Hokusai’s Great Wave

April 1, 2011 at 2:12 am (Uncategorized)

The great wave hangs endlessly near Tokyo.
At seventy-five, Hokusai had learned the patterns of nature,
so he painted the marvelous wave that does not touch the shore
but shows its white cap as it threatens to roll onward
dwarfing Mount Fuji, centered in the vastness of water,
reminding us it, too, will one day do much more.
His wave does not leave ugly sludge filled with bodies
of people vital and smiling,
alive the moment before.
There are no desperate, wounded children nearby.
The great wave hangs in beauty
in faultless harmony;
destruction and loss forever an act undone.

© 2011 C. Harter Amos

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Blue Haze

September 17, 2009 at 6:15 am (Poetry, RefleXions)

Do not contaminate the blue haze

of mountains that stretch across the miles

with thoughts of morality

or protests of who should own what part.

It seems a sin to carve such grandeur into squares

to satisfy whims and greeds of men.

Rather to imagine, like Lennon,

there would be no need for greed or hunger here,

no breath of air not pure and free.


Never question the harmony

of life lived with clouds

not dedicated to God but given without thought,

and not beyond gentle, gracious simplicity.


A placid silence filled with whispering pines

this place the dream of angels devine,

no less than the essence of souls.


A breed of people, made here, apart

bound by boundless blood and timeless time.

Small against endless shades of blue

that blend water with earth and both with sky;

humbled by the knowledge that this is what surrounds us all.

© 2009 C. Harter Amos

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Not Even Jesus

August 1, 2009 at 4:35 am (Poetry) (, , , , )


Gloomy Church

Broken rosettes with tarnished gilded angels
               are set above gloomy doorways.
The priest’s wordless oaths of eternal days
       lengthen into infinite years beneath gothic arches.
The priest sits pale
       against dark wood.
He walks ever so slowly,
       but long ago forgot the way.
He would run if he could remember how.
His voice echoes against the inside of his skull 
     as he screams in silence.
Not even Jesus visits here.




© 2009 C. Harter Amos

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Claude Monet

May 17, 2009 at 3:51 am (Poetry) (, , , )

Claude Monet2

Three boats were dragged onto an ecru shore,
sitting side by side,
half lit in sunset, half black in shadow,
with a streak of yellow along each keel.

Spring had come to Giverny,
The gardens were extravagantly simple:
the lilies alive in shades of purple pastels , the trees in lustrous evening oils.

( Camille in heaven cried
Long before Monet died
Knowing his sight,his gift of light,
would fade away
Before the last breath,before his last day.)

Strokes of radiance with unbounded control
made of colors innocent but bold.
Intimate lessons learned through life’s infinite array easily captured in the paintings
of Claude Monet.

Before the painting dried,
the boats were gone;mere marks on the horizon,
and empty water slapped the harbor
with shadows that through myopic eyes
became perfection in his art.

© 2009 C. Harter Amos

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Simple Stone

April 29, 2009 at 12:58 am (Poetry)



A ruby of medium red
where some long ago dragon bled.
Imagine the fight:
The dragon slung his head
and there,
each precious drop from him,
became jewelry; a blood red gem.
Or an oval of medium blue:
a sapphire, from a witch’s brew.
She stole a piece of the sky
leaving a hole that we decry.
Like water solidified into stone, a diamond
A crystal boldly imagined itself beyond ice:
 a wonder, a pebble, a promise,
        A simple symbol,
 a woman’s bright future on a young girl’s hand.
Of them all, my love, an oval of opal,
Disneyland in a ring. A lovely fairytale in solidified glitter:
     “Once upon a time, this rock was shed in fairy dust
when bees hummed bass as fairies sang until the magic gummed together
into a stone, the song saved for all time, now worn on someone’s hand.
When we invent the iPod to play these rock songs
there will no longer be wars, no longer be hunger or sadness.
gemstones are magic, you see.”
Like granite
Buildings that last forever.
Where philosophers or senators raised their hands,
hard to imagine these buildings still stand…
      “Friends, Romans, Countrymen…” their sandals upon stone.
The words somehow forever recorded there, perhaps,
If we could find the needle intricate enough to make these stones speak.
A rock, a simple thing,
but yet a playground for silly minds
who would make up stories,
with and without rhymes,
or spend fortunes to decorate
their hands and necks
with stones of blue, of green, or of fairy specks.


