Wednesday 15 February 2023

Five Poems by Alfredo Quarto


River Stones

  (At the Sooke River Potholes, BC)                                     


All I do, all I am

all I want to be

is to flow like this river

take in contours of shore

blend with each curve

following the slow fluid song

of an always forward motion

along worn paths of bedded stones

smoothed by time’s long passage.


The water here runs shallow

where river has rounded stone

yet feet still ache when placed

on unyielding solid surfaces.

Each step a thin balance laced with pain

lasting from heel to toe to bone.

The river accepts all we have as if

anything more than that

 is not enough.



For All of You                       


You gave yourself, so much to give

the castaway upon the island shore

the treasure buried for others to find

the wind that blows the ole’ man down

the light that brightens the undersides of clouds

the songs that birds sing in their sunrise glory

the stars that try but fail to fill

the unblinking eye of a long night’s slumber

the rains that wet the branches

of trees and leaves them quivering

within time’s slow, unguarded passage.


You are all these things

and more, until what is me

            Is left of you.



The Song of the Wild Geese      


I hear the song of the wild geese

play high octaves across the fields

Their chorus echoes through the valley

awakening the morning from deep sleep

seeding the chill air with strident notes.


Their voices are a wind chime newly rung

and sky reverberates to the sound

as the geese fly low past my open window

leaving no doubt that a new day is here

with spring bursting ripe upon the land.


In silence I greet the full earth with a shovel

blade pitched deep to the heart of dark soil

soaked with the quiet rains that fell today

content with the seeds in my hands

and tears shed by the clouds in my eyes.



Butterfly Clouds Dim the Light of Reason                            



The pleasure of softness of petals forgotten

when thorns on the stem of the rose

betray the colours that blossom

with promises that fade with passing of time

till we wake to the pain of self-inflicted wounds.


How can we judge the depths of our lives

from the round confines of these near shores?

How desperate we are as the love for this life

has grown beyond our will to contain it

yet we hold onto dreams though we cannot sleep.


Where black holes exist, all light is captured

held in dark of revolving centers of anti-matter.

As our stars approach the whirl and pull

we must ask ourselves while there is time

if we should enter willingly or resist such confines

holding to the soft contours of space and time?



Butterfly clouds shield eyes from sun

delicate patterns on fluorescent wings

screen the bright colours that soothe

the vision where outward view turns inward

a revolving kaleidoscope mixing of shapes and colours.


In flowered meadow cast in a net of foothills

we run awe struck through fields of daisies

where in one deep encompassing breath

all of our senses of whom we are

spill over in a vast sea of mixed emotion.


When we close our eyes we wonder

if we will lose control of our lives

once so safely self-contained

in our virtual world now inflamed

by the fading light of reason.


Ripples Across Lake Constance         


I’ve tried so long to ignore its presence

as age creeps out from under the eaves

into the light exposing those hidden places

where life had prospered in youth’s denial

etched in fragile sunrise glory till suddenly

I’m locked in mortal combat holding

ground that someday I know

I must learn to lose.


This hastened passage through space and time

that once seemed to have no consequence

is now consequential to all I am and do.

Not knowing what end is in sight

the mirror that holds self-image

finally shatters into glistening shards

till each step taken forward

is more vulnerable than the last.


Yet I will not live my life in fear

of some sudden accident or fall

or some illness or random act of war.

I must dream while still a dreamer

caught amid the river’s constant flow

adrift in time’s consuming spiral nexus.


As age sends ripples across my bow

I’ll make my peace in the All not knowing

and accept the undertow of hidden currents

carrying me till I am content at letting go

to that place that no longer separates

me from you, and you from me

but binds all things as one.


Alfredo Quarto is an environmental activist and poet living on an organic farm in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains in Washington.  He’s been published in numerous poetry publications including:

Poetry Seattle, Catalyst, Raindance Journal, Piedmont Review, Haiku Zashi Zo,  Paperbag Poems, Seattle Arts, Spindrift, Arts Focus, Arnazella, Dan River Anthology, Amelia, Americas Review, Vox, Middle House Review, The Closed Eye Open, Elevation Review, Montana Mouthful, Tidepools, New Verses News, The Poet Magazine, and Wild Roof. 




1 comment:

  1. So refreshing to read connection to our lives and our natural world which tells us so much about our selves. Lovely poems!


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