My Poetry

Of the approximately 1,000 poems I have had published over the past couple decades in various ezines and print zines, a handful can still be found on the web.

My purpose in setting up this page is to preserve the best of the lot and perhaps one day put them in book form. But for now, I’ll collect them here and maybe include some which are unpublished.

This is a page in progress, so stop back and check for new additions from time to time.

All poems are copyright by CW Hawes.

I hope you enjoy!

–cwh

The three poems below are a short rhyming and repeating form called the triolet. I very much like the form and the three below are perhaps my best of the dozens I’ve written. I hope you enjoy!

The Leaf Parts Softly

The leaf parts softly from the tree
And I part softly from you —
To ride now on the wind we’re free.
The leaf parts softly from the tree,
A sign nothing’s left for you, me;
Yet those few days I do not rue.
The leaf parts softly from the tree
And I part softly from you.

Published in the May 2006 issue of Autumn Leaves.

Forever, My Love

Forever, my love, is a long, long time;
Are you sure you mean what you say?
Because idle words are a lover’s crime.
Forever, my love, is a long, long time
And, rather than words, an eternal mime
Would speak more loudly when I’m old and gray.
Forever, my love, is a long, long time;
Are you sure you mean what you say?

Published in the 1 March 2009 issue of Autumn Leaves.

Secret Love

Forever, that is what we said;
But you are there and I am here
And someone else is in the bed,
Though forever is what we said.
My longings I have quieted
And my face has a look of cheer:
Forever, that is what we said —
But you are there and I am here.

Published in the December 2005 issue of Makata.

 

The poem below was the first of many which appeared in the now defunct Poetic Voices and which began my  poetry “career”.

Uncle Henry’s Picture

Uncle Henry’s picture still
Hangs upon the wall. The house
Is no longer occupied, except
For his ghost which still walks
The abandoned halls and sits alone
In abandoned rooms.

The old gray picture broods
Ominously over the darkened
Living room where no one
Lives anymore. The picture hangs
Amidst peeling wallpaper
Over the cold fireplace.

Years ago a child’s laughter
Died in the big, old house,
Stilled into silence by an old man’s
Need for a world which fit the box
Of his understanding, a world empty
Of rainbows and talking animals.

Uncle Henry’s ghost walks
From room to room making sure
Nothing has changed since the day
He stopped breathing; just as he did
When his lungs could fill with air
And his voice could control lives.

Across town, his niece, whom he raised
As a daughter in the old, decaying place,
Lives with her husband and children.
Now she has everything new,
Except the picture of Uncle Henry
Hanging over the mantle of her mind.

First published in the February 2001 edition of Poetic Voices.

 

Lilacs

“Still grows the vivacious lilac a generation after the door and lintel and the sill are gone…”     –Henry David Thoreau, in Walden

The vivacious lilac still grows a generation after the child’s small hands planted the puny slip,
Standing beside the door and lintel and sill which are no more,
The fragrant clusters of purple flowers beckon to travellers who have strayed from the road,
Beckon to strangers to come and relieve the loneliness with their admiration.

Little did the child know he planted and watered his own cenotaph,
A silent monument to his own namelessness,
The fragrant floral heads, a living memorial to the child who once went in and out the door which is no more,
Who filled the house with laughter and gaiety.

But the forest returns encroaching upon this last memorial of those who tilled the soil,
Those who sought to eke out their living from the land,
Sought to raise a family,
Sought to civilize this part of earth,
And one day these lilacs will wave their fragrant clusters no more,
Will beckon to strangers no longer,
Will stand as a nameless child’s cenotaph no more.

First published in The Sidewalk’s End for December 2003.

 

The Trees

Who says the trees don’t remember?

That their roots don’t reach into the ancient memory to draw it forth and reveal it in the leaves for any who care to read?

And who says the trees don’t talk and sing to each other in a tongue indecipherable by man?

And that they speak and sing and dance of a time when there were no men but only the great forest stretching as far as the wind could blow and the rain could fall?

And that when the first men came they were at home on the forest floor?

Again I ask, who says the trees don’t weep for every axe and saw and bulldozer that cuts down five hundred years of history in fifteen minutes?

Or that they don’t grieve when a hillside clan is made to drink of acid rain and sickens and dies?

