Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Frog Pond Ballade

I knew my heart galled in a bitter state,
   hardened by years of whiskey and gin,
softened only by remorse for my fate,
   I no longer felt for kith and kin.
   Outside myself the world seemed within,
I’d walk in my yard around a frog pond
   watching lily pads afloat so thin,
ringed by green and gold mountains beyond.

What next? I asked, for time was getting late.
   My life would end before I’d begin.
 Leaves would turn fire to coldness of slate
   buried under a plate of chagrin.
 Is the bud a threat to discipline?
   Or harbinger to a magic wand?
Meanwhile, this boy’s gone through thick-and-thin
   ringed by green and gold mountains beyond.

My pond’s aura where croaking bullfrogs grate
   to silence peepers’ relentless din,
bursting night air in cacophonous fĂȘte
   only reminds me of where I’ve been.
   As young and old are forever twin,  
the night is the song of an ancient bond
   healing man and nature in a timeless spin,
ringed by silhouettes of hills beyond.

With joy, I have decided to pin
   my hopes to a pond, of which I’m so fond,
to bring me back to the world therein,
   ringed by green and gold mountains beyond.

George S. Chappell
  Rockland, Maine

A Fishermen's Memorial

Tbe photograph looks more like a vision
of a steeple top in the clouds
a ghosted scene on rolling surf,
bringing home unseen fishermen in shrouds
who were lost in storms on watery turf
while earning a living away from crowds.

A black granite stone keeps vigil on shore,
inscribed with eleven names of the lost
from a village known for hardy folk
the courage to venture in boats sea-tossed
going a way they must to invoke
the catch for which they wrest a fatal cost.

Families of fisher-folk lost in oceans
remember with gratitude that their kin
died honoring a tradition as old
as life itself, when humans shed fins,
emerged from their primal aquatic hold,
yet knew one day they'd have to return.

And, still today they go out in their boats
from dawn through the day, fog, and wind,
stand at the helm and look to horizon.
When their bodies drift back to land
winds sing a Kyrie eleison
for mercy to others gone out again.

George Chappell
Rockland, Maine