In the Days Before Winter

The stark blue hills
         stand smoky soft at dawn…
Painter, poet
save them as they are today

of the forest's thinning,
unaware they've been mortgaged to the hilt 
by guilty men who lack the heart
to stand up in a storm.

Even the kind hearted grow small
against the rising sun.
Smart and modern
we adjust creation until we have no home,
but I babble…

It is the hills that stand the test of time,
Soldiers fall like leaves, trees become poor poems
and those stacks that belched their smoke stand idle. 
Bricks fall, fill the empty belly of the beast that fed us. 

Ivy tangles and turns brown, 
         but every evening in the shadow 
of a day that's done, 
the hills stand tall in tortured stone, 

They do not fear the dark.
Come morning when the sun is at a softer slant,
the smoky haze of day gives gentler hue
to hills that cup their hands
to catch the thunder.

  The Poetry  of :   
Tranche de Vie

This is autumn,
This is the log crackling 
its brightest blaze
before it falls into a mass
of ashes. That last
bold ember
that remembers innocent sparks
the conflagration,
Ah, sweet glow…
The waiting 
for the flowering,
The arrogance
of full-fledged bloom,
and now in autumn,
the gentle cooling,
Perhaps a warning,
of the cold
that is to come,
Unwelcome cold
can’t kill memories,
A time for reflection,
this growing old,
this time of peace.

 The poetry of  smzang
© 2007 smzang
all rights reserved
Welcoming the Equinox

Alight sweet spring and warm the stone cold fields,
Touch these barren limbs with your sable brush,
Set free the butterflies that winter sealed
in dark cocoons that wait your fevered blush. 

Send greening vines that sweep up to the door
like guests kept waiting too long in the cold
of tides that ebbed while dreaming of the shore,
direction bent and faith fast growing old. 

Turn loose a lemon moon to light the sky
where gods still live in stellar adulation,
Don’t timid come nor make your presence shy
but boldly paint the canvas of creation. 

With hope a wintered heart will sing again
when tendered with the gentle touch of spring.

Clothes on the Line

Not in winter when ice
froze cotton to pins and the hands
turned ruby, raw with ache
from the chill,

but in autumn and spring,
and especially in summer
when the sun was ceding 
to squall.

When the wind whipped the sheets
into great cracks and pops
and all of us ran
to bring the laundry in

before the first pelting rain
could fall. The smell of towels
fluffed with fresh air, and linens
wearing nature's perfume,

even my father's rough jeans...
The remembered scents of clothes
on the line recall the excitement
of outrunning the storm.

Come December, I'm ever so glad
for my dryer, but even then,
when I'm feeling too fragile
to hang clothes out on the line,

I reach for a random pin
and give it a face, red trousers,
black boots,  a trace of gold
for buttons and brass,

then I add it to the growing battalion
of soldiers consigned to a shelf,
nevermore to pin clothes 
on the line.
A Lesson in Gratitude 
from a Friend whose Basement Flooded

She stands in water
almost to her knees.
Photographs, certificates,
a treasure trove of memories
turned to debris.
As I swallow
the acrid taste of despair,
she looks upward
past the wind strewn roof
and offers fervent prayer.
Born of love and gratitude
it rises on the breeze: Thank you, Lord, 
for this basement that caught the spill 
and left the living room
and thank you for the sun
that warms with gentle rays.
O Good and Gracious Father,
Thank You
for this day.


It wasn’t just the purple shadows 
that I wanted you to see, not just the snow 
jeweled trees, or the swirling filigree 
of sky - it was more 
than spellbound breath 
adrift in silence. 

A snowflake caught soon leaves empty hands,
I might wonder if it’s memory or dream - 
that moment, too full for one to hold 
alone – this knowing 
why twilight skies bring 
sighs of melancholy. 

Cinquain to Time

Stand still
time,  Let me keep
that moment forever
when two kindred spirits whispered
 of whim

In courts of kings,
Before chiefs of clans,
Once a maple beside a pensive pond,

Resonant through battles waged
In peace to play a gladder note
The agony of death assuaged.

Now the magic's lingering air still travels 
with the poet's quote, in silver tones
of symphony the savage beast is smote.

Instrument of Heaven
To March

Tea and patience
and tales that never bite their tongues.
I hold you in the underlined places,
those interstices of vagrant days.

 It is only lately
I’ve begun to think the weather
is intentional, Inscrutable face,
the ides give you away.

I understand you
even better than April, Like you
I have a roar inside me
that hungers to be heard.

Art Final 101

What joy, those winter fields
where wheat will green the ground
in spring, Where corn
will lift its ears to catch the wind
and soy beans will wait 
for harvest moon to ripen,

But now, frozen furrows
blankly bide their time,
Empty beneath an arching sky
and one old spreading tree,
gnarled and kingly
in its February dominion.

It sets the mind to wondering
at God’s artistry, what was He thinking?
Of contrast and of symmetry?
Of hues and tints that swirl
and blend, or did His canvas
bloom with pure necessity?

When He nourished wheat,
did he smell bread? Those
luscious loaves brown and steaming
from the oven, did He plan the hearth
prior to the seed, or did His creation
mother His invention.

How blank His canvas must have been
with nothing but the sky, the ocean,
and the empty fields, Perhaps it was
a sunny day, the sky a bright
cerulean, Perhaps He stood back
pondering the possibilities…

A splash of emerald green
for contrast, a hint of olive
for the shadow, did He apply the color
straight from the tube? From
titanium to burnt umber, not waiting
for it to dry?

How deftly He created leaves, perhaps
to satisfy the need for shade ? Was there 
a manual spelling out the elemental order
of the final? Requirements of competency 
with color and texture. A familiarity
with geometric design?

Or did He fill each spot with something
needed … Choose His colors somewhat
randomly; the picture once completed
was a harmony of elements that fulfilled
each other’s needs, The bread the art,
The art the seed.

The Tide Came In

fresh breath 
of oceans
on summer skin
the stars
your eyes
heat lightning
we were toe prints
in sand

Antithesis of Abstract

those vague impossibilities
arranged in such a way
as to convey the true process
of thought.

No machination..
the imagination freed
from alteration of contrived
intent. The collage
in this case incomplete.

Such wealth
of imagery in the stain..
    all the qualities of dream,
and yet concrete. 

Each blade of grass a miracle,
 Each autumn leaf
 a windblown sigh…

What vision spectacular
 is not witness
 to its Maker?

Each birth and death
 a confirmation
 of eternity,

Each new bloom
 a continuation,
 an evidence undeniable.

Who is so blind
 to claim
 He is unseen?