Category Archives: Writing

Three Poems of the Atmosphere


When wind
And crescents wax
And bring
The earth to blush,
Arbor silhouettes
Wave in gray
And stoic wonder
Land’s terrestrial breast
And heaven’s astral shield


I want to see the lights
The voices of the stars
To my pale, shuttered eyes
They do not speak or sing,
But hum
Through the black
And aching cosmos
Till their stream of constant
Urgings, flickering and rarefied
By years of space and light
Autonomously guide and find
My seeing ears and hearing eyes

I want to hear them
Now, and then
I want to see them


Drenched and drowning
in the sunset’s creamy
bliss, I drift
towards the sea
and clutch my heart.
For all this happens
flowing in the masterpiece
of evening’s swirling palette,

and I’m reminded
that we feel
see and touch
in color

Five Birds — Three Poems

The Cardinals

I traced the cardinals’ breasts into the canopy
Red strokes, blurred across
The honey locust’s pinnate feather wings
They were hosted in the leaflets
Stunning one another in vermilion sorcery

Head cocked and saffron crowned
The lady up and dove through the verdant stand
And disappeared into the wood
Darting round the knotted copse
And out, into the silence

The Magpies

A pair of magpies
Startled in the brambles
Flapped and rose out
Of thorns and morning dew
And let me see their
Ghostly eyes, dark-cast beads
Of stoic open wonder

Blinding black and white,
I saw chess upon their wings
And after a mocking dance,
Of knight and stalwart bishop,
They sprung up
Through the canopy
And laughed at me
And dawn’s lost stars

The Sparrow

The sparrow’s path
Hooked through the sun’s
Bright and bleeding rays,
Then burst through
A vast and clouded
Tortured teardrop
To undo the
And pain
And seal his love
upon the world

Poems: A March Triptych


at least oblivion
offers peace,
an unvoided contract
of open sky
and blue bliss
earned by so many
but reached by so few

in that space
between each step

in that space
between each breath

don’t blink

in that space
between each heartbeat
the moment glows

do you see it?


oh, the sinister muse
who takes me away
and shocks with,
demands a sacrifice.
all that it promised
is all it asks
in return.
The mimetic pain
following trails of
the Father of us all

in my hollow core
somehow I am full
or so I hope . . .
and hope
in the end
is all that can fill
and all that fills



In the trees
I hear the wind
even though it’s still
on the plain
I stand stop a peak
and the stars
hang and glow
in the night sky
even though it’s day
the grass greens
beneath us
and curls around
our toes
even though it’s cold
and winter,
and the ice melts
even as it’s made

earth, light, and air
speak to minds
who see and hear
beyond the moment
and there are whispers,
secrets to be told
if we will them in
and release
our imagination’s silk into
that wind
to wisp and glide through
arbor’s arms,
past peaks,
celestial glows,
flowing water,
and verdant, curling, grasses

Our Winter’s Hero

Under the weathered awning, the vagrant’s joints began
To ache, hiding from the rain, he scratched his
Roughened, feeble knees and cast his sunken eyes
Up and down the thoroughfare. Storm subsiding, and
Then a biting wind. He had sat there long enough
To know a cold snap when he felt it, twitched his
Hirsute upper lip, the rascal chuckled drunk, burped,
Then rose deliberate, striding in his rags, which
Now assumed a formal air, dignified indeed,
Scaling the fire chute to reach his tar-papered
Podium above, four stories up, where he could wreak a
Masterpiece. From there he saw the orchestra
Below his able hands, the soaked and groaning
Road, and willed the fallen rain, Jack helped,
Into a frosty fervor, slick as an Olympic rink.

Raised his arms in upbeat just as the featured first
Came ‘round the bend, solo, a silver-clad sedan,
Emblem donning, ready to perform. Aching forward,
Its arrogance began to show, and with a yawp,
Ha! the conductor thrust his hands into a downward
Beat, to begin his merry symphony. Down the
Gauntlet it lurched into the incline and tracked the
Master’s lead. A gesture, intense, accelerating,
Sliding, brakes be damned! then careening headlong
Into a parked surprise, scintillating, shattered glass
And space-age bumper busts, tickling the street’s
Aesthetic fancy. From there it spun into another
Dizzy trick, a feat that had not been rehearsed, yet
Right in time an icy branch, encased percussive
Batter, a bona fide tempura, cracked off its host and
Thumped our featured friend, centered on the hood!

Above our master danced as more fun turned down
The lane, a large black truck and two compacts, with
Waving arms were gestured into play. Confidence or
Caution makes no difference here! The ice reigns
O’er the righteous and the wicked, my good son.
Scooting on, their fates were sealed and each stole past
The point of no returning, then skated in such silent
Grace down the prepared stage until the wheels would
Lock and, crab-like, gyre sideways to
Hurtle down the hill. Like chromed pucks, yet
Bombillating beautiful and proud, each wrenching smash
Contained a crushing set of high-pitched overtones to
Match, and that truck, God bless! had his windows
Cracked so cursing gasps and expletives rose up and
Punctuated these magic crashing measures.

Fifty wresting minutes the director’s arms invited
Each and every guest to take part in his creation,
Eyebrows tracing paths expressive, of failed conquest
Down the route, following his sweeping knuckle
Lines, twitched wrists, and subtle fingertips, caressing
These, our favorites, through his storied time and place,
A gloried narrative took shape, woven through the
Morn’ and mind. Eyes closed in reverie, arms rest aside
Wet cheeks of joy accomplished, cathartic and
Exhausted, our winter’s hero took stock in what his
Hands had wrought. Such arose in him, his greatest
Work so far! At the bottom, just past the curtain of
Flurried snow, through streaming tears, he counted
Thirteen in all. By Jove, his lucky number!

He rubbed his now warmed hands in humble satisfaction,
Noble now descending, came out the alley, he
Clicked his heels, and thanked God for such a
Syzygy. When he took his place again, beneath the
Awning that fine day, he sat a new and changed man, of
Simple means, but now of work, of vision vast, and
Great creative prowess.

Sam L. Richards, January 2011