poems

Gravekeepers


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Champ and stamp and plough the way

No drifts may bury hallowed graves

Though flakes in doubled flurries fall

And moonlight casts its silent pall

We sweep and leap and claw away

To bare the shallow, stony graves

For one is yours, and yours entire

And one is mine, in flood and fire

And one is the grave of Aristo

Whom all have mourned but none have known

His are the softest falling snows

And his are the winds that cease to blow

But champ and stamp and clear the graves

And sing and croak the cold away

The moon spares naught for Aristo

Nor do the sparkling veils of snow

Elizabeth Cook, 2014

Alchemy


Were she mine, then I would twine

Her ropes of pearls in salty swirls

Her charms of ink in dangling rings

And her spells of sighs in sparkling guise

And whisper words of dreamland girt

In chimes of windless, ringing rhymes,

In chests of lockless, burnished depths,

And in mirrors made by hands of jade

And were she mine, I would design

Deep hills of moory, misty thrills

Gold glades of timeless, nymphly shade

Whole worlds in teeming, softened seeming –

So were she mine, I would not pine

For endless tales and hooded vales,

For secret doors and distant shores,

Nor for enchantments lacking

Elizabeth Cook, 2014

Lanaiea’s Watch


I beg that you tell me of Lanaiea, waiting at her watch
Is she impassive through dawn and tempest
Through shadows’ sway and sunset’s hush?

~

Does she remain fair as when she took her place
When the Elitheriel left our shores?
Disappearing in the Brightling, to sail forevermore

~

I beg that you tell me of Lanaiea, for I shall never tread
To her lonesome watch, when none else so spend
Their hearts upon suspense

~

I might gift her warmth and sustenance, and lightest melodies
Yet these would only cloak her silence
While her eyes stay on the sea

~

Untouched by worldly comforts, keenly do I know
That none, and not I, could give her more
With the Elitheriel lost, forevermore

Elizabeth Cook, 2013

Image by Christophe Vacher

Yellow – All That is Gold (Her First Letter to Kate)


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All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost…
– J.R.R. Tolkien

Yellow is two sided, with shades of envy and heresy at odds with happiness, sunshine, optimism, and wealth. But it is undoubtedly the brighter associations that we think of first and last, just as Tolkien’s poem is ultimately one of hope.

I am reminded of endless possibilities, of late afternoons when the light thickens to a coat of gold, of delightful moments from my childhood and of moments I cannot anticipate. When I see the sun hit a window pane at just the right angle, and I long to be outside, it is only a matter of seconds before my mind follows that sunbeam into someplace and somewhen imaginary.

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Arcadia


I met a man below a hill, where the road unwinding paused

‘Round a poplar grove and spring, removed from worldly laws

There he sat with tranquil brow, and offered of his bread and wine

And he told me of the place he left, which he hoped again to find

In his eye there lay a land, so splendorous I would not conceal

How bright and gleaming was the port, where ships of starry cargo wheeled

Where a thousand silver suns set sail, and one might buy ten thousand more

Where sailors’ songs gilded the waves, taming siren hearts and storms

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