Poetry: Old Iron

old iron

Old Iron

Collected from the rejects
of those that wanted something newer,
something better,
old iron.

Discarded and left. Thrown away.
Deemed useless.
Trash to be hidden or hauled.
Piled high and left to rust,
much of it does just that,
oxidizing into oblivion or
swallowed by God’s green vines and left
for archeologists to wonder over.

At times, at the artist’s hands,
this abandoned becomes new,
recast in fires white hot
and poured into new molds,
the old iron becomes new again,
useful and perhaps, even
beautiful.

About this poem. 

Many of my poems have to do with restoration.

I’ve been tossed on the slag heap before, deemed useless, worse than useless. I know what it is like, I know how it feels, and I know what is possible.

I found my way back. Many don’t and I am tenderly aware of that. Grateful and determined to live the noble life of restoration while I still can.

Tom

Poem: April 28th.

IMG_5590 rt_resize.JPG

April 28th

Spring came last night,
after a long season of flirting and false starts.
A pair of nights in the forties.
A rain,
and the sparse brown grass returned to life.

Fog hovers along the creeks
and the willows are greening.
In the barns, you hear the baby goats and piglets.
You suddenly smell the pregnant earth,
all after

a pair of nights in the forties
and rain.

About this poem. 

It has been a brutal winter in Vermont. As late as last week, we still had snow. But as the poem says, a pair of warm nights and rain and it’s a whole new season, just like that.

And the same happens in life sometimes, after a brutal time, a few days of peace, or love, or progress and it’s a new season.

The picture was taken on my drive to my favorite diner this morning.

Tom

Poem: One Day Closer

late afternoon 2.jpg

One Day Closer

It is the third day of a rare February melt
and still, the snow remains, grey in the morning,
the colors of old grass and wheat still buried,
just out of sight.

The creeks are high. Blocks of ice catch on fallen trees.
The water is angry, awakened from its winter sleep.

Today will tell the tale.
Another day of melt and the colors will return.
The landscape will burst with the browns and yellows,
almost dead things will become bright in comparison
to the smothering white snow.

You stand and look across the lake.
You feel the breeze for a hint of warmth
and find none. It is winter still
and you tighten your scarf around your neck.
The day will be a long one, cold and hard, but
one day closer to spring.

About this poem

About Winter. About life.

Tom

Poem: Luminosity 

IMG_2676

Luminosity 

When I was a child I dreamed of attics and cathedrals in the night.
cobwebs lit by a vague moonlight.
A haunting trumpet calls you to the altar,
to a rusted worn trunk in a distant corner.

Enchanted, enslaved by the wavering music,
I was drawn to those dark corners,
hair raised, fear palpable, a soul torn
between disquiet and desire.

I would wake, shaking, sure I had escaped
with my life.

The dream would not let me go.
that certainty of being the prey of something ancient,
the prey, yet still drawn as if survival would bring treasures untold.
All in the dark.

After you came, the dreams continued, these pastiches from childhood,
with one difference: Luminosity,
a golden candelabra, a certainty of light
surrounding you like a shield.

Still, I wake before opening the last trunk, before reaching to the altar.
I wake, but without the dread, that moment when I am certain
the dark spirits of the night are about to make me their own.
I wake now,

the treasure just out of reach,
your warmth next to me, soft and true,
the dream continued,
the treasure found.

About this poem.

I really did have that dream as a child, over and over.

Tom

Poem: Gloriously Wrong

ruins 2 BW.JPG

Gloriously Wrong

I know what you see.
I have seen it too.
Ruins. Remnants. Remains
of something once vital, once thriving,
full of purpose, a bastion
of commerce and creativity,
vital and bustling and alive,
boats, fresh from the sea,
seafood still writhing in the nets,
fishermen, hands raw, wool caps on their heads,
busy in the last act of the day, the unloading,
the distribution of the day’s catch
before they find their way home
of the closest pub.

