Archives for category: poetry

The Sun Will Still Rise
…a verse to my mother.

The sun will still rise
after you are gone,
with the noise of workday
traffic in the distance,
the drone of the masses
of the living, going about
their day, unaware of
your sudden absence.

The sun will still rise,
sending its indiscriminating
rays through my window
to this bereft new world,
blinding reminders
of the ambivalence
and continuance of things,
in spite of a loss that seems
to suggest, at least to me,
that everything else
should cease to exist,
in memoriam.

Just Doing My Job
...a verse in defense of the Sun.

I rose that morning
like any other,
only to find her glaring at me,
as though I had committed
some grave betrayal.

Why are you here,
she demanded to know,
and suddenly it dawned on me,
it was not that I had no reason
to be there, it was that
she could not face the day
I had brought to her.

Claire Juno, © 2015

What’s-his-name

You’re asking me
to do the impossible,
I pleaded with him
as he turned the key
in the lock of the heavy
door. And then I was alone.

Surveying the piles
that towered all around
my little stool, the smell
of straw overwhelmed me
and I cried.

But then I heard a strange
sound: the skipping of tiny feet
belonging to a horrid creature
with the twinkle of a deal
in his shrewd eyes.

Curious and more than a little
desperate, I dried my tears
on the hem of my skirt.

By the fading pink
of twilight, by the cold light
of a moon ray wafting through
the bars of a tiny window,
he worked night after night.
He worked for me, but
he did not work for free.

We exchanged fortunes,
my jewels for his miracles.
But after his third rescue
he struck a cruel bargain.

It took sleepless nights
of sleuthing and prayer,
but in the final hour
I was able to call him
by his real name
and let me tell you,
he hated it.

He returns sometimes
in my dreams, always
to claim my child,
and always with
his foot in my door,
hissing vile things at me
with a voice like death itself,

and every time,
with my baby cooing
in my arms, I firmly
refuse him, trembling
and fierce: Not me,
not my daughter.

His eyes smolder
with evil. Enraged
by my courage, he turns
positively senseless,
sputtering strange things
backwards, broiling with rage
over losing the deal and so much else
he was sure he could claim.

Not me, not my daughter.
I know your name.

Claire Juno, © 2017

…inspired by the fairy tale, “Rumpelstiltskin”.

A Leper’s Wisdom

There is so much I do not know,
for I did not live a life full of beauty.

Mine was something else,
but in spite of that, or perhaps
because of it, I know something
about faith, instead.

About the gift of simply
being here. About what can be
endured, survived.

About why the sun bothers
to rise over my humble terrace,
just as it ascends the gates of some
grand distant castle.

Quit trying to make perfect
an imperfect world—
propping up one thing after another
in desperation, when everything
is perpetually on its way
to the ground.

Dear one, great skeptic
of the inevitable, you are
duped by this futile notion
again and again.

Stop wasting time.

Claire Juno, © 2017

Strategy

Do you throw morsels
over your shoulder
when the wild dogs
are at your heels,
hoping the distraction
of your incomprehensible
generosity will give you
time to retreat to your
barren world once again?

From this place,
I throw up my hands
not in despair, but surrender.
I negotiate my own freedom
by finding what is still human
in the inhumane.

Quiet the beast,
and danger returns
to its slumber.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
who pave the muddy trenches
with ten thousand rose petals;
who see the fragility
of the monster,
and skillfully placate him
so that the vulnerable
can slip away unnoticed.

Is not all true kindness
without condition?

Some would say
I am the fool.
But the true fool
bites the throat
of kindness
and by doing so,
cuts himself off
from the only thing
that might save him.

Claire Juno, © 2014

Muse

In dreams she appears,
telling him there is love,
still love, and to find it
for himself once again.

He shuts his mind,
out of eternal loyalty
to the one who claimed
his heart, and to whom
he surrenders it still,
even in her absence.

He will not allow any
alteration. This must be
a false message, a cruel
sprite urging him on
toward some mischief.

He tries to put it out
of his thoughts. This
is not she, he supposes,
and yet as plain as any
cherished snapshot,
she appears, the moon
in her ethereal eyes,
coming to him

night after night,
crossing the celestial
chasm between them,
ever-attendant, bringing
a message he refuses
to consider. Love,

brushing against
his cheek in a manner
he might mistake for
a night breeze—
she implores him to seek,
even as love seeks him,
not yet knowing
his name.

Though she is gone
many years now,
she loves him still,
and so she slips through
the cracks of his spartan
heart, long in need
of love’s repair, gently
inspiring love’s return.

Claire Juno, © 2016

The Mind’s Value

This disembodied love
gently retires to the
spirit-corners of his mind,
the way a grown child
lays her beloved doll to rest
for a seeming eternity
in its little bed,

now a container for love’s
history, a personal context
perfectly preserved,
glass-eyed and unaltered
by the years.

That it is there, waiting
for him, ever-expectant,
was a needed security at first,
then a familiar comfort.

This relic of his heart
remains undisturbed
beneath layers of dust
and seasons, like a truth
even tender children
eventually learn.

Claire Juno, © 2016

The Collector

He surrounds himself
with art, as his way
of bringing her back,
or at least finding ways
to be close to her again.

Free-form sculptures
become a silent homage
to the one who inspired him,
who breathed life into his
once-nascent understanding
of everything.

The halls of his home are full
and empty at the same time,
a solemn procession of tributes
to the very one who cannot
return to see them.

All are cold, smooth,
motionless— just like her pale lips
on the last day she was here.

Claire Juno, © 2016

 

My Life Reincarnate

The moon and the planets
shine just for me now, and the giant
silver poplar has overshadowed me
long enough. Cut it down,

so I will not remember where it
came from so long ago, when
we stole it from a riverbank,
put it in the trunk of my car and
brought it home, an emblem
of our passion.

These days are peculiar,
as though I had given birth
in some faraway place
and come home again at last,
but with no babe in arms,
just my purged self.

My eyes reacquaint themselves
with green grasses, the swan curve
of lily leaves, sprawling nettle,
aging tulip petals strewn about,
remnants of a gone season.

The energy I once poured
into nurturing something
now returns back to me,
like the gentle dead
returning themselves
to the earth.

Like the earth itself,
continually dying
and restored.

Claire Juno, © 2016

The Re-inventor

I’m not going to kill you:
it’ll just feel that way.
You will grieve as though
saying your good-byes
to the world at large
as well as to each aspect
of whoever you thought
you were.

From the support beams
to the splinters and finishing
nails, I will dismantle you
until all that remains
is the ground upon which
was built so many façades.

And you will not recognize
yourself of course—
you will not realize that
all along, the constructs
of your identity were not built
on the dirt, but that you
were the dirt itself.

You were not what you created
and then discarded when it
became irrelevant. You were
what was buried beneath
all of that rubble. And rubble
is all it ever was.

Unburdened, you will hereafter
be a willing paradox, both
unremarkable and special
at the same time.

Claire Juno, © 2013

Cygnet

To be received is all I want.
I was born to be whatever it is
I am becoming. Why should this
be seen as some disability?

These wings are gray and drab
and I get the sense I am somehow ugly,
not so much by the reflection rippling
beneath me, as by the reactions
of those whom I mistook
for my kind.

I grow, and as I do, I shed my gray
for a more stunning carriage; and yet,
I am still under some false spell
cast by those who cannot see,
and never will.

Alone, I glide to the water’s edge
each night and ponder my lot,
and dream of belonging somewhere,
with some who would call me their own.

Claire Juno, © 2014

 

…inspired by The Ugly Duckling