my love has smuggled honeycomb

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honeycomb-fruit-cheese

~~a zejál~~

my love has smuggled honeycomb
sweet dripping from our ancient home
where cedar breathes on scented loam

he comes to me in waning moon
disguised in pedlar’s rags with broom
and dustbin, clanking knives and spoons
around his head a buzzing drone

I recognize as one who spies
a counterfeit with hungry eyes
who snuffles for some holy prize
denied him all these years alone

my love and I at dawn escape
while disillusioned gravitate
toward dreams that briefly satiate
I draw from him a shuddering moan

our honeyed lips and fingers tease
the bowstrings of new ecstasies
while pollen-gorgéd honeybees
to fecund, waiting queens fly home

excited that my love and I
are firmly reunited by
the downbeat of a butterfly
who drifts across the caliph’s throne

~~~

© Elaine Stirling, 2015

A Slightly Breathless Love Poem

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030

Reading at the cottage tattered mysteries
in pajamas while I hear you softly
cursing at the shower head that rattles
with metallic celebration, I can
only thank the convoluted histories
that ensured we would not meet until the
hinges of our armour fell, and battles
ran their full and nonessential life span,
which I do, in answer to your queries
on the strong likelihood that you and me
will have many future weekends that’ll
steam the bedroom windows—how such a man
as you could land onto this stratosphere,
I shall not question, only hold you dear.

~~~

If this is your first time at Oceantics, thank you for dropping by. If you’ve been reading my poetry for awhile, I send you a million thanks and would also like to invite you to my beautiful new website at http://www.elainestirling.com. It is a culmination of a lifetime’s love affair with the written word. Wishing you great joy!

© Elaine Stirling, 2015

Mobilized

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002

~~a villanelle~~

I have a corner mobilized
where heads of state in secret meet
to imagine life beyond the fear and lies.

A place where all may fraternize,
take no offense, put up their feet.
I have a corner mobilized

for quick deployment of surprise
to learn how effortless the beat
to imagine life beyond the fear and lies.

Seeing through each other’s eyes
the clearest route to universal Easy Street,
I have a corner mobilized

where all of us may visualize
the best, dance gamely over grim defeat.
To imagine life beyond the fear and lies

brings hope to everything I’ve victimized.
From hope to knowing’s a short leap.
I have a corner mobilized
to imagine life beyond the fear and lies.

© Elaine Stirling, 2015

Posit: Paradise

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The following is more of a thought exercise than a poem. It began with curiosity and my long-standing aversion to the concept of critical thinking—more specifically, the idea that critical thinking renders the thinker superior. Faith-based thinking is dangerously prone to the same outcome. Even I can figure out the common denominator. I wrote this piece before looking up the word “posit” and rather like that Poseidon precedes it.
~~~
If, in Paradise, we’re going to be happy forever
and forever equals infinite; by extension, now
and then—All Time—I might as well be happy now.

If prosperity and peace are guaranteed
in Paradise, then in this moment, I might as well
be prosperous, successful, and serene.

Premise is as premise does:
thought to word and word to deed.

Here is something that I’ve noticed.
Just before my thought that thinks
and long before my word that speaks,
a spectre known as feeling rises;
energy in motion prises
bringing every colour with it
fully spectral, without limit.

But not in crashing, awful waves,
thank God, though sometimes, yes,
things overwhelm. There seems to be
some kind of bridge, a one-way
multi-coloured bridge that joins
the realm of pure emotion
to my cells so like the ocean
in their current, waves, and tides.

On this bridge I see sometimes
that there resides a permanent
interpreter, poetic, wise like Homer,
blind, an ageless, ancient arbiter
whose task by law is simple,
instant, universal, matching what
I say and do to all that powers
through me, new and flawless
as the dew manifesting or creating
everything that I believe—
as true.

So…

Knowing over there and here
are Paradise, and seeing every
wish, belief, intensive thought
I hold as dear, interpreted
while I sit here, I posit
there is nothing more
I need to do than pen
these words with tenderness
and feel my love for you…

for such is Paradise.

~~~

© Elaine Stirling, 2015

I Wish I Could Lay Flowers

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002

~~a glosa~~

Look for a flaw in the net that binds us
tight, burst through, break free!
Go, I’ve prayed for this for you—now my thirst
will be easy, my rancor less bitter.

—“On the Threshold”, Eugenio Montale

~~~

I wish I could lay flowers
on the streets of dead generals,
sinuous, sun-wise climbers
with an appetite for flag poles,
and pollen that attracts the bunkered
heart, penetrating fine as gold dust
legal tender, spendable by
anyone with room and will to let
who’ll, crying out, in bloom we trust,
look for a flaw in the net that binds us.

I wish I could drop leaflets
torn and tear-shaped, shake them
from the boughs of the ancient
tree of life that shades us all
until they carpet every raucous
and ungrateful scree
accumulated by inhuman
arrogance. Defensiveness, you
claim to know and hold me
tight, burst through, break free!

I have no use for history
redundant in its politic. Self-poking
holes will aerate and eliminate without
my supervision. I wish I could plant
photo bombs of every caravanserai
and teepee where angriest and worst
by joy was overwhelmed, but you
who look for evidence will surely find.
The light of heart cannot betray the cursed.
Go, I’ve prayed for this for you—now my thirst

is slaked in river valleys past the grief.
You who think you can approach
with smuggled chips and claims to past
enlightenment will board some other
mother ship. I hope your journey
serves you well. No worse or better
is your lot than mine, though I shall let
the distance, link by link, between us grow,
aligned with currents where the weather
will be easy, my rancor less bitter.