© 2009 C. Harter Amos

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Tumbling into Oblivion (for Gayle)

April 18, 2009 at 1:04 am (Poetry, RefleXions)


In the thickness of fog she had no beginning or end,
     only a humbled bubble, she twirled,
 round and soft.
      At the edges of her vision,
           a ghost; dismal and dull.
Then came the jingling of a bell:
        an angel, she thought, warning of hell.
Curiosity overcame her fear
as she stood up to peer into solid grayness toward the sound
where suddenly in front of her a hound bent on some cause,
self-sent or spirit-led,
stopped for one moment to raise his head
                as if he understood the trip she travelled on.
     With tags jingling, he left, heading toward silent oblivion,
                everything, again full of emptiness,
                               she was gone, dear sister-friend, tumbling into nothingness.


© 2009 C. Harter Amos


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My Blood Reaches

April 8, 2009 at 7:44 pm (Poetry)

Red Blood Cells


My blood reaches
           for the warmth of Spring.
The smell of green onions
           beneath a willow dancing in the breeze
The coolness of freshly turned earth
The sensual party of turning soil over seeds
            Sowing, to reap
My blood reaches
            Toward the sun
My skin, a million zillion happy cells
    soaking up the warmth
          that feels like life
                health, happiness
          directly from some Universal center.
I will ride the black horse into the edge of the sea
Letting my feet dangle, relaxed.
And beneath the roar of wind and salt water
Is the beat of my heart in rhythm with the moving sand.
My blood reaches until it is pink beneath my skin,
My face flushed.
Myth and Mare and Me.
Today I’m allowed to write me with a capital “M”.
It’s spring and we all expand.
We feel the burning, stirring desire to “do”, to move,
        to touch the face of the sun in Spring.


© 2009 C. Harter Amos

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Self Inventory

March 28, 2009 at 6:38 am (Poetry, RefleXions)



My mirror tells the truth.
I like it. 
I have to face the “me” I’d pushed aside, 
Recreating a new self built on the ashes of the old.
I remember not being broken,
being proud,
being fearless enough to be always gentle and kind,
when smiles and music blended and ruled,
dating someone for four years thinking it was forever,
thinking I knew the ways of the world.
Now humbled and beaten down,  
I fail. I fall. I get up and try it again.
But there’s no one there to meet me.
No one there to hold out their hand.
For years, I walked in circles, a Helter-Skelter rut always one step behind myself,
Like a tiger who blindly chases its own tail,
So proud to have caught what it chased at last
Only to find pain in the taste of blood in its mouth.
My blood: thick and brackish, filled with salt and pesticide.
I finally, and at least, realize it was a worn down circle path.
I can see beyond the milk carton I was in.
So erased that I wasn’t even pictured on its sides.
The mountain in the far distance
Is as appealing as it is indifferent
I’ve never reached out.
I don’t know how to let go of my hold on the rocks.
My hands and feet bleed from the climb.
I am a forever student so my attempts are clumsy, hesitant.
There is no one to teach me
Only books and old thirty-three and a thirds on vinyl.
Only traditions and a heritage of gentleness left over
From social systems that crumbled and turned to dust
Long before I was born. 
I am boring, I admit. I cut away the games
Before the rest of me was taken away.
The dainty monster within me died a horrible death.
I am not owed the world, I am simply rebuilding myself
From pieces I’m still finding
Abandoned on the floor.
Like everyone, my pages are filled
With my own story.
It is me inside this skin.
Read my story or don’t,
But don’t assume to know it.
Each of us, no matter how famous or forgotten, is our own story
Inside our own brain, creased with private memories, private thoughts
A private us that no picture shows, that no private investigator could uncover.
Like it or not, indifferent or not,
You are peripheral to everyone,  
No matter how much you are loved,  
No matter how many times we desperately try to fuck ourselves into oneness
      with someone else or multitudes of others.
No matter how many times we yell at each other
      or confide in each other’s ear,
Each of us indeed enters and exits life’s stage alone.
Don’t pretend you haven’t done your own strutting upon it.
As I have, as we all have.
Like homage to the absurd spaghetti god
The holy stain from the holy sauce
Was always there as a reminder that I was humbly bowed before you.
My china broken. My youth broken. My world broken.
Next to the stain, the hole from a knife blade
            that took any pretense away. 
“Leave and you die,” you yelled over and over, and I knew it to be true.
Only a woman
Only a wife
Only a mother
Only a mistress and maid.
Only a “slit bottom”.
No matter how many “A”s I could make
(“It’s not real life”)
Or chess games I could win
(“It’s just a board game”)
No matter how well I played Rachmaninoff
(“What good is music”)
No matter how many years
I could calmly sit at a board meeting
Full of purpose and aplomb;
The promoted woman 
In a room of tailored suits,
The way their ties reminded them they were civilized men
My skirt reminding me of my husband’s taunts.
I would never be more than his
Never enough in this world designed, made, and run by men,
“Only a slit bottom bitch”
Too much the hot house plant to plow the fields
As his mother had
Too everything
And always nothing.
But an object of twisted love
And the protector of the children.
I meant to leave, I meant to leave!
(“You better hide under a dark rock.
 I’ll find you and take the children.
                        You’ll never see them again.”)
There are no more lies to tell myself
It was not alright to be the whore and the slave
‘till death do us part and the children are grown enough
            to tell their Daddy no,
                                    and not to listen to his lies.
The antithesis of self-absorption.
Nothing so grandiose as a martyred lamb
Or even a damsel in distress.
Just a simple doormat. A slave and nothing more.
I’ll fly a freak flag if it’s really necessary,
But I’m one of countless writers, artists and musicians.
We all know ourselves to be different
We all know the pain
And I’m not in hiding anymore.
I’m in semi-isolated peace and contentment.
I’m retired from the fight. Not necessarily a whole remade self,
But not suffering narcissism, not clueless.
Perhaps too clued. Trying to regain enough self.
Angry that I let myself become what I am:
What’s left of someone who was a good person.
The backbone of my ancestors calls out encouragement.
And I listen to every sound from the mountain.
I’m a great believer in sound.
I watch every change of season, every fallen leaf.
I applaud successes. I cry at the pain. I meditate. I wish
     to find some humbleness left behind your wise wall.
I write, I bleed, I breathe, I care, and I love.
The mirror doesn’t lie.
If I’ve learned nothing else in my life
I’ve learned you can never know the life of someone else
       By what you see, or hear, or read.
             Believe it, there are well hidden stories
Behind the most public and most private lives.
It’s not for me to question yours.
It’s not for anyone to assume they know mine.


