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Here you will find the writings of the poet Theodore Waterfield

Gratitude

Thank you, God, for my gift of words.
Thank you, Holy Mother, for your presence.
Thank you from a boy
who failed his first year of school.
Who did not read before he was ten.
Who climbed a tree higher than the sky
and dreamed of falling.
Thank you for trees,
for mountains,
for sails,
for butterflies.
Thank you for kindness.
Dogs that gave me absolute love.
Thank you for water to swim in,
wind to race,
spring saving me from winter.

Thank you for a father
who sang to me and played a guitar.
Thank you for a choir
where I could sing
and listen to words of compassion.
Thank you for the top of a well
where I saw stars
beseeching me to climb from fear.
Thank you for the people
you gave me to cherish,
who love and loved me,
and for the voice
that rushes through my heart
saying, there is more,
there is forever,
a poem by your pillow every night.

House of the World

I am asking the world
to come to my house,
come through its doors,
bring smells,
the pastry of its dust,
the wild scent of its air.
I want my house
to be a corner where a path bends,
where I stop by
the rushing water of faucets
and hear falls.
Where my shirt can be open
and I can breathe
the wind in its rafters.

I want the roof off at night
to see stars melting into light.
I want the walls
to be windows.
I want chasms
where the stairs climb,
and the frost
inside my legs
turns warm with stepping.
I want my house
to be openness,
a home,
where I rise each day
and acknowledge
the family I belong to,
the world.

Rest Awhile

FROM THE “SAVANNAH IDYL” COLLECTION

I rest sometimes.
I’m not old,
I just rest and let the day have itself.
Up north no one stops,
feels the moss,
lets time go by under their fingers.
How does life go on with them?
Whistling past a window.

The South learned its lesson
a long time ago.
When it almost died.
When the dead outnumbered everybody alive.
When it seemed only the children were left
and the town took a nap in the afternoon
to let the mothers grieve.

I suppose then it became a habit to stop,
sit on the stoop,
talk to one another.
Play checkers if it so sufficed,
or just let yourself fill with words,
argue with your Daddy,
remember your Mama,
and watch flowers bloom at your feet.

Something to admire in the afternoon.
To see how the world lives.
How it lets go and becomes pretty.
Gets out of the way.
Lets people go past and say to yourself,
when she was a girl she was a sunflower.
Even on rainy days she shone.
Now she’s a cloud with hair all silver.
I’ll ask her sometime how her brother’s doing,
and maybe
we’ll sit and enjoy Savannah,
like two old tombstones flirting with
each other.

Savannah Squares

FROM THE “SAVANNAH IDYL” COLLECTION

I love our Savannah squares.
It’s like a body with a dozen hearts.
Life comes out of the ground in dancing.
Sometimes I get turned around
when it’s dark.
Where am I?
Let me introduce myself,
and Savannah plays hide and seek.
Like the girl I chased through the squares,
her dress a cloud in the dark.

When the spirit moves me
I walk around a few squares,
each one a person in its own right,
and stop,
I don’t know why.
I just stare off mindful,
like I lost something,
like a child leaning forward
with nothing to hang on to.
Like maybe something will start.

This town never gives up its dreams.
It always has a few
and nothing’s over.
I never met my grandpa but we’re friends.
I just stand and wait
and he asks what I’m up to,
and I tell him what’s going on.
He played with me when I was little.
He was dead but it made no matter.
I was lonely and he just sat down
and told me stories.

My grandma thought I was cute
talking to myself.
But grandpa shook his head and I never told.
So at night,
sometimes during the day,
but mostly at night,
I tour the neighborhood and
Grandpa meets me at a corner,
and we go on happy as kids together.

Mary’s Moon

Mary told me of the great
outback moon.
Gold as distanceless space.
Born above the seawater
of the mist.
September opening its soul,
becalmed as a sail in stillness.
The marriage of summer
and fall,
with its child returning
to the heavens.
It’s a beautiful morning! She exclaimed.
The ethereal opening its eyes.
The cleansing of dreams.
A forte of happiness.
The bonhomie of love
with being alive.

