Monday, June 28, 2010

Poems for Eric


[I am hiding this back in my archives, as they are not for the general public. But they are a part of my history, and part of my poetical output, so I want to include them. These poems document a part of my journey that I often remember. Eric was the one and only man I was ever with because I really loved him. Other men "happened" to me. I was with them because they chose me, not the other way around. Even so, it was far from perfect. We did love each other, but Eric was unable to commit and I was too insecure in those days, too afraid of abandonment to be okay without a commitment. He was a beautiful but tortured soul without the gift of happiness. I was a free spirit trying to be okay in cages. We moved in together with a total of five teenagers and one seven year old between us. Clearly impossible. The kids were not happy and I felt we were all paying a high price without any surety (though there is never any surety.) Plus I was all too aware - he made me all too aware - that his eye was always roving - there were so many other, more beautiful women out there, and I was only one woman. How could he be content with a snack, when there was a whole smorgsbord waiting?

Eric gave me doves on my birthday. One of the doves was killed by his cat. The other dove lived on alone. The evening I told Eric I was moving out, he sat in silence for a few horrible moments. Then he simply reached over and opened the door of the cage. The dove flew out to its freedom. That said it all.

However, when I look back, he is the only one I regret, the only one I remember, the only one my feelings did not change for. These days he is living in Nicaragua and feels he is in Paradise. I am glad he has found happiness. Because I so wanted someone to share the journey with, my task was to make it through this life mostly alone. I have children, and friends aplenty, but never managed a long-term partner and, finally, I no longer wanted or needed one. Though, at any time through all the years, had Eric ever called and asked me to, I would have been on my way to him within the hour.]

February 16, 1983

After the long night,
an early morning.
After the long silence,
a tapping at my window.
After too long alone,
I rose to greet you,
and now I often wake
at four in the morning,
remembering your touch
that woke me,
woke me
from my long sleep.

March 3, 1983

Out in the country,
brown and bare,
I'm watching seagulls
circling
gray rainy skies
when suddenly
thoughts of you
invade my quietude
with an urgency
that tells me
yes,
this must be
passion.

March 14, 1983

somtimes I feel
like a closed book
I want you to open
as if you see
only the covers of me
and I'm not sure
if you even want to read
all that lies hiding
inside of me.
sometimes in the dark
when we open up the pages
e get close
but time and all
there always is to do
intrudes
and I feel I've been snapped shut
in the middle of a chapter
till the next time
there is a time
and it's not that I'm asking
for more time
for us to be -
only to know
whether you want to
keep on
reading me.

March 24, 1983

you like beginnings:
the thrill of the chase.
I'm careful at beginnings.
I like to feel safe.
You came on so strong
that almost, I believed
and though you are already
halfway gone
I begin to feel attached
just as you leave.
For you like beginnings
and pain has taught me
everything I know
and so perhaps I was
a little slow
in removing my defences
just before you go.

March 39, 1983

Like a daisy
growing out of a crack
in the pavement
I see you,
your feet in cement,
your head in the sun.
Fill your eyes full of clouds,
your heart with content:
scent of earth,
blue of sky,
good work to be done
and no need to ask why.
Think a thought of me
on the periphery
of your day,
sweet person,
as I grow peaceful
in my garden plot.
Like a daisy
I count all your petals,
one by one:
he loves me,
he loves me not.

April 17, 1983

sand-sitting
at the end of a
peaceful day
spent watching you -
loving
the face,
the smile,
the voice,
the quiet eyes.
Lake-watching,
and listening to my heart
as over and over
it says
your name
your name
as over and over
and over
it says
your name.


April 27, 1983

your face
above me
dark-bearded and beautiful
against the sky

trees
benign
behind your shoulders
and in my heart
a boulder
that dammed up
all my feelings
slipped and slid
away
and I know
I love you
love you
for giving me
my most beautiful day.

May 1, 1983

Toss me aside
so lightly.
It doesnt hurt
because you prove
there never really was
any caring there
to make it
worth
the shedding of
one tear.

May 5, 1983

sifting through your words
and reservations,
your disclaimers,
I return again and again
to the friendly closeness
of lying in your arms.
With all the holding off
you do with words,
with your arms you draw me
closer, closer in
and so you draw me back to you again
from where I'd retreated
in my fear of pain
and even though you promise
to be leaving soon
I love you now
in the dark, dark, dark
of your room.

May 23, 1983

Rooftops
and sunshine,
your face caught against a backdrop
of fluffy Muppet movie clouds
on clear blue sky.
Your kind eyes looking down
rush of traffic down below,
children's voices,
then no sound.
Only you and me,
locked suspended
in a world of We,
eyes closed fast
against the light,
holding tight.
And I forgive the universe
for all those lonely years,
for all the tears
and times I thought
it would never happen to me.
I had almost forgotten
the little I ever knew
of closeness
and love on rooftops
till life gifted me
with you.

