lutes of green luster

My father was both an painter and an accomplished classical guitarist …

my father’s art and music:

lutes of green luster playing
sounds of classical
strings as they wound around
paintings sketched with pen-and-ink and
laid in with watercolor wash through
medieval antiphons

with cats in the background

and peanut brittle on the table

with a half-finished crossword puzzle

near his family

Disconsolate Nights

Alone and wand’ring in the dark,
Out on the beach ’til very late;
With only beer to comfort him
And mem’ries streaming in a wake

The moon hangs low, disconsolate,
The waves are muffled, nearly still;
Like waiting for a morning star
That never comes
And never will

(Back when I would go three days or so between sleeping. – Owen)

Night Nurse

For eighteen weeks I lay in bed
And fervidly wished I was dead
Until, one night my eyes grew wide
To see this vision at my side

Hi, I’m Owen. Who are you?
Elizabeth, she said. I’m new.
I just moved here a week ago.
The night shift’s all they had. And so…

We chatted briefly in the dark
And as she left, I felt the spark
Of something – something like the dawn;
Of a desire to still go on.

She only worked the weekends, so
I had to wait a week to know
That I would see her face again.
A face I thought somehow a friend.

She came there, just as in my head.
Upon the edge of that old bed,
She sat and looked me in the eyes.
And me? I was in paradise.

The minutes we spoke went so fast.
And then she told me, at the last
That she would not be back, because
She’d gotten day work somewhere else.

I doubt now she remembers me,
But I recall her freckles, eyes —
A love not quite an hour long
A life sustaining exercise

Now, When I Remember You

To tell the story of a life
Takes many pages, many words;
To tell the story of a love
Takes every bit as long

The you I saw in summer fields
Beneath an endless weightless sky
The you I felt in tenderness
The softness of your skin, a sigh

For now, when I remember you
There is a novel in my mind;
The beauty of your memory
Is always young, and brave, and kind

There’s beauty in the world, I know,
But I thought I had lost it then:
You walked into the room, and I
Became the mindfulest of men

But this – this was not me at all
This was all you, and love; it was
A type of wakeful dreaming where
I did not want to wake, because

Your magic was in everything.
If ever a man loved, I did:
I cherished every moment, and
I lay awake at night and bid

The minutes slow their very march.
To lengthen time, our time, so much
As possible; to see your eyes
To stroke your hair, to softly touch

Your skin beneath your summer dress.
To love you there with all my heart;
Your words of warning in my ears
That love is short and lovers part.

A life, my life, what is it now?
It’s just a cold and fading fire
A soon forgotten flickering
Of what was once raging desire

And all for you, my long true love –
Who taught me wonder in the night,
Whose hand I took to cross the bridge
Of leaving off and doing right

The day is closing in, and I
Put down my pen, and rest a while –
For now, when I remember you
I shiver once, and lastly


(“Now, When I Remember You” – 6-25-2015)

An Irish Love

Cliffs that overhang the ocean,
Clouds across an endless sea,
Waves in constant roar and motion,
For two walkers, you and me,
Everything a day could be:
Even now, there’s no forgetting
Rising day and old love setting.

Ireland I still remember,
We were young and full of fire;
In the last days of September
Sinking lower, climbing higher
Led by bits of lost desire.
Even now, with no regretting
Came the day for old love setting.

Though the eyes grow weak and jaded,
Though my heart be worn and sore,
There’s a day that never faded
Walking down a distant shore
Once, for all, and evermore:
Nature’s kindness hope abetting
One last morn ere love’s last setting

Here, Again

I close my eyes, and you are here again.
Your hand upon my shoulder, just a boy;
As though by magic, wrinkles smoothed away,
And graves released their peaceful, sleeping ones.

Your voice I hear, the ringing baritone,
The joys of harmony, and hearts content,
Though labor and the struggle, even then,
Put creases on a face not far from youth.

Your aftershave – I feel it even now –
The way my nose would tickle when up close,
The eyes that swept your family, then the front,
Of trying to, believing in, the good.

My eyes are open now, and all is still.
The sun is slanting in, and moving by;
And here, again I’ll feel that love is best
When it appears unbidden and aware


An autumn evening.

But a brief moment the sunset lasts
With a growing chorus of crickets then
Comes the dark

Across the bayou, lights I start to see;
And I hear from far away the sounds
Of the distant high school football game

Autumn wraps its arms around me
Sitting on the side of a hill
Looking at the shadows and lights on the water
Feeling the breeze blow my hair

And a faint smell of wood-smoke is in the air
And the scent brings strong memory
As though reliving moments in the flesh
And not merely in thought
Of bygone days spent by the bayshore
Of your golden hair catching the last rays of sunset

Occasionally, a car goes by
And I watch the headlights trailing off
Around the bend

And life, or at least my life, this life
Has unity

(Photo by me. Originally Posted 11-14-2015. – Owen)