INDEX.

COLD NATURE
DEBRIDEMENT
EXPECTANT NIGHT (sections)
FALL
HOLDING RAIN
INDIGO
MAYDAY
THE NAG
PAIRING
THE PEGASUS RIDER
POPPIES

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COLD NATURE
Rhonda Arnold

‘I danced with an angel’
swooned false-lashed eyes
but, did a devil waltz her in disguise?
Engaging the entire room with broad charm n’ swagger lean
and charismatic slithering of a tongue flush
with fetching words, short on meaning-
silently filling neatly placed voids
with your expectant dreaming

Don’t get burned.
Don’t get too near.
Pitying the next marginalized dear,
‘cause I’ve stood there with that charlatan guy
twirling afoot, heart a’skip, ever mindful I may trip

On hazard lights of emphatic warning
days and nights of brilliant flashing,
turned to makeshift set for rapturous dance
convinced I’d careen before a crash

On autumn love spun to ice
before it bloomed past once, twice
in a chilled dismiss of preference;
affections caught in early freeze,
overnight unforeseen

Picking a bouquet of buds, hopeful for some flowers-
knowing well no window warmth nor nurturing of hours
can change the province of cold nature;
preserved in a stilted heart regardless of the weather,
and bitten in a jilted one, smarting with reminder.

Photo: John Mullen
Photo: John Mullen

©2013 Rhonda Arnold

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DEBRIDEMENT
Rhonda Arnold

Does trust broken heal in time with demonstrable remorse?

As the afflicted’s dying flesh gapes open to the sky
bearing fertile ground for flies’ egg-laying,
hatching maggots consuming a banquet of lies
to everyone’s utter revulsion.

And though gnawing cleans with finesse,
a lingering threat of metastasis remains
beneath sutures sewn of animal gut, joining tissue’s jagged edges;
leaving a knotty scar where once downy hair shone blonde.

The inflicter’s penance to live as pests gnawing on decay,
tasting its vile repugnance, a grueling sustenance of shame,
with no balm to soothe the scission wounds ever sore to touch.
And when the feast-of-rotten sentence has been fully served,
take a look at calendar days – was dubiety ever cured?

Photo: John Mullen
Photo: John Mullen

©2013 Rhonda Arnold

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EXPECTANT NIGHT (sections)
Rhonda Arnold

From counter puffs of cocoa dust
Rolls candied laughter amid walnuts crush
Cherries bling, coconuts flake
Foil cups rest on a tree-shaped plate
For tomorrow’s partake of truffles’ cream
Expectantly made in joyous Yule theme

Heady warmth of citrus, cloves, spice
Punctuates kettle of mulled wine imbibe
Accompanied later with bubble & squeak
Then rest ‘fore dawn’s flurry of snow ‘n slippered beat

For children and travelers beckoning duvets
Fluffed lofty this noon for friends relished stay
Restless, a few out the kitchen door step
Shock to the lungs then visible breath
Instinctively, gloves wipe corners each side
Before crystallization of wet coldness pried

Glancing skyward for bright star or sleigh
Briskly passing new thatches down Market Lane
Crewmen clambered rungs two at a time
Golden bales clipped in clever design
Daffodil thoughts near midwinter cusp
Voyeur of days so recently lost

Forcing bulbs now for botanical cheer
Boxed Amaryllis scarlet, nay lone austere
While Narcissus’ full spray of sweetness will reign
Till bending stems speak of blooms acrid drain
Rejoice! By then crocuses call
And perhaps the gentlest flower of all –
Clustered bells dipped low in abbey’s glebe
Sipping Anglesey’s snow beneath barren limbed trees

‘Round the serpentine on the lane called Horn
Muted thunk of planks transpassing the ford
Ducks Bridge quacks quiet sans stirring tonight
Like Moore’s mouse in ye enduring, ‘Twas the Night

Air once mildewed with Granta’s recede
Now honeyed warm this Christmastide Eve
Pillars ‘n holly cluster each niche
Alighting clerestories seen from deep in the pitch
Blazing high in rounded realm
Not other worldly but not of this ground
As beeswax makes its final flight lap
Incense collides from swung thurible lamp

Words fill the air with ritual power
Solemn heads bow in prayer and late hour
Hand worn pews scratched with rings
Sweat ‘n tears and whispered things
Children’s kicks and psalm books dropped
Repeated thru centuries of endless tick-tocks

***

Upon rooftop shingles, each grass blade
A glittering marvel meticulously lay
Moon beams, street lights as catalysts flash
An ethereal ballet scurrying past
Taller than an earnest snow
Cobbled road arced with tangled branch rows
Encrusting all but never seen
The magical instant frost comes into being

