photo courtesy of Stella Mazur Preda
Stillness laps ragged shores
washes over sleek boulders
burrows deep in fossil rocks
Tethered to a dock long since the feast
of voracious termite colonies
a lipstick-red canoe kisses shallow waters
Red-gold leaves ornament maple branches
as sunbeams ricochet off the lazy lake
My camera clicks rhythmically
surreptitiously ogling nature’s bedroom
white daisies sprinkled among tall grasses
dot the meadow like snowflakes
on the first winter’s day
petals winking in the gentle breezes
hide their secret from the world
naked boulders protrude like
gently rounded bellies of pregnant women
soon to give birth
to the mysteries of the untended garden
the setting sun splashes the darkening sky
hues of red, pink, yellow, mauve
cast a festive glow
over the unravelling spectacle
barely audible to the human ear
a soft murmur ripples through the grasses
under the brilliance of the moonlight
a supernatural world slowly unveils …
elves and gnomes dance
a celebration of life atop the array of boulders
accompanied by a musical
incantation of fairy wings, crickets and cicadas
the ebony night has unmasked its magic
FLAVOURS OF AUTUMN
Phantom Harvest Moon lurks over the horizon.
Breath of early frost wakes the morning.
Sunflowers bow heads in reverence.
Where cucumbers and beans had blanketed fields,
pumpkins wink mischievously beneath the vines.
Cornstalks, once heavily weighted,
now replenish the sustaining earth.
Fall winds tumble through branches – shower
Mother Earth with jewels of red, orange and gold;
invoke the deities to accept these gifts,
and surrender to the Autumnal Equinox.
caress white-hot beaches
sipping cool pina coladas
speculatively eye the competition
turn their attention to bronzed
specimens, surfing whitecaps
shatter on bleached sands
exotic island fragrances
linger erotically on ocean breezes
waves nip at their feet as lovers
stroll, languishing in sensual
haunting rhythms of steel drums
photo courtesy of Stella Mazur Preda
The plane effortlessly noses through
sheets of billowing white canopy
invisibly suspended over city greyness
The brilliance of the solar flare
painfully pierces my eyes
Fields of white clouds scored by
rivers of iridescent blue sky
a game of X’s and O’s for the deities
A speeding shadow streaks the horizon
skims the milky white terrain
like a pebble jumping lake waters
Measured breaths silently explode
I am swept on a solitary journey
have crossed the threshold to Shangri-la
Row houses, scrunched shoulder to shoulder,
beady little windows eye the sleepy dead-end street
as early light intrudes on the mute ebony night.
A young girl sits cocooned in the arched stairwell
of the porch; book in hand she is spirited
to worlds beyond her existence.
She is Nancy Drew, stuck knee-deep in a sloppy mystery,
leaping through the pages in pursuit of a criminal.
She is Scarlett O’Hara, passionate, exquisite, loved by all.
She is Miss Marple, sedately riding the rails on
the Orient Express; quiet resolve, keen observation
and the scallywag murderer is eventually exposed.
She breakfasts on luscious fruits in the French Riviera;
lunches amid ruins at a century villa in old Tuscany;
dines on colours and flavours of New Orleans Mardi Gras;
holds court with the Goddess Athena in antiquated Parthenon.
Like the shifting grains of sand on Egypt’s desert,
aged words bear witness, mummify moments in time.
Doors slam abruptly; girlish shrieks slice the blushing dawn
as giddy neighbourhood friends swarm the stairwell.
The milkman’s wagon plods the street, the horse barely awake;
the coal man rumbles his bins to the house next door.
The little dead-end street is reincarnated with new life.
She snaps the book closed on her secret world.
MY MOTHER'S KITCHEN
walls whispered untold secrets
tired linoleum painfully scarred
creaking floor boards played ominous tunes,
sinister and creepy
even as morning light tickled
window panes and frolicked with shadows
best of all
that old kitchen floor tilted downhill
from one end
to the other
on cold winter nights
we roller-skated circles
up and down its slopes
worked up an appetite
for mother’s old-fashioned
on hot summer days
hazy stagnant air
hung with the aroma of spices
and simmering sweet fruits
as mother boiled and bottled
Mother was at her best
in that crooked kitchen
where walls whispered
sunlight danced with shadows
and the old floor tilted
Annie - photo courtesy of Stella Mazur Preda
TALK TO ME, ANNIE
Tell me of your father’s letter
a desperate appeal
that the family join him
promises of opportunities
dreams to be fulfilled
yet you alone
were sent to indulge
a father’s hopes.
Tell me of your mother’s kiss
caressing cold tears
rivers of desperation
etched your cheeks
the touch of gentle hands
lingering like her scent of lilacs
and rose water, a breathless voice
among whispering winds
coos childhood lullabies.
Help me, Annie
to understand your fears
how you coped with unfamiliarity
rallied through enigmas
of a new culture
no one to comfort you or share
desolate thoughts, lonely solitudes
no one hears the emptiness
of your silent cries.
Tell me, Annie
what grievous occurrences
scarred memories of this bleak voyage
yet effected your discreet determination
unbridled infinite strength
Help me comprehend why
you would never break
the silence of your odyssey.
AND HER NAME WAS STELLA
(for Stella Crosby Lee 1885 – 1955;
after reading “Stella’s Journey” by John B. Lee)
From celestial bodies illuminating
the darkness of the night
she drew her name
a star plucked from the heavens
to light the path of others.
Born under the sign of Gemini, the Twins
she embraced strength in duality
from the deities who walked another world,
from the earth that now rendered her life.
Born and wed in the month of June
she garnered beatitudes of the mother-god Juno
these graces embodied and sustained her life.
As Juno’s heavenly position changes,
so too, her life would alter
mould and conform;
quiet strength nurtured others,
thrived on their successes.
In silence her life passed all too quickly.
the earthly light extinguished and the star
returned among the heavenly bodies
to illuminate the darkness of other nights.
He laboriously peddles
the disfigured bike; bulging
plastic bags comprise
the essence of his private world.
Garbed in layers of summer
hand-me-downs, this solitary effigy
skilfully navigates daily rounds
through the maze of uniform
My life blissfully anaesthetized by
ignorance and denial
now craves comprehension.
Piercing sapphire eyes collide
with my audacious stare,
Pity is an unsolicited intruder.
A toothless smile distorts wrinkles
mapping his weathered face,
reassures my redemption
the evolution of my metamorphosis.
Life in its wisdom
presents several shades of happy.
through sycamores pines maples
shrubs crouched in hiding
indiscriminately sucks up forest giants
exposing black lesions
leaving the wounded earth with gaping sores
soil-encrusted tentacles tremble painfully
subterranean inhabitants hurriedly scramble
over each other
as if caught in compromising acts
the spinning grayness swerves
taking a short cut
tunnels through the Eldridge farmhouse
remnants of human existence
like an old man chewing tobacco
cattle juggled skilfully in mid-air
bloated mounds littering
the path of promiscuous rape
dust clouds, pine trees and death
a rancid perfume blending
with the sweet smell
of newly mown