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Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Death Eater

I saw a vulture walking;
hopping a staggering dance,
along a length of railroad track
void of pretense or romance.

Wings protruding in caped shoulders
above his bald and pink-gray head.
And upon his long, sharp beak I noticed
a smile waiting for things dying
and dead.

His head was heavy on his long bent neck.
His claws gripped the gravel in earnest.
Singed pinions and grizzled hairs
formed a collar, black as a furnace.

He was one of a company that journeyed;
a ragged band of vagrant beasts
spreading wings in the breath of oblivion,
the foul stench of decaying things.

His dance was not that threatening;
not so much as purposeful, with intent.
Other birds made way for him
as along the railroad track he went.

Presently, he came upon some carnage
of unlucky carrion left by the train
and folding his wings as if in prayer
he dined upon the grim remains

He held the visage of an undertaker
who went about his work with calm;
dressed for mourning by his tailor
but to devour rather than embalm.

Most would find this business gruesome;
the brutal wrenching of decaying flesh
while he sees in death not something futile
but seeks his own life to refresh!

I saw a vulture standing
and he spread his great black wings
over the shadow of death demanding
his life from wretched, detestable things!

Friday, December 15, 2017

A Yellow Cotton Dress

Dancing motes of dust
Rise and fall in shafts of sunlight
The secret music of souls plays through the window
It is the pulse of blood and beauty
That angels stir with silent wings

It is not for mortals to know such things

Life and death are imposters of truth
They limit the song of space to time
We knew the lie when we were young
But grew to fools as years passed by
Now we hear in rain the rolling of the hearse

While the symmetry of snow freezes still the universe

Ah, you do not know; you claim amnesia of innocence
But you once believed and once it held you in a trance
You were hypnotized by the power of wonder
And later you heard the thunder from the lightning of romance
And you hid because you were scared

I know…I remember because I was there

The wind chimes were tinkling on the porch
And a breeze came and whispered soft your name
You hummed a song from a dream; you had forgotten the words
You felt a shiver in the sun and all your nerves
Were alert on end

You knew someone was there…somewhere, watching

One night you tried to count the stars and wondered
If someone was out there counting you
You felt so small under the open sky
The vast velvet ocean in day was a canopy of blue
At night you were a mote of dust caught up in the dance

And you rose and fell like sun and stars with every chance

You became so predictable but inexplicable
Dependable and expendable to yourself
Like an antique bottle that sought its worth
You poured out the wine of your precious soul
Like blood that was mingled with the dust of earth

But long ago the breath of God gave Adam birth

We cannot climb again the thread to the womb
The umbilical is cut and we are left alone
We can only hasten our retreat to the tomb
Saved by the grave; shall the meek inherit the earth?
Shall love bear us out even to the edge of doom?

City streets and buildings are screaming for more room

Visions are useless pictures to the blind
Pearls are of no value to swine
Poets are slaves to reason and rhyme
The reader may not comprehend a single word or line
They may not care another soul dares to open
A forgotten past that they have closed

But deep in your heart, your spirit knows

You feel me in your heartbeat; rising, falling
You hear me in your dreams; whispering, calling
Your name in chimes rings on the wind
And you stand on the front porch listening
You might remember a song you can’t express

While in my world you are a little girl…in a yellow cotton dress

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Death in the Afternoon

Murmurs of the crowd
Wash in waves of distant thunder
Late afternoon in the month of June
The arena; damp with rain and wonder

Bodies in boxes with glasses
Binocular visions of Spanish lasses
Dressed in vermillion and gold
Waiting the tragedy to unfold

Below, there stands the matador
Surveying a slight expanse of sand
Upon their horses, picadors
Lances ready in their hands

Into the barrera comes the bull
Released from inside his iron cage
His appearance; terrible and dreadful
Snorting drool in fearsome rage

Fandas passing magenta and gold
Capote flourishing to tempt and tease
As picadors drive home the lances
Blood on the dusty Spanish breeze

