Rain seemed fast fleeting netting nothing
‘Cept a dizzingly white and dazzling sunlight
Leaving me happily harbored in crisp, clean colors.
The Bay froze o’er just the one year,
Backing the house to an icy, black mirror of creek;
A miracle to marvel and one I’ve nary seen since.
In spring, spreading out o’er a quarter
Grew nurseries of azalea and rhododendron,
Stopping short at eroding cliffs breaking on your reason.
and yellow, tufted, mustard fields
Growing wild either side
the road waked our ride.
The honk, end the drive, often startled
a partridge or a bobwhite.
Georgia Gal, the shepherd friend to your old age,
Guarding the white-washed house so comfortable,
a greeting pretending not to be glad.
Each summer had goals to mark those years;
Mason’s breakfasts, garden victories, and churchly things-
Harvesting by rite the immigrant, neighbors’, crab pots.
You drifted there to stay
some years before,
To dry dock and wait your turn at being
a Bay ghost,
A merchant mariner dignified as The Cleo fading
‘side the road.
Everything about you bespoke the lower Bay.
Coming home that fall to the Delmarva
you bow high in the family log.
And anchored there, you found the blue, green harmony
Resonant of that water estuary to this land,
flat, sandy, and scented of high tide.
Reckoning my life amidst these grassy shores,
I too love this tribal land and claim my marshy share,
Your grateful son and heir to the Chesepiooc.
|The Pier Out Back Of My Father's Place In Exmore Va...circa 1970
A Sad Haiku
One last woeful turn-
Who has not left their guard
Brace! "All are punished!"
|The Unkwnown Soldier Could Have Been Gay We'll Never Know.
The Unknown Soldier Could be
Gay. We'll Never Know!
[Dedicated to an elephant eye, high name on a shiny, black wall]
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell!
Of when you discover you’re one’ a those freaks
The other kids are slinging pejoratives at.
Don’t tell parents of
kill themselves, secrets strangling school tied necks.
Society’s, scapegoat divorcee what it’s like
To have loved but not lusted after.
The kid two hearts were not broken!
How you struggled up, out of the dung,
To stand attention ‘fore
hoards of closed minded dolts.
Of enlisted resurrections for fear of more crucifixions.
The names of friends and lovers
Blamed for a plague not their making.
Which part of a heavy, crowded heart houses these relics?
About husbands or wives unconsecrated,
Except beheld in the golden
eye of God who “doesn’t play dice”!
Of that lonely pain of bent would-be widows and widowers.
The indentify of my soldier lover
Drowned down in a rice field-Oh God! No!
Less they strip away a memory gone dull- never
Of this wise old fag’s
pneumonia standing reverent at this ceremony.
Of mussed musings ‘fore our Unknown Soldier!
|A Poof Hair Style Popular With Marie Antoinette
Knitting Needles for a Pouf
The marchande de mode,
Rose Bertin, has added
A pouf to her repertoire
At the Grand Mogol.
A lady to the Queen
Was seen on the
Heavily burdened with
Was the coming fete
To be sentimentalité
Or a commémorative?
Having no clue,
She was driven away
With two poufs,
One for either occasion.
A second barouche
Was needed for the heavy
a courtly function,
upon the mood
In the mêlée
Amidst so much commotion
A strand of baubles broke to
Fall and scatter from
Milady’s fair and powdered neck;
Seeded pearls of little consequence
Cleared from cleavage, floor, and seat-
Clutter tossed out the carriage windows.
That night in the taverns
by the Seine
was many a toast
In honor of this good lady
Hocked with proceeds
Of her generosity;
Most pawned for cheap wine-
Lafarge purchased knitting needles.
E. D. Ridgell
Pack A Basket
You only get to keep your memories,
So live each and every moment.
Be with the person you are with.
Invite all your senses. Pack a basket.
arbiter of your conscience is you.
Whether there is a God
or not is irrelevant-
Your want or need for one is not. Be
Religion is a prescription written by others.
Choose physicians well.
Practice your faith quietly, in whispers.
Paraphernalia is just that, paraphernalia.
Beautiful paraphernalia takes the shabbiness
Off of God. Creation is cause and effect.
something to happen. Have an effect.
Give something to the community, if only truth-
Grief is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do,
Except maybe death. I haven’t tried that yet.
Like My Father
It was a chilly, sun-lite day
And Dad was finishing
Showing the rector of
Just where he was to be buried.
Dad was a force unto itself,
As the good rector was finding out,
A check in his hand
And a dazed spell in his eyes.
