Three poems by Gaia Holmes — And Other Poems

Feckless Sometimes it makes him angry, this dying, and I keep doing things wrong, forget to soften the stars with almond milk before I bring them to his bedside on a saucer, buy the wrong kind of green tea, the wrong kind of holy water from the village shop. He says there are […]

via Three poems by Gaia Holmes — And Other Poems

Love – can break your heart

 

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”   –  Kahil Gibran

“Love is composed  of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”   –  Aristotle

“Where there is love there is life.”   –   Mahatma Gandhi

 

                                         

*

Love- can break your heart

As our choir sang

Pour les maisons de la retrait

I bore witness

From the corner of

My eye

His devotion

Spills from

Pale blue eyes

Rarely leaving her side

Reading, anticipating

His efforts to

Reassure her

Albeit briefly

Respirations syncopate

As though

One heart beats

Pour tous les deux

I can feel fragile tissues

Weakening

The tenuous hold

On this life

Sa crainte

She could cross over

Without him

 Son coeur se briserait

*

Bisous,

Léa

And the rain fell

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall
see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your
delight.”
~Kahlil Gibran

“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the
hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly
sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud
only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a
drawer… and everything collapses.”
~Colette

“Breathe.
Listen for my footfall in your heart.
I am not gone but merely walk within you.”
~Nicholas Evans

For my daughter Jacqueline (1974-1976)

And the rain fell

And the rain fell

Scattering precious droplets

That would cling

To your long dark lashes

And your down-like curls

The laughter in your eyes

So evident in your outburst

As you thrust back your wee head

Straining to catch each particle of moisture

Within your grasp

And the rain fell

*

And I marveled in your delight

Each time as if it were the first

The magic ignited

In your ebony-brown eyes

As you tried with clenched fists

To capture the minute drops

As if to possess them – forever

And the rain fell

*

We come to realize

That each of us

Like those drops of rain

Must abandon the boundaries of earth

To embark on the uncharted journey

Seizing memories as our companion

And the rain fell

*

It soaked my clothes

It dampened the virgin wood that encased you

And my body trembled

As the deep pain clawed at my heart

The freshly upturned soil

That waited to embrace you

And the rain fell

*

The skies above seemed to match my tears

Falling softly

The icy wind

Seemed to mock the last kiss

We shared

The frigid wax of your lips

The eyes that no longer met mine

My arms long to caress you one more time

…And the rain fell

Bisous,

Léa

Un Cadeau de Silence

“Simply having children does not make mothers.” – John A. Shedd

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
– Elie Wiesel

“I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.”
– Audre Lorde

Un Cadeau de Silence

Amazon

Wants me to

Find the

Perfect gift

For mom

Mother’s day

Will soon

Be upon

Us

She will

Be upon

With the

Stick

The hard rubber brush

The chemicals

The rituals

Upon me

Beating childhood

Like a seal pup

Until all that remains

Is the bloody pulp

Survival required

Blocking out

So many years

Time and distance

Are both

Healers

Mother’s day

Flashbacks

But the war is

Over

For me

Six-thousand miles

A buffer

Zone

Let

The Hague

Try her crimes

The gift of

Silence

No longer

On the

Table

And

I

Will not

Be

Bought

Bisous,

Léa

Haiku: Childhood

“Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime.”  – Herbert Ward

“Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them, leaves an impression.” – Haim Ginott

“When someone was hitting me, or like sexually molesting me, it just seemed normal to continue to do that to myself.”  – Tatum O’Neal

Childhood

For many of us

Life wasn’t about being loved

Survival’s the game

Bisous,

Léa

Une amie est mort

‘When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” – Kahlil Gibran
“He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Une amie est mort  (in memory of Louisette Fabre)

The shaft of the evergreen towers above me

Against a grey sky

Its head bent and broken

At its crown – two blackbirds lament

Bisous,

Léa

I hear you soaring

“What is buried in the past of one generation falls to the next to claim.”

– Susan Griffin

 

I hear you soaring

I know why

The caged bird sings

I know her songs

Her voice

Clear, pure, painfully true

She sings of things

Nice girls don’t talk about

She tells family secrets

Her eyes shine brightly

A beacon for other birds

She exposes herself

Her cage gilded and ornate

Sits by a large picture window

Her heart heavy

Her wings ache

To fully expand

And fly free

The people who put food

In her cage each day

Say they are protecting her

From the animals,

Elements and the hunter’s gun

They kill her

Softly

Her songs more urgent

They bring others

To show her off

This prized possession

They cannot possess

Her Song

She has flown over

White capped mountains

And wave tossed ships at sea

She wept as she flew lowly

Across the killing fields

And sang sweetly

Names of the unknown

As she soared over rainbows

And as she rested on the oak branch

Their net brought her down

Trapped in a cage

For the people to gawk at

For purchase

To own

You can cage the songbird

You cannot own her

Her song is free

I know why

The caged bird

Sings

Bisous,

Léa

Birds of Prey – Saigon

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.
– Dalai Lama

birds of prey

the priest and huyen

sit across from the dying mother-in-law

tham, she is Buddhist

and afraid

they smell the rotting meat

of fear

tham is afraid to die

the priest –  eager to convert her

in her time of fear

they hover eagerly

will she take their bait?

a precaution added insurance for

her journey

leaving it behind

whatever use it might be

discarded in a heap with silken pajamas

left behind

as she crosses through the final exit

what remains of 53 years

of traditions

rituals handed down

from her ancestors

will they pick those

bones clean

they chant as they recite the beads

and count her among those caught

in their net

Bisous,

Léa

GOP Psalms

Going into an election year, one quote will not do! While the poem is an older one, and the names may have changed, it is certainly relevant.

“Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual.”

– Ayn Rand

And last but far from least:

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”

– Haile Selassie

GOP Psalms

Bush is my Shepard

I shall know want

He maketh me lie down

On park benches

He polluteth pristine waters

He eulogizes family values

For re-election sake

Yea-

Though I walk through the valley

Of unemployment

And education cutbacks

I fear no evil

Clarence Thomas art with me

He shields me with sailors

They hooketh my tail

He leadeth me past still photos

For Helms sake

He anointeth desert sands

With blood

For mid-east oil

He enriches elitist coffers

Surely embezzlement and fraud

Shall follow him

All the days of his incumbency

And I shall dwell in the kitchen

Barefoot and pregnant forever

Bisous,

Léa

For the rest of her life

“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being,

the more joy you can contain.”

~ Khalil Gibran

For the rest of her life

*

The rich soil

A gaping wound

In anticipation

This greedy predator

Hungers for its prey

*

The tiny pine offering

A simple shroud

A sack of earth her pillow

Static voices – rat-a-tat-tat – rat-a-tat-tat

Nothing of comfort here

*

A spring planting

Where only grief

Takes root

Pain is now

My shadow

*

A branch

Frail

Unable to survive

Severed

The tree hollowed

*

What mother leaves

A daughter alone

In the unforgiving earth

Returns to Brooklyn

And fondles tiny white shoes

*

Come winter

I daven

The wound engulfs me

And the child

Who lie in the snow

 

Bisous,

Léa