Aware of Darkness

Aware of Darkness

Who is to say one’s grief
is greater than that of another?
Never really gone,
all exist in all they touch,
yet some are touched
in ways that cannot be equaled.

Who is to measure a loss,
if not the one whose heart
cannot find a way to fill a space
that already holds something
that can no longer be touched?

One who sees the darkness
that would consume
the light that fills that space.
One who lives with that grief.

These are my thoughts after reading Beware of Darkness, by Kerfe Roig.

Linked to Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub

Notes, while driving with Miles

Notes, while driving with Miles
    (random riffs recorded on the road)

Rain falls, steady, and I say so what.
Wipers try in vain to keep the beat,
but this combo is too tight.
The bass just layin it down,
horn and sax sparring.

There’s a fog rolling through the hills,
tellin’ the rain
hold the ice, this is just too cool.

Bare branches, with pines the only green
in a landscape of white on brown.


A lone birch like a ghost that knows,
as blue as this feels,
there will be no blue sky.
And that so what refrain slips in
and out.

Narrow roads now,
winding through wet grass
lined with granite and marble.
A memorial among memorials,
some barely legible.
Everything here is blue,

except the pines, white now with big, heavy flakes.
Country roads skirt the mountains,
snow now a powder, hanging in the air like a fog.
Roads slicker than the music.
Hands tense on the wheel.

Piano eases through me,
slowly levels out, bringing me back to the lake,
out there somewhere, blue asleep within the white.


Never Knowing

it’s the alone in
the dance that makes the never
knowing so complete
               Kerfe Roig

Never Knowing

Your absence the loss
of a scale to measure
all that comes after.

What steps to take
in the loss of moments.
Whether to lead. Or follow.

Whether to acquiesce, be carried
away by a tune, or resent it
for the memories it holds.

The dance of never knowing
is a dark reflection of the dance
of enjoyment that came before.

Both the senryū and the watercolor are by Kerfe Roig,
from her post (nowhere) to be found.

Ken G.

Adagio for Strings

Adagio for Strings

One heart stops, while another beats,

yet feels as though it has stopped,
knowing that mourning
has the power to be endless.

Time passes, and a life follows
its course, its pulse subject
to random intrusions.

Music will play the strings
of a heart, so that it seems
as if it will never heal.

A memory, no true intrusion,
may become a knife, turning,
tracing old scars.

Yet it’s the brilliance of that music
and the beauty of those memories
that have the power to sustain.

And a heart continues to beat.

This is a response to Poetics: Cry Me a River, the prompt from Amaya at dVerse, which is to write a poem about a piece of music that has the power to bring a listener to tears. That would be Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings.

Image source: Curtis Institute of Music – Samuel Barber

From the Heart

From the Heart

This sorrow knows no loss.
Decades mean nothing
when it wells at the light
in your eyes, your image

a reminder of all we share,
my face more like yours
with each passing year.
My own eyes could be yours,

but moist now with memories,
my smile just as tentative,
until it beams with laughter.
When I smile. But for now

I think of your heart. Would I
give you mine instead, spare you
the pain you knew, only to give you
the pain I feel at this moment?

The prompt for Day 18 is to write an elegy, with the abstraction of sadness portrayed through physical details. Grief is not something that weighs on my mind every day, but memories such as this are just as hard to write about as they would have been twenty-five years ago. 

Poem Up at Vita Brevis

My poem “Ardea Herodias” appears today at Vita Brevis.  It was written as a tribute to a dear friend of mine who died way too early, two years ago. It was Dave who turned me on to Presque Isle State Park, just a mile from his home in Erie, and he came to mind as soon as I took this photo, last year. I think that the Great Blue Heron must have been his spirit animal.

My thanks go to Editor Brian Geiger for featuring this poem.

Ken G.


Considering the grief of others

the grief of others
is one small step
on the path to

Considering the grief of others.png

can be elusive,
even when freely offered.
is a matter for the soul.

Joy is never
an alternative,
until recognized
as a state of being
with hidden aspects.

Only with understanding
and regard for
the inner turmoil
of another
is true empathy possible.

This quartet of poems is my first attempt at writing gogyohka, as my response to Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #45 Gogyohka.
Gogyohka (pronounced go-gee-yoh-kuh) is *5-line poetry, similar to tanka but with no fixed syllable count and no conventions regarding content. Here is a link discussing gogyohka.

*Image size when I first posted this forced “understanding” in the last gogyohka/stanza into an extra line. I’ve corrected that.

Image source: