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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Dreams and The Sea

I have written *poetry for many years, and will concede that it frequently has a dark flavor.  I suppose it is the means in which I process emotions, and is a safe way for me to rant about topics of which I cannot otherwise write.  Today, I have selected 4 original poems to share with you that are related to water and/or dreams.   I post with a bit of trepidation, as I fear criticism.  On the other hand, I feel that one cannot write without a feeling of dread, for our egos are easily bruised and it is healthy to keep ourselves in check!  

"I Remember Thee" are the words on my grandmother's gravestone.  Though I had her in mind while writing this poem, I held onto the notion of a man sailing off to sea, never to be seen again.  This poem represents what could have been left behind.

Similarly, "Down to Sea" is my memory of living on the harbor in Gloucester, Massachusetts.  As I looked out of my apartment window, across the harbor was the Fisherman's Statue, and down that same Boulevard was The Fisherman's Wives Statue.  This poem is about an elderly woman that I would sometimes speak with, and I embellished my thoughts to create this poem.

"Water Dreams" is intentionally meant to be surreal and is what I consider to be free verse.

Finally, the poem "Oblivion's Throes" is a 4-part tale that I attempted to describe sublime to decline, and it describes the visions or journey, of a person who is dying, and then the eventual realization that it is the end.


She wakes to the sound of thunder;

The clamoring roar hath disturbed her slumber;



She listens,

as it changes by degrees.

The rain splashes over eaves,

and onto leaves of grand oak trees.

It drops down crawling tendrils of verdant vine,

Bruising morning glories, and drowns the heads of columbine.

It falls through the sinewy trellis of cross stitched lattice;

Branches scrape the window panes with skeletal scratches.

It plunges and splashes, pooling onto the earth below.

With the wailing wind, she hears a distant murder of crows.

And, as the rain begins to wane, and is slowly dying;

The cunning moon resorts to spying,

as it seeks its source.

The percussion is an echo of the ocean, that is undying,

Repeating a fading concussion, beating onto shore.

And, as it winks light through its gossamer veil,

She scarcely dresses, and softly exhales.

Barefoot, she steps out of doors,

onto the weathered wood of a decrepit porch.

She gathers the fabrics of her night skirts,

to walk a path of decaying planks and dirt;

Exposing a thin limb of porcelain flesh,

As the deluged earth caresses every step.

The night has awakened the lilies, and the musky scent of yarrow.

She travels to the crowning mound, that emerges like an ancient barrow.

She bends at the rosebush that once soothed a pulsing heart;

Arising like a royal sentinel, it now stands guard.

She reaches for a sodden flower,

One, the rain had drowned, and the earth devoured;

Waking the velvet petals, from their dreamy rest.

A single crimson pearl manifests from a fingertip,

as a pointed thorn pierces skin.

She looks to sea and sky, and onto the foamy shore;

Her heart now, is barely beating;

Like the tide, receding.

Faint and faltering, like a canyon echo.

As she recalls the gentle words so long ago.

He left her with a kiss and flashed a smile.

"With a fortune I'll return...I'll only be gone for a while."

Beside the roses, is a grey stone, etched with a sailing mast,

and inscribed with words of three,

Beneath the stars and the thunderclouds, and the incessant sea:

It silhouettes the barren womb, 

the eternal chamber of an empty tomb,

"I Remember Thee".

© Denise Goodwin, All rights reserved.


One morning, I watched her from my window, 
Outside, in the fog and drizzling rain,
She is alone, and wandering, 
down the lane again.

Near at hand, 
the grayish sea batters land.

She is wearing that same thin lavender frock,
with a pattern of flowers, sprinkled through-out.
As I watched her bull-legged, elderly pace, 
I recognized the distinctly crooked face, 
I wonder, what returns her to this place?

From the large pockets sewn at each side 
of that thread-bare day dress, 
Crooked fingers extract a cotton handkerchief, 
that she presses to her face.

As she looks out to the cheerless sea, 
cruel and angry, on this day;
What is it, that she holds in her memory?

Though many dawns have come and gone,
and the inevitable conclusion has been drawn;
The imagery, is still in our minds.
As she is one of many wives, 
who said goodbye,
and then, waited patiently.

Far out to sea, they sailed; 
Perhaps a sou'east wind prevailed.

Trawling familiar grounds, 
Into waves, crashed the stern and bow;
When lo, the ship was troubled, 
Something fore or aft had broke and buckled.

Imagine the pushing and shoving,
the fumbling and grumbling;
Among the white caps, and warning bells claps;
The creaking, crushing, bubbling, and flooding,  
From the ship, that was buckling.

Suffering such terror and dread,
Grown men crying, 
as if dreaming;
The gulls were flying, 
calling, screaming, 
over head.

© Denise Goodwin, All rights reserved


The faucet is leaking.
Collecting rust 'round porcelain
like a bloody stain.