I totally understood.
always I was numb,
Dumb with embarrassment-
knowing myself what was expected.
I last saw my father
In the rear view mirror
Just minutes after falling
into my fortuitous arms.
He waved from atop the steps he’d just toppled from.
A week later, my aunt Betty and I
watching some bazaar masonic ritual,
Played out late into the night at the funeral
I don’t know which one of us was more amused.
I broke down the next morning,
So I was composed
by the funeral.
Poor Uncle Bud was so drunk at his brother’s death,
His annoyed daughter declared we had buried the wrong man!
It was a splendid funeral
To an overflowing throng-
Complete with a twenty-one-gun salute
Befitting my Dad’s
That old seaman
had had several ships shot from under him
In World War II, and rose in the Merchant
Marine to Chief Engineer.
It was only later I learned of the weighty secret
He kept locked away, ashamed at nothing.
Like Dad I’ve known the burden
Of carrying secrets
Made heavy by the biases of society,
But like my father
before me, I’m a force unto itself!
E. D. Ridgell
She pricked you!
I can’t miss a trick,
Not note a remark,
I’m high strung and gifted,
I’m fox trotting-
I’m tap dancing,
the Mad Hatter.
What’s the matter-
On a slippery
dance floor, again?
Welcome to Bedlam,
Where I’m surely
“My Indomitable Self!”
E. D. Ridgell
On The Corner’s Of Church And Liberty
I identify myself by fidelity to principles
Which are packaged in words
That are set in sacred
but secular writs.
I am as immediate as a turnstile
Or descended from
Rough, rambling, and rum
Gypsies of global castoffs,
Trailing a contingent
I failed to kill off with the buffalo.
Who are you to judge me,
When I am but an amputee of you?
God Save The Queen,
But I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy
the Fourth of July.
Don’t murder mine on my burial grounds,
And in league or not with others,
with threats that may or may not be real!
Do you not see my coiled tail or hear my rattle?
I will strike you
if you tread on me,
Then bind your wounds with the wrappers
Of pockets full of Hershey bars.
I am the relative
you do not want
Who comes to visit and forgets to leave.
I am the intervention in your dysfunction
times is crazier than you!
The children dressed in bulging vests
Tug at my fatiques
Asking for chocolates-
And just when do I intend
That is the one thing, children,
I do not seem to know.
I am not pretty-
I am beautiful
In the reflection of antique mirrors
Made new in The People’s
Republic of cheap imports
North of Vietnam where the labor
Is suddenly cheaper still.
Come sign agreements
in presidential suites.
There’s a Hilton everywhere-
Dubai, London, Singapore.
Take care! Beware!
There’s breath still in
this struck deer.
It ain't over till the fat lady sings and
She’s a Hummer still humming,
No matter the
price of gas-
Kiss my Yankee Doodle…!
Speak up or talk behind my back.
“He’s losing his dominions.
Her power wanes!”…
“Firearms are second
Only to the constitution in importance:
They are the peoples ‘liberty’s teeth”.
We identify ourselves by fidelity to principles
That are set in sacred and secular writs and
back it up with the USS Nimitz!
E. D. Ridgell
|Every Spring They Take Their Share
emerging finally from the nest
so poorly hidden every spring
in the middle of the flower ring,
comes a furry, would-be innocent, little pest,
bent on nipping every shoot
from bulbs planted with care
in hopes some might escape the hare,
and boast like decisions taking root
stark, bold colors in the garden
But no! Once again I’ll forfeit brief hues popping
for the pleasure of seeing you lawn-hoping
thoughout a coming long, hot, summer’s tear.
|The Fireplace Swelled The Bottom Drawer To Emily's Dresser So That Her Sister Did Not Burn The Poems
Her Devoted Bow-Front
For so long she has entrusted me
and rhyming recipes-
at death she has no more right to these
Than the felled, pine tree that gave form to me.
robbed of pigeon carry
from the top three-
be damned if I’ll surrender
Her pensive, scripts, ribbon wrapped in the bottom!
Tug and pull faithful
to her final fancies-
heat waves of mischief flowing o’er me.
Swell my final bastion’s walls-
I’ll wait out this designee’s impulsivity!
How I’ll miss the gentle tug of her-
The considerate closing of the parts of me,
And the reflective sweep of that small hand
Upon veneers wed to her devoted bow-front.
E. D. Ridgell
*The photo [ Emily Dickinson's Bowfront ] is the property of
The President and Fellows of Harvard College
The Last Domino!