Where Childhood Hides

Gravel streets and railroads,
snaking down to Sandusky Bay.
The rails were a lattice along the water.
It is not plain to me
where the apples were,
or the buckeyes.
Childhood is in the cupboard
behind the spices,
near the dark aromatic wood
of the wall.

It was a small town of churches
and open lots,
houses square as boxes
by vegetable plots,
worn grass, and weeds.
The graveyard was a quarry of stone,
names chiseled on their mastheads,
stacks of newsprint in the attic,
obscure dates and pictures of black
and white.

How many explosions have I heard
in the passing years,
horns and bells?
But none like those I heard there.
There are no bottles for sunlight,
the smell of peonies,
the dry dust of pungent stone,
the passing of people
who resemble no one I see now.

The sound of horns
coming from the freighters
on the bay,
passing like black islands
down the channel,
fish odor by the piers,
and my family before its scattering.
Leaving with promises to return.

The echoes of playmates,
Donald, Robert, Junior
one day saying,
another day saying,
we are moving,
and I knew it was forever,
rain that never returns.
My loneliness dissolved in time,
replaced by other losses,
until for every memory
there are a host of days
I can never recall.

Except like dreams,
when I waken,
and wonder,
what was it I dreamed?
Why do I ache,
so close to tears,
for things lost and gone inside?

Stillborn

The intensity of stone
leaps from David.
What did Michelangelo say to himself?
His throat hoarse with dust.
Was the marble soft as water?
Did he ignore the pain
as David emerged?
Himself a father.
Ironic sex,
until his son stood like a rhapsody,
face as pure as morning.
Without sorrow.
With the patience of everlasting life.

Did Michelangelo come to the hall
to see him?
Did he stand in the shadow
afraid of the whiteness?
The light that came from his creation.
Did he,
before his death
pray for David’s life?
That he walk with the blood of man
inside himself?
That David would call out
for his father?
That he pled,
do not leave me mute and hard!
I see you in the portico.

I heard you whisper to me
when no one listened, that I
come alive!
Speak to me before I die!
Do not let me be a god
who cannot put warmth in his child!
Do not let me be alone
with a silent angel!
I threw my chisel at Moses
when he refused to speak.
Is that what Michelangelo said?
When he turned his face to the wall
and wept for the voice
he could not give him.

Things I Do Not Talk About

My heart jumped
and floundered like a boat
and I said, yes.
Yes to yesterday and my regrets.
Yes to mortality.
Yes to the inconvenience of dying.
Yes to weariness.

And then I asked,
what museum will hold pictures
of our lives?
Display our countries?
Who will look at us
and see our lives in ribbons
and dishes,
playing with children,
waging war,
show the streets we lived on?

And who will note the signatures
of them,
their creators.
And say abstract, classical,
impressionism,
or sad,
someone I could love,
ugliness.
And then
at night when the walls recede
into shadows,
hear them call out
and say to each other,
Yes!

What Is Ours

What travels around in me,
comes out as me.
A door that permits one set of bones,
one size nose,
and hair the color of brown leaves.
In someone else a window
permits one set of eyes
tinged with green,
one great gesture on the sill,
and a leap in the air.

Whatever comes out
determined by doors,
by windows,
by cracks in the wall
where time piled up its stones.
I suspect all of us are exactly the same.
Like drops of water
draining the same ocean.
Falling from the same storm.
Like voices with the same ring
accept for the whistle,
the guitar,
the thorax of the instrument.

Everything inside the same
so much so,
that every man, woman and child
shares the same secret in themselves,
they are the companion of each other.
Which cautions,
that an artist, a sportsman,
dictator or redeemer,
are what was fashioned
by doors and windows,
the cracks inside destiny,
but inside,
is me and you and ours.

No Postbox

I wake up writing things
to myself.
Is there no one I can write to?
No one dear enough
they’d read my words
and love me anyhow?
I have become so involved
with my involvement,
that people have wandered away.
I am not the child they knew.
The man they knew.
The customary, ordinary person
that spoke to them
and shared their thoughts.
I have made different friends,
cats, elephants, birds,
trees that lean patiently in the wind,
but they do not read the written word,
so I have no addresses
to send my postage to,
except pillows I stuff letters in,
and read when I wake up.