Poetry

Aisling

I found him in Eireann's heartbeat
as constant as her searching tides,
a pulse for vital motion,
and could not discover where
one ended and the other began
for both were of the same essence.

I felt him in Deirdre's sorrow,
as mournful as loves lost hope,
her light so cruelly extinguished
at the grave of Naois.
Even the cold loch would conspire
to part them in repose.
But defiant, they cast their boughs 
of fir across the water,
and he is the knot that binds them.

I heard him in Hybernia's song,
as lyrical as her secret lovers,
paying tribute to her 
Winter moon.
He embraced her teary downpour,
rode the bitter wind
and from it 
gave her living breath.

Now I search this land for 
signs of him 
as she is, without her soul,
lost to me,
for he is emerald, heartbeat, 
sorrow and song.
He is Tir na nÓg
and though my roots are planted deep,
I am Niamh without her Oisín
and he is my eternal heartland.

© 2003 Louise Riley

Alone

Surrounded by millions
who rush to and fro
with overhead speakers
which call for John Doe
to please pick up the phone.
But without you...alone.
The touch of your breath,
my lips on your cheek;
under light of full moon
as I feel your heart beat
in a time we forgot.
Now alone like I sought.
The brisk night whispers peace
that my soul can't repeat
yet so tries to command,
but concludes between sleep
and dim thought that loneliness
is poor company to keep.

© 1996 John Nelson Schneider

Departure

The waves, they hardly make a sound - 
uniting with the wind, both 
sounding alike, yet I hear them not. 
The sky mirrors the sea tonight. 
The crescent moon radiates circular 
arclight behind the clouds, 
orange in reflection of the harbour lights. 
I try to gather thoughts but feel no more 
than the flap of a herons wings 
below on the rocks. 
A single tear is all I shed, 
adding salt to salt, 
replacing human turmoil 
with marine serenity. 
I shall leave this place and not return, 
for my course is not like that of 
the ferries I see before me. 
Mine is into the distance where 
the horizon unites the heavens and earth. 
There can be no turning back.

© 1999 Louise Riley

forest grove

Sun 
beats 
down. 
Bright light; 
slights night. 
Depart the wilderness; 
desert waste. 
Return to the 
valley; 
forest grove. 
Then let the rains fall and cool the scourched soul.

© 2000 John Nelson Schneider

From Above

ribbon white
filtered light
standing in the sun
with blue green grass
through shimmered glass
commanding my childish gaze

and clouds gather
and rains fall
and winds blow
and lightning
     strikes
          nearby
with flashing bright
burning light
piercing through the sky

leavened soil
and farmer's toil
a seedling stretching deep
want of bread
and covered bed
masking cosmic needs

and clouds gather
and winds blow
and blow
and blow
     and blow
with farmer's toil
to his spoil
when heaven shuts its gates

© 1996, 2000 John Nelson Schneider

Medicine Woman

A long time after Scarface
Met Morning-Star his friend,
Sun, Moon, and Morning-Star
Took me into Father Sky.
Sun, in his sweat lodges,
Healed and cleansed me,
For I am the White Son
Of this land; adopted,
After my fathers' fathers
Came from the lands
Over the hills where the sun comes up.
My fathers' peoples
Have no sacred lands here.

Now Sun, Moon, and Morning-Star
Send me back to my tribe,
To the circle of lodges
And the circle of the council fire,
Where the gift stolen by Coyote
From the faraway mountain-top
Warms my face and carries
The sweet-grass smoke into the sky.

Now at night my dream catchers
Snare the vision of a Medicine Woman.
She comes from the lands
Over the hills where the sun comes up,
From the sacred lands
Where her fathers' father's bones are buried.
She flies on the wind
Like a mighty bird.
She has strong Medicine
Borrowed from the Great Spirit.
Her sweet-grass is like
That of Sun's four sweat lodges.

And to me she seems strange;
For she is what I am,
And I am what she will be.

She is both Deer and Dragonfly,
For in graceful love she is
The keeper of my dream time.

So no dream catchers
Will I set,
But will wait
For Sun, Moon, and Morning-Star
To bring the Medicine Woman
From the lands
Over the hills where the sun comes up,
Out of Father Sky,
To Mother Earth,
To this, my native,
Adopted land.

© 2000 John Nelson Schneider

Ríoghan

She is the noble lady 
Of the emerald vesture 
Who calls to me in dreams. 

Through misted moonlight 
I have seen 
The path that leads 
To her glen and loch. 
By light of dusk 
On shadowed hills 
We have there rejoined 
Through glimpsing eyes, 
Then turned to separate paths. 

Now where is Ainé, 
Keeper of my visions? 

The dreamer of Glendalough, 
The noble lady 
Miadh Ríoghan. 

My friend.

© 2001 John Nelson Schneider

The soul yearned to pen its store

The soul yearned to pen its store 
of words, tired of quashing 
the ragings of the entrapped. 
So an image was conjured 
in the hope of evoking 
such an outpour, 
an image of water surging 
and rushing out, as it 
finally conquers the dam, 
flooding the valley 
encompassing all in it's path, 
destruction in its wake. 

