Thursday, March 31, 2011

A new poem

URBAN SNOW (March, 2011) We hike in snow Complaining of ice Through a park whose usual gate Is closed Across an empty golf course A still in and black and white, Evergreens black brush strokes Black against the white of snow Then At the edge of the greenbelt Darkness forms four legs, Then another Holding still; Coyotes! Hands screaming with cold We fumble with cameras, Knowing they’d flee Yet the young female ventures close enough To see the banked fire In her amber eyes, The detailed grain of her coat In shades of lichen and fallen Leaves. We gaze at each other In silence, Our breath a fragile bridge across the divide Between us Though she is watchful she is Almost indifferent to our bundled shapes, our dangling cameras, Our boots worn from other trails It is our turn to be old, To rest in this moment As if it were a dream we couldn’t quite remember Though I can almost feel the cold thrust of her nose in my hand The musky thicket at dusk The bones of feral cats Ringing like bells in her blood The wild thickets of hunger and Lusts are not strange to me, Nor the call for a mate That never answered. Karen Sykes

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Poem for the Dead

This is a new poem about an old theme - loss of a loved one. I've been trying to write this poem for about five years to no avail.

Then tonight, it came to me almost word for word from wherever the words come from.

I thank the Muse.



You did not know we were there

In our suits and high heels

Gathering like crows

At dawn

Enclosed in a casket

Your eyes closed against the light

You’d have hated that

After all you lived your whole life

With open eyes,

Balls to the wall

Triple-A personality with

The heart of a thistle

Yet enough fire

To kindle

Hearts into conflagration

And kindness enough

To rescue a kitten

From a tree too high to climb

No tree too high for you

You swung from broken branches

As light as a wren

With chainsaw roaring

As if to bring a city to its knees

Or the women

Who loved you too long

And there were always


Now the sons and daughters


A freckled daughter-in-law with tear-splashed


Already a mother

And another on the way

A son who loved you so hard

It turned to hate

Two ex-wives

And a lover


Now you will be alone

For the first time ever

Under the earth you loved so much

You wore it

Now there is nothing to do

But throw red roses

At your casket

As if they were words.

Karen Sykes (aka Karen Waring)