I want to know who’s the one who says the trees don’t remember and patiently wait?

First published in Poetic Voices for November 2003.

 

The next two poems are pantoums. The form originated in Malaysia and was originally sung improvisationally, hence the repeats to help the singer come up with new lines. Not unlike jazz. The English version is derived from the French form. I love the pantoum because it winds about in a way that truly defies “plotting”. It is a pantser’s delight!

Trickling Sand

Grains of sand trickling through the hour-glass
One globe empties and the other fills
Moment by moment the seasons pass
The rains slowly melt away the hills

One globe empties and the other fills
A turn and the end is the beginning
The rains slowly melt away the hills
Yet the earth just keeps on spinning

A turn and the end is the beginning
Ouroboros swallows his tail
Yet the earth keeps on spinning
There is peace and there is travail

Ouroboros swallows his tail
A circle has no beginning and no end
There is peace and there is travail
Some things we cannot comprehend

A circle has no beginning and no end
Winter is surely followed by the spring
Some things we cannot comprehend
There is only room for marveling

Winter is surely followed by the spring
Moment by moment the seasons pass
There is only room for marveling
Grains of sand trickling through the hour-glass

First published in Carnelian for July 2005.

 

Illusions

Upon the table lies the fan
made of brightly colored paper
Sleeping peacefully in the chair of rattan
the little girl illumined by the taper

Made of brightly colored paper
now faded with the mark of age
The little girl illumined by the taper
smiles serenely from out the page

Now faded with the mark of age
there’s also a certain brittleness
Smiles serenely from out the page
unaware of her littleness

There’s also a certain brittleness
a sign of the passing of time
Unaware of her littleness
unaware she passed her prime

A sign of the passing of time
sleeping peacefully in the chair of rattan
Unaware she passed her prime
upon the table lies the fan

First published in Carnelian for April 2006.

 

The ghazal is a Middle Eastern form generally considered to have originated with the Arabs, but is now perhaps more popular in Pakistan. The form consists of couplets which repeat a key word or phrase established in the first couplet. They are somewhat tricky to write as the repeats can become a boring clunking. But when done well, the poetry sings — and that is how they are usually performed!

My Tears

My tears are hid behind these clouds and rain;
there is nothing that can appease clouds and rain.

For so long I have sought a glimpse of the sun,
but all I have is that twin tease: clouds and rain.

The potholed road drags itself forever on;
at the wayside rest, fallen leaves, clouds, and rain.

Too dreary this day on which the Christ must die;
try as I might I cannot seize clouds and rain.

Says Suleiman: love, like sand, slips through the fingers
and masking those divine decrees, clouds and rain.

[Originally published in The Ghazal Page 2008 “Clouds and Rain” special issue.]

 

There is a Melancholy

There is a melancholy to clouds and rain;
one feels a longing of soul through clouds and rain.

This cup of black tea grows increasingly cold;
helpless against the chill, I rue clouds and rain.

The fire crackles and pops its cozy warmth,
but here we sit and stew over clouds and rain.

Alluring is the look of the dark-eyed one,
but the only two will be those two: clouds and rain.

Waiting at the dock for my ship to come in;
a typhoon blowing. So what’s new? Clouds and rain.

Ya Allah! This weather’s incorrigible.
To the desert, yet what’s the view? Cloud and rain.

O Suleiman pause a while to learn the lesson:
all things have their time. Don’t eschew clouds and rain.

[Originally published in The Ghazal Page 2008 “Clouds and Rain” special issue.]

6 comments on “My Poetry
  1. Poetry provides a much deeper glimpse into the writer than a novel.

    Of those above, I would choose “Illusions” and “Trickling Sand”. Brilliant.

    • CW says:

      Thank you very much, Crispian! That magazine, which, sadly, is now defunct, was very difficult to get into. I like those poems very much. Two of my better efforts and I’m very glad you like them!

  2. John Bauer says:

    I like Uncle Henry,s Picture. It leaves you wondering why has his niece not taken the picture, as well as, why the separation from her former life. Lots to ponder upon.

  3. Sharman Bolling says:

    my favorite was the Lilacs. It made me happy and sad at the same time. Thanks for sharing your works.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*