Resplendent sheen on the land cast wide
Cloaking all of the countryside
And between the villages on winter morns
Horizon’s dome cracked by vermillion’s far orb
Striated with fog where the land lays down
Plasma arms hover tundra’s iced ground
Till the sun comes round ‘n begins to reclaim
Unrolling the frost from across the plain

A definitive line as it turns noon
Dust’s crunch descends revealing birds’ food
Worm muddied in bath or dormant seed
Sustains a swoop flittered scavenge
From once fruited, gnarled trees
Iconic glimpse of the spade perched robin
In garden allotments now all but forgotten

Wild blooms and grasses sway
Recalling summer on near darkest of days
Distantly spied in mind’s wistful eye
The back border road blurs with pedal’s fair glide
From poppy’s prickle bursts red petal’s flop
And buttercup’s luster veneers bane fatal drop
While Queen Anne’s intricate whites she weaves
Then unravels her lace as if it were seed
Shaking threads to meadow’s gusty wilt
Golds turn amber sprouting autumn silk

***

Coats layered deep on hallstand’s peg
Wet boots no match for AGA’s breath
A few brief hugs and perhaps a chuckle
“I’m off to Bedfordshire, see you tomorrow”
Up the stairs cringing each tentative creak
Conscious of other’s sugarplum dreams
Then a dram and mince pie someone places on mantle
For greeting a late guest ushering holiday’s arrival
A few hours nod ‘fore festivities start
But already you’re feeling pure at heart

From contentment’s blanket peering out
A chamber different than usual rouse
Dull light seeps from drapery’s edge
Blinking off where your mind has been
For a moment uncertain if today is the one
Or if it’s grasp the alarm and get the job done
Till a bulging red sock hung on foot post finial
Stirs a sheepish smile broadening, revealing inside
Doubt’s been vanquished by delight.

Photo: John Mullen
Photo: John Mullen

©2013 Rhonda Arnold

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FALL
Rhonda Arnold

Whorling leaves in trajectories
lay-by in muddy pools
on farewell laps to soggy last stops
plastered to slimy rock sides
or caught in whirlwind door stoop corners;
winter rot finds cadmium yellow,
siphoning color till it cracks.

Bone chilled in hallow woods
witness to its finale,
reminded beauty flips quick
in nature’s pending fury;
a cyclical process of trials and glory
till we too are current caught
en route on our final journey.

Stream’s dankness hangs in air
like the sound of falling water,
and in your breath where heated air
mixes with near winter-wonder.
Billowing up from the valley floor

To where waning light tints
crowns of last leaves,
paused before a leap –
to fall and twirl, then nothing;
transfixed you persist
too long in your watching.

Photo: John Mullen
Photo: John Mullen

©2013 Rhonda Arnold

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HOLDING RAIN
Rhonda Arnold

Where a downspout would hang, a stoic chain
landing three stories straight from bank house eaves,
netting wind’s docile drops and channeling
miniature rivers crossing shingles
a soggy distance from foundation’s edge.

You are the chain perhaps, and I the rain.
Catching hold, tempering from wild places;
a duet created running your links,
hear our song through your negative spaces.

Or do I wear you down, down; red rust rub
of salty spray, mildew years, achy days
till strength I break, falling heavy to mud,
wind-water music turned sole lonesome thud.

Photo: John Mullen
Photo: John Mullen

©2013 Rhonda Arnold

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INDIGO
Rhonda Arnold

A muralist’s cartoon this indigo
night. Punctuated, letting a dotted
map shine. Dust sparkles in a static dance
Haloed viridian tinged with romance

An artist’s palette creates colors new
Iridescent white splatters Prussian blue
Like starlit sky fluttering down on you;
A velvet petal in arcing gesture

Sequesters heaven’s inky opaque stain
Spinning ornately a jeweler’s display;
Stellar pollen spilt by celestial wind
Breathing the scent of night indigo in.

Photo: John Mullen
Photo: John Mullen

©2013 Rhonda Arnold

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MAYDAY
Rhonda Arnold

Drawing in to pull away
Coming near but never to stay
Rushing up, pushing past
Eroding you lap after lap

Salt lips whispering sweet love to wind
In thoughts conveyed but never spoken
Of a union made to you alone,
Fidelity unbroken

Each and every pass it makes
Promises proved with tokens;
Glimmering gems awash on sheets of sand
Hints of ancient treasure
Of pearl strewn chests spilling gold and coin
Come marvel at the shimmer
Of depths and pledges richly sung in songs of fluted shells
Relaying a bond bespoke, soaked in vows
But not out in the open
Among the swells and warning gulls,
Crying in the distance

Orchestrating hypnotic, lolling metronomic,
Keeping time outward-in
With a beat-back kick powerless
To save itself from a constricting twine
Of charming ebb ‘n flow maritime,
Artfully noosed around your reason

Spitting mist, wetting face
Spinning you without changing place
In a dizzying oceanic space of elating kinetic ions;
Determined as a lover bold seeking playful chase
And overwrought by its overtures,
You recklessly embrace

