Red Oyster

The future was her red oyster—
Red like her passion, uncloistered.
Red like her heart, ripe for a coup.
A time long gone, when youth was new.

A young conqueror stole her heart,
Took a vow they never would part.
In time, he cleaved her heart in two.
A time long gone, when youth was new.

Though battle-scarred she tried again
To find a love that was a friend,
But her mind, he did not value.
A time long gone, when youth was new.

Closed to the world, free to the page,
With pen of red, she spills out rage.
She never knew a love that’s true…
A time long gone, when youth was new.

The future was her red oyster—
A time long gone, when youth was new.

©2021 KT Workman

(Note: [I deviated from the standard fourteen lines, adding in an extra quatrain. The poem seemed to call for it] A Kyrielle Sonnet consists of 14 lines (three rhyming quatrain stanzas and a non-rhyming couplet). Just like the traditional Kyrielle poem, the Kyrielle Sonnet also has a repeating line or phrase as a refrain (usually appearing as the last line of each stanza). Each line within the Kyrielle Sonnet consists of only eight syllables. French poetry forms have a tendency to link back to the beginning of the poem, so common practice is to use the first and last line of the first quatrain as the ending couplet. This would also re-enforce the refrain within the poem. Therefore, a good rhyming scheme for a Kyrielle Sonnet would be: A-a-b-B, c-c-b-B, d-d-b-B, A-B –or- A-b-a-B, c-b-c-B, d-b-d-B, A-B. Definition taken from Shadow Poetry.)


Image by 호영 이 from Pixabay

To Soar

To soar
Above it all
Be as the lone eagle
Free of earthly ties that strangle
A life

A life
Unborn, wings clipped
By karma’s unkind teeth
Fell from the nest too soon onto
Fate’s ground

Fate’s ground
Strewn with fierce rocks
Seeded in thorns and glass
Where nothing can grow…or spread wings
And fly

And fly
Unchained, unleashed,
Unshackled, unfettered,
Unrestrained, unconfined, unbound
…uncaged

Uncaged—
I long to be
Foot loose and fancy-free
Sailing winds of my own making
To soar…

©2021 KT Workman



(Note: Crown Cinquain—a series of 5 (entire) Crapsey Cinquains, 25 lines total. Syllable count 2-4-6-8-2 in each stanza; written with breaks between stanzas. Rhyme is optional. The last line of the previous cinquain is repeated as the first line of the next cinquain. The final line of the last cinquain does not have to equal the first line of the first cinquain, but is optional.)

Credit for the definition goes to Abigail Gronway at Dark Side of the Moon.




Image by Ondřej Šponiar from Pixabay

The Turn

For we mere mortals, the apathetic world keeps turning.
Fanatical time goose-steps forward, ever forward,
leaving behind wrinkles and gray hair, aches and pains.
And a cautious wistfulness takes root in our hearts, 
to turn back the clock, to be granted a do-over.
But Father Time—or perhaps, Mother Time—heeds no one.

If I could be granted a wish, a single solitary wish—just one,
this old Earth would spin backward, until it reached the turn
where I took the path through the easy valley instead over
yon rock-strewn hill. The green valley lay forward,
it’s way smooth and grassy, no challenge to home and heart.
The hill looked enormous, formidable, so I fled from the pain

that can transpire with a challenge met, for the nature of pain
makes one shun an operose endeavor. And not one
to take the more difficult way, I tucked away my heart.
I locked all the doors, ignored the wary words turning
somersaults in my imagination, pushing forward 
against my closed mind. In time, they played dead, rolled over.

Time swept away my eagle’s voice, raucous cries now over.
No sound escaped; even attempting to call out caused pain.
The eagle I was meant to be, folded her wings; forward
momentum ceased. Once multiple paths became only one.
The words became memories as the world turned and turned.
But inside the raging silence, a hatchling stole my heart.

The hatchling became a nestling, then fledgling, bold of heart,
Flew away from a nest that grew cold, its purpose now over.
Then, inside the raw silence, words woke, twisted, twined, and turned,
Called out to the comatose eagle, wakened the pain
of a repressed voice that had grown rusty with age. “You are one
once more,” spoke the words. “The time has come to fly forward.”

