Bruce J. Wood Poems – Part One

Bruce J. Wood Poems, Part One

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Our Little Cottage
from Herringbone Tweed

I drove by our little cottage today,
the white Cape Cod bungalow with
light blue shutters and window boxes

full of flowers. The rose bushes
in front were in full bloom. Around back,
a wooden staircase led to the lake.

A solitary sailboat was moored, the one we would
drift the lake on to gaze at the moon, sip wine,
while savoring fruit, cheese, and chocolate.

I saw you working on the garden
in your broad-rim straw hat and gloves.
We would have had so many good times in our

cozy nest, full of warmth — if we had
bought the cottage, but we never did —
It was a dream we joked about whenever

we drove by the place on country road trips.
During intimate weekend rendezvous,
we shared moments never to forget.

Our life was bliss, I cherished you, our
intimacy, and felt a profound love —that is…if we
had actually met, but we never did.

For years, I have longed for you. When I pass our cabin,
I look out onto the lake and yearn for the day
when we sail out together under the new moon.

Bus Pass
from Moss Dwelt Hollows

As I was book shopping in a
college town, a young woman
asked me for help with bus fare.

She was clearly eight to nine months
pregnant and mentally challenged.
She claimed that her boyfriend had

kicked her out on the street and that
she was trying to get a bus ticket to go
home to her mother. I felt for her, but

was suspicious of a scam. So, I walked
her to the bus station, bought a ticket,
and put her on the bus. As she started

climbing the bus steps, she turned around,
and gave me the longest hug. Then she cried;
it was hard to hold back my own tears.

I often think about her beaming smile,
when she waved to me from the bus
window as it pulled out of the station.

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Emily Dickinson’s Faded Flower
from Mural Tapestries

Illuminating angel
evokes inspiration,
gentle sovereign of the heart.

Brilliant blaze burns bright across the span
of time; like a fragrant gleam of dew drenched
petal, perfected by its myriad of color.

A hidden tear holds faint memories of lost love;
hollow canyons reverberate the heart’s echoes,
becoming lonely places where music once played.

Unlocked corridors wind down narrow paths
to the depths of inner truth; delicate mortality so fragile,
a miniscule leaf adrift in the vast abyss of darkness.

Breath chafes at the collar, rage swells within the breast;
anguish of solitude – emptiness of love denied,
the shame of abandon, ridicule, and rejection.

Yet, there shines a glimmer of hope – still resilient,
this vigilant herald strives for light and seeks
to test the edge of fate.

To extend hands across the divide to press
my lips on infinite beauty and touch purity of soul—
unbounded love is its own eternal domain.

Lifted High
from Herringbone Tweed

Tucked away within a fortress of tall elms and oaks,
We chased each other through the cathedral of green.
My sister and I were just 4 and 5 years old, we were
unaware of a world beyond our wall of trees.

It was a different time; milk, butter, eggs, and bread
were put in the milk shoot, Fuller Brush salesmen
went door to door with household items, fruit and
vegetable vendors sold wares from horse drawn carts,

Cars had white walled tires, and nobody owned a TV set.
It was safe to walk the street at night, and we didn’t have
to lock our doors. Men were gentlemen, women were
ladies, and children were well behaved.

No one had any money, having just come out of World War
Two and the Depression. But there was pride, dignity, and
honor, all did their duty. Mothers raised children at home,
we were the hope, the flowers of the age.

Men rode the bus or trolley to work; cars were for Sunday
drives. Every evening Dad would walk from the bus stop.
He would lift us high in the air, hug us with all his
might, and try to absorb our innocence. Hoping to regain

what had been hollowed out of his charred soul during four
years of war. Hidden in the green fortress, he sought
absolution. It was a desperate love, desperate to recapture
that fragile spark which we call human.

Dad would look deep into our eyes; we were unaware
of the drama deep inside him. All we saw was his boundless
love fulfilling our lives in a world of happiness; sheltered
in the solitude of our cathedral of green.

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Velvet Ribbon
from Moss Dwelt Hollows

Was it Bronte or Austen who captured
her fancy in the willow’s shade?

She was nearly hidden by tall grass, sprinkled
with blue chicory and yellow asters,
attended by a solitary bee.

Her starched laced linen crinkled slightly and
blended with the glided cadence of pages
turned within a red leather binding, soft as kid gloves.

