Selected Poems by Candice James

Candice James, Poet Laureate of the City of New Westminster, presented the following poems at the February 24 Gathering of Surrey Muse.

© 2011 Candice James

THE TREE WHISPERER . SHIP OF DREAMS . SHADOW TRACKS . BEYOND THE SHADOW OF THE VEIL . GHOST OF THE GANGES . A BROKEN WIND CHIME . WITH AGELESS FRAGILITY . SHADOW LAND . HOLLOW MAN BURNING . STREETLAMP GLOW . THE DEPTH OF HER FALL . BURYING THE DEAD . CAVING OUT . CRUMBLED TO DUST


THE TREE WHISPERER
Candice James

Mellowed past the point of fascination,
Swaying in a world of exultation,
Leaves fall from trees like crepe paper and wool
In the afterglow of Nature’s soft pull;
Reflections peeking through this gentle shine
On water repast turned into aged wine,
As sparkling Chardonnay flows through the mind
Lights spools and pools and then starts to unwind,
And all the while the tree whisperer listens;
And all the while the lake silently glistens.

Perchance there be an eagle flying by.
Perhaps a teardrop falling from his eye
As Autumn leaves in full state of undress
Lay patient, waiting for fall to confess
That she’s fallen prey to winter’s charms
And seeks the comfort of his arms;
The sky, overcast in modulation;
The pink fading fast in fused libation,

And all the while the lake silently glistens;
And all the while the tree whisperer listens.
..


SHIP OF DREAMS
Candice James

The ship of dreams
Has tattered seams
And my heart doth bewail
The broken mast
Of love’s repast
Shoring up its sail.

And all the live long while
No measure of a smile;
No consolation gleaned from happenstance;
A brief romance,
A passing dance,
In cold fell clutch of circumstance.

The curtain falls
Amongst cat calls.
There’s no one to applaud
The frailty of
Hearts crushed in love
Where passion’s hoof has trod.

Years pass like fog, Wet, waterlogged.
All the days A drifting haze;
Nondescript nights, The dimming of lights.

And later on some golden pond
Your pale ghost may arise
To shine your smile into my eyes
And take my heart beyond
The earthly confines of this life
Away from heartache’s meal of strife
Where we can drift on ship of dreams
Seaworthy with tight seams
And metal that won’t fail;
A mast of sturdy elm
With love’s hand at the helm
Shoring up its everlasting sail.
..


SHADOW TRACKS
Candice James

Like a snow shod seagull,
I was trying
To track your trail running cold;

A frosty flight through the Aurora Borealis.
Then, a quick return
To the sunburned beaches,
Rolling along the ocean.

I lost you,
Somewhere in the Arctic wilderness.
I found you,
Resting in the shadow of the Sun.

Your tracks
Were just beginning to melt.
On a dim moonlit night
I might have missed you,
Completely.
..


BEYOND THE SHADOW OF THE VEIL
Candice James

Beyond the shadow of the veil
Of themes and dreams and schemes,
We walked our roads with grace and ease,
And sailed on stardust seas;
And it was done, and we were one
And we will always be,
Hand in hand beneath the Sun
Together flowing free.

Present, future falling fast,
Into living moments past,
We’ll live inside each other’s breath
Where there’s no never ending death;
Where all roads lead to love,
By grace of God above;
Where your road leads to me,
And mine to you shall be
Tiled in marble ever after,
Silver smiles and golden laughter;
Where mountains beckon us to climb
To the pristine edge of time,
Safe within each other’s hold,
Where dreams cannot be bought or sold.

And we will love each other more
‘Twill be again as ‘twas before;
My heart handcuffed by your kiss
Your heart shackled to my wrist;
No separation will exist,
Love so strong it cannot twist
But strong enough to bend;
My lover and my friend,
From time’s inception to the end,
Beyond the shadow of the veil.
..


GHOST OF THE GANGES
Candice James

Her ghost nestles in nightshades.
The Ganges whispers lullabies.
Up above a shooting star fades.
On the wind an angel sighs.

In sacred silence she wanders
The shores of the Ganges.
Bathed in pearl moon drops,
She shimmers in ghostly essence.
Her spirit has never left these waters.
She drinks of them.
They drink of her
In mutual desire of angelic taste.

Once she walked these timeless shores
Clothed in flesh and bone.
The aroma of those moments
Clings steadfastly to her soul:
Footprints
On the eternal shade of all thought;
Sequins
On the moonbeams of recognition;
She is the Phantom of the Ganges opera.

Entranced in the dust of a star,
We stand mesmerized.
Knowing full well who she is,
We kneel in solemn service
To the gifts she’s left for us.
We dance on rainbow strings
And feathered clouds
Inside her silent symphony.
As her ghost wanders, it scatters
The secrets of eternity
Onto the waters of life.
The Ganges bows down,
Roars.
..


A BROKEN WIND CHIME (Villanelle)
Candice James

A snow cast heart frozen in time,
Unrecognizable, beating no more,
Hanging beside a broken wind chime.

Silent creature in pantomime,
In unfinished symphony, no music, no score,
A snow cast heart frozen in time.

Robbed of its rhythm, robbed of its rhyme,
Locked in steel cage, no window, no door,
Hanging beside a broken wind chime.

Inside this prismatic paradigm,
With teardrops refracting deep in its core,
A snow cast heart frozen in time;

In a bed of dampened dreams and burnt lime,
A remnant of what it was before,
Hanging beside a broken wind chime.

