Christmas Rose by R. Nemo Hill

Christmas Rose

. . . . . . . .—for Julio

With fog-pressed lids
neither opened nor closed,
through Christmas morning’s
blind white rose
we traveled shoreward
on vanishing roads.
We hardly spoke.
You had to drive.
And I had to dream
that we’d never arrive,

that this distance between us
was what kept love alive.

That distance grew greater
once we stood there, onshore,
before an invisible
ocean’s roar,
our outlines dissolving
till less was more—
and shapeless now
we two were one
and each was all
and all were none

and love, for a moment,
was all undone.

Stepping toward you,
with my eyes aglaze,
perhaps for a moment
I was afraid—
but your hair, escaping
from its braid,
leapt into focus,
from blankness hurled.
Each strand, a string
of condensing pearls,

bloomed through the fog
like the edge of a world.

(Christmas Day, 2015—Long Island)

by R. Nemo Hill

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Editor’s Note: It would be easy to spend a thousand words deconstructing the feet in this carefully metered poem (variation! enjambment!), but that would gut the delicate complexity of the narrative: love can be as lucid as fog, or as sharp as the edge of a water droplet.

From the archives – House Song #3 by R. Nemo Hill

House Song #3

That brute midwinter we fled further south
and showered in the garden’s open mouth,
and dined on not-quite-cool though not-yet-warm
tree ripened mangoes harvested each dawn,
on buoyant green bananas, curved like boats,
and, once, on the roasted testicles of goats.

Delighted by the first few whirr-winged blurs
of through-the-glassless-window, wind-launched birds,
we latched all shutters open, day and night,
secured our shelter in the path of flight,
and slept with stars, on firefly-stitched bedding,
beneath sheer drapes of pale green nylon netting.

Those tents would breathe with breezes in the dark,
each whoosh a whispered lesson in the art
of constant trespass. Rested, tradewind-schooled,
we spent one lonely burning afternoon,
in a fenceless orchard, listening to the sound
of heavy grapefruits thumping on the ground.

Impetuous, you’d burned your upper lip
on unknown berries. Coral-cut, I’d slipped
from rocks a sudden tide-turn’s wavecrest swept.
We both collapsed on shore. And as we slept,
our rucksack unattended, thinned by theft,
soon yielded up what little we had left.

We’d traded nesting tax for smoke and axe,
and peeled longs strips of dead skin from our backs.
And on the day we left, as we packed our clothes—
from closets we’d left blithely unenclosed,
great clouds of now disturbed mosquitoes rose
buzzing farewell oratorios.

(Point Baptiste, Dominica—1985)

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, March 27, 2015 — by R. Nemo Hill

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

From the archives – Already — R. Nemo Hill

Already

“How old is my ghost? How old is my ghost?” — Peter Redgrove

I’m leaving here tomorrow—and already
(untroubled by this human weather passing)
I hear the garden growing on behind me;

the pond disturbed, but only by the eddy
of circling fish—a slight, bright splashing.
I’m leaving here tomorrow—and already

such casual music can’t help but remind me
how little of myself I leave that’s lasting
in this garden I feel growing on behind me.

An unseen wind is rising, growing steady,
while overhead dark, gentle clouds are massing.
I’m leaving here tomorrow. Look! Already

rain’s ready to erase (so none can find me)
all trace of tracks upon the ground. I’m asking:
in this garden I feel growing on behind me

how many times have rain and wind refined these
melting backward glances, this light grasping?
I’m leaving here tomorrow—and already
I hear this garden growing on behind me.

(Petulu, Bali—1997)

From Autumn Sky Poetry 16 — by R. Nemo Hill

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Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

House Song #3 by R. Nemo Hill

House Song #3

That brute midwinter we fled further south
and showered in the garden’s open mouth,
and dined on not-quite-cool though not-yet-warm
tree ripened mangoes harvested each dawn,
on buoyant green bananas, curved like boats,
and, once, on the roasted testicles of goats.

Delighted by the first few whirr-winged blurs
of through-the-glassless-window, wind-launched birds,
we latched all shutters open, day and night,
secured our shelter in the path of flight,
and slept with stars, on firefly-stitched bedding,
beneath sheer drapes of pale green nylon netting.

Those tents would breathe with breezes in the dark,
each whoosh a whispered lesson in the art
of constant trespass. Rested, tradewind-schooled,
we spent one lonely burning afternoon,
in a fenceless orchard, listening to the sound
of heavy grapefruits thumping on the ground.

Impetuous, you’d burned your upper lip
on unknown berries. Coral-cut, I’d slipped
from rocks a sudden tide-turn’s wavecrest swept.
We both collapsed on shore. And as we slept,
our rucksack unattended, thinned by theft,
soon yielded up what little we had left.

We’d traded nesting tax for smoke and axe,
and peeled longs strips of dead skin from our backs.
And on the day we left, as we packed our clothes—
from closets we’d left blithely unenclosed,
great clouds of now disturbed mosquitoes rose
buzzing farewell oratorios.

(Point Baptiste, Dominica—1985)

by R. Nemo Hill

R. Nemo on Facebook

Editor’s Note: I would like to go on this trip and cozy up to the perfect iambic pentameter while nibbling on grapefruits and wind.