The Poetry of Laryalee Fraser
Kudzu Monthly July 2003 Poetry Feature


A willow's fluted ribbons skirt the creek
while swallows streak on lucent, seamless trails.
Through tangle-rooted tunnels foxes seek
their prey where stark survival law prevails.

The glow of twilight regally descends
on pale chromatic stairs; each leaf entwines
its aura, breathing in the amber blends.
With calibrated strokes the night aligns
new etchings on the mountain, dusts the trees
with porous shade. A cricket choir embeds
the hollows with nocturnal harmonies
and stars bequeath their pulsing, silver threads.

Then time itself withdraws, in pensive thought,
to ponder all the wonders God has wrought.


The Harvest of their Years

The richness of their vintage years still glows,
and holds his loneliness at bay. Today,
he tends his rows of mellow memories,
content to savor moments plucked by time
that linger, filled with flavor, in his mind.

He feels her presence near -- her touch as light
and soft as apple blossoms floating down
to rest upon his palm. He smiles at how
her nuances of thought would shift; her look
of impish resignation when she'd murmur
"Yes dear," and his eyes would twinkle back.

He doesn't worry now, about the state
of world affairs, or whether rain will fall
tomorrow. Wrapped in contemplation of
the seasons of their love, he waits his call...
rejoicing in the harvest of their years.


Summer Lost
A Villanelle

Summer lost its hold on heaven, broke
its crystal arc that spanned the turquoise seas.
The days turned pale and only echoes spoke

as autumn flung its strident-threaded cloak
of red and gold, rejecting summer's pleas.
And summer lost, its hold on heaven broke.

Then winter shrieked and raised its sword; a stroke
of chilling force brought autumn to its knees.
The days turned pale; their lonely echoes spoke

of pending night, when darkness would provoke
a flow of pain that tears could not appease --
when summer lost its hold, and heaven broke.

But dark deceived, for one small truth awoke
and said, "There's light within; you have the keys."
Through days turned pale, this lonely echo spoke.

And some believed, determined to evoke
a spark of faith their anxious hearts could seize.
But some are lost; their hold on heaven broke
when days turned pale and only echoes spoke.




Hup two, three, four!
Okay, words, now hit the floor!
Fifty push-ups, each of you --
no one leaves until we're through!

Adjectives, line up in rows;
jumping jacks and touch-your-toes --
stretch those sinews, bend those knees,
I want flexibility!

Attention, nouns! You have your space,
so let's achieve a steady pace
sounding out those treadmill blues.
Verbs will form in barbell queues,
work on building muscle tone.

Hustle now! No wimpy groans
will let you off. There's no escape --
I'm gonna get you words in shape!


Auras Lost

Eden's garden held a glow
that trembled on the planet's crust.
As eras marched, they drained the force,
defied the flow, embraced the dark...

We boast we've reached an awesome peak.
We juggle wars and cyberspace,
and tend to scoff at simple things.

A puppet-stringing finger wags,
our placid faces nod in rhythm;
left, right, left, right.
Climb the stairs and punch the clock;
tick, tock, tick, tock.
Dotted lines and polished smiles;
brains decaying, auras fading,
fashion pumpkins in a row.

We may have gained new heights of power.
Somehow, though, we've lost the light.



Morning Tumbles In

Morning flexes limbs of amber light
and somersaults along the mountain slope.
The shadows catch her pearly glow; they bounce
it off the river's gleam, through drowsy trees,
and down our rows of softly curtained dreams.

She prods the slow, departing girth of night;
unrolls a carpet, fresh and clean, and waits
for footprints that will leave their mark upon
the day. She sends a signal flare across
the sky...and hope arrives, to guide our way.


Moon song

One night, I caught the moon.

As it rolled around my palm,
I felt its ridges and hollows
prickling my skin

Particles of darkness
spilled from its core
and the cold stench of eternity
wafted up my nostrils.

I tasted a thin, strident echo
sliding along my tongue,
absorbing my diminutiveness
in a vast, cosmic melody.

Then slowly, the moon rose
on a sliver of night
leaving its imprint on my hand
and a quiver
in my heart.



In sporadic drifts, memories
flutter down, like skeletal leaves
in slow motion -- fragile whispers torn
from the branches of yesterday.

Sometimes, your love-warm echoes
snuggle for a moment on my shoulder
before I tuck them gently
in a pocket of my mind.

But nights are infused
with the sodden weight of loss;
I pour my loneliness
across the threshold of dawn

and wait for your voice
to swim back to me.