Horns and shoulders, lower now;
Toro focused upon the cloth
The matador with each passing suerte
Brandishing his sword aloft

The flash of red, the glitter of steel
Dash and dance at his command
His steps, a close ballet of sorts;
The waltz of assassins and noblemen

Beneath the burning Spanish sun
The gasping crowd awaits the doom
The final thrust of the sword bears witness
To death in the afternoon

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Seasons in Rhyme

Autumn and spring are my favorite seasons
Oddly enough, for opposite reasons

When the lime green buds are being born
And the sun shines bright in the April morn

Invigorated I feel so alive
As first honey bees that fly from the hive

In search of sweet nectar in the early hour
When the morning glory begins to flower

For by that time Spring is well on her way
And the grasses are covered in colors of May

White clouds drifting through amethyst skies
To the flutter and flitting of gold butterflies

By the time new hatchlings are learning to sing
Summer will shade them in delicate green

With all Summer's passions of sweltering spent
And young children asking where they all went

The earth will still warm her feet by the embers
Till raisins from grapes remain of September

Then come the pumpkins from fields of October
The last days of summer are finally over

The maple is bursting; consumed, all aflame
Thirsting for something that hasn't a name

In bright red and gold, trees color their glory
What these leaves have said, told in their story

We once were young and we clung to the trees
We were green and alive and sang in the breeze

Now we let go with what's left on the vine
But even in death we will gloriously shine

We will burn in our splendor; majestic and bright
Joyful, our ending, for soon comes the night

I feel my own spirit accused here of treason;
That I have refused my autumn in season

Yet before winter comes my leaves seem to know
And in all of my limbs I feel my heart glow

There is a time to be born and a time to go;
An early spring morn and frost in the meadow

Yes, Autumn and Spring are my favorite times
When seasons in passing find reasons in rhyme

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


Walking home one summer night
The sky was filled with sudden light
A shooting star that left a trail
Behind a multi-colored tail

Too swift to be a comet's light
A meteoroid or meteorite
Broken off as a piercing spear
Traversing through the atmosphere

And I alone witnessed the sight
As I stood below the burning light
Wondering how I might explain
A sight that others had not seen

Like spotting a fairy or an elf
Some things are best kept to oneself;
Certainly heavenly trails of fire
Lest one be branded as a liar

And so I spoke not a word for fear
As summers passed me year by year
Until at last I had grown old
And the thing was never told

At last I found I was not afraid
Of what others thought or others said
I became free to suffer a whim
It mattered not if they thought me dim

There was such a shining light in me
Burning bright with liberty
And I had become that shooting star
Of a memory that had traveled far

Saturday, November 4, 2017


There were owls before dawn
Singing to each other
One song; long and loud,
The other, soft and deep

Clouds drifted dark sky
A light breeze blew
And a fine mist
Made soft and easy sweep

Soon came a dripping
And low, distant thunder
Dreams slipping
Between majestic trees

The great owls hushed
Eerie silence ensued
Until lightning flashed
Adrift on celestial seas

Roaring ocean waves
Beyond morning's door
Through a mighty sieve
Tapping window panes

Owls became hosts
To summer's sighing ghost
Slipping overboard
In cold November rain

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Lost on the Bayou

Deep in the shadows
Green lights play
Will o' the wisp
At the close of day
Black licorice trunks of
Bald cypress decay
Drifting ghost mists
Dance and sway

Spanish moss drips
On dryer ground
From mighty oaks
Where mint is found
Near beds of moss;
Drops of blood
Flower from green;
Soft underfoot

Rich is the air
With the smell of loam
In the place that
Lichens call their home
Thoughts become tangled
As mangrove roots
Flowers hang from
Extended shoots

Honeysuckle, sickening sweet
Drifts in humid August heat

Alligators swim
Beneath and through
Black water brackish
Along the bayou
Mosquitoes hum
With dragonflies
Wings like drums
Of voodoo rites

See the spider
Drop from his thread
Spinning silk
Building his web
Over pools of
Soft quicksand
As water ripples
With moccasins

