The Lost Letter #dailypost #history #poetry #photography

Repentant Magdalene – De La Tour 1640 oil

As I wrote to you these words

tears congealed with blackened ink

this goodbye so hard to write

how I wished I could re-take

*

You went away to war

tore my heart in two

the uniform I sewed

no longer resembles blue

*

A woman fights a war

it’s not with guns and spears

we fight inside ourselves

clinging to what is dear

*

The day I found her lace

I wished it wasn’t so

Perfumed you and adored

it dealt the final blow

*

Tucked beneath her favor

I’m leaving you this note

 wrenched from inside you see

our covenant you broke 

*

So many times I wished

I’d never seen that thing

for what it made me do

I threw away your ring

*

You wrote to me at length

declared unfailing love

how could you still claim that

with all that had been done

*

On hardened path you did return

a wounded, changed man

stump hidden in your sleeve

I couldn’t grasp your hand

*

The twinkle in those eyes

they still retained that smile

with all that they had seen

over all the bloodied miles

*

I asked about the words

I’d tucked into your shirt

the paper had gone missing

tramped about the dirt

*

I had to brave the lace

you assured that it was gone

no longer fragrant starched

just dirtied torn and brown

*

your crooked smile held back the pain

“I never loved her dear

white favors thrown into the wind

her death ominous and near

*

cannon ball fury pierced the night

she raced injured to save

mercy had all but been undone

we laid her in hollow grave

*

I  begged, cried “forgiveness please”

he said ” I owe you none

you are my heart’s strong shielding

a precious gift sent from above”

***

the note sepia

The Daily Post challenge was “Dialogue.” I hope you hear the voices from the past in this poem; a dialogue of pain and hope.

Tomorrow is the 151st anniversary of the bloody battle of Antietam – this a tribute to love, life, and life lost.

Photograph: De la Tour’s “Repentant Magdalene” (from the National Gallery); “The Lost Letter” © L. Moon 2013

Been enjoying these dialogues:

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Unusual #dailypost #photography #poetry

color side by side

And where might it bee?

Alice asked of the rabbit

wild sound

it can be as close as your fingertips

or as far a field

bee trees love 098

just look through this pink tube

you’ll see

the pink tube

Unusual

Can you guess what the daily post weekly photo challenge is???

And please enjoy some of these unusual and delightful works by other photographers:

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The Timeless Christmas Legacy (part two) #Christmas #shortstory

There I was all dressed and ready like our Christmas turkey. “What am I doing?’ I screamed through my skin.

“I will be here with you.” My grandmother’s cheerful voice seemed louder than usual. I looked toward the watch and there  stood a younger version of herself and her mother by her side.

“You won’t do this alone,” the ghostly southern tones were so rich. I wanted to hug them both, but there wasn’t time, “The cloak, put it on now. I feel his presence drawing near.”

I put the cloak on. The funny thing was I knew they could both see me. How would it keep the other one from seeing me. “He doesn’t have eyes of love,” I heard her whisper.

“Give me my gun. I will shoot him,” I wasn’t sure if this fit with our plan, but how could I argue with a ghost?

I heard a sniffing that chilled me to the bone.

“I smell your perfume,  Crystalle, I remember it so well.” There was a slithering kind of motion that flowed around us. I wanted to get the dagger and start slicing at something,  somehow I managed to stand statue still.

“I see you have brought your daughter. A nice family reunion. Crystalle, I have come to offer you life. You can live a human existence,” I felt  a sick grin on his face.

“You forgot to mention the one condition attached. I must remain with you as your lover. Ha, what a gift. Sir, you give me a curse,” she was smart, for an old gal,  I chuckled silently.

My grandmother opened the pocket watch,  a beautiful music played.

“Our waltz,” Crystalle put up her hands.

He took her in his arms. I wanted to shout at him to stay away, but her told me she was in control.

They waltzed in large sweeping circles. What had been a meadow transformed into a dance floor. My grandmother kept walking with the timepiece. I followed silently. Then I knew. “They are waltzing toward the river.” The music created a timeless trance for this dance of death.

My great-grandmother appeared to stumble. He looked alarmed for her well-being. For that one moment, his face looked kind, loving.  She had no concern for him, as she placed her hand against his chest and pulled the trigger of her mother’s derringer.

