Stray Paragraphs in April, Year of the Red Monday
with thanks to Charles Wright

Only those who are living are able to die,
            the others are already in the Great Beyond.

Voiceless without a word to say
            deaf with the sound of Bach.

Desire In Its Highest Form,
            the cats sleeping, entwined in the back bedroom.

Two flowering azaleas, steady heartbeat after a decade,
            the cold of mid winter.

Make of yourself a light, the Buddha said.

But what kind of light? A light house, a candle, a porchlight?

April is the cruelest month, said T.S. Eliot.

The damp becomes emerald green.

My soul is on fire.

Ann Staley
2016


Victoria Day, Tiring The Heart


Along with the Department of Homeland Security
Employee Eligibility Form
which I'm filing - after teaching the workshop,
I have an index card laboriously printed by my friend
at Stoneybrook Retirement Home. It reads,
Irving Wallace rote "Word."
Joe passes this to me at the Farmer's Market
three months after a conversation during which,
he reminds me, this topic arose.
I'm saving it in honor of Joe's diligent memory,
his struggle to write and because it contains
one of the few absolute truths in these lines -
an objective fact, unless Irving was guilty
of some form of plagiarism. But I digress.

I have, as well, a spring haiku from the
Japanese freestyle master Taneda Santoka,
who commented, a couple of centuries ago,
mountains and ocean/too much beauty
(No end punctuation in haiku!)

At the bottom of this little pile, a poem
by Thomas R. Smith, begins,
It's like so many other things in life,
and now I'm smiling as I think of how
these many things - forms and Homeland
Security, retirement, memory,
even the too-much beauty of the world,
are, indeed, things to which we say no or yes
and also, the very things which faithfully deliver this life,
the one I am leading near the small stack of papers at my desk
as I breathe spring.

Ann Staley
2016