Learning Oceanography by Diane Elayne Dees

Learning Oceanography

The decades creep, then—suddenly—rush by,
like sand you try to hold, until a storm
blows through and sends it, scattered, toward the sky.
The breeze upon your skin is not as warm,
and the tides approach too fast. You walk the path
you always walked, but it doesn’t feel the same.
You take the one you think might lead to truth,
you search the sand and hope to see your name.
But we are all like waves—-part of the ocean;
we touch the shore, then get pulled back just when
we think we have our footing. Then our passion
to have it make sense drags us back again.
Like all the other waves, we must recede,
and trust the ocean’s wild, capricious speed.

by Diane Elayne Dees

Twitter: @WomenWhoServe

Editor’s Note: This Shakespearean sonnet speaks of the human condition via metaphor because what else could possibly encompass the vagaries of life?

Before the Hurricane by Diane Elayne Dees

Before the Hurricane

the chill
as tall trees sway
in unhurried warning

the smell
of stormy flint
as the sky turns green

the silence
when the birds and frogs
have fled to hidden places

the urgency
to prepare one cup of tea
before everything goes dark

by Diane Elayne Dees

Twitter: @WomenWhoServe

Editor’s Note: This spare poem demands attention via the imagery, and of course, the killer last line.

Preparing to See the Shaman by Diane Elayne Dees

Preparing to See the Shaman

Should I fast and pray and drink a lot of water,
or ask for dreams? By nature, I’m a planner,
though I’ve never sought assistance in this manner.
Yet, late in life, I’m still the wounded daughter
who’s missing parts that others take for granted;
specifically, the parts that make me feel
alive and whole, a woman who is real,
and not a she-ghost, fragmented and haunted.
I wonder if the lost parts can be found,
or if they have an interest in returning.
I pray that they rejoice upon learning
I plan to keep them healthy, safe and sound.
A shaman travels light, yet fully guided—
I hope she finds the path more smooth than I did.

by Diane Elayne Dees

Twitter: @WomenWhoServe

Editor’s Note: This Australian sonnet opens with a question, and by the end, the answer isn’t at all obvious (though what dreams are?), which suits the subject of the narrative.

Confronting St. Joseph In My Yard by Diane Elayne Dees

Confronting St. Joseph In My Yard

Hurricane lilies are known to mark abandoned
homesites. Mine burst into bloom today.
This sudden storm of crimson is so random,
a pool of blood where there should be decay.
I had no nurture left to give to gardens
or to myself. You left my landscape dry,
my heart infertile, my bones bereft of carbon,
a blossom unattended, bound to die.
When you lived here with me, you never gave
a thought to the fragility of lilies.
Now a rush of crimson leaps out from a grave,
the sky is dark, the nights are growing chilly.
The blood-red blooms foretell the violent weather,
while ice still forms from when we were together.

by Diane Elayne Dees

Twitter: @WomenWhoServe

Editor’s Note: The imagery in this sonnet weaves flowers into bad weather—an unusually appropriate metaphor for a failed relationship.