There were days that even Judy had the Blues.
But there are days when all lost souls do...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Rueful Heart

You can grope all night for the one true rose
or swoon alone for free without embrace—
what moves the heart to heartbreak
will always make the petals close.

You can flee, you can hide between the beats of heartbeat,
you can turn bright eyes aside from love's dark fate—
but what can move the rueful heart
When you neither love nor hate?

Who can you trust, which way turn, when
dreams like dizzy rockets cross and crash,
flinging you down to earth so stark
amid a churn of char and spark?

(What turned lightning's stroke
to pale blue smoke at dusk
may yet turn love to dust
that blows away and leaves an empty husk.)

Here now you see how rivers
running fast and slow divert and dry.
Hear now these lovers running down cry "Time!"
when shadows veined with red run wild and stain the eye.
What For, they cry, this flash
and spark and manly flutter?
For What this smooth and supple
marbled flesh of womankind?

The old, the young: embrace, disclose;
desire the flesh, the flame, the rose;
Your dreams, your flesh: aspire, perspire—
but every year it takes more pain to reach the fire.

What then? What's wrong? If time
that held your heart enthralled so long
holds no hope but this at last,
this vexing gall at all that's past,

if waste that chewed itself to numbness
lives but to taste this morbid tongue again,
if haste that chased it's tail to madness
now flings and flays and flails itself again,

then hearts that rue such motion
Here now must still these throes.
Now lovers running down cry, "Time!"
Which only makes the petals close.


4th draft: 12/06/03
©1986 Ronald C. Southern


Mushy said...

The poem would stand on the last the 3 stanzas alone...don't you think?

I read those verses serveral times and to me they hold the complete theme.

Twilight said...

A really lovely poem Ron - congrats!

"TIME, gentlemen pease!" was the cry which used to go up at around 11pm in British pubs, years ago. It was a signal that drinking must end. The barman would then fling a towel over the beer pumps symbolically shutting them down.
Not as beautiful a metaphor as your rose petals, but similar idea.

Ron Southern said...

Mushy may be right, but I wonder if he's a Reader's Digest fan? I am not.

No comments about rose petals in the twilight, or I'd have to be locked up before dawn!

Mushy said...

A man should never mess with another's baby - sorry.

Val Travers said...

Likewise women should never go for the steal.
I love this poem - written in a very classy style. Very moving.
And the landlords still shout "Time" down at my local (unfortunately)!

Dustinzgirl said...

Ron, these are all awesome! I'm so impressed, and as you know it takes a lot to impress me! Congrats, these are lovely! I'm glad I found your blog!

Ron Southern said...

Too bad all these sexpots who love my poetry don't live just down the street. Alas, the distance devours the nearness...

Judy Garland's Blues

Why was Judy Garland sad?
Did she have everything—but not love?
What drove Judy Garland mad,
Or do I give her too much credit?

Was she just privately unlucky, after all the public luck?
Did she have two armfuls of nothing in the worn valises
She dragged into another mansion of expenses, pills, and airs
Amid lost things never declared, forever beyond her reach?

Did she have everything—but not love?
Was she too often left behind as a child
Or was she poisoned in the vein
As by too many drinks or a rattlesnake...

Twisted by some familial demon spirit she became
That Voodoo spirit, the reel and spin, the deadly living blues,
Forever frightened—no matter her age or image or magic—
Of what to choose and what to lose, out of control to the end?

Did she, like you, like me, have everything—
But could not feel the love that others gave
Or stay as brave as needed every moment?


Current draft: 4/12/2010
3rd draft: 04/26/05
©2004 Ronald C. Southern br/>
[This is a separate and different title from the blog title.]

Colorful Judy

The Creature

Ron Southern,
Chigger, Texas, USA

Personal Labels:

Clean and easy-going. Dirty-minded, paranoic, catatonic, droll, drastic, dramatic, savage, uptight, dribbling, abstruse, and timid.

Not to even mention artful, artistic, abusive, misleading, abrasive, manipulative, dodgy, sneaky, and totally unforgiving!

How about poetic, pansified, petty, pornographic, always preening, and a little peculiar about what feels good!

The Poem With The Similar Title

©Ronald C. Southern

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