The last great song I sang

my voice had been fading toward whisper
for years, at last, consumed
by the fiery passions within me
still hot, but cooling slowly
into embers glowing
on the edge of night.

so that, alas,
in desperate moments
what began as lullaby
became an anthem which
turned to anguished raging
before it fell into
quiet breathy memories
of the many lives I’d lived

nothing more than
an imagined melody
to accompany the dream
which had sustained me.

~Richard Summers


Unrequited Love   (an unconventional sonnet)

sometimes, the most beautiful
memories are bittersweet

sometimes old times
seem brighter looking back
through all the fog and thunder

sometimes I wonder
how it might have been
if I had loved you any better
or if you had loved me at all

but even so, without regret
I smile about the happy
precious moments

seen now, so intimate

~Richard Summers

When looking back upon it

life can be divided
into many great epochs, large and small
of love and learning, labor and loss

these moments may well seem
to have been mildly uneventful
stretched out over decades
punctuated by proud celebrations
or vanquished scornful tears
lost in dreams, yet unfulfilled
while uncertainties haunt
the rally of dawn

I have managed somehow
to be a troubadour in Portugal
a firebrand in Chicago
even once to be a crow
full of sorcery
in the mountains of Sonora

I have loved in starlight
abandoned all hope and battled
with those I hardly knew.

to see beyond this moment
all that I have not learned
weighs on me, so while
what little I know has no meaning
for some belief in what may follow
when the next step has been taken,
one can only hope
that it will be thus,
as grand as it was imagined
in this brief passage of time
but leave me no memory
of what has been lost.

~Richard Summers

Another great audio recording site for poetry enthusiasts


, , ,

I recently came across this wonderful link to the Woodberry Poetry Room
at Harvard. Not all the recordings are accessible to those of us without
a Harvard ID and password; but enough of them are to make this a fantastic
discovery. I particularly enjoyed hearing Jack Kerouac, Jorge Luis Borges,
Anne Sexton and Dylan Thomas.
Happy exploring!


So, Here It Ends

There is a feeling which begins to subside
when I think of you
an outlook in which I feel comfortable
that will become the way I see, and am seen

there will be moments when life seems to begin
as there will be those in which it ends

there will be times when I remember you
will see you in the middle aged woman in the grocery
or in the young couple riding bicycles by the sea
perhaps you will be the old face who reminds me
of the entire congregation of the church I worship in

I will hear you in a bird’s call
I’ll stand by the ocean and think of your depth
I will watch the sun go behind the clouds
and think how it was when last we parted
remembering the chill which came over us
never to be really warmed again

You will whisper to me, and I to you, on the wind
It will sing ever higher the chant of our love
as it roars past our ears in the winter

the world will turn to ice, and then melt away
you will be floating in the cosmos
which you chose to believe in
and I will float there beside you
forever until it all, otherwise
comes to an end.

~Richard Summers

Yet another discovery of literary significance~

~from the New York Times

A first folio collection of Shakespeare’s plays discovered in France


Interested in poetry?… read this

My local public radio station, WBUR, sends out a newsletter that is always interesting, but this article in today’s edition really made my heart beat a little faster. Check it out.



Vernal Equinox

Having stood to one side
while friends from days gone by
went forward to the dream
we’d shared one evening
when warblers, their rhapsody,
sang beneath the steepening shadows
where each, we sat
watching the sunset; images
grown toward distortion
in our thoughts while darkly
stealing in around us so
that seldom did we hear them
until that minute passed
when all the sounds of day had ceased;
and change overcame us
as each then enigmatic
was dragged about the street
and hung by wise men
in burning effigy.

~Richard Summers

Song of the Tower and Red Flag

From Boston to Atlantic Road

Afoot, Diogenes' lamp lit
on roads which bandits stalked,
I fell with one into trespass
where private walls had blocked
our joined attempts to season life
toward dreams we'd sought to live on
with questions of what we'd not ask
of moments come or gone.
This choice sounded for me as if
our lives, now bound, were to
find something less than we had hoped
in time to so pass through.

For once, wheel chaired, she came across
soft rolling pastures, lost
on frightened verge of hopes, to merge
with me and share the cost
of giving to another who
in Fear's bed Love itself denied,
thus victimized by its own pride.

While slender men each foolish place
since come upon our Fancy's chase,
all sought for me to stop and be
with them, to so replace
the cutting tears of knifelike fear
with jealous hearts that stayed
the hand which raked love's broken blade
across my lonely face.

Suspecting thus, the other then
before parting me bid
some friendly words advising that:
"In torment, sing to see.
Find on your side, the wish", he said,
"to a house that path shall lead
where helpful folks will lend themselves
to you in worthy need…
Seek tower then, and flag of red.
Sojourn up mountain's side."

Though kindly pointing where he saw
sadly, my eyes lost sight.

"Recall too that while on your path
you must ford each small stream,
for none will lead you to the dream
of the tower and red flag,
whose secrets in reflection
locked inside each longing
await their own expression."