Breath that raw air deep!
An interlace of legs and breaks
Drenching upturned cuffs, soaking wayward up
Clammily climbing,
Numbing warm flesh colorless
Beneath layers defending frailty,
Flesh and bone complexities
Shielding body, but not the lucid mind
From beauty timeless as earth’s founding,
Watching virtues fall to foam and roil in the waves

Oh, that heartless churning beast!
Unconscionable its covert ways,
Stealing unreached dreams beneath offshore waves
Then reservedly detached, caring no more
Yet devoid of feeling as always before;
Heaving you on a rock strewn spit
Chocking on a merger of water and lung,
A union that ultimately works for just one

Did you raise a Mayday call, inverted flag, fought at all?
A single shout of protest to a lone passer-by
Or semaphore for solace if only in your mind?
Were you seduced in duress or did you silently acquiesce
To an unrequited love that won’t quit your mind?
A drink elating spirit consuming control,
Roiling tumultuous, drowning your soul
Leaving you dizzy in rapturous quake
Riling in repeated stuporous mistake
Ending as all liaisons do for the abandoned party,
Thrown over in a tryst too short
To justify a memory enduring

Self-congratulatory, turning first to split away
A scenario ridiculous as self-resolved indifference
Murmured clambering great slabbed dunes compressing
Stunted grass and rubble crushed;
Cresting in a stumble,
To a smack of heady churning water lust
Olfactory synapses firing before the view,
Euphoric

Just a pitiful enabler
To a boundless wasteland of wreckage
And wretched abuse;
Fickle with its timing, indifferent with its prey,
The moon its moody temper,
Weather its untempered wrath;
Devouring gluttonous with a gloating belch
Comprised of cargo hulls and snapped mast rigging
Glorious, in its far-reaching conquests,
Whether a riptide snare or galleon breach
Landing marooned or fathoms deep
On uncharted, forgotten floors

A life spared today is ever under threat
Calling clairvoyant onshore to your yearning
Wandering bereft,
Fingers fondle restlessly, pockets full of luster
Now turned to dull stone
Due to separation from that which made it shone;
Weighted with tug relentless as tide
Logic’s pulled under
Hand-in-hand with cognizance,
That bonding with a beloved insensate
Are only oaths spoken, gone to no one
Forever after, disavowed

Photo: Friends of Acadia FB page
Photo: Friends of Acadia FB page

©2013 Rhonda Arnold

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THE NAG
Rhonda Arnold

Your wall blocks breeze, but not hot drone
A long and constant dinning moan
Of insipid tongue slapping neighbors’ drums
Day – Night – At – Dawn’s – Break
No Sunday rest for sanity’s sake

Harassment’s harness grows son despondent,
While henpecked baby blubbers her bonnet
Resentful of time before tossing reins
At mothering rhetoric of badger and blame
If a horse, a shot fired whether sound or lame

Making glue sticky with bones and hide
Cementing banal lips of kindred kind
Who may ride up to that house outside
Echoing silent, except for timbers and paint
Reverberating yet from nag’s bellyache.

Photo: John Mullen
Photo: John Mullen

©2013 Rhonda Arnold

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PAIRING
Rhonda Arnold

Seven java sparrows on two lines,
one taught, the other slack –
some faced forward, some faced back.
Till five flew and two remained,
primping plumage on an airy swing.

Then they, too, left – but went the other way,
to a bushy tree for tease and chase
amongst its sheltered branches.

Did the others leave because they knew,
or did the two pair cause the others flew –
are birds constant in all their flights,
or did I view an opportune darting of carnal delight?

Photo: John Mullen
Photo: John Mullen

©2013 Rhonda Arnold

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THE PEGASUS RIDER
Rhonda Arnold

Wings wide with swoop and glide
Through the bluest blue of skies
No destination just up for a ride
On a taupe colored horse whose back you fly

A dream of course, your midnight cruise
Up in the sky bluest of blues
Turn and glide over hills of spruce
Grasping the mane till you’re turned loose

Tumbling down through the air
Falling fast without despair
Landing on a pillow cloud
Your head lifts glancing ‘round

For your winged flying beast
To appear from dream released
Stroking feathers and his fur
Then mount again no saddle nor spur

To some a star pattern or mythology
But you’re wiser than what others see
With divinity charming ability
A Pegasus rider jousting reality.

Photo: John Mullen
Photo: John Mullen

©2013 Rhonda Arnold

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POPPIES
Rhonda Arnold

Gallant hearts fell to mud
and now a red spring rising;
ruffles unfurled in unhindered wind
billow a country’s bunting;
blown from fields of yester loss,
dew our tears regretting.

Photo: John Mullen
Photo: John Mullen

©2013 Rhonda Arnold

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