Saturday 5 November 2016

3 Poems by Cleo Griffith

Adagios in Red

My kite flies arrogant and red against the sky.
I’m tempted to let it go, to rise, to fall at its own will,
this tethered sprite with which I can identify.

With whimsy I could loosen it, let it try    
to find its way to burly woods and dank green hill,        
this kite, so arrogant against the brilliant sky,

or I could rudely pull it down and show it: why              
it is, after all, made but of paper, string, this cheap thrill,  
this tethered sprite with which I can identify

but that would feel too much an unnecessarily-hard reply.  
What clever wit have I to claim some spirit could instill
my kite with arrogance? It sweeps against the brilliant sky,

my hands are aching, should I not, should I, untie?
Fate lies in my hands, my heart can feel the chill.
My tethered sprite, indeed, I identify.

I hold a slender string, my hands are damp, my mouth is dry.
I can’t decide, to let it go, to hold it here, until, until…?
My kite flies arrogant against the brilliant sky,
this tethered sprite with which I can identify.

Autumn Pleasures

Night, in his velvet cloak, stays.
Sunrise comes so late.
Raindrops tap, tiny dancers.
Circles form within brown dust.
Ivy leaves gleam against stone.
Sun sets before six.
Deep stars seem closer tonight --
crickets think so, too

Slow Walk

The long dark fence along the path
glistens with moisture from the fog,
no bird sings.
In my slow walk I am gray,
blended into the morning gloom
in my own low sky of solitude.

I hear it-- the whooshing of breath --
before I see the lightly speckled horse,
that sound never forgotten.
Childhood rushes through me now
in unwinding memory:
coarse hair of the horse’s mane,
feel of my feet in stirrups, reins in hand;
along the pathway the feathery beauty
of wild asparagus long gone to seed,
sticking up through January snow.

I have forgotten my grayness,
the fog will give way also.


Cleo Griffith was Chair of the Editorial Board of Song of the San Joaquin for twelve years, and remains on the Board. She has been published in Homestead Review, Cider Press Review, Iodine, Main Street Rag, Miller’s Pond, More Than Soil, More Than Sky: The Modesto Poets, POEM, the Aurorean, The Furnace Review, The Lyric, Tiger’s Eye, Time of Singing and others.  She is a member of the Modesto CA Branch of the National League of American Pen Women. She lives in Salida, CA with her husband Tom and their aptly-named cat, Tank.

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