Poetry Matters

sharing a love for language

Category: Sonnets

By Still Water

Midday,  stillness settles above the pond.

No breeze stirs the tall grass, dragon flies

Flit and hover above the water Lilies.

I breathe the perfumed stillness of the pond.

An older couple slowly walks along

the water’s edge. They do not notice me.

I am a shadow, someone no one sees.

I do not move, nor do I make a sound.

They approach the edge of the dark water.

The woman bends to touch the pond.  Unmoved

Spottled  Koi  drift close to her. She removes

her shoes and steps into the water.

From far trees a single bird cries

a piercing cry and startled flies away.


Memories: From the Other Side

Why do people think becoming human

Is a gift, a fairy tale, a noble thing?

I do remember when I first began

To stand on these two thin legs, and sing

Instead of croak, and with two arms and hands

To stretch and touch the mud. It felt so thick.

I do recall the first touch of her hands

Resting on my shoulders. Her lips. The kiss.

But I remember also flexing fins

Not feet, better formed to swim at night,

And eyes better formed to see the smallest thing

Through water. These legs never felt quite right.

And trust me, there is nothing that compares

To the taste of buzzing flies snapped from the air!

These Later Years

Our early years, yes, were quite marvelous;

white porch swings & slow spring afternoons

when beneath your quiet eyes the first blush

of passion swelled & the low summer moon

poured its light across the sleeping grass.

& then our children ran through open fields

their laughter rising drifting bird-like  past

our golden dreams in Autumn’s shimmering world.

Still – as I watch you brush your white hair

that falls like snow on rising hills – the trace

of memory, your eyes , your lips , your care

worn body, the movement of your wrist,  such grace.

There is, I know, no season quite so fair

nor beauty found than in these later years.

Winter’s Hour

This is winter’s hour: a frozen moon

withdraws into a frozen sky. Thin aisles

of snow drift like ash, a white woven

shawl falls across your shoulders. Your smile

slowly fades in the soft neon light of the T.V.

recently turned off. This is the liquid hour.

Memories surge and recede, a shallow stream

disappearing among stones. A pale flower

once open to the sun now folds into

itself. This is the hour of dreams. The play

of your hair across my lips slips through

my mouth its texture lingers these many days.

The trace of your fingers slips through my hand

in this silent empty hour of snow and sand.

-Bill Cook

On the Death of a Friend

The blue-green field that lay across

the way is divided by rows of barren trees:

a peach orchard, perfectly trimmed. The frost

hasn’t settled in yet gone are the thick leaves.

Your grave lay open, your casket suspended, unreal.

Family and friends gather, stand together;

the long exhausting wait is over. All feel

the slow turn of something that can never

return. The evening light recedes across

the green ascending field and sleeping orchard

casting long shadows. But nothing is lost

forever, we hope, and as we walk toward

the long row of parked cars, speechless,

an autumn breeze carries the scent of peaches.

– Bill Cook