I had lost Tom
mate of twenty three years.
I was bitter and I was angry.
I’d come through the door
And yell to the void, “I’m home!”
We used up our prescribed time.
my heart and I went out there.
I walked the full length of
From 72nd to the Bowery as I wasted away
Not caring if I whittled to nothing.
I walked the long walk through grief.
can hurt me like that again.
Did you know abandonment accompanies
It drops off chicken noodle soup and flees
With an alacrity propelled by fear.
The fridge can only hold
much chicken noodle soup,
And the heart just so much pain.
I found another between episodes
Of Sex In The City and auspices of Queer As Folk.
We both grow old with one another.
year I carry the fear
I may be the last one standing.
Mark Twain outlived everybody.
Love is the willingness to be the last domino!
E. D. Ridgell 2018
An Anger Dump
A life spent
out of an anger dump,
Silent seduction caped with abandonment.
I recall how sunken she looked
In the shipping casket-
baskets of glads ‘side the grave.
Stirred a grief
Tinged as it was with relief.
gloves for a rectal exam,
A case of that sympathetic cancer
That so often haunts the survivor.
Here, there, everywhere, cancer-
doctor’s appointment away
Seventy years later it still
I am sick of women
Pushing the anger button-
in their lily white fingers.
Six score and ten and
Still I’m sick with fear
Tempered though it be by time.
me gently down.
Bounce me off the canyon wall
The wailing wall of an anger dump.
E. D. Ridgell 2018
My universe was created with a loud commercial bang-
Advertising, rich elements and resources spiraling out to serve you.
These are very profitable if you’ve a stomach for commodity puts.
Everything living feeds off of something living, dwindling crops,
More manna from heaven for me. Eat up this holiday season.
I’ve options on the grocers. The geese are plentiful and reasonably
Everything dies to be sucked into a black hole.
Yes, there are fees for these as well. Everybody serves somebody.
How do you do? My name is Scrooge and I am that somebody!
insignificant orb dies, quickly.
Only greed can save it…that’s
me. Goodie, goodie!
Your backs are to the wall. Worry, then
worry some more.
I’m directly between you and ruin,
Until I send you happily skating and
sliding for a fall.
Make it profitable and I’ll dip
into my many marketed money funds.
I’ll clean up the
coal for you at a variable rate. Nothing is fixed.
gas you up, naturally, when I’ve had my spoils
the rich fields of tar sand oil you guzzle daily-
until due to the holiday, you come up short, then
call on me that greedy, greedy, seedy, Mr. Scrooge!
Stop griping. Everybody’s got a job or a dole check-some have
“The treadmill and the poor law are in full vigor…”
I’ll have my mortgage or the rent or you’ll feel my boot.
Children don’t want to go caroling in the cold
Singing archaic songs. They’re whining for the latest iPod
Or the Nintendo WII. They text you with their lists. You know,
Like everyone else, they’re busy. So is grandma
And she ain’t baking cookies or pies, not anymore.
Get with the program! What would you have, a real tree?
Put the cookies and the milk under a facsimile. Bah, humbug!
“I don’t make merry myself at Christmas”...
A small spoonful of gruel will do. “Keep Christmas in your own way,
And let me keep it in mine.”
that you’re babbling, now? Someone needs a new crutch
than most. We’ve a hot titanium model, adjustable, fresh
our Chinese line, one of several imports. Let me show it to you.
Christmas to You and Yours and a Profitable New Year!
I wish that I could tell you
world is a happier place.
That my grandchildren
Could have a greener earth.
Walks on stilts
O’er sodden ground, down drowning in apathy.
down on Wall Street protesters,
Down drowning martinis with
just a twist of lemon peel.
Cameras are everywhere
A sore festers to begat two.
or have not’s
Down drowning time ticking
To an ominous hourglass.
Cull me, Sweet Jesu!
As surely as the full moon salutes the night,
“I follow on the water”.
E. D. Ridgelll
Shooting in Orlando
Soul mate will have lost soul mate
In this horrific
act that begs an explanation
We are at a loss to give.
We can only reach deep inside
To that place from
which art arises
To lend a hand and give sustenance within our pain.
Here then a poem of mine- a small tribute
That soul mate that reaches out to that other soul mate
Who suddenly is absent the outstretched hand of love-
are punished!" says so, the Duke of Verona...
The Demise of the Mandarin
See my little wing quiver so
As I lie here atop the snow!
surely free I think.
