A Question of Shadows — A Dream

“A Question of Shadows” — C.Birde, 10/20

They stand — all four of them — in a line;

shoulder to shoulder;

on green-grass sward in fading sunlight;

facing me

No instruments in hand –

neither mandolin nor fiddle nor cello;

no guitar, no bass, no banjo…

Empty hands clasped together before them,

they stand — all four of them — in a line;

shoulder to shoulder;

on a green-grass sward in fading sunlight;

facing me

Or is it a photo?

An antique square snapshot,

grown milky with age,

colors evaporating into a wriggle-edged white border

that frames them,

those four young men?

The lighting is wrong, the shadows off…

A dark circle pools at their feet,

conforming to no fixed source, natural or otherwise,

while simultaneously,

their cast shadows stretch from them,

toward me,

so long and lean and solid,

surely,

I should feel the weight of their touch,

heavy as silence…

— C.Birde, 10/20

Golem — A Dream

“Aster” — C.Birde, 9/20

When

earth trembles &

that mantle of unmown grass –

lush &

green &

threaded through

with a purple fringe of wild asters –

separates from the soil of its making

to heave itself up up upright

on hindquarters of loam;

When

that vaguely humanoid shape,

soft-rubbed of keen features,

lurches with thick arms raised & sifting soil

to grope with blind,

blunted,

outstretched hands

like some unfathomably old

newly born golem of earth;

and When,

in umber-and-green-and-purple tide,

the shaken sward returns abruptly

to the soft mud of its recent birth

as if it never was…

Will its voiceless,

mossy,

desperate

roar have penetrated?

or will that thrashing cry have been dismissed

as dream?

— C.Birde, 9/20

Shaken — A Dream

“Broken Cell” — C.Birde, 8/20

Don’t shake it.”

He speaks in distracted manner,

as of one who grasps deep understanding

of such things as cell phones –

broken

that should not rattle & shift within themselves

with shivers of noise in enthralling fashion.

Don’t shake it.

But…

He said nothing of lifting it,

drawing it over lips, teeth, tongue,

feeling that seam incised in its length & sides,

of separating that seam so that gears &

circuitry & delicate inner workings

sift uniformly across the tongue,

crunch between molars, premolars, incisors,

move like coarse sand or grit or powdered glass

past pharynx & larynx

to scrape slowly, finally, at long last

d

o

w

n  

the trachea…

He said nothing of this.

Needless warning.

Uncalled for.

Implicitly

understood.

— C.Birde, 8/20

Depart/ed — A Dream

“Road” — C.Birde, 8/20

As in the way of dreams, two realities –

he has died;

he walks, straight and tall, beside me.

In death, two versions, also –

the one, all six-foot-tall of him rolled on his side

and bent in awkward, fetal curl,

hooked in blue-tinged dark to chirping, electric machinery;

the other, seated on ivory leather couch, in sunlight drenched,

a shotgun gripped, tripod-like, between legs and knees;

his long toes feel and finger the trigger’s curve.

In both cases, one consistency –

he is alone.

And yet,

and yet

Together we walk this long road of soft pale soil

that uncurls toward the huddled town below.

As that unknown hamlet slowly resolves,

he tells me of his death,

his dying;

of the messages he left for her

– the youngest –

to find.

Clues.

Scrawled in small, cramped hand on slips and scraps of paper,

neatly folded into white envelopes to be opened

– one each year –

on his death day’s anniversary.

We walk together, he and I.

I hear his voice — a rasp against my ear —

and the ocean’s waves that break themselves

against gray sea walls.

And, as in the way of dreams,

though separated by time, location, distance,

I see her

– the youngest –

in open room full of soft-lit windows;

see her lean against that same couch of ivory.

Though separated,

I see her finger run beneath an envelope’s flap and

break the seal.

Excitedly, she reads;

while he and I reach the outskirts of that sleepy town.

Here, the air smells of salt and sea.