Now the eagle shouts her words. Body time-worn she pushes forward,
For though a day late and a dollar short, she still has heart.
Time may march on, train-wreck the body, but silences no one.
If the words are yet on life support, they can be warmed over,
the chill chased away, freeing vocals of moth-eaten pain
that withers the soul when what it is meant to be is overturned.

The eagle in me soars forward, my words far from over.
Letters flourish in my heart, dulls old age’s constant pain.
At long last I am the one I was before I missed the turn.

©2021 KT Workman


(Note: The sestina is a strict ordered form of poetry, dating back to twelfth century French troubadours. It consists of six 6-line (sestets) stanzas followed by a 3-line envoy. Rather than use a rhyme scheme, the six ending words of the first stanza are repeated as the ending words of the other five stanzas in a set pattern. The envoy uses two of the ending words per line, again in a set pattern.

First stanza,..1 ..2 ..3 ..4 ..5 ..6

Second stanza, ..6 ..1 ..5 .. 2 ..4 ..3

Third stanza, ..3 ..6 ..4 ..1 ..2 ..5

Fourth stanza, ..5 ..3 ..2 ..6 ..1 ..4

Fifth stanza, ..4 ..5 ..1 ..3 ..6 ..2

Sixth stanza, ..2 ..4 ..6 ..5 ..3 ..1

Concluding tercet:

middle of first line ..2, end of first line ..5

middle of second line ..4, end of second line..3

middle if third line ..6, end of third line ..1)

Definition of a sestina taken from http://www.shadowpoetry.com/


Image by suju-foto from Pixabay

Tanka 3

red-gold cannot stay
frost ices flaming tresses
as winter creeps in
through autumn’s unguarded door
forging fire into silver

©2021 KT Workman

(Note: A tanka is a form of Japanese poetry made up of 5 lines containing 31 syllables. The 1st line has 5 syllables; 2nd, 7 syllables; 3rd, 5 syllables; 4th, 7 syllables; 5th, 7 syllables. It can have any theme.)


Image by Mystic Art Design from Pixabay

Mother Moon

Mother Moon looks down on me tonight,
Full, pregnant, an alabaster ball on the horizon.
My lonely spirit yearns to take flight.

I wonder—does She feel Her children’s plight,
Or our heartaches uncaringly shun?
Mother Moon looks down on me tonight.

Oh, lovely lady, with my tears I write
Odes to your glory—have you seen a one?
My lonely spirit yearns to take flight.

If I could unfurl wings, become a sprite,
I would fly to your domain, eschew the sun.
Mother Moon looks down on me tonight.

You climb through the stars, my envy You incite.
I hunger to rise with You, dressed to bedizen.
My lonely spirit yearns to take flight.

Grant me wings and I will be Your acolyte,
Tiptoe past twilight, with this old earth be done.
Mother Moon looks down on me tonight.
My lonely spirit yearns to take flight.

©2021 KT Workman

(Note: A villanelle  poem has a fixed form, written in tercets, usually five in number, followed by a final quatrain, all based on two rhymes. The 1st and 3rd lines of the 1st stanza are repeated in alternating order throughout the poem, and appear together as the last two lines in the final quatrain.

Rhyme scheme: a-b-a, a-b-a, a-b-a, a-b-a, a-b-a, a-b-a-a.)


Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

Sweet Time

Listen now and heed me well
To this tragic, timeless tale—
We’ve all lost loved ones
To distance and death
And occasionally, to circumstance.
Or just by believing there was time,
Sweet, sweet time, always time,
To visit and while away that time.
Yes, all the time in the world,
Static, breathless, endless time
I believed—
When I was young.

Years pass by in the blink of an eye,
And you notice one day
How many have died.
Gone, all gone, with time’s treacherous tides,
Their scattered, ivory bones picked clean
And carried away into death’s dawn.
Time, sweet time, and them—
Now gone.