I only wanted a tiny drink.
Something is broke
within I know.
I can not lift and rise to go.
So happy was I on the brink
Eager at a dawn’s early pink;
Very frightened, left alone,
Lamenting others who have flown-
they so high into a sky
Never more into will I fly.
What rudely broke my
So swift and sudden came the sting,
Dropping me from an upward lift
Leaving regal feathers rudely rift?
Something struck me swift and cruel,
Sharp tipped from side a northern pool,
Amidst the warnings of little swallows
Urging me to flap and follow.
And where’s gone fidelity
In the face of so little pity,
Here now in a
shadow of Showa,
Falling fast with a final, “Q
By Sacred Rite
My father, one of a selfless generation,
his decorative fight
Had earned the right to
Pick one or two choice crabs
from out their
In full view of their moored yachts
Nestled to their private piers-
He was the closest thing to
American pedigreed nobility,
In that inlet community.
Deep tentacles of
Firm roots in
Sandy, southern soil,
A distinguished veteran,
A recent Lodge inductee,
Bespoke in equal measure,
That he had every
rite to ply
That inlet in his simple boat
As any of them
In their sleek yachts!
Planted today at the summit
Of St, Mary's City, MD.
His simple marker still
Is testament to all
That moors a Republic
To sacred values as stated
In simple script on
Parchment, a nation's sacred writ;
Our American Constitution!
Sweet Jesus, No!
Oh Lordy, Lordy, Lordy,
It took me awhile
What so disturbed me
At the sight- the very idea of this!...
How can we punish the
Offense by repeating that offense?
How does this fit into Your Creed?
I am an old man. Surely I
Can stomach this? I've seen
Than a Blown Vein, for Christ's sake!
That's just it though, isn't it?
That table, Sweet
Is it not in the shape of Your cross?
E. D. Ridgell
I wanna go back
To summers in "the
land of pleasant living",
On Point Lookout, where the Potomac
Was one block to the left, and the Chesapeake
Only a short block to the right-
Where I was surrounded by colliding bodies
Of Collies and German
And a bathing suit would suffice
For the entire day. In the nights,
The ghost of a Confederate
prisoner of war
Would haunt those same beaches
That were once his prison,
A point where the calm, smooth
Collided with a rough, wave-riven Bay.
Fresh seafood was the only kind,
And all kinds of
cakes and pies lay inviting
On Grammy's kitchen table. I'd scoop
Out snapping turtles with a fishing net
From out the muddy ditch, side the house,
And leave 'em up on the lawn
Much to everyone's disapproval.
tell me not to pick her roses
As she handed me a pair of scissors,
And scissors or not, the thorns would
Blood my busy, little fingers.
Everyday seemed hot, bright and sunny,
And the real life problems of grown
We're missing, entirely. All of life was good
And romantic. The sights and smells were
All home grown,
and the earth held nothing
That could not be weathered or mastered.
There was pride in your name
church window named to uphold it.
Yes, all was right and good when I
Was a mere, little boy on Point Lookout,
In Maryland, "the land of pleasant living!"
E. D. Ridgell
But surely he jokes or chokes
on the word!
Lo, Me can not feign to float too lightly above as though
Me sailed with no anchor? No, Me knows, or at least
Admits fear, even so near to harbor.
Sooner or later the limes are all gone,
water is rancid, and the monkey eaten!
And, sure enough, just look
at that dark
Patch on the horizon. It was always bespoken.
The lucky end up ghosts
Along the shoreline. Others sink down deep
the sea. The gods will not be placated
For daring to venture too far.
Oh, it was so, so, satisfying,
So soon after Me balls dropped, but now, they
to rise up again. Me will be a pretty tenor at Me wake,
Mark Me squeals!
Old age is on Me Back
And Me be bending down. Me castle is under siege,
And the moat is strewn with inner tubes of the cutest rubber duckies!
Send help. Me thinks they've slipped acid into Me wine.
borders on punch and all will soon be lost to total disinterestedness!
E. D. Ridgell
|Courbet's The Wave
Courbet and Those Roe Deer
Fat, dirty, and greasy-
Your drunken wave.
Centered on black holes-
Captured me and
Held me there,
Complete in your own skin,
Bail bonded my return-
Crude hanging rows.
I stared at those
You slashed, and left undisguised,
Rabbit skin, glued ground. At times,
bristled at any hair-
Forbearing and unglazed,
Hind limply down,
Strung as on a spit-
You persevered. I understood.
