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The belief that words can form a spiritual bond after death sets the tone for this narrative and for the preceding pages of poetry, all with a single theme traveling from grief to hope gone asunder, where the underlying theme is the possibility of encountering God in the most unexpected...
The belief that words can form a spiritual bond after death sets the tone for this narrative and for the preceding pages of poetry, all with a single theme traveling from grief to hope gone asunder, where the underlying theme is the possibility of encountering God in the most unexpected encounters with people, and in the most surprising of places.
There is something universal
about a springtime smile,
Speaking of love and newness
springing all the while.
The tide does turn when
the universe turns bleak,
When all that was meant to be
Is no longer new and sleek.
The deadening sounds of winter
do still yearly abound.
But without any springtime
to make the world go 'round.
It could have been that robin caring for her brood at the beginning of spring, hurriedly feeding her hungry nestlings. And at the very first dinner you caringly made for us as newlyweds, I remember the feeling I received upon seeing the smile on your face and the happiness in your eyes as you came to meet me, even before I had reached the top of the stairs.
Or, perhaps what I heard was the wood thrush I saw hastily building a nest nearby with pieces of fallen bark from that old sycamore tree, where we would sit for hours under its branches to talk of our dreams on lazy summer nights.
At times we'd see a lone bird perched in the tree opposite our house, such as that red cardinal, the one we nicknamed "Cardo"—half cardinal, half dodo—for its aberrant habit of seeing his reflection returned to him from the winter's glare on the window glass, then heading straight for that target and striking hard.
The crash startled me. It broke the silence. As when sickness struck you hard. Then, all I heard was the distant cry of a mourning dove with its dirge-like cries of solitude.
OUT ON A "WHIM"
I need to say something sudden,
But what is left for us to say,
To bring out all the passions,
Which within me do still stay,
I need to tell you I love you,
Flying far from all the fray,
Within the beating of my heart,
To go out on a limb and sway,
To tell whomever's listening,
Ours is bound to be a great day.
A locked house won't save the anguished from pain,
For when the stealth one enters, tears do remain.
For the two chairs we lovingly placed side-by-side,
Abide where I dwell, but now leave me teary-eyed,
Their purpose never to be realized again:
To provide a place to rest within our domain,
A chance to be close to my dear one no longer near,
To hold hands with each other, through all impending fear.
For a new vision remains out of reach to touch and feel,
Like grasping a picture that can never be real,
Or seeing in a dream a bird on the wing,
Flying through God's heaven, while below my hands wring.
For my feet are now restless and are tired as well,
But I don't know where to search for the love where I dwell.
On those days and nights, love was stolen from me,
If two chairs could talk, they would speak endlessly.
Greek goddess, Athena, leaned on her spear,
Mourning the felled one she once held most dear,
I visit, bearing my heart in my hand,
The one who still shares in all I withstand,
In grief and sorrow and lonely love, too;
I hope you are glad I am here next to you,
In triumph, this golden victorious day,
Journeying together, once again to pray.
I wish we'd meet King Midas on the way,
With flowers touched into a golden array,
He'll give them to you to wear in your hair,
Glowing like light from the brightest suns' glare,
Ringing the prayer we will both sound aloud,
My voice reaching to heaven's highest cloud;
Yours too, known in a gentle flowers' call,
For victorious God has beheld death's fall.
why can't they go away,
still shouting with glee
at the sight of descending snow?
For it's as if they know by name each
soft and silent crystal,
falling one moment and melting the next,
striking the window and reflecting the midday sun.
Blinded by the brightness,
one is forced to look away,
to stare upon the softness of a face clothed in repose,
as if asleep in the silent beating of the heart,
as silent as a Christmas rose
soon to be mindlessly crushed underfoot,
by children laughing in the pristine snow,
by dreams descending from
promised hope to melted slush;
too late to relive the fanfare of young love
and the knowing of a first embrace,
too early to exist only within the window of a mind
as a sound no longer to be heard,
as year after year silently melted away,
as silent as melting snow.
where shall these two souls
with closed eyes and
For in brushing aside snow
melting from a furrowed brow,
zigzags the fear of life's closing window,
with watchful eyes on the setting sun,
and the loathing to believe that a life
here in this moment could not be
forever and forever and forever.
Within the truth of a silent tear now
is the knowing of a final embrace,
the deafening hush of falling snow
doomed to forever crush the heart
of the shouting child,
when one soul, in silence,
melted without fanfare;
when the other, embittered,
melted to despair.