Here, the wind finds my hair, my cheek.

And here, undeterred, he walks beside me;

but no longer does he

speak.

— C.Birde, 8/20

Lydia — A Dream

“Forest Green” — C.Birde, 7/20

Seven months

since last we met.

Five months since…

Since

Yet even in passing glance,

even at distance –

familiar.

Stature & gait;

wave of dark, curled hair;

eclipse of cheek –

familiar.

The shade of dress alone

speaks of difference –

uncharacteristic green

of emeralds,

of deep woods

thickly forested in memory

& being.

A color that suits you,

becomes you.

But…

Away, you stride,

path cleared of obstacles.

Unshackled.

Freed.

And I –

bumped & jostled

by this noisome,

swallowing

crowd –

though I call out,

though frantically,

I wave,

you neither see nor hear;

continue on your

way.

I missed you.

I miss you.

Seven months

since last we met.

Five months since…

Since

— C.Birde, 7/20

Wasp & Window — A Dream

“Confined” — C.Birde, 7/20

Confined.

Trapped

within the porch,

the wasp batters

itself against watery

glass seeking

nonexistent

exit.

Black,

self-waisted body;

six maroon appendages

waving.

Uselessly,

furiously,

determinedly seeking

what cannot

be found.

The wasp batters

itself against watery

glass.

The wasp batters

itself.

The wasp batters.

Batters.

B

a

t

t

e

r

s.

— C.Birde, 7/20

Dance — A Dream

“Dance” — C.Birde, 7/20

We danced.

O, how we danced…

Our bodies lightly pressed

& touching at wrists,

forearms,

elbows,

hips.

We danced

through a room cluttered,

crowded with tables & chairs;

with people

disinterested,

distracted,

curious.

We danced.

His lead so assured,

so easy to follow

that my step

never

f a l t e r e d.

— C.Birde, 7/20

Pinked — A Dream

“Pinked” — C.Birde, 6/20

Swept overhead,

in upward arch,

trunk and limbs

of dappled light

smooth-stroked

over milky sky.

Each reaching,

forking twig tip

a cascade of blooms

daintily evoking

carnations,

strawberries,

pink campions and

lemonade.

Backward bend

and upward gaze

at unfettered,

all-consuming

view –

an atmosphere

entirely awash

and in the pink;

in sweet dream

of romantic love;

in beauty and

hopeful rosy

youth.

And –

in love,

by love,

through love –

a world recovered

from its

wounds.

— C.Birde, 6/20

Slideshow — A Dream

“Slideshow” — C.Birde, 6/20

White cards,

full of breath

& space;

each,

a photo –

pristine,

immaculate –

of a snake.

Black racer.

Smooth Green.

Eastern garter.

Scaled, sleek.

Ectothermic.

Striped or

ringed;

patterned or

plain.

Rat.

Rattle.

Corn.

A slideshow

of snakes,

one after

another.

Reviled or

revered.

Poisonous

& not.

Earth.

Water.

Pine.

Coiled &

sinuous.

Undulating.

Sidewinding.

Concertina.

Rectilinear.

King.

Queen.

Copper.

Transition.

Intuition.

The deep

unconcious.

The slideshow

continues.

Snake after

snake after

snake.

— C.Birde, 6/20

Ghostwood — A Dream

“Ghostwood” — C.Birde, 6/20

Deep,

dark wood,

moon-bleached

and rinsed of light

of color.

Earth lifts —

root-twined,

rocky —

in slow and steady

upward arch

beneath a burden

of pines.

Gaunt figure.

Slack of limb

and wasted frame,

flame of hair and

spirit snuffed.

He shuffles unaware

in shabby slippers

and threadbare robe

between attentive,

watchful trees.

Alone.

Alone and ghostly.

Diminished.

Lost among

the elements,

whose beauty

would be magnified

did he not

haunt them

so.

— C.Birde, 6/20