There was so little time.
by E.D. Ridgell
The above poem is very significant for me. I had occasion
to see an exhibit of Courbet's
and noticed how crudely some deer were rendered
in some of his paintings. Upon research
I found that Courbet came late to
the vocation of painting and consequently had no formal training.
come to the art of writing late, not until the age of fifty. I was formally trained as a visual artist and for some
thirty years the vocabulary I brought to any work of art was that of the elements and principles
of design as used to
describe painting or sculpture- the fine arts. That
does not matter, however, as these are
universal to all forms of art. The
words are often different, however.
The term meter and movement, for example
would mean the same thing.
Alliteration is simply a kind of pattern. I'll
never have time to learn the
extensive vocabulary that is unique to poetry
and writing alone, but like Courbet
I will use the time remaining to me
to try and do so, while concentrating principally
on the making of good
written works without any real formal training in literature or writing.
some degree, I think this may very well work in my favor as
I have less
restrictions and presumed expectations to live up to.
Art is universal and
can be reduced to simple and easily understood
principles and elements of
design, but change in art often comes from
thinking outside the box and
by sheer accident resulting, in my opinion
from the artist embracing the
untried- the habit of taking risks. EDR.
But do not heed me-
That is more merit than is wise.
I would you lend an ear
But spare the cells close
I am in search of the soul of the self.
This is but a path I plod
To sort the sounds that simmer within.
Muse upon mathematics of my mind,
At times like some paramecium’s
Where I swim backwards, to and fro,
In many synchronous schemes.
As I strum my chords and stroke my words
In a futility to reveal,
Free and open,
That mumsimuss of brainwash
I can only seek to
As I sing into shrinking time
That is but overtime-
Hear me in your mind’s eye,
The modulations you mediate,
Misled by my coarse, rough punctuation
Of so little
Expecting nothing in me.
I do not sing for your
Another highwayman held, I hope,
In this silkily triggered, small, trap of voice.
E. D. Ridgell
Intercede for me.
Flutter your mighty wings
To scatter these Nano-Things
That would steal my breath away.
Michael, I am only here
At your intercession,
Time and time again
You have been my protection.
I cannot ride the bull again.
am so tired, Doc.
Around and around
Where we land
I do not know.
Oh for the gift
Of fresh air,
To prance and ride again-
To stay the full eight!
I am frightened.
Let me pull a wing up
To sleep this night.
To sleep, to sleep,
Into the good
Under the catalpa trees
In the full moonlight.
I Hate It When They Fly!
Was it me who advised them to soar,
Carrying my heart so high into the skies
choke with fear?
Lord you will not
Mark twain these tired shoulders.
I haven't his penmanship-
Only a journeyman's cowardice
To any such weighty writ!
No comet's tail can I grab,
When Michael whispers
in this old ear,
The highwayman is here-
Just a cold hand to shake,
And take me just
A little ways away till they
Lay me gently down,
On that field a little ways away.
But who if not them, Michael?
Who, I ask as I pull
His wing over me
In this restless night.
© 2014 by E.D. Ridgell
His nocturnal vigils,
The clouds in his mind would part
Would signal the closing in again
Of his red sea of doubts.
The long troubles between Stephan and Maud
Ending on the flowing red fields of Lincoln
Had not fostered these worry beads.
loneliness capped even those troubled times.
The damp had come into his joints.
He was no longer favored for being young.
He began to settle into a soured residue,
in boredom and corked in cups of repetition.
The way that
had seemed so clear and lit
Now was shadowed in overgrown
With each ensuing year, another fear came forward,
common to uncommon men-
Simple but strict doctrine, rote
prayer, an insistent acceptance-
Every attempt to surrender
had failed to foil
Sobering arguments that belied the norm.
The retreat within was under siege,
And like the king and resistant queen,
would have to pit reason against faith
Before the inevitable
feast of worms.
E. D. Ridgell
Under The Catalpa Trees
Shadows under the catalpa trees
Encircling the square
lightly, speckled shapes
Caressing the dust of bits and
Coarsely crushed by footfalls of foreigners:
Millers on the Palace Green strewn with your ashes.
Whorled leaves shroud these littered remains,
Remnants to raise memories
Too distant to distill, too recent to dispel.
Speaking overmuch of it and spied still thinking of it,
Neither of us guessing the irony of it,
her to gently chide me as if to change feelings
are too closely moored to memory. Feigning to forget
only be to forsake where they lay me down round you,
that spot of space such a little wait away.
gently then upon the heart
And suffer these small unguarded
Of a mask donned only for the sake of others.