Poems Copyright © Laryalee Fraser 2001-2003
All rights reserved


Visit to Grandma's

She waits for the moment -- at last they've arrived!
Through tumbles of laughter, each one gets a hug;
fresh cookies are ready, the little ones squeal
as bundles spill out on the living room rug.

Their warm recollections and up-to-date news
are shared in a flurry; the house is aglow.
Then, "Grandma, a story?" The tucking-in joys
bring tender reminders of years long ago.

The hours spin by and she's caught in the whirl;
but time's now an enemy -- schedules are tight.
Soon everyone's leaving as kisses are blown,
surrounding the car till it fades from her sight.

She closes the door, slowly breathing the scents
of cookies and giggles that cling to the walls.
Then hollowness enters on little stone feet.
The armchair is waiting; the first teardrop falls.



Nosing Around

Of all the body parts we own, our nose
is pointedly the one that doesn't stay
where it belongs. It sniffs prevailing winds
and chases rumors -- huffs them in and puffs
them out (with variations on the theme).

Beneath a haughty sheen, it sneaks behind
the neighbor's fence where gossip grows, and seeks
the place where folks conceal their naughtiness.
It pokes away at closet walls until
they fall -- and all their secrets tumble out.

A nose was meant to be attached; to serve
its owner with delight and as a means
of warning of surprise attacks. It should
not be cavorting in the streets, intent
on scents of business that are not its own.


The Underside of Pale

From the east, darkness approached;
afraid she would miss
the moment of her flowering, she leapt
into the folds of twilight.

But instead of overtaking the sun,
she found herself caught between
the inexorable rotation of night and day.

Gradually, her senses withered;
her emotions wound themselves ever tighter
around the seed of a promise
that would never bloom.

Snail-like, she formed a shell,
and attached herself
to the underside of pale.


Prairie Parchment

Her stack of decades sits askew,
the titles blurred, the sequences confused...

She slowly pulls a volume out
and tries to brush away the silt
that clogs her clarity of thought.

From pages stained by grubby fingerprints
the crinkled notes of children's laughter fall.
She smiles and hugs the echoes tight;
recalls those vibrant years
before they scattered in the winds
that swept across the prairie skies.

Her tears have stained the script that love
once patiently embellished. Reaching through
the mist, she soothes again his frailness
on that curtained bed; her arms still clutch
the vacancy he left.

She wraps the dusk around her shoulders,
waits in quiet solitude, her fingers
tracing every page as though
absorbing warmth before the final chill.

....then silently,
the weathered parchment
crumples into prairie dust.



The Shallow Season

Daily, the pond becomes shallower;
she sees her thoughts circling, like shadow
fish between swamp grasses, sending
tiny bubbles percolating to the surface.

Her mind tries to grasp the bubbles
but they burst apart, splattering mud
across the remaining layers of her vision.

Sometimes she sniffs the air, as though
waiting for rain to spill a rush of clarity
into this puddle where she languishes.

Instead, the mud thickens, hardens; soon
it will absorb the final dregs
of her lucidity. But by then,
she will not notice.


On the Edge of Falling Off

Between grey folds
of awareness, I hear them;
small voices running away
with pieces of my mind.

The fine mesh holding
my thoughts in place
begins to crumple; waves
of numbness flood my core.

The part of me that recognizes light
clutches a thin rail of sanity;
the rest of me is walking
on the edge of falling off.



'I've Walked this Path Before'

The scene is new, I've just arrived;
so what explains this tingled spark
that in another time or space
I've crossed this threshold, left my mark?

Is time a circle shaped around
what's gone before and what's to come?
Perhaps that's why we sometimes feel
our going-to is where we're from.

The flow of all existence could
be spilling through a single loop --
dimensions melting from their frames
and swirling in a cosmic soup.

I hope, when mortal threads are cut,
my soul will knock at heaven's door;
I'll recognize God's blessed face
and know I've walked that path before.


Rain Words

From a vast blue page,
cloud sentences
slide earthward,
breaking apart as they tumble.

On syllabic toes, rain words skitter
across roads, roofs, leaves
and upturned faces,
absorbing the nuances
of every dialect, intent

on finding the voice
that will speak them
back to the sky again.

About the Poet


Laryalee Fraser is the mother of five and the grandmother of ten. She's worked as both a community reporter and in public service.

When her husband was stricken with dementia, she retired to become his caregiver. This, she writes "allowed me to withdraw from outside pressures and begin to write poetry and indulge in my passion for gardening." She says that she became reclusive and depressed after his death, but credits therapy and relaxation techniques with helping her to "emerge from the shadows." Poetry, she says, "has become both a healing journey and a creative adventure."

Publication credits for Laryalee include "Short Stuff" and "Wynterblue Thunder."