I found a photo of us at the beach; sunlight reflected
on the waters, and splashed on the surface, as spotted
shadows circled the horizon. The image is now faded,

tucked away in some dark cellar, with filtered out light
from clouded jars. We wore masks, in our pantomime
satires of life, with painted scenes on paper walls,

and cryptic notes written on faded, flaxen cloth.
Yet, they have been long since pushed aside in an
unlimited sequence of images—life passed us by

and repeated our drama as different time frames
collided. We were left wondering how many times
the mirrored images of our lives had met before.

Now, adrift on distant seas — a dark cloud passed
over the sun, the moment I untied the velvet ribbon
bow which held her long golden tresses.

Uriel “Fire of God”
From Birch Willow Glens

This angel holds the keys to Hell,
and picks out the ripest souls,
for the tables of Heaven’s feast.

There, God and his angels gorge fat
on disobedient souls who didn’t obey
their parents or listen to their teachers.

Marinated souls are thrust on spikes,
of those who stayed up late, and
ate too much candy and sweets.

Cherubs poke forks in those that
had too much sex, didn’t
study, and watched TV.

Seraphim skewer those who danced to
wild music, drank too much wine and beer,
and got high on drugs.

Year after year, Uriel brings the dead
to the Final Judgement –
to feast or be eaten.

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from Herringbone Tweed

The old oak in the abandoned field
outside of town, was the traditional village
landmark from generation to generation.

Once strong and upright, a steadfast pillar
of memories, it held our loves, heartaches,
and dreams – long considered a symbol of hope.

The oak was the rendezvous place of young lovers,
favored site for teen beer parties, witness to rights
of passage by young soldiers before they went to war.

After the mills closed, people moved away,
and only a few scattered homes remained
in-between abandoned farm fields.

One day, a strong storm hit – the old oak split,
and left a barren trunk on the ground,
its gnarly branches pointed to the sky.

In time, the fallen oak dissolved into the
soil, and with it, generations of faded dreams
scattered into the wind.

The Universe at Age Four
from Lavender Prairie Sage

At night, outside the kitchen door,
the light shines on the square slab
of concrete we call a back porch.

That is the edge of existence;
beyond its small border is only black,
a dark field with no horizon;
the sky and ground are one.

Nothing is seen, nothing moves;
the only sound is the constant
rhythm of thousands of crickets.

The little chirping wind-up clocks
that move the eternal celestial
spheres surrounding our little home,
at the center of the universe.

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from Moss Dwelt Hollows

Doris is a volunteer at the opera house;
she hands out programs and ushers people
to their seats. During the performances, she
sits in the back, in the shadows under the
balcony, and quietly sings along with each aria.

She had studied singing, while in college, but
life had gotten in the way of her career dreams.
When the shows are over, and she completes
her duties, Doris takes the train back to her
flat by the university, where she teaches singing.

After several glasses of wine, she sings the great
soprano arias – some nights, she chooses: “Un
bel di, vedremo” from Madame Butterfly or
“Caro nome chi il mio cor” from Rigoletto.

At other times, especially in winter, Doris practices:
“Mon Coeur s’ouvre a ta voix” from Samson et Delilah,
and “Si Mi chiamano Mimi” from La Boheme.
When she is feeling particularly lonely, she chooses
“Vissi d’arte” from Tosca.

Alone, in her tiny flat, she imagines being on stage,
under the spotlight—she gives her best performance,
followed by a thunderous applause and several curtain
calls; the stage is strewn with bouquets of flowers
from her many adoring fans.

Colors of Autumn
from Birch Willow Glens

Along a country trail, I sit to watch
the change of seasons; a patchwork
quilt in red, orange, yellow, and green

The wind brings coolness up from
the valley, spiced with scents of
mowing and smoke from farmland fields

Amid sounds of ducks and geese
forming migration patterns; and
the bark of hunting dogs chasing prey

I pick up the pieces of an
aged puzzle, frayed and faded,
corners and edges lost long ago

A caricature of sincerity, a cruel
joke played out on the stage long after
the final curtain and the audience gone

Passion stillborn, mind brittle to the
touch; dust on an unused road
blown away particle by particle

Caught unaware, left exposed, naked
amid profound circumstance; vulnerable
like a young child lost in tangled confusion

The last moan of summer’s
hollow sounding bell tolls, that
heralds the advance of winter’s chord

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Lilacs Bloom in Gettysburg
from Mural Tapestries

A solemn silence overshadows;
the faint drum tap cadence,
doesn’t mark death but life.