Here the serpent
Is king on a throne
Wherever he slithers
He finds a home
Hawks scream warning
Too late to turn back
Lost where waters
Are cool and black

Deep in the shadows
Green lights drown
Black waters rise
To drink them down
With souls of the lost
Until skies turn blue
As red-throated loons
Sing in the bayou

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Water, Blood and the Sea

There was water and sound
In the womb
Motion and warmth inside

There is life and salt
In the ocean
Endless flow of wave and tide

There was a rush of blood
In our birth
Forced into the cold and light

Whitecaps push onto the shore
In a hush
Washing sand cool and white

The coral seems umbilical
On the floor
Of the throbbing sea

Resting upon the bed of earth
With the urchin
And the anemone

In the vast pulse of the spherical
World it flows
Blood in the heart of humanity

And there all is as it should be
Salt and life
Water, blood and the sea

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Harvest Prayer

Blankets of fog rest softly on corn
Caressing brown tassels in early light
A soft mist kisses the cheeks of morning
And soothes the soul with ethereal white

Across the field, shadows of trees
Stand silhouette like guards of dawn;
Soldiers silent in corridors eastern
Await the king in castles of the sun

He burns in glory just below the horizon
Sending forth rays into velvet sky
Pulling quilts from the beds of his children
As they raise their green sleeves high

The palaces glow in rosy reflection
Clouds crown the day with a wreath
Then golden laurels in every direction
And every honor the sun can bequeath

Waking stalks rustle quietly in prayer
Their striated leaves like a chorus
Whispering hope to the farmer where
He stands listening for their voices

Sunday, September 17, 2017

In Davy Jones' Locker

Beneath the crushing weight
Of waves and endless tides
Below the blue, into the night
A pirate ship with treasure hides

Coins of gold and precious jewels
Upon the bottom rest
Where Davy Jones laughs at fools
Who seek his treasure chest

In life, he was a simple man;
A sailor by his trade
Since, the captain has been damned
For prideful boasts he made

He went sailing round the Cape
With lockers full of plunder
And dared that God or stormy sea
Should ever take him under

Between Agulhas and The Point
At a place they call "Good Hope"
There arose a mighty storm
No mortal man could cope

For all the skipper's daring talk
And deals made with the devil
It was God's plank he had to walk
And there befell him evil

For such a wicked wave arose
And swept the open deck
It pulled the hull and sails below
Until the ship was wrecked

Then to the bottom of the sea
Went Davy with his crew
And true believers they will be
Who round the Cape anew

Crags are washing in the churn
And jagged boulders bare
Near here the sea took Davy Jones
But no man can say where

But if you look for pirate's gold
Or adventure, seek your measure
Take warning in the tale that's told
Of Davy and his treasure

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Soldiers. soldiers
Where are you bound
And what are you going to do
With those hand grenades and bayonet blades?
Where are you marching to?

Soldiers , soldiers
Where have you been
Have you conquered another hill?
When explosions cease, will you find peace
Or will you be soldiers still?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Sunset Wine

Evening wears like five o'clock shadows;
grizzled grey gruff beneath wrinkled brow.
Every memory, taunting and hollow
except for black and white pictures now.
There is the man in the felt fedora,
smoking his smelly old Cuban cigar.
Back bent low as he rests on elbows
over his whiskey in a seaside bar
The restaurant air, heavy and greasy;
Scallops and shrimp and oyster stew
While ocean waves wash slow and easy
primordial sands with strains of blue
Piano tunes play from hazy poolrooms
Ivory notes that are filled with soul
A leather-jacketed man chalks his cue
Jazz of Count Basie and Nat King Cole
Will we fall in love only
to find it regrettable?
Shall I remain; a sweet refrain...
The night wears on in trails of blue
Cigarette smoke fills the seaside bar
Rolling like dark Mississippi bayous
As Muddy Waters plays his guitar
Girls hike up their shining skirts
Flash of flesh as they dance and grind
Buying their whiskey never hurts
Knowing the thing on every man's mind
Night goes flying in raucous laughter
Only to settle on spilling rim
Where the drink is drunk; sedated after
In quiet corners where light is dim
To be certain there will be
A morning after;
a dull accounting of distant sin
But tonight we are free
From parish and pastor
To swim in the sea or bathtub gin
Ragweed smell in restaurant lot
Tells of lovers parked in the night
Windows rolled up and smoking pot
Away from others and safe from sight
And all the while we hear the band;
Blues and Jazz of a thousand nights
Black cat bone, Hoochie Coochie Man
In waves reflecting colored lights
Out on the sea the moon shines alone
Drinking the ocean; salty with brine
Pulling her skirts and shuffling on
Until all is forgotten in sunset wine