Those who have lived close remember.
They can still smell the raw captives,
the desiel oil from old engines.
They can hear the clank of winches
and the dull thump of boats against the docks

that are no longer here.
None of it remains save these singular posts,
the last soldiers in a war of attrition,
victims of a neglect born of busyness,
too much activity, too much to do to maintain
the silent battle against saltwater and time
until the battle was lost,
the bastion abandoned, left
to become what it is this moment.
a monument to what was, and then,
with enough time and neglect,
a vague signpost to what was.

I know what you see.
I see it too.
I have lived it.
I have been those strong piles, driven deep into the earth.
I have been the platform,
the safe haven to tie up to
in times of storm and tides,
treasured and neglected until board by board
the rot won.
I became no more than this you see in front of you
A few final posts in the earth,
not even enough of me that passersby
could know what was once there.
an eyesore,
blocking the view,
dark and half rotten against the sea,
against the sky.

I have come close to the death,
close as skin to washing away,
to devolve from ruin to mist to a vague
memory, and yet now I stand
on new ground,
rebuilt by grace and stubbornness,
at the hand of others,
cheerleaders and historians,
mystics and priests of the God of Second Chances,
I have been reset, deeper still into the earth,
relying not on new foundations, but deeper still
into the soil that birthed me.
I have been built again, fresh cedar, new nails
of zinc and steel,
each day a battle against tide and storm,
two steps forward,
one back,
repeat,
a battle already lost, slowly won again,
won as slowly as it was lost,
a thing without drama,
a daily reminder that dead rarely means dead.
That there is life after life.
Life after rot. after betrayal, after false Gods and
failing,
each new shoring up of your own raw deal
a reminder when you see others
of what can be there,
not the same historical structures that once lived here,
but something new,
worn still, and yet more vital for the resurrection
that almost came.
too late.

I know what you see.
I have seen it too, and
was gloriously wrong.
The dead are not dead,
no matter how they seem.

About this poem

One of the good things about having been broken and rebuilt? You never see others in the same light.

The photograph was taken at the tip of Cape Cod, near Provincetown.

Tom

Poem: The Myth of Light

window

The Myth of Light

The window is covered with bars and spider webs.
An atmosphere of neglect fills your nostrils,
damp and cold and dusty.

This has been your home for too long,
this dank prison where you were left for dead
so many years ago.

This is where you wallowed,
where you railed in the night,
like a madman at the moon.

This is where you surrendered to the reality
of your abandonment and neglect,
surrender, but never quite, quite, acceptance.

And then, like Dantes began your re-education,
learning to read in the dark, painting in the dark,
masterpieces that would never see the light of day,

finding your strength in the dark,
where no one, not even your fellow prisoners,
perhaps especially them, could see.

Your eyes though, never adapted to the dark,
never accepted it. Your own frailness, yes,
but never the falsehood that darkness was eternal.

“I will not die here.” has become your mantra,
and each day you probed your walls,
you cleared your windows,

you found the rust and weakness of your captors
and pitted your weakness against theirs,
your only strength your persistence.

And persistence, it turned out, was enough,
more valuable than talent or intelligence,
more enduring.

And so you find yourself here, at the moment
where the bars begin at last to break,
where light ceases to be a myth and becomes something

tangible.

real.

Yours.

About this poem

There have been times in my depression when I thought joy and life were out of reach.

They are not,

Tom

PS: Dantes is the hero of “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas,  my favorite novel.  While it is a novel of justice and revenge, and I am not wired for revenge, the part of the novel where Dantes is in prison, and yet finds himself and grows into a formidible presence until given the chance to escape, has always been an inspiration to me.

Poem: Something Like Spring

13 RT

Something Like Spring

In the forest, it begins.
Sap, running deep in in the veins,
a secret life,
a promise, a hidden spring.

Not seen,
it is there nonetheless,
inevitable, invisible,
alive, despite the appearance of death,

same as you,
where nothing has changed, and yet inside
there is something like Spring
waiting for it’s unveiling.

About this poem

Life has its cycles. We know this. And yet sometimes we forget, lost in appearances.

Tom