May 28, 1983

apprehension
when I sometimes feel you
traveling vast distances away
following other faces
that beckon you like stars
and I remember
too many years alone
untouched, untouching
and how I traveled far
to find this closeness
just being where you are

Fear turns
to gratitude
that at least
once more
I've had the chance
to hold you close
within the friendly dark
and tell you
just how beautiful
you are.

june 13, 1983

look outward, friend,
and see the beauty there:
each flower and each tree
so perfectly being
what it's meant to be.

look inward, friend,
and see your beauty too.
Arent you as beautiful as any tree?
So much I see there when I look at you;
just like a flower,
all you need do is be.

look closer, friend, and see
the way you are reflected in my eyes:
you're made of star-gazing and dreams,
sorrow and seeking,
and through your pain-filled eyes
your soul is speaking.

Like an eagle rising through black clouds
into the clearer air is how I see you.
I long for you to fly beyond the pain
and find the freedom that awaits you there
when you let go and see how much remains.

July 2, 1983

still like an eagle,
above the clouds you soar now.
Something has freed you,
flying up so high.
And down below,
I catch my breath to see you:
a thing of beauty
dark against the sky.

August 12, 1983
TO A SEAGULL

Jonathan,
I watch you walk on sand.
The surf rides up the beach,
retreats,
like emotions fill my heart full -
ebb and flow.
Music plays behind me.
My feet play in sand,
and my spirit soars
as new contentment
fills me fuller
than I've ever been
before.

August 19, 1983

The baby dove takes flight.

You walk under the branches
with kind eyes.

In total trust
it steps into your hand.

I engrave the sight
upon my heart
forever.

I know it is your spirit,
your inner being
that I am seeing
shine so plainly there,
and that I love a man
of rare worth and beauty

So in total trust
my heart takes flight
and comes to rest
within your
gentle hand.

September 15, 1983
THOUGHTS THAT
DIDNT MAKE IT
AS A POEM

sometimes I'd like to
just chase clouds and dream,
roll downhill
through buttercups and clover
and pretend
there'll be a time
someday
when all the pain
and struggle
will be over.

When I lie beside you
my tears are not for joy
(though there is joy
in all I've found in you)
but for chagrin
that even in finding
all I have been
seeking
it's still real life,
each day with its
own struggles
and I still must stay
so strong.
Not halving the load,
each of us packs
his own burden,
and all we can
hope to do
is comfort
and take comfort in
each other.

Hello, fellow traveler.
Your path is so like mine.
Like two oxen in a field
did we stumble and stagger
over rocks and hillocks
to meet
and try to
pull our load
in tandem.
How we fight
the bitter harness,
our eyes raised
skyward
to where the world
is free,
up to our knees
in mud,
with a head
full of dreams,
flogging
flogging
-to what avail?-
hello, brother dreamer.
When you hold me,
comfort is
the only word I know.
I see
your spirit
striving
and I admire
your beauty
for surviving.
Let me help you.
Let me tell you
how you help me
by giving me days
when I feel life is all
I ever wanted it to be.
And in days
when my spirit cries
it doesnt want
any more
any more
just no more pain
and struggle,
you help me
just by being there,
you share,
and in your sharing,
you bring forth
all my caring.

Hello, friend.
Your hand in mine
doesnt make the load
any lighter
but it sure feels friendly.
And there is a rightness
being here with you
that I dont need to
put words to.
I'm glad I didnt miss
this part of the highway,
so much nicer walking
here with you.
I'd have missed so much
I'm learning
on my own.
And I may cry
sometimes
because there is
no easy way
but all I have to do
is look at you
to know
I'd rather share
the struggle
here with you
day by day
than take
the easiest path
leading
any other way.

October 17, 1983

Swimmer in
my secret sea,
you've touched
the inner parts
of me.
While others
circled
on my shore,
you've come
where no one
ever was before.

Striving together
upon the tide,
locked together
do we ride
and you are
deep deep deep
within
the inner chambers
where I hide.

And oh, the fear,
the fear it comes
at thoughts
of one day
being one
after all the
warmth of you
and the closeness
of being two.

Swimmer in
my secret sea,
I know words
wont set fears free,
but you have
traveled far too far
to where
my deepest
feelings are.

And even when
you go away,
part of you
will always stay
swimming in
my secret sea
in the
deepest
heart of me.

October 15, 1983

Brother Dreamer,
when your struggles take you
so far away
from where my touch
can reach you,
lonely as the eagle
who soars gray skies
and perches on jagged peaks
surveying harsh
landscapes
of the inner soul,
it makes me
lonely too.
Helplessly,
I watch
your painful journey,
knowing all my love
encircling you
without
does not warm
that cold distant place
where you're circling
within.
Beautiful traveler,
your path
becomes
my path,
your pain
my pain.
In sharing
your aloneness,
I am alone
again.

