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Sample Poems by Nina Carey Tassi



Slave's Love Song


Crickets whisper: no moon tonight, woods so dark, woman, we're free-

Night air softer than a bird's song
carries your breath to me, come closer;

Hear my heart yearn for you, your hands
on my skin, my face, your mouth like a rose;

Hold me, baby, I'm about to die so close
to you, loving you deeper than the waters,

Holding you, humming deep and low,
hush, my baby, hush now don't you weep-

They rained down misery on my baby. . .
tribulation so deep, it sinks me near to dying;
Hush now, singing deeper than the waters,
they bloodied our backs, can't own our souls;

Someday we'll fling away those irons,
rip up whipping posts, keep going, you and me,

Keep loving, get us all the way to the river-
oh, sweet woman, you deep in my bones trembling.



Longing

We glided among the stars,
their dust mingled with ours,
one with an unending universe.

Then time intervened,
cast me down alone to a desert,
vultures circled above, screeching.

I stared at a dying Joshua tree;
goats lounged on its branches,
stared back at me, silent in the heat.

I fled, climbed over boulders,
at length came upon a high meadow;
crowds of wildflowers reveled in the sun.

I plunged into swaying tall grass,
burnished in reds and golds, birds
soaring and dipping at play.

Grasses brushed my bare skin,
sun's rays eased through me;
I dreamed of nothing.

Now autumn's chill finds me
still here, walking on a barren plain;
tall dry stalks hiss of loneliness.



Musing in the Dark

Smooth dark velvet mind,
soundless as the river,
invites spirits to come
gather round me, bring
ineffable words.

In late night darkness,
under a starless sky,
I sit on my porch,
letting my mind
ease itself, drift
down to the river
far below.

Nothing else matters tonight;
a poet's desire is for words
unthought, unimagined, until
this crystalline moment.
Such words form visions
unseen in daylight's glare,
everyday things become
mysterious, magical.

That's what I ask you, Muse;
forget memory, dreams, identity,
give me only fierce desire,
let it catch fire, blaze
in my heart.

Memory tries to tip-toe in, but
I banish her; she offers only
tired, feeble images.

I want words of red-hot iron
hammered in a medieval
blacksmith's forge,
glowing bright copper.

Muse, conjure silken words
to rise like river nymphs from
days of goddesses, playing
flutes to enchant me.

Send me words dressed in gold,
opera stars delivering high C's,
the audience on its feet
cheering wildly,
astonished.

Or words to Beethoven's Fifth,
called from the conductor's
soul, coaxed out of strings
and orchestra's horns,
soaring above the music.

Above all, dear Muse, be kind;
if you won't bring me now
your gifts, as dawn creeps
silently toward the river,
I'll slip off to dreamless
sleep, not to worry;
I'll call you again
in darkest night.



Autumn in Maryland

He loved the savor of autumn-
swirling leaves, misty air, whispers
of mortality, so we drove one October day,
his camera in tow, to Maryland's gentle hills.

I remember most the quiet, muted sun,
birds in silent flight; time stretched lazily
around us, barely felt; I loved watching
his absorption in the camera.

Setting up his tripod, focusing the lens,
he took infinite care; I wondered what thoughts
held him, even as we felt intense pleasure,
unspoken, in being together.

At a clearing in the woods, we came to a lake,
walked along its shore; ducks splashed, making
ripples in the tranquil water.

His eye lingered on the evanescent,
branches slightly swaying over water's edge.

He focused on a canoe, barely visible,
a single sailboat-lonely yet intimate subjects.

Beyond the lake, in the densest woods,
dry leaves covered the ground; tall bare trees
showed their skeletons; maybe he felt a hint
of the immortal in those trees.

Doesn't a photo attempt impossibly to stop time?
Yet our contentment lay in letting time meander
on its own, scattering shadows as it pleased.

Sunlight drifted away, twilight approached;
mortality was gaining ground, would claim him
in fewer than three months, reveal to me, in time,
a deeper sense of permanence in his passing.