Emotional Down Fall

By nature, Fall brought trees to turn
red gold and orange brown.
I wearied, some, by winding ways
rested in a friendly town
this side of wanting found the house
where aid truly given
coaxed into deep sleep where I did
dream from doubt to vision.
Waking though will disappoint, 
so despairing, head all a-wag,
my searching eyes still failed to see
the tower and red flag.
But of the path I could recall,
so mindful for the tower
I ran in haste, circling, to waste
each empty passing hour.

Alas, when from the hills I climbed
winter was nearing fast;
found shelter for, a hermit's cave
beneath the mountain's pass
where, by a tiny pool that was
stream fed, high and alone
I fell into reflection of
the Harvest Moon, which shone
a world imagined in, where Doubt
had brought to flight my fears
so knowing them once more I felt
the Stream Of My Own Tears.

Its cooling waters washed my face,
its flow then into being
brought the calm of knowing that
in distance t'was Love I'd seen.
For on water there reflected
beneath the mountain's crag,
well visible in moonlight stood
my tower and red flag.
And though my climb was just begun
I sang to ease time past,
of towers, mine as yet unwon
from longing's shadow cast.

Winter's Sonnet

in winter, so longing, once more I did grow
as proudly naked the lonely birch
enduring on hillside, the chill.
To savor the memory, she warmed, although
my heart in coldness begun on search
fled feelings that it sought, now still;
while reclused I found on the walls of my cave,
magical writings that to me did bring
the strength to go on dreaming
while recalling the heart that she gave,
so conjured spells gifted me on wing
toward life, to fly in search of love.
   Thus man on wing flies visionary.
   In Springtime we, the journey fair, see.

Spring Flowers School The Fool

Laughing daffodils point out
a footpath into Spring' s wood,
contrasting this colorless doubt
with hues of promise which could
relive, forgive days gone,
heal the face of old tear cracks
for now and thus distract
dewey-like dawning ground stars
glisten, while fragrantly each
lures me senselessly toward
blossoming joys that beseech
all haste to re-taste the song
on lips once given with care,
posing Adventure's dare
as that which life is about.
So plainly did I then mistake
where led each fork of my route
as to prolong my lone heart's break.

Summer's Illusion

the wizard of summer's illusion
waited in the willow wood
for quickly lyrical youth's grey skies
to clear in a willful moment.
This path now grown long in confusion
chanced, I thought, to where he stood
with a great smiling light in his eyes
which said without words what he meant.

"Now is your key to tomorrow,
one beginning to end all past
climbing on mountains of sorrow,
one moment which could be your last."

Then waving high his hand in the air
he broke above my head spells which
had kept me climbing toward compromise
of the hopes to find my tower,
making soft my heart once more to
caring long locked since in some lost niche
behind the failure of searching eyes
to see my dream turning sour.

"Herein, one red flagged tower's door
escapes insight for ever more
because you fail to look behind
as well, still fearing what you'll find."

This wizard's eyes were window panes
which opened past emotion
to show one if his path in truth
had led nearer his dream.
The knobby twisted walking cane
which brought to mind the notion
of sorcery his to unloose
at will or whim was green.

"See now, that for which you on roads
left yesterday shall ever be
gone to regrets once time erodes
the mountains down into the sea."

Then raising up his magic staff
which he shook at every mountain,
crumbling now where tears swelled tides
in broken hearts of memory,
his kind voice cracked into its wise laugh
sounding so like the fountain
of love bubbling beside the sea
that I found his gift now, a key.

"Return to where you first began
to question ignorance as bliss
recalling here, now, if you can,
the love you felt with her first kiss."

The mountains then vanished into the sand
where I with emerald stick in hand
sought for another to build there
with mind on red flag, flames that care.

Recollection (a sonnet)

Scavenging for wood one finds
at night beside the sea,
a ribbon from her hair that binds
the sailor's heart in me.
Where waves upon the shoreline break
her memory shall a lifetime take
unless that ribbon I can snare
gently from her chocolate hair,
untie the curl of one kind girl
one passion's pasture weed
who gave her love to my mural
as so of me in need.
   And the ribbon in her hair fell free
   to bind in love the heart of me.

Moonless Winter Nights

On moonless winter nights
harbor lights will tell
of songs and singers gone so long
tuneless, while winking eyed,
the tale of his troubled ride
through timeless tides to the sea
where stood his tower and red flag;
so showing, you should know
that songs unlocked with his key
would avow her to him there.
                                       ~Richard Summers

Growth Factor

Because I believe in you
most all of the time
the sun comes shining through
to light my way more clearly
than ever it had before
upon this seemingly damp
middle of March grey day

If it had been any more than chance
which came, luckily to me
in the moment I first looked up and saw
you, looking curiously, and smiling
then my heart would not now be
burst open and rejoicing
with the liquid slow of our love
flowing from between your thighs
knowing more truly than ever
that because I believe in you
despite these many years
I am still growing

~Richard Summers