Saturday, March 4, 2017

After the Funeral

Like the bitter cold
Under the door sills
And fingernails
And window frames
And eyelids
And settles
Into the marrow of my bones.

And good deeds
Of the day
Like the dried leaves
And prayers
And bare branches
And tears
From the recess of my heart.

At midnight
I have nothing to offer you,
Nothing that I can give back.
I am a dry well,
And an abandoned cellar.

So, fill me Lord.
Pour out Your Spirit on me,
And make me Your vessel.

For of myself,
I am nothing.

All is gone out of me,
Like the guttering flame
Of a single taper.
last gasp,

Jennifer D. Behnke - March 5, 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Flint - Christina Rossetti - (1830 - 1894)

"An emerald is as green as grass; 
A ruby red as blood; 
A sapphire shines as blue as heaven; 
A flint lies in the mud.

A diamond is a brilliant stone, 
To catch the world's desire; 
An opal holds a fiery spark; 
But a flint holds fire."  

Christina Georgina Rossetti

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Hunting the Phoenix - by Denise Levertov

Leaf through discolored manuscripts,
make sure no words
lie thirsting, bleeding,
waiting for rescue. No:
old loves half-
articulated, moments forced
out of the stream of perception
to play “statue,”
and never released —
they had no blood to shed.
You must seek
the ashy nest itself
if you hope to find
charred feathers, smoldering flightbones,
and a twist of singing flame

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Fábula De La Sirena Y Los Borrachos - Pablo Neruda (1904 - 1973)

Todos estos señores estaban dentro
cuando ella entró completamente desnuda
ellos habían bebido y comenzaron a escupirla
ella no entendía nada recién salía del rio
era una sirena que se había extraviado
los insultos corrían sobre su carne lisa
la inmundicia cubrió sus pechos de oro
ella no sabía llorar por eso no lloraba
no sabía vestirse por eso no se vestía
la tatuaron con cigarrillos y con corchos quemados
y reían hasta caer al suelo de la taberna
ella no hablaba porque no sabía hablar
sus ojos eran color de amor distante
sus brazos construídos de topacios gemelos
sus labios se cortaron en la luz del coral
y de pronto salió por esa puerta
apenas entro al rio quedó limpia
relució como una piedra blanca en la lluvia
y sin mirar atrás nadó de nuevo
nadó hacia nunca más hacia morir.

All those men were there inside,
when she came in totally naked.
They had been drinking: they began to spit.
Newly come from the river, she knew nothing.
She was a mermaid who had lost her way.
The insults flowed down her gleaming flesh.
Obscenities drowned her golden breasts.
Not knowing tears, she did not weep tears.
Not knowing clothes, she did not have clothes.
They blackened her with burnt corks and cigarette stubs,
and rolled around laughing on the tavern floor.
She did not speak because she had no speech.
Her eyes were the colour of distant love,
her twin arms were made of white topaz.
Her lips moved, silent, in a coral light,
and suddenly she went out by that door.
Entering the river she was cleaned,
shining like a white stone in the rain,
and without looking back she swam again
swam towards emptiness, swam towards death.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Mermaid and the Ranger

Entombed in a glacier,
The mermaid hung suspended,
Gazing out over her cerulean prison,
locked away from the very thing that brings her life.

A blizzard had come an October day,
It's wild winds and tempest waves,
Icily crackled through her taut muscles,
unaccustomed to the cold, native to balmy climbs so far hence.

Against her will, the chill seeped into scales
and gnawed at her golden tresses,
her strong arms grew slack with the encapsulating frost.

A tear still frozen in her widened eye, she waited three long years.
The flutter of a pulse growing dimmer,
as mutely she floated immured in the impending doom
of an eternity of this ice tomb.

At the solstice, when the long nights ceded to the silent march of the sun,
A single faint sun's ray chanced to fall across her gelid face,
as a single ranger noticed her from a distant mountain.

Picking his way slowly towards her across the expansive seaway struck solid,
he lifted his oil lamp to shine toward the stoic beauty,
so strangely posed as if in mid-drift.

The warmth of the lamp, or was it his smile, melted the tear from her eye,
brought the chance to blink. The opportunity to be seen
and gazed upon and admired ignited the pulse within her once more.

