Looking to the Edge
Looking to the edge
Of the dawn-tinged mountain
Tops’ cliffed flaming skyscape,
The ladder to the brow of the morning
Star leans against the wall between
The night and day of a new year.
I peak over the sky, blue as the part
Of a candle flame that entrances
A child in Easter Sunday’s Grace
Before what’s thanked for is consumed
For weight toward Earth’s center.
And I see it’s the same primordial pool
Of fire and flame and lust that does
Dervish whirls from a screen door
To a backyard. April is draining
Its pain of birth, thaw and rust
As though the hinges
Of soil opened to houses
In the enclosed bark of trees.
Poetics Statement: My writing invariably goes back to the basement apartment where I lived when I had a nervous breakdown over twenty years ago. The different parts of the apartment symbolize various parts of my psyche; for example, the door leading into the apartment is the location of the pineal gland in the center of my brain. And the window across the room, which is the title of one of my books: The 4D Window, is the sensorium screen where my worldly experiences, including poetry, take place. I consider myself to be a student of Charles Olson’s Projective Verse essay.
Late Afternoon: the Pilgrimage Church
You asked me to explain to you a past
the always-correct Party had chosen
to hide from you. Yet in a new place now
you wondered about the saints and angels
within and without of Maria im Sand.
Willing I went with you over the
hills on that grey day, October fading,
winds bringing in clouds into the valley.
I pointed out the Virgin’s deep blueness,
the smooth apostolic face at the cross,
the font, pulpit, altar, sunless stained glass,
the mixture of styles, depending on time.
In the cemetery an old man spoke
about previous warfare’s heavy toll;
we exchanged a glance thinking of new deaths
and walked the streets of the closing-down town.
Interest does not always lead to belief.
But each November you light a candle
for your mother. You are a pilgrim
pursuing an uncertain goal as you
seek for answers to your unvoiced questions.
I think back to this day, and wish you peace.
Sunday Morning at Beech Island
Sunny morning on the crest of the hill,
Slightly-cold wind in this January
Blowing down the slope toward the Savannah.
Red-doored neo-classic chapel readied
For weekly glimpse of transcendent grandeur.
Uncertainties hover here over us,
Somber occasions, enduring concerns.
During flow of familiar devotions
Light transfixes heavenward-pointed Host
Suffusing unveiled glory over all.
Some linger later outside on the porch
Viewing the landscape with improved vision,
Savoring the moments they wish would endure.
A View Backward from the Bend
Every now and then, my path will bend.
If no mists fill the valley, if cloudless
Skies permit, I can gaze where once I went.
On ribbons of path straddling the ridge
Were elusive apparent destinies
Downward sloping toward sunset beaches,
That so thinly disguised a cul-de-sac.
Stretching to the sky, several towers,
Some unfinished, others now collapsing,
Their classrooms with closed windows preventing
Fragrant air to alleviate the staleness,
Not knowing the land where lemon trees bloom,
Scholars scour the text repeatedly
For some non-existing enlightenment,
Refusing to look at the external.
Occasionally a face that I see,
Or a song wafting melody to me
Reminds me of my travels on that path,
Reconnecting me to what I had loved
Even if no longer can be found
Even if it no longer can be loved.
As quickly as it comes, it disappears
And I follow the bend to straighter paths.
Bio: Arthur Turfa lives in the South Carolina Midlands, but his poetry contains influences of his native Pennsylvania, California, Germany (where he has also lived), as well as other places. He is working on an e-book of his poetry, scheduled for release later in 2014. Published in the Munyori Literary Journal and South Carolina English Teacher, he also maintains a personal blog, Some Poetry at aturfa.blogspot.com
Poetic Statement: Essentially I think Wordsworth had it right, although I do not always find long-lasting tranquility. Something or someone grabs a hold of me, and lingers until I recapture the moment, the glimpse, or the time from my life. My poetry attempts to include the reader into what I experienced, rather than telling the reader all about it or me. At times I strive for a sense of closure, at others I want to preserve something (more as a Symbolist than an Imagist). Whom do I read; Eliot, Auden, Rilke (in the original), Frost, Updike, Shakespeare, Bukowski, and others.Language that sings is more important that language that rhymes.