The slow, obnoxious drip,
down the rusted drain.
I hear it's drip in concert
with the grey and falling rain.

I listen to the hollow echo,
Hear the persistent allegro,
Whispering my name.
Voices call to me, from beneath;
I opine, the weary finds no relief.

At the river's edge, 
my love awaits;
Hand outstretched, 
as I reach, it fades.

I contemplate that drowning offers sleep.
O, to submit to such relaxation,
and the thought is sweet.

Subsequently, I am standing at the shore,
Where the salt and sand swirl round my feet.
Dreams of water, water dreams,
The moon is aglow over a turbulent sea.

At dawn, I awake with a revelation.
Disturbing and deep, was my sedation.
Curtains swell and fall with the breeze,
The drone of honeybees,
lull me back to sleep.

© Denise Goodwin, All rights reserved.



Outside, the sky was alight, lazuline and gold,
Which begins to describe a summer's day, of old;
When I had attended unexpected company,
Under a slumbering canopy of trees,
Where we hoped to capture even the faintest breeze.
It was all a vain attempt to escape such humidity.
As the trees gave scant reprieve, on that sultry day;
Their leaden leaves drooped in liquid, languid repose;
Heavy and listless, against the changed sky,
Now of indigo, amethyst and rose.
Heady blossoms released intoxicating essence,
and sweetly perfumed the air and our presence.
How distinctly I recall the scents, from that day of summer;
I mused they knew not time, the month or hour.
And yet, their fragrance haunted and hovered,
much like a concerned and doting young mother.
In that moment, on that afternoon, beneath the trees,
It seemed to me, the world was in deep contemplation.
(This was my passing observation)


The soggy trees and the incessant heat,
are still fresh and alive, in my memory.
When, alas! a sudden trill disturbed my lethargy.
I bowed forward, toward a curious face, known not unto me.
She sat, like royalty, in an ornate chair of bleached vintage rattan.
Donning a gossamer gown of beaded lace and white chiffon.
She whisked air over her face, with a delicate, ivory fan.
I observed scant droplets trickle down her sculptured throat;
And, over the thin brow, where golden tendrils met skin,
I moved closer, so that I may hear the words spoken,
as her voice was paper thin;
I leaned in, with a sense urgency;
As if it were a necessity, for I must see,
this vapid apparition.
As I beheld, the eyes of whom the sun hath set,
over a rippling river, 'twas then I realized,
I heard not words, only a mournful whimper.
Yet, the eyes were vacant, and gave no reaction.
When suddenly, my own gaze was distracted,
I watched her pull fine filament, and wove a tapestry,
with no design, or plan or map.
Her pale and nimble fingers pulled white threads;
from needlepoint she held upon her lap.
And, all the while, a companion stood behind her,
like a royal Chamberlain, or a brooding chauffeur.
He appeared to await her orders,
or, to intercept or accept her callers;
Or more cynically, me thinks,
He was a swine, she had brought to slaughter.
In his hand, belled melting ice against a crystal globe,
which contained a pearlescent ooze; what, I did not know.
He, too, suffocated from the humidity and the heat;
As I noticed, he had loosed his tie,
and wore nothing on his feet.
I took a chair, opposite, consort and the fairy maiden,
and watched her fingers work, in utter fascination.
Not a word was spoken, as I slowly nodded, entranced;
I had not heard the vesper bells,
nor had I known, that sunset had advanced.


I awoke quite rested,
In the chair that I had nested;
Yet, I did not recognize this location,
As it lacked the former illumination,
And the summer's day had grown cold.
Shipwrecked, from a storm and tossed to sea,
These were the frenzied words that came to me;
As I struggled in the shadows of oblivion's throes.
I had not a candle, nor a lantern to carry me hence,
my heart was heavy in a despairing lament.
Hoary frost has settled across the patio,
and all was veiled and wrought with snow.
Alone in this cold hollow,
I called out to the unknown,
Bellowing frantically to either friend or foe.
Returned to me, was merely an echo;
An echo from above, or below;
I do not know.


Here, in my delirium, I awaited exultation;
I anticipated that the clouds would burst, in joyful elation.
But, the sky did not open, ablaze in hopeful glory,
Nor had I been given a chance, to repeat this story.
Lo, no voices were heard; and, all remained undisturbed.
I questioned and considered the uncertainty,
And, discovered that my body was no longer fatigued;
Hot tears fell, as I could not control nor pacify reality.
I had been aflame in fever, accompanied by the divine;
She had stitched a shroud, into which I had climbed.
And, it was her familiar, who had carried me;
Where bitter wind, my only friend, is my eternity.
No crashing sea, nor blooming flowers keep me company;
Forever eclipsed in a ivory swaddle, sewn just for me. 
Paradise, for me, it seems, is this cold and lonely hollow, 
Where each day repeats, and in that I must sleep. 

© Denise Goodwin, All Rights Reserved.

*You may read all of my poetry at: MOONSPYRE