Her flagging heartbeat crescendoed to a cascading drum,
though she had thought it beyond hope.
Little cracks ran and dislodged around her fingers,
and near her cheek the ice splintered.

Revived, her arms grew stronger, her smile wider, and yes,
her laugh began to tinkle through her lungs.
The foreign sound created a cascade of tiny balls of ice
like a tempered glass window breaking.

Hair yet wild with snow, her eyes blazing for hope renewed,
she stared amazed at the ranger, his wooly cloak,
his green eyes, his kind smile.

She moved forward towards him and realized her tail had become legs,
her nubile knees weak, she stumbled into his arms, then pulled away.
Too soon, she feared...

She had never had relied on anyone,
and yet she reached out first and he had caught her.
Curious. How can she trust herself to fall into a man's arms,
 and yet... isn't it what she has always wanted?

Will he vanish? Will the ice pull her back again?
Or will the waxing sunlight be enough for her to walk forward into life?
Will she allow herself to trust the ranger?
Her heart beats like a drum for this new dawn and a sincere friendship.

Jennifer D. Behnke - February 11, 2017 - 1:30 am

Monday, February 6, 2017

What if?

What if
I don't have the strength
To stand in front of another man
And say
"Here it is.
See the scars?
See the bruises
and the dark patches?
The parts that look
The parts that
may never heal?
See what it is?
A swirly
exhausted muscle?
This vault of the dreams and needs
of those who came before you.
Who promised to take care of it,
and instead
poured in their pains,
their lies and their fears,
and took all it's
vitality and
until it almost collapsed.
It's a mess.
It is healing.
It is still beating,
because it is absolutely
But it is very fragile.
So, do you want it?"

What if I can't do that?

August 27,  2016

As I continue to heal, I am slowly posting old
Poems from the past year. Especially as they become more and more a part of my past. 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Old and New Year Ditties - Christina Rossetti (1830 - 1894)

I. New Year met me somewhat sad:

Old Year leaves me tired,

Stripped of favourite things I had

Baulked of much desired:

Yet farther on my road to-day

God willing, farther on my way.

New Year coming on apace

What have you to give me?

Bring you scathe, or bring you grace,

Face me with an honest face; 

You shall not deceive me:

Be it good or ill,
be it what you will,

It needs shall help me on my road,

My rugged way to heaven, please God.

II. Watch with me, men, women, and children dear,

You whom I love, for whom I hope and fear,

Watch with me this last vigil of the year.

Some hug their business, some their pleasure-scheme;

Some seize the vacant hour to sleep or dream;

Heart locked in heart some kneel and watch apart.

Watch with me blessed spirits, who delight

All through the holy night to walk in white,

Or take your ease after the long-drawn fight.

I know not if they watch with me:
I know 
They count this eve of resurrection slow,

And cry, 'How long?' with urgent utterance strong.

Watch with me Jesus, in my loneliness:

Though others say me nay, yet say Thou yes;

Though others pass me by, stop Thou to bless.

Yea, Thou dost stop with me this vigil night;

To-night of pain, to-morrow of delight:

I, Love, am Thine; Thou, Lord my God, art mine.


Passing away, saith the World, passing away:

Chances, beauty and youth sapped day by day:

Thy life never continueth in one stay.

Is the eye waxen dim, is the dark hair changing to grey

That hath won neither laurel nor bay?

I shall clothe myself in Spring and bud in May:

Thou, root-stricken, shalt not rebuild thy decay

On my bosom for aye.

Then I answered: Yea.

Passing away, saith my Soul, passing away: 

With its burden of fear and hope, of labour and play;

Hearken what the past doth witness and say:

Rust in thy gold, a moth is in thine array,

A canker is in thy bud, thy leaf must decay.

At midnight, at cockcrow, at morning, one certain day

Lo, the Bridegroom shall come and shall not delay:

Watch thou and pray.

Then I answered: Yea.

Passing away, saith my God, passing away:

Winter passeth after the long delay: 

New grapes on the vine, new figs on the tender spray,

Turtle calleth turtle in Heaven's May.

Though I tarry wait for Me, trust Me, watch and pray:

Arise, come away, night is past and lo it is day,

My love, My sister, My spouse, thou shalt hear Me say.

Then I answered: Yea.

Christina Georgina Rossetti