Two Valentine’s Day Poems

keep-calm-and-make-it-so

For Mike

1. First Date with The Next Generation

In the Engineering Research Building
the wall in his cubicle proudly donned
a life-sized poster of Jean-Luc Picard 

I hid the double-take (or, tried to); he later massaged
the crick in my neck, a liberty allowed by a Liberal Artist
donning naught above the waist but her bare pride…

Marriage of the proverbial hemispheres ensued.

 

2. Somehow, Swept Off My Feet

Though one task at hand must be completed, before you attempt
(or become conscious of) the next, and I blaspheme those tinselly,
emblematic bits of solder accumulating beneath our feet,

then breathe long sighs of relief when you finally sweep them
into sparkly heaps and throw them away; I realize, too, that neither
the privilege of living with an Engineer in his natural habitat, nor

my Work in Progress status, are honors bestowed frivolously.

 

Once, again, I’ve stepped into the Wayback Machine to retrieve these relics from the valley of yester-yore upon which the fuzzy fog of middle age has since permanently settled. Here’s to those things of beauty in our lives that never change!

Wishing all you poets and engineers, alike, out there a very happy Valentine’s Day!

My Cat is Bread

wheat-field

because     what is a purr
but the promise of nourishment realized
in the rhythmic release of the heat
that’s accumulated in pockets
with the rise & fall of her breath?

& what is a bagel
if not a nose meeting the base of a tail
& little pink berry & black currant toes
neatly tucked to sleepy chin
all curled around a heart
that holds no lack?

because basking on my windowsill
in a pretzel of scruff     limbs     salt-tang
& afternoon-sifted sun     she is keenly sweet
like a wheat field’s essence of summer wind
in the last days before the harvest     hearty
with the warmth of a freshly-baked marble rye

because whenever i’m away from home
i long for her     knowing she’s there ‘kneading’
enough for the both of us (for     let’s be honest
no pillowy provender of fleece to grace my bed
has managed to preserve its store-bought virginity
for much more than an hour)

& because     although
I realize the time she yet has with me
will be fleeting    she will ever remain
the loaf of my life

STEPHANIE L. HARPER

UPDATE: Our sweet Hannah passed away from cancer at age 14 yrs. 5months on Friday, January 27, 2017. She lived with unapologetic grace, generously gave to us of her healing energy, and died with stoic dignity. RIP, beautiful girl…

The house has been empty and strange without her, but my grief is tempered by my gratitude and awe for the magical connection this quirky, smart, territorial, eight-pound (in her heyday), dog-terrorizing wonder of a creature made with her human family. Such is the spiritually-rich and filling nature of the “Bread of Life.”

hannah-2016

Hannah, age 14 yrs. 3 mos.

Anniversary #18

Mike and I celebrated our 18th anniversary on January 23, 2016, but I thought this poem would make a great post for Valentine’s Day… The photo I’ve chosen to accompany my poem is of a bird I’m particularly in love with — he is a Cob named Bryn, and he is the devoted mate to a Pen, Wynn. They are a glorious pair whose annual brooding and chick rearing on the moat of Bishop’s Castle in Wells are meticulously covered by brilliant photographer, Will Glenn. In this shot, Bryn’s industrious foraging in support of his mate and their progeny is not only noble and adorable, but it reminds me of Mike’s constant efforts to be a nurturing, responsible husband and father, and ever-evolving human being, who inspires me in more ways than I could ever express!

To all you lovebirds out there:

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

bryn_s_bottom_by_earthhart-d8efjc7

Photo by Will Glenn: EarthHart.deviantart.com

An engineer has just so much to say
With breath, enthusiasm, eye-contact—
And words seldom emerge in shades of gray,
But it’s your love that keeps my heart intact.

You’ve seen me at my worst and never balked,
You’ve seen me giving birth, begging for drugs,
Stood by when even I could not have talked,
And let me hide while you’ve dispatched gross bugs.

Your actions are a testament to Love
That has no need of meter, trope, or rhyme—
Lip-service, poets know, is not enough
To build a life that stands the test of time.

For eighteen years (and more!) I’ve loved you—that’s no bull!
I know I’m blessed to have a heart that feels so full!

STEPHANIE L. HARPER

Fuel for Flight

Aaaand… one more, while we’re on the Shakespearean Love Sonnet theme…  I wrote this for my beloved husband just a couple of years back! Don’t mind the roadside warning graphics — they’re only ornamental!!

from Google Images

from Google Images

Your love once sent me flying to the moon,
But now I’ve landed solidly on ground.
Your jets at idle, I no longer swoon
From ventures superceding speed of sound!

You dress to go on your bi-monthly run;
I dress, if there’s somewhere I have to be.
Your eyes (do they still sparkle like the sun?),
Without my specs, my love, I cannot see.

No longer do I dream of bees or birds–
The hives are barren; nests have blown away:
Our teenagers now speak the “choicest” words,
For we are out of fertile things to say.

My love, though we have traveled beyond lust,
Jets may have cooled, but haven’t lost their thrust…

STEPHANIE L. HARPER