Standing where Lincoln stood
at Gettysburg, on hallowed ground.
The broad field, nourished with
the blood of tens of thousands,

Sows its growth of flowers.
New life blooms, struggling through
the once fallow earth of stone and clay,

To forge fertile soil, rich in vitality,
create a new abundance, and drive
out the weeds which strangle life.

Now, with freedom to grow, the
splendor of natural beauty takes
a strong solid root, stands proud —
ever transforming the land.

A Billie Holiday Song
from Herringbone Tweed

“I’ll be seeing you, in all the old familiar places,
that this heart of mine embraces,
all day through.”

“This was our song”, said the old lady at the
table next to mine, at my favorite roadside
diner. I looked at her and nodded.

“In that small café, the park across the way,
The children’s carousel, the chestnut tree,
the wishing well.”

“It was playing when we said goodbye.”
She said, holding her coffee cup up to her cheek.
“We danced close with our eyes closed.”

“I’ll be seeing you, in every lovely summer’s day,
In everything that’s light and gay,
I’ll always think of you that way.”

She went on, “That’s the last thing he said
to me – I’ll be seeing you – just like the song
– our song!”

“I’ll find you in the morning sun,
and when the night is new,
I’ll be looking at the moon,
but I’ll be seeing you.”

The diner quieted, everyone stopped to listen.
“You see, I drove him to the train station that day;
he was being shipped out to fight in World War Two.

He wrote—but was killed in a battle in Sicily.”
When she left, everyone’s heart followed
her out the door to the silent street.

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from Moss Dwelt Hollows

I can only possess you abstractly;
you cannot belong to me, or I to you –
only that which we share, we keep forever.

An elusive mysterious aura kindles when
we are together, not as separate egos,
we cradle each other’s creation.

I don’t care if you are not perfect;
it is all of you that I desire, no part
is incomplete.

You used to have sadness pour
from your eyes; now they smile,
with some new undisclosed joy.

Do not tell me of your previous life;
let me hide in my illusion,
filling my insatiably wanton soul.

Keep reality from my door,
for a little longer, so I can fully
absorb the crux of your being.

Without a Clue
from Mural Tapestries

As I pass lobsters in tanks at the market,
I wonder if they even have a clue.
Their claws tied together, cramped on
top of each other, what do they think
while giant scary predators peer at them,
and make strange faces and grunting sounds?

They huddle together to plot their
escape, planning to make a break
for it in the dark of night, and scurry like
lively wind up machines. They’ll tinker
out to the alley and plog into storm drains,
hoping to make it to some waterway
that leads to the open sea.

There they will be discovered by some
biologist who will write an article
in a science journal about how ocean
lobsters make their way up stream,
hundreds of miles inland.

This finding will launch millions of dollars
in university and government research
grants, and will become a breaking news story
on some science television show.

Fascinating theory, I ponder, as I make
my purchase of 15 large ocean lobsters to let
loose into the storm drain near my home
to test my hypothesis.

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Paper Mache
from Moss Dwelt Hollows

Dreams form in blue hues, an abstract
still life; the wilted petal heaves a sigh
before it drifts away. The clouds

nudge slowly to blot out the sun;
a songbird breaks the silence, as the strum
of the wire’s hum composes a new hymn.

Meanwhile, we rearrange the furniture
in our display window, and regroup
the mannequins in delightful poses.

Surrogate happiness thrives in our window
world. Mock-humans are ensconced within a
pretend villa on an artificial Mediterranean.

The counterfeit sun and electric lamps,
reflect off a blue ceiling and white-washed
bricks. Paper mache palm trees sway in the

fan’s breeze. Aluminum foil stars and a crescent
moon dangle on strings. We watch a stuffed
seagull circle, before it dives into a cardboard sea.

The figurines sip paper cup wine coolers
and nibble on plaster cheese and fruit.
We arrange them neatly, content in our fixed

universe of predictable rules, pre-determined
linear patterns, and formulas. In our blissful window
world, free of messy imagination and unpredictability.

To an Angel I Once Loved
from Mural Tapestries

Radiant being, your inner light
encompasses the full spectrum,
showing all colors of the rainbow.

You sing songs in angelic script,
I understand their meaning,
but do not know the words.

Angels are not to be held onto. Pure
in love, they crave freedom. To meet
one is ecstasy yet causes exquisite pain.

Beyond worldly knowing—
our mind and spirit are enhanced
in the presence of their beauty.

Yet, we cannot hold light in our grasp,
nor a rainbow with our fingers, nor make
celestial beings conform to our world.

Confined by human passion,
angels wither and die;
it is best to let them fly away.

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Hidden Door
from Calico Patchwork

You may see nature’s beauty
when you reach a mature age;
hidden in-between and underneath
the surface of common everyday things

Far from view of most people
until they gain wisdom;
then they may attain a key
to unlock a hidden door

Where they will spend more time
among breathtaking wonder;
until at one point inside,
they lock the door behind them

Mountain Peaks
from Lavender Prairie Sage

Renaissance artists spent decades
staring at walls, ceilings, and marble slabs,
to expand their knowledge in art,
science, mathematics, and philosophy.

To penetrate the deeper truths,
they ordered processes, tamed universal laws
hidden within the folds of canvas
and cores of stone.

They released bold visions of creative
innovation that reshaped the world,
and rendered beauty into delicate
and subtle forms to ennoble the soul.

Such mystery was captured in a portrait
of a young woman with an ambiguous
smile; her mysterious eyes followed
the viewer across the room, as she

Looked out beyond the frame. Behind was
a dynamic landscape that strove out of chaos;
with mountain fingertips that reached through
the heavens and embraced Divine perfection.

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from Lavender Prairie Sage

That summer, we moved into the
old mansion on the hill; the structure
was right out of a Hawthorne novel.

It wasn’t long, though, before we
discovered that we were not
the only inhabitants.

We heard little feet scrabbling in the
wallboards all night, and creaks in the
attic; at night, our food was broken into.

Thinking we had mice, for months, we tried
snap-traps, then glue traps, and finally poison—
despite all our efforts the traps were useless.

So, we hired an exterminator who said, “Yeah,
this house is infested alright; you’ve got elves.
You can try to elf-proof it, but they’ll still get in.”

We were plagued by little, invisible pranksters,
who turned on lights, stole socks, hid bottle-caps,
stole pens, coveted earrings, and buried our keys.

We tried mothballs, garlic, bells, copper nails,
potions, and spells, but nothing worked. These imps
had the upper hand and even trained our cat to do tricks.

Finally, admitting defeat, we tried another tactic;
it turns out that elves have a fancy for honey, cream,
nuts, and berries. We left food and a light on for them—

They soon returned the favor – in the mornings, we found
our shoes repaired, socks darned, buttons sewn, clocks
wound, furniture dusted, and silver and copper polished.

All Nighter
from Herringbone Tweed

A solitary pick-up truck waits
at an isolated red light with
no other cars on the road.

Scene from a Hopper painting.
At 4:17 a.m., I sip black coffee,
alone at an all-night diner.

I scrawl this poem on a brown paper napkin.
Surprised how the strong coffee aftertaste cuts
the greasy flavor of sugar dusted fry cakes.

Somehow it all fits into the Conway Twitty
song adrift from the diner’s kitchen.
Your scent still clings to me,

I can feel your soft body wrapped
up against mine. My body longs for your
tender embrace; the caress of your touch.

Our passion ignited new meaning into my
life; the embers retain a raging fire,
defiant against the frosted winter air.

Out the window, a condensed column of steam
rises from the manhole cover, and is blown away
by the pick-up truck as the light turns green.

My cue to pay the bill, leave, and take
the warmth of your touch with me
out the door, onto the cold, dark street.

Bruce J. Wood
Bruce J. Wood
Bruce J. Wood, founder of AOIDE Bruce J. Wood has worked on Wall Street in business finance and strategy, and has written hundreds of finance business plans, strategic plans, economic feasibility studies, and economic impact studies. Bruce has lectured on creativity and strategic thinking, as well as worked on the development of numerous publishing, film, television, and performing arts projects, along with downtown revitalizations, using the arts as an economic catalyst. As an aficionado of music, art, and dance, Bruce is also a writer and an outdoor enthusiast. He has written poetry, blogs, articles, and many creative project concepts. He lives in the Metro Detroit area and enjoys writing poetry, backpacking, and ballroom dancing.

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