street madonna

The following poem was inspired by our time in Barcelona. For several days we walked in Gaudi and Picasso’s footsteps, fascinated by the birth of the cubism movement and both of us having favourite Picasso works to search for. We walked the small lanes, and cobbled roads,pass a unique Spanish Church, pass restaurents especially Els Quatre Gats taverns, the world renowned Picasso Museum, and sat sipping red wine and eating Paella on La Rambla observing the people, as our daughter Bernadine recommended.
It is surprising to me this is the poem from those days. The Roma woman sitting on the cold steps of the Church, was there for the two days I walked that way and the shock on the second day when I visited the Church, to find a baby hidden under her mantel and less cared for then the statue of the Madonna and Child inside the church . The paradox and pathos are hard to capture. I hope I have captured the moment for you.

street madonna

she was there yesterday
quiet as a fresco
sunlit olive skin eyes lowered
a shawl and joyful skirt

i felt a jolt
passed quickly by

walk picasso’s footsteps
barcelona’s gothic quarter
marvel at ancient roman walls
sip coffee in the bohemian-quarter kats
inhale the vibe of past artists writers poets

she is there again today
on the cold stone steps
near the ornately carved doors
her presence loud

I was warned
walk on
but a voice inside says
this is different

in the cathedral the rose window
plays its colours
mother and baby statue
glows in candle light

on my way out
a fumble in my heart
makes me halt
i scan her face

she looks up eyes hook me
draw me she smiles
the cup in her hand

under her mantle
a baby cradled in her lap
reaches out

morning lament

The following poem morning lament was written after one morning waking up to more depressing news on the radio news. This is the first poem in the Social Justice section called Between the Wings of the Crow of my poetry book A Call to Listen. There are seven poems for you to enjoy in this section.

It is like the leaders keep us overwhelmed by bad news so we become apathetic and complacent. It is when this happens that power is wielded . Like the saying when good people remain silent bad things happen. Many readers will relate to this morning lament.


morning lament

the morning begins with the crow
its articulated screech
takes me back to my fourth grade teacher
and world of long division

the digital radio lights up
the dark of night is past
secret fears
scuttling crabs of the heart
dart into hiding

morning news like canned laughter
mocks me
as leaders in a world of illusion
seize loop holes
to button me down with their spin

between the wings of the crow
is stored anguish
and the mourning women’s lament
under dark skies lit by destructive fire

dawn becomes glare
stares me down

and the crow mocks
as it flies away
beyond consciousness