I write and write. I can’t help myself!

Music by Charles Long

“Down by the Riverside” this arrangement  and recording (c) 2017 Charles Long. 

The backstory is almost 30 years ago, I heard a choir singing “Down by the Riverside” in a style like this on the radio. It has stuck with me ever since. The song itself is a negro spiritual whose roots are pre-Civil War. This was recorded live at Grace Lutheran Church.

 

 

247441_10150356267409498_4364606_n11872312_10207185644789766_951311930707771625_o

“It is what it is” (c) 2015 Charles Long

“The Morning and the Evening” (c) 2014 Charles Long

“Candles and Sweet Silent Night” (Sung by Jennifer Cooper) (c) 2012 Charles Long

“Every Raindrop” (c) 2014 Charles Long

Poems by Charles Long

Sonnet for a Lost Father (c) 2015 Charles Long

A sitting I, a shady bench, alone upon a summery day
Too near the pier where once the boys had fed the ducks with crusts and played
Now I am old and they have flown along the wind above the spray
The boys and ducks have flown so far away, have flown so far away

An emerald green the river then when jangling vessels moored in fog
Rock’d near the pier where restless boys heard sailor’s tales of Tír na nÓg
Now I am old and they have grown and sailed beyond the thundering sea
The boys and boats have sailed away from me, have sailed away from me

A ready I to flee to fly to feather fast a windward blown
A ready I to reach the strand and stand where boys and ducks have flown
A ready I to board the boat and bob the bounding blue abyss
A ready I to tie my ship where boys and boats have found their bliss

But wings I’ve not nor boat to bear me off this shady bench to them
I fear I ne’er shall see nor hear the ducks, the boats, the boys again

The Bent, The Broken, And The Beautiful (c) 2013 Charles Long

The proud young sun gazed down on the mirror’d sea
Her blown glass marred by ripples and bubbles,
Reflecting, refracting, returning
Sunlight like smoke is
Bent

Waves of water and waves of light colliding, combining
Then shattering into shards from red to violet
Shining shimmering splinters of infinity
Sunlight like crystal is
Broken

“Oh how hideous, the bending and the breaking!” lamented the sun
“Oh how beautiful, the bent and the broken!” rejoiced the sea
Then the vain sun frowned upon his glory so broken
And burned against his magnificence so bent
And turned away, and shut his eyes

But the sea pitied him and pleaded with him,
“Ere the mirror darkens, open your eyes!
Come, look down, and see yourself!
See yourself as you are, rejoice!
See yourself as you are!
Smile upon the bent,
The broken and
The beautiful!”

Four Seasons (c) 2011 Charles Long
Summer

On The Beach
Stretched like canvas
White on sand
Sun like Rembrandt
Brush in hand
Turns us cream
And then nut-brown
Save the few
Of redder hue
Whom Pollock speckles
Splashing freckles
Stretched like canvas
On the dune
Every morning
Every noon
Till setting sun
When sittings done
With sky afire
Sea a-foam
We retire
Traipsing home
Sand in hair
Stinging skin
Shower spray
Drains away
Grains of summer
But on the shore
‘Neath starry space
Of us remains
No lasting trace
That wind and tide
Cannot erase
As summer fades
So too must we
To wonder by
The restless sea
What might have been
Or might yet be

Autumn

Walk Through An Autumn Wood

As hand in hand we walk through autumn woods
The storm-shook boughs like brushes flick away
Their airborne foliage swirling golden brown
With crimson-red and yellow-orange-gray
The whirling wind conceives with dying leaves
A living masterpiece upon the ground
So arm in arm, we walk through and remember
Like waiting withering leaves up in a tree
We cling so fast to summer’s last red ember
Resist the gusts of wind or will that free
Until at last when all the wood’s a whisper
Of floating and of falling, we release
And flutter like a sigh before we settle
To wait for winter’s white and watchful peace

Winter

A Toast

On New Year’s Eve
A strange old pair
A kiss at twelve
To warm the air
Then twelve-oh-one
The old year done
We mist to mist
Must fade away
And cool into
This New Year’s Day
For on the cusp
We live this life
This fleeting now
This edge of knife
This dusk before
The sacred night
This dawn before
The holy light
So ere this now
Becomes that then
Ere what is here
Is gone again
Come hold my hand
Come take this vow
The time to love
Is ever now
To leave no breath
With words unsaid
No smiles unsmiled
No tears unshed
Betwixt, between
The waft and weave
A toast to now
On New Year’s Eve

Come raise your glass my love to weathered lips
And drink a toast to praise a long strange trip
Come taste the bubbling wine in slow sweet sips
Till glasses yet half-full to sleep we slip

Winter, Winter, Winter

My feet toward the fire warming
As embers on the hearth are cooling
Beside some logs are green and drying
The wind above the flue is sighing
Winter, winter, winter

My pain the morphine’s slowly blunting
And yet my sight is quicken’d, sharp’ning
A glimpse beyond I’m almost catching
As frost upon the window’s etching
Winter, winter, winter

Above the chimney smoke is rising
And heaven’s snow is gently falling
The stars are hid behind the clouding
The moon a ghost that haunts the shrouding
Winter, winter, winter

The four dimensions flatten melting
And mem’ry slows to photo freezing
Distinctions soften. Space collapsing
To sleep? To what am I now lapsing?
Winter…

Spring

When Springtime Comes

When springtime comes I wonder what we’ll feel?
When coal-dust into diamond is compressed
With wounds in whitest linens bound and dressed
With wrongs, received or given, all redressed
With darkest faults all graciously concealed
And charities unnoticed all revealed

When springtime comes I wonder what we’ll feel?
As muscle, tendon, bone and flesh re-knit
As minds remember joy and pain forget
As shattered hearts are mended and reset
As gasping lungs expand at death’s repeal
As frozen knees are loosed again to kneel
As battered crowns are cast at wounded heels

When springtime comes I wonder what we’ll feel?
The dancing seasons spinning whirling reels
And galaxies revolving like prayer wheels
The universe an ancient scroll unseals
Through every summer, winter, woe and weal

I wonder what when springtime comes we’ll feel?

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *