Bob Bradshaw, Thunder in the Clouds


One day I will write a poem as lively
as Mozart’s Piano No. 16 in C Major.
Or I will pursue a romance

and become a lover par excellence —
like Casanova who was loved by women
as earnestly as he was by scandals

though I can’t pursue a female
this afternoon. The sunlight washing
through the bay windows

leaves me sleepy. Okay, okay,
maybe I’ll begin a novel
this evening. Or at least a sonata.

“You poseur,” my ego groans.
“You can’t even read music.”
Maybe I’ll learn tomorrow.

Or maybe I’ll start a charity
to feed starving poets.
I’ll ladle bowls of soup

at St. Anthony’s to the homeless
on Wednesdays, my one free day.
“Every day is your off day.”

My ego can’t keep from scolding. Merde!
you are unkind.
“I always believed
you would make something of yourself,

but you throw away your days
like you do quarters in arcades.”
One day I will do something

my ego can brag about.
Now I need a nap, my eyelids
lowering like shades in a room

that is filled with sunlight.
Soon I’ll come up with an opening
for a brilliant novel, but for now, Merde,

no more complaints. A long nap,
that’s all I ask.
To keep it short
I’d have to lie down on a bed of nails.

Tomorrow, I’ll compose a symphony Amadè
would envy — with kettledrums and trumpets
to wake the thunder in clouds.

As I Approach The Temple At Kamakura

I think how odd it must be to believe
that there is a plan for each person,
the way my father planned for me
to follow him into law.

He spent countless hours
designing my future.

He even suggested a mate for me:
someone who loved children the way
that I loved books, passionately.

Hundreds approach
the temple’s great bronze Buddha.
They come with incense sticks,
fruit baskets, and drinks for the dead,
who return every year enticed
by these welcomes.

Lanterns are hung from houses to guide them.
This year I too have hung red lanterns
outside my door, for my father.

My children helped hang them,
and I can’t help but wonder if one day
they will find enough love
to hang a lantern for me.

Recently retired, Dodging The Rain regular Bob Bradshaw is searching for a hammock to spend his days in. His poems have appeared in Apple Valley Review, Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, Loch Raven Review, Pedestal Magazine, Stirring, and many other publications.

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