ELLEN PICKUS

Water Ghazal

The deserts of the East spread hungry and wide
without the blessings of cool water.

Green paradise will sink with the tide
as the oceans swell with water.

The mothers of the smokejumpers cried
as their sons leapt with axes, but no water.

There was no place left to hide
when the mountains slipped beneath the water.

The ancients deplored our overweening pride.
We cannot live for lack of land and want of water.

 

Wake Ghazal

The sole Canada goose on Holz Pond paddles back
and forth between the sky and its reflection.
Watched by attentive woods, the bird leaves a wake.

With two piercing long notes and five short tweets,
the cardinal and the early sun break in
at my eastern window.  Too soon, I wake.

She entered the room to sleep, perchance to dream,
but acid and bile filled her stomach and her mind.
She left the room tired but more fully awake.

When the friends gather around your absence,
share some smiles and shed a tear,
which of your many choices will be recalled at your wake?

The tympani are drumming and the trumpet stirs.
Oh you, sleepwalking through life.
Put away the darkness. Awake!  Awake!