Both women motioned for me to do the rest quickly. I placed the puzzle in my grandmother’s open hand.  With the cloak still on, I plunged the knife into his chest. His skin pulled my knife away from my hands.  My grandmother frantically swirled the tiny balls about in the game. My dagger was released. I cut and cut.  Finally, I plunged my hand into his chest,  grabbed at his heart, and  disconnected the last of the blood vessels with the knife.

The faces of both women were transformed. Where there had been an edge of despair and cursed destiny there was peace and joy. They grabbed my hands and we danced in a circle for what seemed like hours.

“It is time,” the older woman said to her daughter.

“One moment with her alone, mama,” my grandmother’s eyes pleaded, “The timepiece is yours my granddaughter. I will no longer visit you each year. My task to save the family is done,” I saw her tears through my own rivulet of tears.

“I miss you so grandmother,” I said like a small child.

“Listen for our voices in the Christmas Carols you are so fond of. They will join your own,” my grandmother pressed the watch into my hands and something else.

“Goodbye, dearest great- granddaughter bravery will be yours always.”

I walked with them to the river, the heart in my hands. Before my great grandmother descended, she took the heart. As she touched the water, it began to froth and glow. “We commit this evil to the depths and ask that our curse be removed.”

A deep, watery voice authoritatively said, “Your request is granted.”

The ladies looked at each other, then at me, smiling as they sank beneath the silvery water.

I realized that I still had my cloak on when I passed a dairyman who failed to see me.

Later that morning, two items burned in my pocket: the watch and the other item my grandmother had lovingly given to me. I smiled when I realized what it was…

The Timeless Christmas Legacy #Christmas #shortstory

She had spoken her dying wish into that delicate symbol of timelessness. As I cradled it, I hoped to hear her voice. I did…

It came each Christmas Eve just at the moment she died; I would hear a small chime and then her voice. Then the next morning we would awake to presents under the tree and another dead family member. I began to fear the cold touch of the gold pocket watch that glowed when I opened it. I tried to refrain the next Christmas Eve, but the pull of it and her were too strong.

I started asking questions,  it seemed no one alive knew the answer.

… and the time ticked forward to another Christmas Eve. There were beautiful initials, C. B.,  engraved on the gold case. They were not my grandmother’s. Her mother’s? I wondered…

Then I found it. A box of pictures. They were daguerreotypes of women mostly, but a few men as well.  One picture stood out. The woman was beautiful! I recognized the writing on the back; it said “My grandmother – Crystalle Beaurent 1870.”

“It’s my great-grandmother’s watch” I exhaled.
She was born in 1845 based on a baby picture. She would have been a southern belle during the civil war. “What a belle she must have been,” I mused. Then there was a wedding picture “Mother and Father April 1870.” I realized the tiny numbers in the watch case indicated their wedding day. One thing I do recall my grandmother sayin, “They got in a wagon and rode as far away from Georgia as they could.”

“Why grandmother? Why?I started having nightmares. “The picture must have set them off.” I rationalized. There was a beautiful young woman, and a man in black. I could never see his face, but I could see claws where hands should have been. My grandmother came to me in a dream; I asked her. “That man was a devil. He wanted her,  if he couldn’t then he vowed no man would. She and papa tried to run away, but the demons from her past could not release her to a new life. Mama drowned on Christmas Eve when I was but four. No one knew what happened,” I heard a sob.

“Damned scalawag,” I woke up to a woman’s southern drawl, and the scene of a man’s face being blown off with a purse size derringer. A young woman was dragged off by two men into the shadows as the lifeblood of a woman in mourning was spilt.
It was always the same dream. But tonight, on Christmas Eves Eve, the dream was different. Dancers spun around the floor room, women were dressed in their finest silks, it was Christmas Eve – a long time ago. A hand gently pulled on my own. I stood in a blue satin dress, my ringleted hair was bound in a ribbon, a young man was offering his hand for a dance. “But I don’t know how,” I said in my mind. Yet, there I was spinning on the dance floor with the others. Then he was gone,  I heard gunshot far off,  I covered my ears as I crouched in a corner with fear. The cook found me and told me “there, there honey chile. Your daddy would never allow you or your mama to be hurt.” She placed a small mince meat tart in my hands. “Merry Christmas precus chile.” I closed my eyes and stroked the gold case but nothing happened. “It has to be a nightmare,” I said with little confidence in my situation.  I heard her scream “Damned Scalawag!”