~~~

© Elaine Stirling, 2015
Translation of Eugenio Montale’s “In Limine” is by Jonathan Galassi
from Collected Poems, 1920-1954

The Uncountable I

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How long it’s been since I have seen the shapes
of things according to their own design;
to lazy flannel nap I’ve worn this mind
by thinking I must solve what aggravates.

Compulsions once original and fine
I’ve blunted by denominating down,
demoting love’s capacity to clown,
allowing unexamined to define

this worthy and extraordinary round
of life I know to be perpetual—
to hell, henceforth, with dim and gradual!
No purchase do I seek on spongy ground.

By simple law of preference, let’s proceed;
desire squared outnumbers myriads of need.

~~~

Note: The ancient Greeks used the term “myriad” to describe ten thousand or a hundred hundreds. Archimedes went on to say that “myriad myriads” allowed us to reach the equivalent of one hundred million. If one keeps repeating the word, of course…

© Elaine Stirling, 2015

today, the lake

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today, the lake anticipates
a force beyond this pea brain’s
scope to colour or articulate

today, the lake recalibrates
a course laid out through aeons
of expectancy and knowing

that the self-same source
who builds the arc and floats
unending opposites to meet,
collide, conceive, abide
resides in seedling form
and sprouts across two hemispheres
electrified by all that I allow to be
exactly as it chooses

laying out in concert with
prevailing tides and gravel
shore, the lake today recalls
me to a potent truth, intelligence
made singular, that nobody
can dam but me.

~~~

© Elaine Stirling, 2015

The Woman Who Swallowed a Smile

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002

for T and her family

There was a young woman who swallowed a smile.
I don’t know why she swallowed a smile.
Perhaps for style.

There was a young woman who swallowed a word
as chipper and sweet as a new baby bird.
She swallowed the word to protect the smile.
I don’t know why she swallowed a smile.
Perhaps for style.

There was a young woman who swallowed a secret
that smelled of bad fish and a scratchy blue blanket.
She swallowed the secret to chase the word.
She swallowed the word to protect the smile.
I don’t know why she swallowed a smile.
Perhaps for style.

There was a young woman who swallowed a dream
of building a nation where nobody screamed.
She swallowed the dream to encourage the secret.
She swallowed the secret to chase the word.
She swallowed the word to protect the smile.
I don’t know why she swallowed a smile.
Perhaps for style.

There was a young woman who swallowed a story
of princes and gold, adventure and glory.
She swallowed the story to flesh out the dream.
She swallowed the dream to encourage the secret.
She swallowed the secret to chase the word.
She swallowed the word to protect the smile.
I don’t know why she swallowed a smile.
Perhaps for style.

There was a young woman who swallowed the world
that was spinning so fast it made her hurl.
She swallowed the world to slow down the story.
She swallowed the story to flesh out the dream.
She swallowed the dream to encourage the secret.
She swallowed the secret to chase the word.
She swallowed the word to protect the smile.
I don’t know why she swallowed a smile.
Perhaps for style.

There was a young woman who swallowed time
on a beach with a tree and a book of old rhyme.
She swallowed time to better the world.
She swallowed the world to slow down the story.
She swallowed the story to flesh out the dream.
She swallowed the dream to encourage the secret.
She swallowed the secret to chase the word.
She swallowed the word to protect the smile.
I don’t know why she swallowed a smile.
I wish she’d stayed with us for one more mile.

© Elaine Stirling, 2015

Before I Go

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robert service cabin yukon

I’m settling, I’m settling
into the blues
and the slow
where the easy comes
and the wild things
know
there can be no paradise
for the low
the blown off
the bitter
or the skin-thin mean
no paradise
no garden place for them
whose noses poke
through broken screens
on porches where
the welcome mat was sold
at some cheap yard sale
years ago
and furnishings inside
what most of us once saw
as good times, party house
though none of us was really
all that happy, more like beetles
skittering and watching
for the shadow of the boot
afraid the day might come
when that big ugly footwear fit…
oh, damn, I lost my train,
where was I taking this?

—the furnishings, that’s right,
the trappings in this house
that seemed like home to me
amounts to little more now
than some broken springs
and gashes on a wall,
early scribblings unread
and stashed in corrugated boxes
thudding time with bats and rain
through rafters redesigned
by termites into sky lights

thank the blues
these mother loving, ever
faithful, forward strumming
blues, the only flow with grit
and heart enough to clear
the rear view mirror, show
me people, times, and places
not as pretty or as close
as they appear once more
once more, before I go

~~~

© Elaine Stirling, 2015

The image is of poet Robert W. Service’s cabin in the Yukon. I’m not sure who took the photo. Happily, the former home of one of our Canadian treasures is well tended.

May Flies

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I’m sifting midges from my coffee,
husky-chows I’ve never met
are kicking sand across the pages
of the shipwrecked poem
I wrote yesterday, hoping on
this beige and torpid morn
to resurrect. One dog is deaf,
the other named for some
Greek god sniffs at my lips, hoping
I’ll expectorate the aromatic
mush of what remains
of pumpkin muffin
he believes far more
entitled to than me.

The coffee’s gone, the muffin et,
I haven’t wrote a sonnet yet.

Who knew that canine noses
could, like truffle pigs, root out,
capsize like raging blues the ships
of men with ambergris and blubber
on their minds, the early warning
signs of ghastly poetry?

~~~

© Elaine Stirling, 2015

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