December 26, 1983

Loving the eagle,
glorying in his flight,
in his beauty,
in his eagle-ness,
could I
throw a rope
around his neck
and pull him
from the sky?
Tie him to earth
with love untrue
where, fettered and tame,
and with his spirit lame,
he would not not any longer
be the eagle
I once knew?
Fly, eagle, fly,
free and beautiful and high.
Set your spirit free,
be all that you can be,
for my love wants to lift you
up so high
that you find all the beauty
in the sky.
Eagle,
I love your beauty now,
appreciate the being
that you are,
and all I know
is Love is not the captor
of our hearts -
only our own fear
of letting go.

March 14, 1984

Your interpretation
was so far
from my intention.
All the times
I put my arms
around you
you thought I was
asking something of you,
while I thought I was
giving.
I'm stunned
you did not see:
it was for you
I always loved you,
not for me.

[In September my kids and I moved out. Soon he was driving past my house laughing with someone new. But this September day in 1986, I found myself stopping by his house and worldlessly he took my hand and led me to his room. I wrote this poem, perhaps hoping we would start up once again. But we never did. He never called, he was never one to initiate and after all that had happened, he would have needed to this time.]

Brother Dreamer,
we've traveled far
to get to where we are.
How much further
we have yet to go
it is good we
do not know.
But I trust
the universe
is taking me
where I'm
supposed to flow.
And am set free
to accept
such offerings
as sky and trees
and a sheltered
rainy day
within your arms,
knowing there'll be
no harm.
Sweet Dreamer,
as always
when I look at you,
your beauty shines.
Life has been kind
that I can count you
as a special friend
of mine.

[I spoke to him on the phone the summer of '89 when Jeff was so ill. His daughter Lorill went to visit Jeff. In our conversation he asked me how I liked Tofino and I told him how ecstatic I was there, that it was like one big coffeehouse. He was happy for me. He told me he had bought himself the Harley he had always wanted, suggested he might take it on the road and come and see me. But he never did. So it was unexpected when he phoned me on Christmas Eve, 1991. My house was full of kids and we were about to make the trip to Qualicum to spend Christmas with my mom at my sister's house. Eric told me he was in Vancouver, at his father's. As always he didnt say what perhaps he was hoping and without the words, I couldnt presume or guess. But I imagine, now, being that close to the Island, he might have been hoping I'd come to him or invite him to come to me. As always, I was hampered by family and not free. We spoke for a few moments, I hung up confused. What had he wanted? Why couldnt he say the words?

Sigh. Always missed connections. It was so rare for him to reach out. And of course it had to be a moment when I was up to my eyeballs in obligations.

December 24, 1991

Eagle brother,
your eyess have always
pierced me through
to the secret place
only you knew.
There was
something
in your glance
that drew me
straight to you.
Fellow dreamer,
weary traveler,
in a world
of happiness
elusive,
where finally
it is only
found within,
we once shared
closeness
and a comfort
that I only knew
with you.
For you alone
was my love
deep and true.
I walked on -
your pain
too great
to allow me
to stay,
my love too deep
to be able to say -
yet the sound of your voice
on the phone
makes the years
fall away,
and suddenly
it is
eight years ago
once more.

[This last poem I actually mailed to him and I think he may have received it. No answer of course. Later I heard he had moved to the Kootenays, long his dream. His daughters both came looking for me in their young womanhood to thank me for being an influence on them back when. I asked his older daughter to ask him if I mighrt email him. He gave his standard answer: let the past be the past, no looking back. But I have always looked back. He was my one love. He always told me "No easy answers". But I didnt want an easy answer. I just wanted AN answer.]

July 13, 1997

These days
I often find
my thoughts
returning
to dusty mesas
dotted with dry scrub
along the arroyo
through dry, sandy gorges
you once told me
was a river
long ago

In reverie
I circle
sleepy rooftops
finding yours
where we made love
one afternoon
your face
so dark and beautiful
above me
those summer days
that ended
way too soon

Those days
you were an eagle
soaring / captive
caught somewhere
between the earth
and sky
while I caught my breath
and emptied out
my being
into the wonder
of becoming
you and I

Now my spirit
sometimes walks
on summer mornings
-dew-fresh scent of tall marsh grasses,
willow trees,
fresh lake ripples
lapping gently
on the shore-
the scent of
all the mornings
I remember
and I long to walk
beside the lake
once more

In memory you turn
your slow smile on me
always a bird
alighting
on your hand
I hear again the coo
of doves at daybreak
and somewhere -
another time, another land -
"Blackbird" is singing
in the dark of night
while two lonely seekers
try to hold their pain
at bay
by clinging to each other
way too tight
unable to find words
to make it right
and somehow lost their way

The dove lost its mate
and flew
but keeps on
circling
circling back to you
never very far
from where you are
if you but knew

Through all those years
I saw your beauty plain
and now I am
remembering
remembering
again

The single step
that started
my long journey
the thousand miles it took
to bring me home
all I was searching for
I found within me
forever now
without the need
to roam

I have one more hug
to give you
in this lifetime
one more time to see
the smile start
in your eyes
if we never meet again
know I have loved you
as no other
all the seasons
of our lives

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