A MANAGEMENT DECISION
A little girl came to the front door,
Asking if I wished to buy Girl Scout cookies.
However, I have a strong feeling that,
Had you reached the door first,
And seen the two satchels of cookies she carried,
You would have asked her what kind she was selling.
Then, after the passing of our initial moment of surprise,
Our eyes would have smiled a silent answer of agreement.
But I would have you decide which should we purchase.
And during this management decision we'd be thinking;
As we always did, that we would store them away,
And not devour them all at once.
And of course that would never happen,
Something which we would both know,
The little game with each other we loved to play.
As my response, I told the little girl no.
But after she left, I wished she had returned.
Because then I would have thought of you and bought a box.
To playfully store away with my other thoughts of you.
Perhaps I can fool myself into believing
I'm not hearing thunder in the distance.
Because the sun is still shining where I am.
For some time now, the days feel warmer
and the birdcalls sound louder.
Perhaps because I've taken to being outdoors more often,
to revel in the passing of winter's cold.
To perhaps catch a vestige of your spirit in the form of a
shadow brushing past the treed landscape before me.
But I will just patiently sit here and wait,
pretending to be doing something else,
concealing my desire to be as close to you as if the leaves
opening on a tree.
Perhaps I may even fool myself into thinking I have found a
way to will your spirit to visit me.
Because I am desperate and will try anything,
just to be near you again.
Even to fooling myself into believing I can play the role of
I'm on a hunger strike; it's of my own choosing.
You know how these things start—
as a protest of some sort, or a reaction to something.
But my mind is so weak now that I'm not sure if I remember
any longer how or why mine began.
I'm in this type of jail: Familiar but yet not so,
filled with thoughts, but yet so empty since you left.
I had gotten by with scraps of thoughts about you.
But now, in the pervasive pangs of emptiness,
even these have been taken from me.
The jailer acts like God, telling you to leave,
telling me it's for my own good,
coming around yet again with scraps
of food, thinking I'll finally eat.
But he knows I'll just leave them to sit with all the others.
Before I got to this place, you always gave me the food I
But you no longer come to sit with me.
And so, that must be how my hunger strike began:
It was born the last time I saw you.
How long has it been? God, I can't think clearly any longer.
Every now and then in your absence, I would reach that
point of desolation causing me to cave-in and relent.
But not this time: I, too, have reached my point of no return.
Will you sit by my side and hold my hand?
Because this time, I realize that my hunger is for you.
A book unlike any other,
You open it and sigh,
Its pages worn.
Its binding torn,
Seeing something that strikes your eye.
A picture, now torn from its place,
As if seeking to be free,
Its corners bent.
Your vision spent,
Still searching it lovingly,
For now, though lived long ago,
Is seen that familiar image:
Your fanciful wife.
You starting life,
On the first day of your marriage.
She is smilingly peering ahead,
In her hands a bouquet fair,
Looking at ease.
Wanting to please,
As you make one last touch to her hair.
Her whispered cry reaches your ears:
"Stop all your fussing today,"
You offer her slack,
Standing without disarray.
But in your reverie today,
You strain your eyes to stare,
Yes, you were close.
But never morose,
Joyful only that she is there.
Her little glint of a smile
Banishes any strife,
With quick glance to you.
Her love shining through,
Eyes pleading, "Please hold me through life."
Where did all those years go,
You shake your head and wonder?
Now all alone.
To only bemoan,
The passing of life torn asunder.
Excerpted from FOR MY LOVE ENDURES FOREVER by Joseph Anthony Russo. Copyright © 2013 Joseph Anthony Russo. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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A Few Beginning Words.................... ix
A Word About The Illustrations.................... x
A Memory Of You.................... 4
Out On A "Whim".................... 6
Two Chairs.................... 7
The Procession.................... 8
Golden Victory.................... 9
Silent Snow.................... 10
A Management Decision.................... 13
April Fool.................... 14
Hunger Strike.................... 15
A Virtual Valentine's Day.................... 18
The Date.................... 20
A Visit In The Dead Of Night.................... 22
Train Yard.................... 23
The Parting Gift.................... 24
Roses And Life.................... 26
The Truth About Reaching The Heights Of Love.................... 28
Two Views.................... 30
The Parade.................... 33
A Final Word.................... 53