
That magic is alive and well,
Glowing on the tips of dragonfly wings
And in the soft feet of possums
On pebbles at the water’s edge.
At noon under gathering cumulonimbus,
He will smile like a Hindu sage
And whisper “Life is good,” in your ear.

                                Last Night’s Dinner Dishes

There is some beauty
In last night’s dinner dishes,
The way the spoons
Recline at the edge of
Soup bowls like women
On porch steps after
The children are asleep.

On a midnight blue salad plate
A smudge of dressing
Looks like the Milky Way.
“You are here, and all is well.”

This crust of buttered bread
Proves the alchemists were right
To believe in transformation,
While empty potato skins
Declare “We are what
We are – no more.”

The last sip of Burgundy
In that crystal glass
Is the color of conversation
And other precious jewels
We mined from deep shafts
Last night around
The noisy table.

                                                The Pulse Under My Fingers

I feel it here, on my belly
In the grass under willows,
Where peppermint stirs
Itself into the darkened
Scent of soil,
The forest’s memory of
Lost summers. I feel it
In the feet of bees
Dancing on the willing flesh
Of blue harebells dipping
Their heads in
Modest surrender, or in
The reckless beetle diving
Over twigs and
Last year’s yarrow stalks,
Oblivious beneath his
Blackened helmet.
It is a pulse under
My searching fingers,
The earthworm who shrugs
As questions too large
Pass through her
What else could it be
When the flicker
Taps a secret code on
Branches over my head and 
A treasure-filled vault
Opens in my chest?

Not dead and not lost,
As was reported in the
Victor’s history,
Magic is a wide river and
I am a reed
Bending in the current.

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