Hope. by Neil Creighton

Hope.

When the hidden rip sucks out
beyond the blue swell
uncurling noisily upon the sand,

out beyond the raucous sea-birds
circling, soaring and dipping
above the white topped crests,

out into dark, trackless waste
where the moving water mountain
towers glass smooth and sheer

and over its vast plateau top
waves foam and rumble
in irresistible chaos,

then only surrender remains,
letting the mighty surge
sweep where it will,

holding in a few tiny cells
the longing for a gentler swell
to wash slowly back

into some sheltered cove
where the patterned ripples
kiss the yellow sand,

where hope fills the clear blue sky
and the whole glorious world
shines again bright and new.

by Neil Creighton

Editor’s Note: This poem requires careful reading to puzzle the long, slow, unending imagery into a single, whole picture.

Then. by Neil Creighton

Then.

Then the earth went quiet.
No creature called.
No background hum.
No crickets, cicadas, frogs.
Birds gasped, opened their beaks,
held out their wings to cool,
then fell to the ground.

Then water took low atolls,
covered dunes,
inched up river valleys,
covered abandoned houses
and twisted war machines,
lapped tall towers
still standing like strange sentinels
in the orange tinted tide.

Then, on the far horizon,
the sun flamed dirty smudge,
lit the mountains
and the haggard faces
of the survivors
moving higher and higher
over the pock-marked land.

Then suddenly it dipped
into impenetrable black.
No silver pepper of stars.
No moon, though the ocean
still ebbed and flowed.

Then only darkness
covered the face
of the mighty deep.

by Neil Creighton

Editor’s Note: This poem’s chilling imagery posits a future dystopia that seems inevitable to many of us. Art reflects our failures and our fears.

Huck. by Neil Creighton

Huck.
(For Joan Colby in thanks for her poem, “Tom Sawyer“)

Yes, it’s true, Tom married Becky,
became a lawyer, then a judge,
forgot that vibrant youth,
harrumphed and carved the roast
and settled into opinionated age.

But not you, Huck,
weeping over the dark heart of your fellows,
triumphing in goodness over faulty conscience.

They say you lit out for the Territory
but you have had many guises.
I know you re-appeared in Greenwich Village
in the 1960’s with curly long hair,
dreamy eyes and a bag full of songs
about the folly and darkness
of the mighty river of your country.

We need you on your raft again,
writing and singing of all you see.
The King and the Duke are still with us,
lying, cheating, vilely manipulating.
The Shepherdsons and Grangerfords still feud
and the murderous madness of the mob threatens.

Come again, Huck. Re-appear.
We need your truthfulness and your vision.
That at least is a kind of liberty.

by Neil Creighton

Editor’s Note: This poem’s pragmatic tone conveys a world of dark folly (although the last line offers a thread of hope).