Whispers of Saigon

by Corbin Wamble

If my beating heart lies within my life

I lull with but an empty cage 

Watching the passing of the winter

Lilacs bloom to bowls of porcelain

And crack upon the snows first kiss

Us creatures of such perennial matter

Lost throughout the cruelest months

Residing, the first of all the muttering songs

When the open shutter sighs a brisk November wind

With the scent of earth flaring the nostrils

The decomposing flesh of Autumn

Tendrils of brown and yellow and red

Blowing like newspapers across the street

The wilted smile of Jack O Lantern

Yellow toothed, lavished hair spotty and gray

To the bed of lilies

At the brick lain foot of the rowhomes 

Where the ashen streets winds on

To crooked fingers that cup the sky

Gray, gloomy, morose canvas

Its tawny bed asleep

Below the legions, trading blows

Toting similar banners of green

The seven pillars

Have heard the songs of Autumn

And come on cool nights across the Delaware

To exhale a dying breath and sway the copper bridge

 

II

And where Augustus laid its head

The heaving breath of lying dogs

Left a dagger and note

And swept a life under a rug

Upon the soles of corduroy rubber

Carried the spine that walked upright

Sauntered up to June and back

And kissed beside July redlights

Swayed in sync with sultry gusts

The musts and do’s and fingertips

Full of promises and whimpers

To decipher fleshen lips 

December wrought the sultry air

To ghosts upon the happy shouts

I thought it first your wild stare

The middleman and teasing mouth

You gave me first six years ago

Your kiss, and then you wished to see

The urgency of humid nights

Come back across Starnbergersee

 

III

I came here on backroads many months ago

The lonesome musketeer toting his quail tipped rapier

When the bare trees gave no shelter, the verdure no relief

The daffodils now grow brightly with the colors of October

In the trenches where the ground was bare with frost

The river voided of noise, its instance only broken

By the course caw of a goose

Who talked of the cold stabbing through his feathers

 

And now the goose has gone

And the heron returned

Its white figure tentatively galloping through the shallows

With the quiet lap of the waves against its underbrush

The child now sifts through silt and sand

He calls loudly to his mother

And dances in the brisk chesapeake

like a log of driftwood

Swaying on the horizon 

Breeding, living, moving water

Home to many

In you I have found life

When comfort sheathed itself beneath snowy peaks

 

 

And now the wind blows, warm and tender

The sour gust is gone, lost in the winter’s mantle

The walls of brush and lumber

Concealing the heavens mirror

To be free from any man that walks, I go

Where the hawk and sparrow dance in the sky

They give chase in ribbons of three

In the direction of the wind

 

Tongue bulbous and bloated

Swollen and beaded with unspoken word

I was an invalid in those days

I knew nothing

 

Yet I find the yellow winged butterfly blending with the hemlock

And beating its wings to the sway of his branch

And along the alleyway of violet posies

And crashing greens of all shapes and shades

They rest easy knowing the wind and the scent of lavender and honey

Will soothe them every summer

 

The bumble bee and dragonfly find their home

Bristling back and forth among the earthen wings

And they touch with others of their kind, at peace

They do not speak for they need not spoken word

Only the spread of their wings and swift movements

Back and forth among the wind

Back and forth between slumber and a myriad of green

Content in their natural excellence, they find no strained lifeforce wrought out in mediocrity

Sheathed in shade below the roaring oak

Its streaks of light parade down like a crashing cymbal

As the call of the robin descends below the canopy

Echoing wind and repeated passages

The melodious symphony names the season

The deer radiates its ears, like a horned owl

It stares at me and I return its tentative watch

There will be no danger in my invasion

But it will leave none to fate

My reverence offers no solace

It trots away peacefully, its cottontail erect in the breeze

 

The stolid oaks and maples look down upon me

I am their ardent stripling, far wiser are they

They encircle my trail

They tell me I am safe beneath their swaddling cloth

The clubmoss showing no resign, it walks

Forward among the greater men

Its brothers offer shelter for the meek

Without charge or debt

The feet of branches walk in silence

The crimson ghost of the cardinal runs quickly across the floor

Flirting effortlessly between two generations

It soothingly haunts the forest

 

Beside the trail a single purple orchid

I am beside him, growing effortlessly

Blooming in the passing glances of sunshine

I walk onwards in isolation, leaving him to stand tall

My fathers and grandfathers surround me and pierce the sky

They call to me from above with broad endearing

They say great heights can be reached in time

For they are sturdy on rough ground

Pressing their legs between rocks and boulders and phistic soil

I stand beside them, linking arms

We grow as one

 

The river smacks its lips beside the shore

Murky, it holds its secrets

And leaves much mystery to be explored

 

The beaver leaves the bones of his exploits

He fashions a spears with his teeth and leaves his work to be admired

I walk towards the dead amongst the living soil

 

My verse flows free and brisk as the river

And shoots up tall among the trees

My friends are honest and humbly alive

 

May the fallen log cross the roaring stream

May the robins cry never cease to stifle combat

May the mossy scabs never cease to cloak the stone bridges and ancient trunks of maple

May the sun meet the highest field of the canopy and be denied entrance

And so the forest may preside over itself

 

Lockhearts, bending fingers gray and black

The aging skin of each wise giant

The frothy bed of the bare breasted trail

Bury me in the amphibian day and cicidian night

Where one breathes, tastes, hears the earth

Vines that hang below and clasp the soil

So I am tethered to the ceaseless war

May I run briskly like the stream

And rest my weary head upon a bed of silt

May I float like a butterfly through the strings of light across the trail

How it glides along the bay like the schooner at first light!

The sky rose and amber, its timber hull like sturdy jasper

 

The crow caws through its coarse throat to put an end to my burrows

And so I greet the blonde wheatgrass of mans end

Elderly hands hold my spirit in the distance

I will run steadfast and return to this place

 

The white tailed swallow hops away at first sight

He will take no chances with a man

Corbin Wamble is a seventeen year old writer from northern Delaware

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July 2019

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