blue turtle

blue turtle

Blue Turtle Crossing

A Poetry and Photography Showcase - Spring Edition, March 2007, Volume 4

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Poetry by Colleen M. Breuning

The Ukulele

Rummaging blindly through the
overstuffed bookcase in the basement,
my searching hands stumble upon an odd shape.
I grasp the smooth, cool vinyl
and pull the treasure
from the murky depths of storage.
My heart flutters at the sight
of the instrument's case.
Unzipped, immediate recognition
sparks the reels of memories
to play in my mind
like crude, Technicolor film.

Muggy summer evenings,
with windows thrown wide open,
we sat on the avocado green tweed sofa
entranced by the sight of you,
strumming the nylon strings
of your tiny amber ukulele.

The chords so high, so sweet, so foreign,
seemed to swirl around the living room,
past the golden sheer curtains,
like bursts of warm sunshine
blowing in the night breeze and floating away, up into the dark sky.
Such a dichotomy - this mighty silent man,
cradling the tiny ukulele in his large hands.
Smiling, he crooned to his children,
utterly charmed by this Hawaiian instrument
redeemed at the hardware store
with books of S&H Green stamps.

Allured by the promise of its pleasing melody,
we tiptoed through the tulips
and sat under the apple tree
by the light of the silvery moon.
We danced on beaches and sipped stardust cocktails,
serenaded by the lulling strum of your fingers.

Now silent for over forty years,
your ukulele still speaks to me.
I turn the rigid keys on the instrument's neck
to tighten its relaxed strings,
then hold it mutely in my hands.
I can still hear its harmonious songs from long ago.

Someday I will play your ukulele.
I will learn its magical secrets,
and hold this precious memory of you
close inside my aching heart
as I drift away to meet you
on Hawaiian breezes.

Colleen M. Breuning (c) 2007

dead heat

the relentless sun beats down
on my shoulders as I suffer and sweat,
silently suffocating
in the stifling sultriness.

lumbering up the long trail
for home, perspiration drops
bead on my upper lip.
one slip-slides into my mouth.

its tangy salt fuels my thirst
as a wave of oppressive heat
wafts up from the walkway,
as if from the fiery furnaces of hell.

the lawns are already brown,
the lake water is receding,
the pink impatiens are wilting
as imminent death awaits them.

ominous clouds roll in, offering
shade and hope for afternoon rain.
distant thunder echoes and a swift wind
kicks up dried grass, swirling, twirling.

the dead heat of summer has hit,
rendering me breathless and tired.
as sure as the sun will rise,
it's going to be a long summer.

Colleen M. Breuning (c) 2007

Colleen M. Breuning (c) 2007

NC Sunset
Colleen M. Breuning (c) 2007

Colleen M. Breuning (c) 2007

white azaleas
Colleen M. Breuning (c) 2007

Sonnet for a Mother's Anxiety

If I could have one wish before I die,
before I drift forever into sleep,
my children would see clearly through my eyes
my choices, bargains, promises to keep.

The labor pains of birth could not compare
to raising children in this world's unrest.
The years of worry, sadness and despair
put my maternal instincts to the test.

I cried and prayed through anger and heartbreak.
I tried to guide you, like your harbor light.
You drifted from my reach and made mistakes.
You ruddered through rough waters, made things right.

Your smiling eyes, immortal works of art,
and gentle voices heal this mother's heart.

Colleen M. Breuning (c) 2007

The Scent of Lilacs

She remembers the yellow daffodils and lilacs sang of spring
under the canopy of trees shading Pine Mill Road.
Through budding green fields they walked, arm in arm
laughing and sharing their whimsical dreams.
Love so tender, so unseasoned, so sweet.
A picnic in the country - what girl could want more?

Oh, but she surely wanted more.
Her hopes soared so high as if to spring
and jump! As the scent of lilacs wafted in the breeze,so sweet,
she wondered if she could travel down this unknown road.
And as if to pique his wildest, wanton dreams
She coyly smiled and gently stroked his arm.

They tentatively kissed, he pulled her into his arms.
He drew her closer, closer, all the more.
She felt so light, as if in a twilight dream,
and airy like an evening breeze in spring.
Floating on cotton clouds so high above the road,
in her ears she heard the music, lush and sweet.

She remembers the taste of his lips, plump and sweet
and the feel of goosebumps on her milky arms.
Settling by the water, not far from the gravel road,
they were on a fervent search for something more
that warm and lustrous day in spring.
Oh, she could only hope and dream!

She mused, he is a heaven-sent dream
as they feast on ripened grapes and strawberries sweet.
He bent down for refreshment from the cool, clear springs.
Her fluttering eyelids cast downward, his call to arms.
Together, they searched for love and something more
under the canopy of trees on Pine Mill Road.

Thirty years have past. She still walks down that road,
relives the stinging memories, the haunting dreams.
Her foolish childhood hopes of wanting more,
of thinking first love would last forever. How bittersweet!
She breathes in the smell of lilacs from the basket in her arms
and sits in green fields alone, to reminisce, to celebrate spring.

The sweet scent of lilacs fills the air now more than ever.
She mourns her lost love on Pine Mill Road,
embraced by the gentle arms of spring.

Colleen M. Breuning (c) 2007

NOTE: This poem is a sestina, a challenging
format in which 6 words are chosen and used
at the end of each 6 line stanza, but in a
different, regimented order. I've written a
few sestinas and welcome the mental challenge
they bring. It's like a word puzzle, and you
come up with the answer, an epic poem!

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