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Six of my favorite works of poetry

7 Jun

Below the six poems are my favorites and best written among my work in my opinion. They are in no particular order. I wrote them between 2011 and 2014. There are others I like, but not as well. There are some I should probably scrap, or start over again. If you would care to read more of my poetry work, select the poetry tab. I don’t mind a comment or two — in fact, I welcome them. — LSM

That Lion There

That lion there,
the one with splotchy, mangy hair
who lies in shade far from his lair
and pants last labored breaths of air —
Once was bold and fierce and strong
and where he walked the wary throng
of meaty prey gave way and long they
watched lest he should charge their way.
He once was young, a cub just born
who clung to mother’s teats and wore no
caution nor no wisdom yet —
essentials that would help him get to lionhood.
And if he could, that lion there
would soon return to those times where
his strength and youth were fresh and fair
and he could do whatever he would damn well do.

Copyright © 2014

 

Waiting to be called

Long laid low along the ridge
the Old Man rests, his crusty visage staring ever upward,
waiting, waiting, waiting to be called,
when he will rise to stand o’re all and look about,
the blue-hazed land rolling out to distanced watered shores,
and he will shake his grizzled beard, and wipe his gnarléd brow
and take his first stiff step, then more,
the residue of his millennialed nap falling to the forested floor
as he glides agefully away with the day’s last light,
his stately shoulders shrouded ‘neath the cooling night.

Copyright © 2014

 

Ah, Autumn!

The Snap! of cheek red’ning chill;
The Crackle! of gold and sable bills underfoot;
The Pop! of jeweled hills in the late day sun;
I love the first bowlful of Autumn,
Poured out and ready to be
Devoured.

Copyright © 2014

 

The Black Cat’s Tail

Crouched to pounce,
White paws afore,
The sleek black cat intently stares,
His lucent eyes, wide and fixed
Upon the object of his glare.
His tail betwixed the left and right,
A metronome of crescendoing beat
Precedes his jumping to his feet
To claim the prize on which his eyes
Have firmly locked.
And, oh, if that small morsel, white and pale,
Had just observed the black cat’s tail!

Copyright © 2014

I’m Sick Today

Today I didn’t feel so well —
My throat was very sore;
And Mama took my temp’rature
And stroked my hair some more;
Then measured out my medicine
Into a silver spoon,
With “down the hatch” she smiled at me,
And then she softly crooned …
“I love my girl, my pretty lass,
Who doesn’t feel so well,
You know I would — if I could —
Ring loud the healing bell!
“And up you’d jump and sing straight out,
‘My gosh! I’m ME again!’
And dance and play and laugh and shout
Until the long day’s end.”
But, sad to say, I’m sick today,
All nestled in the bed,
And I will sleep the day away
And rest my fev’rish head;
And dream wild dreams of Faerie lands —
Of castles, kings and queens;
Then of the prince who’ll take my hand
And fly to lands unseen . . .
Where he and I will rule with care
The lowly and the proud;
And when a subject isn’t well
We’ll ring the bell aloud!
And all’ll jump up and sing straight out
“Oh gosh! We’re US again!”
And dance and play and laugh and shout
Until the long day’s end.
Until the long day’s end.

Copyright © 2015

 

The Bone-Pickers

Down
Down
in lazy slow round circles;
their flight like narrowing funnels;
they light on soft-padded claws
Then bob and weave and haw
with eyes on carrion morsels:
the bits and pieces of once-vibrant things,
now nothing but bone and sinew and chunk-white fat
with red-brown meat, drying, lying like that in the sun.
The bone-pickers
ogle and waddle and gobble in order,
positioned by age and weight and strength,
Peck and tear at length till
what remains are bleached and white.
A gust billows, and hot pillows of grainy dust
Swirl and curl aloft – spin brief tornadic dances and die.
The bone-pickers stretch necks, preen feathers and cry to each other,
then wing their weary way back
up
up
in lazy slow circles;
shrinking in hot-sunned air
till barely there
until another sole soul
lies down with vacant stare.

Copyright © 2011
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Reprise: That Lion There

11 May

 

That Lion There

 

My dad often made the statement we’ve got this retirement thing bass ackwards. He worked hard all his life, and when he retired and was ready to travel, his body was worn out. The things he might have done, like scale mountains, were no longer within his range of possibility.

On that note, having reached the edge of that downward precipice myself, I think I have to agree. But not only because of the physical ability at stake, but the incredible resources of our lions and lionesses now wandering about the world –– bored and feeling useless.

Is that all there is? sang Peggy Lee.

What a waste, if only from the standpoint of experience and wisdom! Less likely to make the mistakes of youth. Things like rash decisions and impetuous reactions. Weighing the pros and the cons, and not so entangled in the jot and tittle of minutiae.

Imagine old farts like me, with nothing to lose, donning combat fatigues and armed with the weapons of war and replacing our young people on the battle fields? Conflicts might take a little longer, and a charge up a hill might need to be rethought, but at least our youth can still look forward to a long future.

It’s worth thinking about.

 

That Lion There

by L. Stewart Marsden

That lion there,
the one with splotchy, mangy hair
who lies in shade far from his lair
and pants last labored breaths of air —

Once was bold and fierce and strong
and where he walked the wary throng
of meaty prey gave way and long they
watched lest he should charge their way.

He once was young, a cub just born
who clung to mother’s teats and wore no
caution nor no wisdom yet —
essentials that would help him get to lionhood.

And if he could, that lion there
would soon return to those times where
his strength and youth were fresh and fair
and he could do whatever he would damn well do.

Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 25 March, 2014

 

 

 

 

Matter

9 May

Matter

By L. Stewart Marsden

Oh the chatter
And the clatter
About that which does not matter!
All this massive energy
Makes me much prefer the Hatter.

Safe

18 Apr

 

Safe

By L. Stewart Marsden

What sole soul has not reached a place
Where her measured pace
Becomes little more than plodding forward,
Bracing against wind and rain and cold,
Aging older and older,
Too tired to tow another burden or bear
Another day or hour or minute or instance?

Are you so immune and protected?
Do you not detect this march is unto death and beyond?
Can you so carelessly wave off the sharpness of
The wind,
The rain,
The cold,
To be so recklessly bold that you feel sealed against
Their cutting edges,
Never to bleed?
Safe?

Pity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Doesn’t Always Rain at Funerals

19 Mar

 

It Doesn’t Always Rain at Funerals

By L. Stewart Marsden

It doesn’t always rain at funerals …
For some the sky is azure blue, with billowy clouds and birds aloft;
For others, bands and fireworks fill the air with joy and glee;
Still others find rest quietly, at day’s last light
While a bugler plays atop a hill
As the still of night steals in.

Profundity

3 Oct

Profundity

By L. Stewart Marsden

It’s been done before
Said before
Lost and even won before
Read before
Thought before
Sold and even bought before
Nothing you can say or do
Is unique or even new
Nor is this profound remark
For it’s been written down before, too.

 

Ecclesiastes 1:9
The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. (KJV)

 

 

 

Either, Or

1 Oct



Either, Or

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

It’s either this, or that;
Black, or white;
My way, or the highway;
Door One, or Door Two;
Day, or night;
Right, or wrong;
God’s way, or Satan’s way;
True, or False;
Left, or Right;

And ne’er the twain shall meet –
Not here, not now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not for Naught

27 Sep

Not for Naught

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

It was not for naught
That we gathered against the storm
And fought the wind and the skin-stinging rain;
Wore on through dirt and mud again and again
In the blindness of night, in the starkness of day
When the light told our hurt and our fear and our pain;
When we stopped and looked back at the forests once there;
Denuded and bare; still we dared to declare
– Whether we should or whether we ought –
It was not for naught.

The Cabinet, or, Better Living Through Chemistry

18 Sep

The Cabinet

or

Better Living Through Chemistry

by L. Stewart Marsden

 

I know I put them in here … somewhere
Underneath the whitening tooth gel;
Crammed beside the fat-burning oil;
Above the No More Wrinkles, My Friend;
Or the Gradual Gray-Away Hair-Coloring Brush;
Between the Sleep Deep Tonight and the Stay-Awake capsules;
Or the Breathe Through the Night Guaranteed nose spray;
And the Psoriasis Cream; or the Pain Go Away hot and cold bags;
Near the Gas-Away tablets, and the Warts-No-More stick-ums;
The Breath-O’-Mint gargle, and the NuHair in the Morning rubbing salve;
The ear-wax drops and the nose-hair plucker;
The Intimate Hair Begone; and the No-Leaks, My Lady underwear pads;
The No Sweat – You Bet underarm roll-on; or the Flab-Away Arm and Leg Lotion.
Where the hell are they?
I know I put them in here … somewhere.

 

 

Alternate Endings

4 Sep

Alternate Endings

By L. Stewart Marsden

Scrolling through my files I stumbled on this pair of poems earlier published and titled similarly. Both were very conscious works, and reflect two every different endings. I’ve often heard it said that where spouses are concerned, the death of one is preferable to divorce. I’m at emotional odds with either, frankly. “Preferable” is a relative term. Neither – it seems to me – should ever be labeled “preferable.”

 

† † † † †

At the Last

At the last,
when the salt-brined smell of urine
soaked the entire room;
when you looked up and saw past me
beyond the darkening doom;
when you touched me with your purple-mottled hand
and gently squeezed;
when the curtains softly billowed
with the cooling evening breeze
and masked the stench of death
with a honey-suckled ease;
I wanted to hold on – and
not to ever let you free
from my selfish one desire:
please do not ever go from me.

† † † † †

At the Last, Again

At the last, when starched-white papers lay open on my desk,
and I saw your signature scribble, and leafed through all the rest
of official proclamations, now registered and done,
of the death of “and now they are one” where nobody won
and all took losses, stride for stride,
and not much was left – nor much to hide –
of what began in earnest and looked out hopefully,
yet ran its course for better,
then ran aground for worse
and now we both are finally free.
Aren’t we?

† † † † †