I will ride upon the carousel
Supporting grandchildren on carved horses,
Moving up and down, round and round
in my turn, on a last turn, I step down
To lie in dusty
pieces that abound the ground
Under the catalpa trees
In faire Colonial Williamsburg.
E. D. Ridgell
Depart, dribbling, leaking,
cholera on Lubeck gossip.
Recede, stinking sinking,
prostitute of Paris pillage.
"I Am The Light"
The bright lit days are over,
And now I live in shadier times-
and closer to
A big black hole.
I've always known the hole
there, waiting to enclose me.
There was a time I feared it.
Now I know better.
In and down this big, black hole,
I know the light
I seek awaits me.
A 'light' like no other.
E.D. Ridgell, 2013
You nestled your
Safely securing them
So that no one might
surmise the truth.
Secrets are two-edged-
Some stay secrets
To wither in the shadows of silence
While others separate
To sprout shore footed and indiscreet.
We are as sick as our secrets!
She unburdened her
secret on a sky-ride
High o’er head an amusement park-
Filicide in the cold environs of Canada
When she was a child, watching her parents smother
The baby they could
not feed. She suddenly let fly
This secret and I stooped to catch it.
My job is to search out and cull
Secrets into songs, stories
For better or not!
E. D. Ridgell
Missin’ Billy Jim!
They lifted the little box,
And it seemed to weigh them down
Out of all portion to the weight
must have born.
It seemed strange to me seein’
it should take four cuzins
To haul such a little thing
No bigger than our toy chest.
No one seemed happy
Or wantin’ to play,
And I didn’t understand
The nessessaries of
Mama held my hand right tight,
I thought I’d dun somethin wrong,
Plus Billy Jim still
From wherever they said he’d gone.
thar parlor was usually off base
‘Cept on Sunday after
Had finished in the big, brown, shingled place
Singin’ and wigglin’ all o’er the place..
was a long time ago,
And I’m already in the first grade,
Linin’ up every morn at the bell
Missin’ Billy Jim!
Thou Who Changeth Not
Lend me Thy strength
Let not life’s demons
me to sway.
Guide me into righteousness
For Thy sake.
Thou who chandgeth not
Lead me to the cross.
Lord lay me gently down.
Lead me to Your heart.
Wake me above the waves.
Bring me to Thy well,
Fylle me to the rim
And buttress my faith in
The way I see it
You’ve got maybe a decade left,
or take a year-
Best make the best of it.
in fair health,
And you’re not broke.
One day at a time.
Live everyday like it’s your last.
Talk to God,
Even if you’re not sure He’s listening.
Whisper and He’ll be there.
Climb on the back
Of your archangel’s wings.
Set an example for the kids.
watching. Oh yes, they are-
When the time comes,
Fall into the hands of God.
Let go. Die.
E. D. Ridgell
The highest officials are suspect!
Greed sullies the ranks,
And a statue of the Virgin is seen to weep!
Fear and blasphemy rule the day,
And in distant
lands fascists march again-
The rising, walking dead of a last century
For a blitzkrieg led by Fox TV
In a false front of the Prophet!
here they come, the Horsemen
Riding again from the bowels of history
To once more humble the mighty
And trod headlong o’er the needy-
Have we again angered the Almighty?
E. D. Ridgell
Clara, Oh Clara, Oh
with your weighted down wagons
Filled with whitish necessities
Venturing out and into
Those killing fields-
To nurture our lads,
In their red stains grays and blues
Showering your pretty prayers o’er them.
She wraps and wraps and wraps
Fresh wounds clotting!
Clara, Oh Clara, for Jesus’s sake,
Can’t you see how you wound the day,
Worming as you do, a possible adieu
Out lips of recently, shaven chins,
short, budding beards-
Chins, if left at all, wobbling in
Chins clipped and cleft of further words-
Boys bantering words of war and glory,
‘Fore these snapping taps taping one by one,
Snapping, snapping, tapping them down,
them down, dead!
Clara, Oh Clara, Oh
did you mark here,
Better the battles had not ensued,
For your virtue laid down there
War torn, tears in years to come-
Clara, Oh Clara, Oh!
c. E.D. Ridgell, 2015
Last words, spoken
Between us, pre-dream,
I will recall post-dream
when I grieve, with
This closure, I
Want and need.
I, the hero child, rescue you,
The lost child, as in our salad years,
Before our cub,
Now desperate to shield her
Three little bears,
From rapids rushing over waterfalls.