But the dam was impermeable, 
not easily broken, 
sanity reigned 
bringing forth a dry and desolate valley. 
So abandoning futile efforts 
hoping one day for a natural flood 
to give life to the desert 
time passed, and all was forgotten 
but the restlessness. 

Then the clouds came 
they brought the rain, 
the rain was remembered 
and welcomed, 
life found the desert 
and in the twilight it wore 
ghostly shades of green and grey. 

Solace sat and pondered 
the new growth, wondering 
should the sunrise be it's beacon 
on an expedition through the foliage, 
or will the imminence of 
the rising moon 
reveal all to the eyes 
of the searching soul.

© 2000 Louise Riley

To Simon

Shallow water is unoccupied with secrets,
unadorned by surprises, there is nothing to
uncover, discover, reveal.
So we played there, like children;
oblivious to time.
For us there was no summons down the passage
of continuance, only the clear and visible viewing gallery
of the here and now,
And therein was the lie.

A whisper;
a haunt, induced the upward glance.
The deeper waters, just beyond the boundaries of our venture,
brimmed with promise, extending the invitation to enter
the hidden depths
which would so readily encompass,
giving up their mysteries to the one who would
plunge into the bliss of complete submersion.

The whisper was vague,
the haunt was manifest; as familiar as the scent
of fresh strawberries,
we were playing in the shallow water, barely getting wet.
Contentment with the clearly visible
became an attribution of surface layer only;
the meager undercurrents rippled with limitation.

You looked down , saw where your feet were planted
and felt you had reached your  frontiers End.
I looked up, felt the nourishing power of necessary motion,
and saw the depths of Eternity.
And herein is the truth;

Abiding,
enduring,
withstanding,
everlasting...
...Deep.

© 1999 Louise Riley

We

Echoes, as strong as ocean waves, 
as faint as ripples on a garden pond, 
carried like a secret whispered in a crowded room; 
And ringing in my head they seemed 
like quiet, scattered revelations 
sent to tease my solitary muses. 

I wondered at their portent as 
one who gazes at the night sky 
tries with outstretched hand 
to touch a single, distant star; 
Hope a reality, and contact 
just beyond her fingertip. 
And so with sigh and mental shrug 
focus is channelled to what is 
more familiar - as dim recognition 
is a cold replacement for the searing 
of bright recollection. 

Now the shadows reveal themselves, 
the introductions not unlike those of 
distant ancestors to future generations. 
Each face from the past somewhat mirrored 
by infant eyes and childish lips 
yearning to see and speak the knowledge 
that would send my weighted soul 
on a journey of expansive discovery. 

Knowledge wanes then swells, 
the ebb of discovery drawing 
future to past and past to present; 
I am the vortex. 
Yet though they pass through me 
in shallow breaths I cannot 
fathom the secret fears they leave 
in the dusted wake trailing 
their winding path. 

The rising joys - a peak, a glimmer - 
converge in my chest and flutter, pound, 
in a space long devoid of discerning. 
An image rippled by falling tears 
that glimmers and shatters 
then collects the slivers and regroups, 
catches my eye and causes my heart to leap. 
An image of things to come, 
revealed to me with the clarity 
of dawning light. Oh, I would 
claim them for my own. 

Time will bring to me assurance. 
Assurance, hope; faith that wavers not. 
Dreams will navigate me 
to that destination, 
a subconscious journey, a passage 
from the demons' lair behind, 
from imagined worlds of bliss; 
from here, from there; 
from then, from now; 
to unite all certainties 
with all possibilities; 
to thrive on the surprise each 
unlived moment holds for us; 
to acknowledge that by living 
we accept the mysteries that lie ahead. 

To you.

© 1999 Louise Riley and John Nelson Schneider

The Whisper

What's the whisper?

The curtains are drawn, shutting out the light
And the cold darkness dwelling in the stillness of the night:
Haunting like a shadow of the days of our past.
But life passes on, diminishing fast.

To rise then fall. Is that all?

Though the sun rises high in the quiet of dawn
And the dew melts away, as if moved like a pawn;
The moon, if it can, will shut out the light
And eclipse our droll lives, turning day into night.

To shine in vain. Is it the same?

The stars in the sky, acting in a play,
Though the light we now see may have faded away;
The star reached its peak in the solace of space
Then shattered into blindness with nothing in its place.

What's the whisper?

Do men always fall after the peak?
Is it the same, the pattern so bleak?
Rise and never fall, shine and not in vain.
The story can change...

The whisper.

© 1991, 2000, 2001 John Nelson Schneider

who is michael…

the same, we are, 
different. one of you. 
each, encompassing concept. 

a search, a quest, 
lifelong. drawing to a close. 
dawning, transient focus. 

a statement, i am, 
you. subconscious certainty. 
undecided, carved in sandstone. 

essential. you haunt, 
me. elusive intimation. 
tangible, forcefully gentle. 

a passion, a desire, 
need. lust for purity. 
untouched, hesitantly sought. 

hibernia, devoid of, 
answers. impatient limbo. 
forbearing, i am moved. 

desperate, a soul, 
ache. volitant deliberate. 
complete, not without. 
within. 
with. 
michael.

© 1999 Louise Riley

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