Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cemetery Stomp

An elegant skeleton
made her debut on
the eve of the All Hallows Ball.

Her tarsals a-tapping,
and phalanges a-flapping,
she woke to the wild rhythm's call.

With no hair to style
and a permanent smile
she found she missed naught that she lacked.

Ignoring the warning,
"You'll need that, come morning!"
she danced on her stone 'til it cracked.

Thus her portal broke down;
she remained above ground
while others returned to their rest.

No peace could she find,
left alone, left behind.
She thought moving on would be best.

She found a position
with a student physician.
At least it was someplace to hang

around with her ear
toward the graveyard to hear
when the ghostly band struck up again.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Final Touches

He left the frame among the sheets
on the bed in the home of his son.
Splintered, decayed,
it could hold its piece no more.
The artless fragments are gently laid by.

Solemn descendents assemble
in the empty gallery,
remembering the scene:
      pines crown the arid mesa
      behind the apple tree and daisies
      that he coaxed to bloom and bear
      he found the formulae, tacitly bestowed
      elements of wisdom on children, too
      they recall their own faces
      applied in indelible oils
      and the elegant figure of the artist
      who shared his studio for so, so long

Perhaps he'll show her first,
then submit the canvas for review
by the One who gave him brush and paints,
who applies the final refinements
with tender strokes;
who will restore the frame,
infuse it with enduring element,
replace the dust with polish, gilt,
and fit it to his lifescape

For my grandfather, Ross D. Gardner, 1914-2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Golden fans flutter
carpeting the breezy park
Autumn's rich largesse

(I first met the fan-shaped leaves in Japan, where a word that sounds like 'ginkgo' means 'bank.'  My sisters and I called the ginkgos 'money trees.'  But I don't think you can place a value on their beauty.)