That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang …
Sums up autumn pretty much for me …
“I wonder if the sap is stirring yet,
If wintry birds are dreaming of a mate,
If frozen snowdrops feel as yet the sun
And crocus fires are kindling one by one:
Sing robin, sing:
I still am sore in doubt concerning Spring.”
– Christina Rossetti
Harpies in everyday life #6
A trio of yellow claws clutch non-fat lattes
silk and suede feathers reek of carrion
stiletto heels are smeared with foul droppings
Pink stained pouts drip poison
chic bobbed heads dip in unison then
bony chins point to the rafters
They warble their triumph
Some spiteful god has me in his sights
and no classical Jason will drive them all away
Definition of HARPY
1capitalized : a foul malign creature in Greek mythology that is part woman and part bird
2 a : a predatory person : leech b : a shrewish woman
Merriam Webster Dictionary
“Don’t criticize what you can’t understand.”
Mistresses of the sidelong glance, pursed lips and narrowed eyes
their claws out in anticipation.
An interloper will not obey group norms
byzantine to all
but their inbred nucleus.
Heads adjoined, a hydra of bile,
they spew a lethal cocktail of hatred and malice,
a blitzkrieg of pettiness, innuendo and spite
thoroughly and relentlessly as a conqueror razes a city.
They drag her through the noxious sludge of degradation.
Inevitable denouement is ostracism final as ancient Athens,
a surgical cut
until she is laid bare,
her spirit torn to dirty scraps pelted by the wind.
Satisfied, they begin once more.
You have survived January nights at 30 below
dodged trucks careening down back alleys
sensed bogus treats of antifreeze
eluded budding psychos who would duct tape your legs together
and leave you on the railway tracks.
Your coat is ginger clotted hairballs
raised bloody scars criss-cross your broad skull with its ragged ears.
Your ribs show and your belly is slack so you accept the food
warily at first, then gulp it down
to look behind you.
Then you are off to familiar haunts of alleys and derelict buildings
rife with predators
stronger and bigger than you.
But your claws are still sharp, teeth like needles and legs supple to carry
you away from danger.
And you will live to fight another day.
When she smiles no crows feet pleat the corners of her eyes
or laugh lines groove around her mouth.
Fogged up glasses don’t slide to the tip of her nose
while she squints at her sewing.
No cigarette wobbles from the side of her mouth drizzling
or underarms flap when she waves.
Her hair is curled to a neat blonde casque
no Medusa grey coils dangle from her kerchief.
No greenish blue veins snake their way up her legs
or broad hips sway like a dray mare.
instead there is you
to cook my meals, wash my clothes , wipe my tears
and know that I wish that you were not my mother.
This began as folklore, morphed into a short story then into a poem so in a way this has been a shared journey that is far from complete.
Bernice walks where no one goes
away from trucks that roar and spit out gravel
along weed clogged prairie trails with pungent scent of skunk and badger.
Daytime haze gives way to dusk
dust motes hang suspended in the moist air.
‘Round the bluff come horse and rider
the man’s head bowed upon his chest.
The horse drags hooves through thick powdery dirt
Closer now, she smells smoke and sweat of bygone battles
could touch his blood encrusted side, trace his wounds with her fingers.
The rider turns, stares down at her
his obsidian eyes gleam with fury and pain.
She wants to run but cannot move.
They turn off the trail parting the tall weeds
that slap the horses rump.
His head is a dark spot weaving through the field,
Bernice watches as they disappear into the twilight.
My job is a bit of a pain
demands never ending is plain
my welfare comes first
so prepare for the worst
get those resumes out there again!
[Nolite te bastardes carborundorum]
Feline logic dictates that you must
Leave white fur on my black sweaters
Upend defenceless house plants just for spite
Find my can of tuna on the kitchen counter
Fling cat litter helter skelter
Yet curl up by my side, yawn and sleep the sleep of innocents
Squinting in the sun
your hand lifts to shield your pale blue eyes.
You smile, tentative at first, then stretches wide.
Freckles sprinkle across your upturned nose.
Your laugh: a silvery chime that speaks of endless summer days, picnics and popsicles.