We live in the shadows. For all our deepest darkest secrets reside therein. And it is not until we release a small bit of ourselves that we contrast the brilliance that works in conjunction with the dark. What is cast then is a peek at what we are, or have become. It offers us a chance to shine in ways that we could no otherwise do. These poems brought you out of your shadow. The were all brilliant representations of the prompt depicted. But we choose one apiece, so:
MARIE ELENA’S BLOOM:
So many beautiful love stories born of this photo. I was particularly drawn to Mary Mansfield’s “Joy and the Magic Man.” Three descriptive, moving stanzas tell a complete story, leaving me with a sense that these are real people who I might have known. Mary’s skillful use of subtle allegory and alliteration are quite effective. Bravo, Mary. I am pleased to offer you my “bloom.”
Joy and the Magic Man by Mary Mansfield
Over the years, Joy’s name
Seemed to fit her less and less,
Her spirit eroded by
A river of responsibilities,
Once supple skin scarred
By the acid touch of time,
Myopia pushing aside
The artistic visions of her youth.
She almost did not recognize him,
Black hair lightened into gray,
His slower steps assisted
By a cane that mirrored her own,
Nothing to gauge that he even saw her,
Much less remembered
The time when she was “his Joy,”
Back before she had developed
Any acumen at the craft of love.
He had been her Magic Man,
An alchemist whose tender touch
Turned her tears to drops of gold.
He sprinkled her life with wonder,
A belief that life was larger
Than she ever dreamed possible.
He taught her how to embrace freedom
In a sensuous dance of hearts
Uninterrupted by the outside world,
Two artists in love feeding
On the creative juices of the other,
Stoking a fire that overtook them,
Consuming and eventually leaving
Only smoldering embers discarded
In search of the next inspiration.
She set aside her brush
And oil paints long ago,
Arthritic hands and withered dreams
Unable to give shape to her visions,
But as she sweeps past him
On that cold January sidewalk
In her sensible shoes and sturdy coat,
Shadows of Joy and the Magic Man
Float in the fog of yesterday.
The piece feted below brings a new light to what we keep hidden. It touches us deeply and allows us to see a bit of us in the plight of others. This view of the shadow inherent in the aging process could serve as a reminder and lesson from which we glean wisdom. Patricia A. Hawkenson brought he light to bear on this photograph.
FOR CATHERINE by Patricia A. Hawkenson
She wishes she had enough power
to send healing energy
to the whole world
and make everyone
healthy and happy.
But she can’t even manage it
She sees the sunlight
trying from the infinity
of space and time
trying to reach her flowers
as her sheltering eaves
block the bulbs
How the sun must cry
with her in frustration
as it lowers their heads
but only manage
to make the shadows longer
and they finally give in
to the darkness of the night.
Yet the morning sneaks in
with a whispered smile
and a sliver of white teeth
between lush lips
and kisses her flowers
until the eaves envy
grabs them back again
Then she bends
to inhale the fragrant
remains of their struggle
and carry a single blossom
inside to remind her
of the potential that grows
in those tiny moments
when she allows herself
to push back her shadows
and step into her light.
Congratulations to Mary and Patricia for their selected works and to the rest of our poets for shining their beacons brightly!