“You are not going to take her,” I shook my fist at the  two men dragging her off. She was beautiful. I grabbed a club and swung at the head of one man who slumped to the ground. The other let go of her and went after me. She was smart though and caused him to get stuck in a bramble. I raised the club, but she urged me to put it down.

“He will get you – both of you!” the man sneered.

“I don’t think so,” I said tauntingly in his face, “I’m not from around here. ”

“Neither is he. He will find you. You took his prize from him. You cannot run far enough away.”

“Ha,” I challenged those evil eyes,  “We shall see about that!”

When I awoke, it was Christmas Eve, but things were different. I didn’t know why, I could just feel it. I opened the watch and went to wind it. I heard my great-grandmother’s voice, “You must protect yourself. He is coming for you tonight.  He could not get me so he has promised to hurt you. Please hide and protect yourself.”

“What?” but the voice was gone as was the life in the pocket watch “What am I to do? It’s Christmas Eve and someone is coming to kill me or …” and then I knew, “He will capture me and replace what he had  lost.”

There was only one I could think of. ” I must go to my older brother.”  He would think I was crazy, but he would help me. He thought it was a game. “Yes it will be a game; a hunt to be exact. How am I to hide from a specter from the past?”

“Great- grandfather’s cloak and dagger,” he exclaimed quite confidently. “Grandfather told me a story in confidence. “If ever there is a time, your sister  is in danger; the only thing that will protect her is this… If you don’t succeed in protecting her, this family will be no more. Your great-grandmother would have died before she had your grandmamma.”

I wondered then if my younger brother or sister had been given anything by our grandparents.

“Just this” my sister said as though she were still a small child. It was one of those old-fashioned puzzles where you have to roll the balls into the holes. There was no message with it.

“I want what he gave me back though,” my younger brother said possessively. It was a lady’s derringer. I had seen it blow off the face of a man in another era.

I set all the items on a table: the watch, the cloak, the dagger, the gun, the puzzle. I warmed the gold on the pocket watch. It opened by itself and the sweet voice of my grandmother greeted each of us.” It was my grandmother’s failing to aim at his face rather than at the heart. You must aim her gun at his heart.”

“What about the puzzle and the cloak and the dagger?”

“Put the cloak on grand-daughter; it will protect you.  The dagger must cut his heart out after he has fallen. The puzzle will mesmerize him as you cut his heart. ”

“Are we all to take part?” my brother asked.

“No! The one who saved my mother is the only one who can defeat the beast. Once he has fallen, the heart must be taken to the place where he pushed my mother into the rushing stream. Her spirit will do the rest.”

***

 

Part Two will be posted on Christmas Eve

 

The Ghosts of Battles Past #poetry #Veteran’sDay #tribute #photography #ghosts

The ghosts of past wars march forward…

“Forward men”

we heard the call

the plodding sound

a thousand boots

to bloodied ground fall

***

“March on”

boys cadenced

in a an old tin song

others called out

“how far how long?”

***

The days and nights

we felt their need

had barely food

no time

 urged upon speed

***

we hide away

while they must fight

sabers flash

 blue and grey

the colors clash

***

I hear your voice

through early day

sweet farewell plea

“mama I’m coming”

life dearly paid

***

They march on

those soldiers do

reverie’s ghosts

tho for these

the battle’s through

This poem is in Tribute on this Veteran’s Day to the boys who fought in the many wars including the war between the states. We see their ghosts in the battle field mist – still…

Photograph: “Battle Cry” L. Moon copyright 2012

Patriotic in 55

And the rocket’s red glare…

In a wide-eyed gaze he stared

heard the sounds of cannon and musket

was awakened by bombs dropping and obliterating paradise

swatted at bugs and tried to ignore the moist stench

trudged forward into a world resembling a mirage

he shook himself back to reality and welcomed his freedom

Happy Forth of July to my fellow countrymen


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