© 2009 C. Harter Amos

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Shades of Blue

September 28, 2008 at 8:13 am (Poetry) (, )

With my ragged grief alive,
In Burton blue moonlight,
I fall,
Sullen and wounded
Beneath your weight,
And weep inside silently,
Interested not at all in your soul
     or mine.

A picture forms behind my eyes,
Pulled from tedious rusted mind full of memories.

          Vanilla candles burn
               dripping white rivulets
                    onto cold, mauve veined marble.
          The sky flies by our white gauze curtains
               in gentle shades of blue,
                    And I smile at the memory of you.

Today the sky is gray.
In the stunted sunlight
You are a wild and wonderful beast
Standing beneath the storm
In a pool of lust too strong to curb or deny.

You are a silhouette of power
With shimmering lion’s aura,
Encircling blonde mane
All disheveled,
Male and proud.
Your Martin filled with shades of blue.

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Warmth in Winter

February 10, 2008 at 2:52 am (Poetry) (, , )

Crocus in Snow

Lay a blanket down and settle against the hill

To take in the blueness of the sky

Open a bottle of wine to celebrate

The fresh scent of pine on the air

Cool and soothing against the cheek

Like the memory of a kiss.

The whisper of a pleasant breeze in the trees is interrupted…

In the distance that lonely freight train from nowhere

passes slowly on its way to anywhere else.

Mournfully calling out, it exists inside a Johnny Cash song,

And knows full well you won’t follow along this time.

Anywhere else is a dream of swirling snow

Where overstuffed coats are pulled tight against near-frozen bodies.

Nowhere is a place you’ve been with tears in your eyes

Tears you shouldn’t be willing to shed

When they turn to droplets of cruel ice on tender skin.

You should smile at the warmth instead

Put your faith in the here and now

Throw rocks in the stream

Touch the warm golden light from the evening sun

And dance with the pleasure of life.

How lush life can be,

How calm it is

Where the green grass beckons

And flowers bloom against the odds

in mid-winter.

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