I cradle you in my arms;
You, in a full-length, white gown,
Jackie O gloves;
As innocent as when
I courted you so long ago,
With roses, frog legs, and Piaf songs.
And when I rescue you
From the sleek, squeaky Blackamoor,
With his slit-eyed,
bitch in toe
through this deep-sleep, I awake,
Fresh from my psyche's underworld
To parse and
want you out of pain.
I'd sacrifice for you to stay;
Spoil the kids, enjoy some twilight years.
the center of both our lives, I am the lion
To you're lioness, but,
surely you know this!
Pie Jesu Domine,
Jesu, but I'm sick,
Wheezing and Gasping
To breathe with
On my hacking back.
It is of so little weight,
Let me lay it aside,
like the Centurion's pais
be grateful to be alive-
Not just in
this temporal place,
But in the scheme of
Thy mystery for which I am Your
but faithful supplicant.
In spirit I am euphoric,
you for the many blessings
You bestow on me and mine.
"I am not worthy that you
Should come under my roof",
But I do reason by
that deed and grace.
Done in your preaching pilgrimage,
Like one of those many of your making.
I am found worthy to enter
St. Sebastian, pray for me,
Even as you forever bleed
Their piercing arrows,
Forgiving all who
"Know not what
© 2010 by E.D. Ridgell
There will always be an England-
…from the newsletter of the Jane Austen Society:
“Sir, - There have been three occasions
recently when human ashes have been left in the garden of
Austen’s House Museum. They have been left without permission and in secret.
While we understand the many admirers of Jane Austen would love to have their ashes here,
it is something we do not allow. It is distressing for visitors to see these
mounds of human ash and particularly so for our gardener.
it is of no benefit to the garden!
We would be grateful if
you could notify members- that if they know anyone who might be thinking of doing this, it is not permissible.
Any ashes that are found will be disposed of”
One Last Thing If You Please
and by they fetched the niggers in and had prayers”,
when those that came; family, friends, fagots,
Finished what meager rites they figured on me, that was done and
I thanked them here in this writ of mine-
Then my loved ones
You must conspire one last time,
If you please for
me, for us, for what is fitting.
These are my ashes; fresh ashes mixed with bone,
That I charge you scatter, quickly, on the run,
the ash police conspire to stop you.
One run up the field
of The Palace Green
And the other down-
Broadcast me far and wide. Have some fun with me.
Be merry, for merry I’ll be to rest finally
the Catalpa pods.
God bless you and keep you,
What is mortal remains,
Even as I am with you,
hovering around you,
A whisper on the wind, the breeze on
The memory come and gone,
Waiting, waiting, but awhile.
Please Visit my Antique Store on Ruby Lane
The Dungaree Doll
Under a dark pall
On a silken road
South an ancient
Robes of yellow
Caress worn red tiles
Aligned just so.
Below her whitened face
For a final opera
Under the majestic
As dragons fight
Amid celestial clouds
‘Round the imperial kite-
The queued men kowtow
‘Side bound lotus feet
All foreheads ground low.
Borne into a hall
For Manchu rites,
Dictates of ancestral law-
a perfect pearl
Out the lock-jawed mouth,
Spoils for an Earl.
They seal closed the tomb,
Litter Pu Yi away,
Barren of her womb
Sullied grandfathers in shame
the dungaree doll.
Unseeded brothers cannot blame
Docent on the square,
Giving foreigners a tour
With plans to woo
A single son
She’s met on Bidu.
fatigued comrades sleep
Heavily donned with red stars
As ancestors weep!
The Antique Tapestry
You are a mystery of intricacy.
My jewelry loop peruses you.
You fascinate me.
St. George slaying the dragon,
Out an Amish home-
Is this idolatry?
colors on interwoven wool
Into a body of black thread.
I’m in awe of the weaving.
The dyes are natural,
The wool homespun-
You are lovely!
Her boys with their sandy locks
unashamedly in faded pants
With darned holes say nothing.
strikes me there is no adult male
To do the dickering.
Is there some mystery?
She looks miffed but does not turn away.
I remember her hospitality and
I do not press her on the price.
She directs her boys to do the boxing
As her pencil struggles with its mission.
I must not loiter as I am an English to her.
I have you now,
And muse again at your mystery-
I have rescued you
She watches me negotiate the bumpy drive,
of the added layer of history
Both of us have just added
to the tapestry.