Friday, August 18, 2017


Inside a secondhand copy
Of The Old Man and the Sea
Is a gray postcard from Paris
Addressed from you to me
The month of May, three years ago
Not much to say, how could we know
Eight months later you would be gone
Now, I lay in my bed alone
Thinking how such a thing can be
When here are words you've written me
And so much more they seem to say
"I saw the Eiffel Tower Today."
The postage stamp, La Seine, Paris
Inside the Old Man and the Sea
Between the pages of Hemingway
In a faded copy of equal gray
Copyrighted in nineteen fifty-two
I have a postcard sent from you
"I've thought of you often"
And here, I smile
And dry a tear after awhile
To close the book with a tacit wish
Where the old man battles his mighty fish
And I silently struggle with what to do
With a postcard from Paris
And memories of you

Friday, August 11, 2017

Black and Blues (song lyrics)

I've got a black heart, and a blues soul
Guess I knew it from the start
But now it's taken control
People said keep your head down boy
And you'll be okay
My head's been down for so long now
Lord, all I can do is pray

I got a black heart, and a blues soul
And just like the turning wheel
All I can do is roll
I've known a few good women
But they left me alone
Been dark for so long now
My heart has turned to stone

Maybe took it for granted
But now it's taken its toll
Maybe not all I wanted
But now it's part of the show
You can laugh if you want to
But it don't make a damn
You can cry if you feel it
But it's just who I am

I got a black heart, and a blues soul
Yes, it's torn me all apart
For that sweet rock and roll
Record company executive
Said, "You'll do okay"
It's been so long and the contract's gone
But I'm still here to play

I've got a black heart, and a blues soul
Guess I knew it from the start
When the hurting took hold
People said, get a guitar boy
And you'll go a long way
Been so gone for so long now
Lord, all I can do is play

I've got a black heart, and a blues soul
Never thought I'd get this far
Living out on the road
Spent all of my daydreams
On one long endless night
But when darkness comes and I hit those strings
I know it's gonna' be alright

I got a black heart and a blues soul...

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Golden Letters

The letters that you wrote me have
Turned golden in my mind
The yellow pages folded like
The prayerful hands of time

Each smile and kiss remembered like
A child on Christmas morn
Who wakes to white December
On the day that Christ was born

The sparkle in your eyes outshines
The brightest of the stars
Twinkling in the summer sky
I cannot reach so far

But I would hold your beauty like
The heavens hold the moon
Warm me like the morning sun
Until the afternoon

And when our loving time has set
And darkness closes in
Never will our hearts forget
How sweet our love has been

For your love has been to me
The treasure of my days
I have known such pleasure from
Your kind and tender ways

The letters that you wrote me have
Grown faded now it’s true
But it has not jaded there
The constant thought of you

And I will go on loving you
Until the end of time
Even though your letters have
Turned golden in my mind

Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Morning Hour

Morning breaks with majestic light
Splintering the sky with shards of pink
The sleeping child in sweet benevolence
Sighs and smiles in blissful dreams

Sun spills onto the grass so gold
Only the shadows and shade are green
Dew glistens at every threshold
Into the forest and towering trees

The arachnid navigates his web
With sparkling skill and certainty
Plucking threads of a spiral harp
To rest in the center of symphony

In the silent music of the dawn
The hare creeps nimbly across the lawn
The owl ruffles feathers and nestles in
To quiet her dark night questioning

A robin begins pacing to and fro
Dainty head tilted at a delicate turn
Listening for breakfast in the earth below;
Perhaps a bug or wandering worm

But the mockingbird finds blasphemy
In a morning with only silent song
And begins his endless repertoire
Shrill and trills both loud and long

And so begins this wondrous day;
Familiar yet somehow different
And now I kneel and softly pray
God, thank You for this hour spent

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Was It First the Trees?

