Song Cycle on Original Poems

Amish Plough Sarabande
Like the slow and steady pulse of a pocket watch, held neatly in the vest pocket, the blades of the plough silently slip into the black earth.
And with each measured pace of the horses gait, the soil is sliced, drawn up and then gently laid down in a dark wake of terra sea.
And from this distance, the harnessed team, plough, and ploughman float serenely in perfect harmony with horizon and meadow.

A Feather in a Shell
The dead rise before us floating on the swollen air. Their voices frozen in mid air are now mute behind closed doors.
Their eyes are lost gazing into smoky mirrors that capture The last flicker of sun as it winds through old dusty rooms and out the back door.
Exhausted from their joyful farm days, they delighted in their evening meals, the conversation into the night, the surrender to lamp lit beds.
Black and white photos slip from the back of old books.
Their souls ask to be carried from where they fell to the edge of town. Let us guide them to where the wind tears the black clouds above the trees.
They will float to the highest branch of the oldest tree on the darkest night of the year, then disappear.
We knew all along that the music had reached its rallentando, the slowing dancers, now locked time were taken by a stiffness that diminished them to stillness.
Now a quiet settles in our ears like a feather in a shell.

Today we walked together by the sea, and the roar of the surf engulfed the melody of your voice.
Your words were encrypted by the sound of the incessant water rushing up the beach,
leaping towards us, its hissing tongues foaming and spraying between our legs.
I have become entranced by the sound of the ocean and he endless wash of water on the shore.
I am drawn to ocean because it is forever whispering what you said to me when we walked together by the sea.

Heaven’s Gate
In heaven love is a daily feast that lasts all day and into the night. we make due on earth, wrapping up what unfulfilled desires we have left at the end of the day, and storing them in the seamless chambers of our dreams.
I am in a room brightly lit by sunshine. When I touch the keys of a piano, The notes turn into the bright and delicious blooms of flowers.
You mold your hands around the warm faces of your children, They turn to delicate pieces of terra cotta that you will fire in the kiln of your womb.
We share a bowl of raspberries and milk from the sheep and goats that graze in the distant meadow.
The bees fly through the grass, dressed in the silk of corn, steal through the open window and drink from the bowl you have left.
They suck the drops of red blood-juice from our finger tips, and before they dart out the window and journey to the sun, they visit each petal of the flowering notes hanging in the air.

Ode to an Orb Weaver
Great baby-ball belly, a melon roundness, gently rises and falls at each breath.
Gigantic girth cradles the womb, fertile as the darkest amazonian earth.
A silken thread is extracted through the navel as the music of Bach plays on silver cords of an orb weaver’s web.
The spider watches from the corner of the garden. In the shadow of sleep,
each breath is a single note in the minor key of acquiescence.
The rhythm of a drum is felt from deep within. While you sleep, I swim in a torrential sea that moves beneath us.
The ocean fills the bathtub and on a moonless night, you rise from the water chanting spiritus asper, spiritus lenis, until voice and breath are one.
The dark and dreadful music suddenly changes to a major key and At dawn a cargo of sunshine arrives at your beside.
The rain has washed the garden clean. Your breasts firm like unripened grapes soften in the sun and are filled with sweet nectar.
Our fingers touch where the spider has rebuilt his web.

Old House New House
The house is empty and all the furniture gone. Those mirrors were so heavy with our vanity, we left them for the buyer.
How silly we were to believe our dreams would end here.
When we arrived, we posted paper signs to let the movers know where to set things. The white chair here, the tall dresser there, the old couch in the basement. It seemed like a great idea but everything got stacked up; now we can’t find anything.
We forgot to make signs make for sadness, joy, and loneliness that we brought with us. One night we will rise, sleepwalk to a candle lit corner and find that we must have lived here in a past life; our shadows have left the walls stained.
I have never felt at home until I built one of my own, despite the sweat over money and decisions we labored over. On a spring day, when the house felt light and breezy, I dreamt of wandering again to a new place. But a voice moaned from the attic “leave at your own peril”.
We did anyway.
As with the other houses, this new place is not perfect; Like the abbreviated kitchen with its sawed off counters and the miniature cupboards. What were they thinking that a meal would be simply about opening a few boxes, dumping ingredients in a pan cooked over an orange glowing disk?
I prefer the roasting over an open fire, communal meals; the gone-to-the- market sprawling affairs. The sound of chopping vegetables and sauté aromas seasoning our conversation.
How ironic to read “Give Us Thou Our Daily Bread” stenciled over the kitchen threshold.
The ghosts of the previous occupants after sizing us up, are scribbling on the walls: “Thou Shall Not Want Brie and Croissant”.
Copyright 2015 William Neil

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