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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lessons from the Choir Loft

A songbird woke me at three in the morning
In the pitch black smallest hours he sang
He warbled his chirps and twitters till dawn
I was so amused that I could not complain

Not a nightingale or whippoorwill; this
He roused the neighbors who turned on their lights
And as day began to sift through the trees
A chorus began to share his delight

It was clear he could not wait for the morning
Bound by the joy of sheer existence
At the top of his voice he sang until dawn
Perhaps thinking he brought it by mere persistence

And who am I to argue his logic
If indeed he had that thought in his mind
Enough beauty can certainly bring light
Enough light can open the eyes of the blind

So what if I am deprived of a little rest
At least I was entertained by the concert
In the dawn I spied him not far from his nest
I pulled on my boots and buttoned my shirt

As I walked out to listen to the Sunday choir
I found my own joy in my morning search
I whispered forgiveness for the early hour
And cathedral mountains became my church

Thursday, May 26, 2011


The rasp of a beetle against a window glass
Turned the sleeper in his fitful dream
The night was heavy as honey; thick as sorghum
And sooty syrup filled his lungs with charcoal

The stomach seethes with eager embers
When every breath is a fan to the flame
Skin hangs clammy cool against bones
The sickly boiled flesh is wrung to drain

Flame burns in the whiskey forge below
The sleeper groans in crushing pains
Someone is stacking stones on his mortal form
He lies pinned in the agony of suffocation

A ship is lost at sea in still doldrums
No wind stirs to fill her ghostly sails
She sits frozen as dark-finned shadows circle
Patience feeds the faceless scavengers

The dragging of chains across a wooden floor
Precedes the sliding bolt of a mammoth door
The sleeper struggles with his fear of death
Listening, he hears the draw of raspy breath

A ragged inhale brings rattles but no relief
The exhale is not his; it comes from somewhere below
Beads of sweat pour to his soaking pillow
To his terror he realizes the sound of bellows

A flash of flame envelops the dreamer
His eyes burst open in yellow light
A solitary bulb hangs from the ceiling
Sixty watts of hell in a sultry summer night

The Lucky Optimist

Bending over a field of clover
Counting petals over and over
Searching for his four leafed luck
Into a buttonhole he might tuck

I present the incurable optimist
The wisher of fate innocuous
Bearer of all good tidings and glad
Looking for hope as if he were mad

It matters not if he finds the thing
I am certain he’ll go on searching
It’s in the way of the optimist
Not to give up before success

Still he gives all the credit to luck
But now in the field he’s been stuck
For the better part of half an hour
Counting clovers and picking flowers

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Patience is the advantage of old folks and fishermen
It is a forte not to be taken too lightly by any as well
If a person can wait without allowing petty distraction
There is life to be caught by the slippery shirttail

Things seldom turn out according to our plans
The plans of others and things unplanned are always cropping up
The schedule and the itemized list are the vex of man
Things forgotten are always at work in the tumbling tines of karma

So there we end up; speared like kabobs with no escape
Headed for the fire to be cooked for good or ill
And generally muttering like the fox about sour grapes
As old chef time prepares to sauté us on the grill

But the patient know that this too in time may pass
The patient are not distracted by facades of wealth and fame
Because there is no telling how long a fad or a man may last
And they have yet to feel the scorching of the flame

The exercise of discretion builds muscles of morale
But not the type one usually earns at the gymnasium
Confidence that is bulging is generally an act of denial
But patience is an attribute of old folks and fishermen

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Adventure in the Storm.

Adventure in the Storm

He stood upon the wooded hill; eyes squinted against the falling snow
Staring with longing and hunger at the farmhouse far below
The smell of meat and burning fat was faintly discernable on the wind
His nose twitched and his belly growled as flakes drifted through barren limbs

He saw the big black ranch dogs; Newfoundland, by the looks of them
Drop-tailed and worried he backed into the pines; careful they did not see him
He is familiar with the rifles of the ranchers and this particular breed of dog
They are every bit as big as him; he paws the snow and settles in by a hollow log

The gray and silver folds of his winter coat make excellent camouflage
He thinks and ponders about the smoke, the rancher; the rifle and the dogs
A storm is moving in and blue-black clouds herald the threat of more snow
Through covering shadows he can see lights below inside the frosted windows

When he was young and running with the pack he was adventurous and bold
Now own his own, it was stealth and cunning; not valor, that let him get this old
In the middle of the night; the storm raging, the rancher brought his dogs inside
Carefully he crept; inch by inch, forever vigilant, slowly down the mountainside

A cache of ham was hanging in a tree, tied securely to a higher limb
The rancher was smart and cunning too; but maybe not as smart as him
Methodically, he set about his work stopping only to rest or to listen
He pawed the snow until he felt dirt, then alternated, changing his position

The drifts were up to seven feet and he packed them solid with his heavy paws
Standing on his wolf-made mountain, he jumped and sank in teeth and jaws
Rocking his weight with the weight of the ham, the frozen limb began to crack
He quickly released it and let it fall; barely missing his shoulder and back

Quickly now, gnawing at the cords that wrapped his sweet and smoky prize
Inside the house came the creak of floorboards, he glanced up with knowing eyes
The rancher had heard the limb break and was coming out to check his cache
His rifle in hand and dogs at his heels; he couldn’t believe he’d met his match

A fifteen foot high ridge rose paw-packed around where his ham had been
His tedious knots were chewed clean through and the wolf? No sign of him.
Safe in a stone outcropping; high on a lonely hill, he gorges himself with pleasure
Dangerous work but the night is still as he enjoys the taste of his treasure

About Me

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Poet and musician Fabian G. Franklin invites you to join him on a poetic journey through the soul and nature.