Was it first the trees that welcomed me
swaying great green arms in unison,
casting protective shade over little eyes
that squinted under harsh morning sun?

Just beyond windows, seeming far away,
sunlight filtered through waving branches
sending dappled faeries dancing between;
friends that played on my nursery floor with me.

Oh the hours filled with flowers;
among tall weeds and grass, I found the delicate lady slipper
and admired the gladiolus

In the garden, as I grew, I learned of nature's wonder
I met the potato beetle, the grub and corn silk worm
Butterflies on morning glories met with hummingbirds
Days were singing silently, a song that had no words

Still the trees sighed; bent and swayed
To the music of the dance
As birds came to sing the glories of Spring
Before there was talk of romance

There was the pungent fragrance of tomatoes on the vine
The taste of sweet potatoes with butter and cinnamon
Purple turnips like giant eyes emerging from a cave
Some underground ogre or troll scratching at the grave

Okra and cow-peas, green beans and green leaves
Full of life and life-giving nutrients
Every corner planted as garden space allowed
Eggplants bursting purple as a summer thundercloud

As I left fields for forest I promised to remember these
I learned the wild animals who had nibbled at my feast
I came to face the music, whistling on the breeze
Whispered among the sheaves of wheat or...
Was it first the trees?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Things I'll Never Do

I never saw a diamond
Sparkle like a spider's web
All drenched in dew at sunrise
Or frozen clods of earth
On a winter's morn

Like amethyst innards of geodes
Crystalline formations
Sprout from nothing but dirt
Where flowers and trees are born

I never saw a sapphire shine
As true as a clear blue sky
I'm more fond of turquoise
Though I could not tell you why

I prefer the glint of silver
Darting across the stream
To the glamour of golden jewelry
And other fancy things

I never heard a poem
As lovely as a prayer
From a mother for her children
As she tucks them into bed;

Never a song more beautiful
Than birds in spring at dawn;
I could not snap my fingers to it
Yet nary a word was said

I never felt a freedom
Like the roving of the wind
Whistling in wild abandon
Past the mustang's tossing mane;

Or through some lonesome canyon
Beneath the eagle's wing
With the wild wolf howling
A secret of something

But I have no regrets
For things I'll never do
When the sun of my life sets
I'll trust the moon and stars to you

Friday, March 31, 2017

Emily My Emily

Soft wind chimes ring for me
Each time that you sing to me
Songs that you bring to me
Emily, my Emily

Softly you cling to me
Flower of spring to me
You're everything to me
Emily, my Emily

When the bright dawn is near
You whisper in my ear
Dreams that my heart can hear
Emily, my Emily

Why do the butterflies
Tremble through summer skies
Why is the owl so wise
Emily, my Emily?

Where do the clouds all go
Daddy, I want to know
When little breezes blow
asks Emily, Emily

Now see the dandy lion
Shaggy old friend of mine
Hide in the grass and find
Emily, my Emily

Hair full of violets
Passion flower pirouettes
Morning glories now trumpet
For Emily, Emily

Night time is time for hugs
And catching lightning bugs
But she will set them free
Emily, my Emily

Life is a fairy tale
I never knew so well
Love ever after tells
Of Emily, Emily

When mother lays her down
Yawning in her nightgown
Angels will come around
For Emily, my Emily

Guard this child while she sleeps
In precious dreams so deep
Blessed is the Lord who keeps
Emily, my Emily
For me.

About Me

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