Time is not so sweet anymore,
You long for the grim reaper
To knock upon your door,
And drag you away,
You care not where,
Over here, over there, anywhere.
It makes no difference,
Any place will do
As long as it is far away
From this world now without you—
And you and you and you.
Far too many yous
Have stepped beyond the veil.
And you contemplate,
Anticipate—

Do they frolic upon some sandy shore,
No aches, no pains,
No worries anymore?
Is there a chair saved just for you
At the table where they meet?
All say a prayer upon that beach,
Good bread, good meat,
Good God, let’s eat.
Teeth young and sharp,
Do they tear into food?
And lusty, not rusty,
Into each other too?
And be not at the mercy
Of fickle, tricky time,
For in this hallowed place
There is no time.
Just laughter and love
And the joining of friends,
God knows I long for that—
As I long for the end.

©2021 KT Workman



Image by dalnimi oh from Pixabay

Tanka 1

kind wolf tried to mend
eagle’s bitter troubled soul
with a loving heart
when the time came for eagle 
to fly, wolf blest her tired wings

©️2021 KT Workman

(Note: A tanka is a form of Japanese poetry made up of 5 lines containing 31 syllables. The 1st line has 5 syllables; 2nd, 7 syllables; 3rd , 5 syllables; 4th , 7 syllables; 5th, 7syllables. It can have any theme.)


Image by natureworks from Pixabay

Seasons

When did I step into winter—
That I’d like to know.
The last I remember,
I was walking in the woods,
Autumn leaves, brown, red, and gold
Cushioning my way.
Azure skies above,
A brisk chill to the air,
Alive and invigorated.
Strolling fall’s path,
I recalled days gone by,
Fondly, a smile on my face.
Though I had suffered some loss
Of loved ones and missed opportunities,
The days yet stretched ahead,
Full of promise,
Things to do, races to run.

Like the nature of all springs,
Mine had been turbulent,
Full of self-inflicted storms
Interspersed with calm tides and winds.
But as spring had waned
And I became an adult—mostly—of mind,
Not just a hormone-driven body,
The storms grew farther and farther apart,
Until, somehow, without realization,
I strode tall and strong into summer.
Ah, how those days did shine
With family, friends, rewarding work.
Playtime at the beach every year,
Just the ladies and I splashing, laughing,
Drinking margaritas, singing, more laughing,
While lounging on the deck
Watching moonlight dance on the waves.

Autumn sneaked in there somewhere,
Easing through the door so gently
I barely noticed its entrance.
Thought my body wasn’t quite as strong,
It yet served me well.
And life went on—
Work and play uninterrupted.

When the leaves began to fall,
At last, I slowed down,
Smelled the proverbial flowers,
Worked less and played more.
I basked in my new-found freedom,
Did what I wanted when I wanted
With few exceptions.
I brushed off aches and pains,
Explained away the ladies’ and my abandonment
Of sand and sea and margaritas—
For we weren’t getting old.

Then, just like autumn,
Winter arrived unannounced,
Slipped through the back door
With barely a chill—
The old goat parked his frigid ass
In the center of my life
And refused to budge.
I called him names, cursed him, denied him,
But he did not go away,
Just became more entrenched,
Chilled my blood, brittled my bones,
Dried my skin, thinned my hair,
Invited gravity to sit at his side.
Winter waged his war
Without a shot being fired
And captured my youth.
Did he drink it?
Did he eat it?
Where the hell did it go?

Though I had fought him tooth and nail,
At long last, I humbly dropped all store-bought defenses
That no longer camouflaged what I had become.
Yes, I collapsed into winter’s embrace,
Those cold, bitter, lonely arms
And now—
Now—
That old goat sits at my side,
Sucking me dry.
I shrink and I stoop, forget things.
No smile now, I remember times past,
Of rivers that have run dry,
And seasons that have gone by.
Gone by—
Gone by—
In the blink of time’s eye.

©2021 KT Workman

(Note: Free verse is an open form or poetry. It doesn’t use consistent meter patterns, rhyme, or any musical pattern. It tends to follow the rhythm of natural speech.)

Image by Simon Berger from Pixabay