Rose’s Death

She was soft and white with striking pink eyes

Patient to a fault, unless, when gathering wool,

You happened to cut deeper than intended.

She’d nip your finger and look sadly reproachful

Until you repented and promised never to do it again.

Her brood of three,

Bundles of white just like their mother,

Were pliable creatures with rose-red eyes

Long ears and fur, pledging yarn in abundance,

But long-lived, opposing the end of their dam.

Nothing presaged her sudden demise.

One morning her life snuffed out brought us sadness

And an unforeseen burial beneath the old apple tree

© HMH, 2013

Ceanothus

A feathery frame supporting

Little pieces of sky

Blue wonders, offering heady fragrance

And fairy visions.

***

A breeze carries soft petal chimes

That cause the soul to resonate.

Thus

A question springs to mind.

With such wonders

Why do we sense

Futility and darkness?

Our little lives

Could open like blossoms

Carrying blue balm

To narrow minds.

***

Let us find courage

To live and to love.

In our slight hearts

Rapture can flourish.

We may find lost visions

In an old-fashioned garden

*****

© HMH, 2019

Prima Donnas

Moaning like cats and crying like babes

High-strung coloraturas and heart-wrenching bel canto,

Taut necks and folded wings,

The singers hold forth in the high street of fish town

Gulping out sounds that stop the traffic on a weekday like all others.

Inscrutable yellow eyes muster the audience

While muscles support challenging lovelorn chants

The prima donnas give encores and stretch their necks

Letting the tone surge and rip. Cascading laughter ensues

Now a lyrical intermezzo — now a slow dance to enhance the concert.

Flash mobs or buskers hold nothing against such performers.

Talents ripen through natural selection.

In the night the chorus takes over and holds forth,

Accomplishing Wagnerian chords with untold stamina,

Serenading sleepers, drunkards and lovelorn stragglers

Into the wee hours.

Summer or winter matter little to the inexhaustible,

Those high-strung performers driven by instinct

Deep rooted in saltwater and pebbles

But forced by the ever changing natural, unnatural world

To nest on house tops as the beaches became playgrounds

For other two legged but wingless creatures

© HMH, 2013

The Sea, The Sea

Pewter waves roll mercilessly

Seagulls sing their mournful songs

And disappear.

Salt sprays glint in the pale glare.

The sun is cold and

The horizon curves,

Keeping the secrets

Of impenetrable depths.

Clouds amass,

Hiding the sun

In their wet embrace.

A lightning bolt flashes.

The water springs up to meet it

Halfway

The wind keens,

Beating the waves to frenzy.

The storm mixes

Waves and air

Until boundaries are lost.

The heavens and the sea,

Combined

In a violent tryst,

Fight an eternal battle

Which nobody can win.

Tranquillity descends

The liquid surface

Mirrors turquoise air.

Look in deeply,

And see your tortured soul

© HMH, 2019

Fire


Red and silver evoked images of fire,

Alarming the heart.

Bloodshot and shiny, it cut a pathway through flesh and stone.

Lachrymose, in shock, passers-by stopped in the streets.

Glowing scaffolding couldn’t support the spire.

Humans fought the inferno

To save what could be saved

And still the flames endured.

Lead dripped into the wounds

As a mirror cracked.

Were we ever powerless

Against an irate nature?

What turned away the fates?

Was it prayers or

Singing in the streets?

Was it the power of faith,

Pleading and beseeching,

That turned the tide?

Was it one defiant cross?

Or the shower from hosepipes?

Hundreds took part in the fight

And made humankind hold its breath.

Out of flames and despair

A new hope survived.

© HMH, 2019

Barking Abbey

Cloistered walks rose towards the sky

The cool refectory mirrored

Muted voices

As nuns bowed to

The abbess.

Only ruins are left

Of walls welcoming

William, victorious

From Hastings…

Grey shapes remain.

Sharing their secrets with

Those who listen:

The Curfew Tower

And St Margret

Still hold out and guard those,

Dead to the world

© HMH, 2014

Phenomenon

Are we then likely to reach a conclusion?

Must we accept the most basic defeat?

Can sweeping statements and primeval landscapes

Account for the strangeness, the passionate nature

Protecting and challenging glorious bliss?

Would life become simpler in subtle tranquillity?

Can we achieve such miraculous feats:

Claiming insight in marvels beyond our reach?

Is love that easy on those individuals,

Who worship or value one person for life?

Sentiments change when old fancies grow tired

But must we regard this as failure or sin?

Love is the fountain of deepest emotion

Dividing the minds but compelling the hearts

Nobody questions oblique fascination

When passions and prudence traverse a blank sheet.

Strangest of all is the blissful oblivion

That enters the heart falling deeply in heat

Nothing prepares us for greatness so forceful

That all painful facts fade away in the mist.

Yet:

Irreversible joy precedes and prevails,

Throughout mischief or trouble, to light our days.

Thankfully harmony enters with wisdom

Winning the battle, that unhurried yearning

Never concedes to renounce or surrender

Even when stakes reach their consequent brink.

Courage and gallantry ever abound

Where heart and perception set forth hand in hand.

One core will certainly always remain

Where ardour, endurance complete our aim.

Accepting as true this one point is compelling:

The greatest of passions convey one real worth

Devotion grants all to the bravest of humans

Who dare to commit to the wonder of love

From Aspects of Love


Not long ago, Tim Taylor featured this poem on his blog. I want to thank him — and share the poem here

© HM Holten, 2014 (2019)

Post-Valentine’s


There’s a day: it’s filled with roses.

There’s a day of hopeful bliss.

There’s a day for pure romances, there’s a day for broken hearts.

Will the broken hearts be mended?

Will the flowers wither soon?

Will a romance grow and prosper?

Will that bliss be crushed through life?

Are the hopeful days soon ended?

Or can tenderness endure?

Who can fault a secret longing that may never find relief?

Who can mend a weakened heartbeat?

Who will live to find succour?

Is it time to call the fools out?

Let them celebrate the dream.

This I know, each hope rekindles, when the year has turned again.

© HMH, 2019

Moments

There are always those split seconds

When time stands still and mysteries

Come into being.

No-one can deny or undo precious

Memories or pictures that became

Stamped to the inside of the mind.

Every man or woman carries

This sweet burden

Whether they try to diminish or forget

That, which was.

Kneeling together on a cold floor,

A single kiss on the neck:

Holding on to one another

So tight that both knows

They never want to let go.

Lying together, sharing

Kisses so deep that small bits of

Soul enters the beloved

There to stay forever.

Such are the laws:

Nothing can change or lessen

The impact or

The truth

From Aspects of Attraction

© HMH, 2014