I Am The Eagle,
The stark predator
by the dazzling sunlight,
and reckon upon details;
and velocity of winds.
My talons clutch
in a firm grip
And my beak, razor edged,
rips and tears.
The aerie lies near the lake
In the shadow of the high mountain.
Unlike the hawk roosting in the valley nearby,
Deep within it’s screeching woodland,
Many take no heed of me
Aware of nothing soaring so faraway,
Meandering in a distance too foreign
For them to see or fear, but
Coming into that geography,
The boundary and parameter of my sharp sight,
I only need to pounce in a lightning catch and
Sweep them up into some convenient perch.
Unlike them, trapped in a scheme
of their making, no carrion do I seek.
trap awaits me.
They are sighted movement caught by my eye,
A tribute to be taken, ripped and torn,
Pieced just so, for ripe and particular appetites.
The first course is mine and measured to my need.
The second, are gleanings of the harvested carcass,
The smaller, savory pieces, I deliver to
Frenzied, nestling eaglets hungry for my return.
I am forever soaring above,
Seeking an unguarded opportunity,
When they chance a safety that does not exist.
This is my eternal rank. This is their lower link.
They feed me and mine according to that covenant,
Governing all things, including me, the eagle.
E. D. Ridgell
Watersheds of the Chesapioc
With leathered hide and liver spots,
like a bay bobcat,
I melt into these surroundings.
Comfortable and well heeled as you were,
a century ago,
I watched you shoplift for the sport of it.
You nick’d the immigrant’s
well within the eye of his spy glass, both content
in friendship and your discretion’s count.
All those flat, sandy, fields of bounty-
you were due a small measure of,
by right of lineage, a small sober
How many a capsizing did you dupe
with your disciplined dog paddle?
How many folk did you grieve
These lands derived from our clans-
We harvested both soil and water ‘fore settling
into soggy graves more unmarked than not.
Slowly stewed in brine and blood,
your setting son, takes his
turn at the wheel,
well seasoned for his watch, and
steers these careworn, waked waters;
navigates his generation’s
in watersheds of a once, shellfish full Chesapioc.
2009 by E.D. Ridgell
|Dedicated to Lynn, her Grandmother and Lynn's Favorite Poem
The Cookie Monster
So there we are, all but one, sitting in the dining room,
when, all of a sudden, I notice a chair walking by the door,
an opening onto the hallway leading into the kitchen.
It isn’t hard to figure out who the propeller is. I listen and,
before long, I hear the sound of the freezer
She comes in and makes her way around the room, bag wide open,
asking each if they wouldn’t
like a chocolate chip cookie.
Daddy, whose cookies they were is last. It is yet another
fait accompli in a well
Her mission almost accomplished, she addresses the room
announcing that perhaps she will
have just one cookie too.
Daddy hesitates and Mommy is struck dumb.
Mission accomplished! There is but one thing
left to do.
Capture this two armed little bandit, chocolate chip in each hand,
and bundle it in a huge hug. Pop
Pop has caught
the Cookie Monster.
© 2008 by E.D. Ridgell
|THE MARYLAND STATE BIRD - THE BALTIMORE ORIOLE
|AN ORIOLE DYING
An Oriole Dying
That patch-quill nest
Of fading hopes
Silent the late
I sensed the pact broken and
Flew fast into a feigned
Leaving the old windbag dead,
Where flies an oriole.
When on her last wing?
What song does she sing,
When the jail-cell gate,
That oddball's plughole,
Fleeing fleetly up and out,
In search of any sweet song
I'd wished to sing, but no!
It was not to be. There
was none of that
Treachy-cheeping, cooing come out of me!
My old, back-bent poet and I were both fools
that our best could ever be pretty scores.
The sounds come forth from both of us
Were not soft, saccharin flight
to any ear,
But hard notes written to even a score,
Screeches in search of serious meaning.
It was to that purpose they served the
Music of both our souls all the
And gave this world songs in poems
That sought to be more true and real
‘fore any thought of rhymes
Life's divers and sundry,
matters; Sunset, Sunrise,
One more bloody love sonnet!
my little wing quiver so
As I lie here atop the snow!
Water is surely free I think.
I only wanted a tiny drink.
Something is broke within I know.
I cannot lift and rise to go.
So happy was I on the
Eager at the dawn's early pink;
Very frightened, all alone,
Lamenting others who have
Fled they so high into a sky
more into will I fly;
The gentle-meaning poet dead,
And I, flown home,
An oriole dying.
© 2011 by E.D. Ridgell