Love leaves behind a most grievous crime.
In the wake of her careless sway,
A snow cast heart frozen in time
Hanging beside a broken wind chime.
..


WITH AGELESS FRAGILITY (Villanelle)
Candice James

Your image, an indelible stain on my mind,
A dark blue portrait of passion and dreams,
With ageless fragility thus designed.

A cipher for love letters undefined,
Buried in pockets of silent screams,
Your image, an indelible stain on my mind.

Always pure, your face never maligned,
Illuminated in pearl moonbeams,
With ageless fragility thus designed.

All broken vows now underlined
As the ink bends, breaks into tears and streams,
Your image, an indelible stain on my mind.

Moving fast forward into rewind
Everything becoming what least it seems,
With ageless fragility thus designed.

Passion’s rule won’t be undermined;
The tip of her pen glistens and gleams;
Your image, an indelible stain on my mind,
With ageless fragility thus designed.
..


SHADOW LAND (sonnet)
Candice James

A chanting whisper from love’s lost and found
Doth beckon me. I’ll chase your ghost tonight.
A haunting memory, I hear the sound
Of voices, shadow dancing with the light.
An aching heart with palpitating beat.,
A fevered spirit, racing pulse in wrist,
Desiring flame and your exceeding heat,
That you and I may rise as one in mist.
A brush, a touch, I swear your ghost is near.
A tender kiss, the taste of whiskey breath,
Then I slide down the hard edge of a tear.
Asleep, awake, I shadow box with death,

Where tarnished dreams and crumpled wishes lie,
Inside the shadow land of your goodbye.
..


HOLLOW MAN BURNING (sonnet)
Candice James

The hard edged rumor of impending death,
Foreshadowing the tragedy at hand;
The heavy muted gasp of bated breath,
Unanswered prayers reign over shadow land.
A paper king trades places with a clown,
An alcoholic drunkard on the town;
A barstool for a throne, smoke for a crown,
And every drink he takes just takes him down.
He can’t escape. He has nowhere to go,
Imprisoned in this nightmare of the dead;
A mad fool ruling kingdoms rapt with woe,
Encapsulated in a web of dread.

A broken man enslaved by dark desire
This hollow man aflame in liquor’s fire.
..


STREETLAMP GLOW (sonnet)
Candice James

Beneath the buttered ball of streetlamp glow
A solitary figure sheds a tear;
And I, a stranger passing by, still know
Her depth of sorrow and her greatest fear.
Sheer madness running rampant fills the air.
It permeates the essence of her core.
But for the grace of God I could stand there
In her same shoes where I have stood before.
We whispered to a wind that didn’t hear.
We begged to be forgiven, taken home.
We called out to a man with deafened ear.
He left us only with a fine tooth comb.

As our tears mingle, rivers start to flow
Beneath the buttered ball of streetlamp glow.
..


THE DEPTH OF HER FALL
Candice James

White time cracked
Building to black
Raindrops unstacked
Clouds come untacked
From weakened sky
In secretive lie
The lure of the lonely
Touching one only
In gossamer nightgown
Without throne or crown
Becoming a satin doll
In the crest of her fall
Barely alive
But she will survive
Atmospheres, alters
Horses, thrown halters
Saddled up for the ride
Through eternal tide
Tears polished to shine
Breath flavoured with wine
Sweet inebriation
Seeking expiation
This deep black chasm
Tick-tocking spasm
Holds court every night
Squeezes the light
Into lost works of art
Paint for her dark heart
Torn dreams on parade
In dull masquerade
Cold wind of the soul
From unblessed hell hole
Chased to the ledge
On precarious edge
Now back to the wall
Soon she will recall
The depth of her fall
..


BURYING THE DEAD
Candice James

The cold gray spear
Plunges through the guts,
Shears toward the heart,
Misses by a country mile;
Intended fatality
Not destroyed,
Only wounded.

What thoughts these be,
Surfacing, clawing
To murder this moment.
Clever, like a crow,
Chasing a worm through a narrowing tunnel;
Devious, like a fox,
Hiding in a hole of unholy thoughts;
Waiting for an unsuspecting heart
To pounce on, devour.

Years of tenderness,
Suddenly knotted in a noose of anger,
Tightening like vice grips,
Trying to obliterate the spirit;
The hilted spear
Begins its journey of withdrawal,
Cutting away the remnants
Of the dead moments
We did not bury.

With blood on our hands,
Fresh;
New;
Old;
Stale;
The time has finally come
To bury the dead.
..


CAVING OUT
Candice James

There was always that single shaft of sunlight.
Where it came from or how it got in
Was always a mystery.
All she had ever known
Was this multi shaded brown sky,
Always there, never ending.
She was born in this cave,
Lived in this cave, but didn’t want to die in this cave.

Today she decided she would become a skyscraper.
She scraped at the brown tapestry
Of rust, beige, and amber that hung overhead;
The colour of an Autumn she’d never seen.
The shaft of sunlight whispered
About the changes above her brown sky;
Changes that never passed before her eyes.

She scraped harder on her overhead skyscape
With a frustrated vengeance.
She began to think she would never be able to scrape past this surface
To the surface of the other side.
She was born to be a cave dweller
But she wanted to be a skyscraper.

She gripped the stone carved chisel tighter
And continued scraping,
Hoping her sky would cave in
That she may cave out.

We are all skyscrapers
Trying to cave out —
Out of prisons we’re trapped in.
..


CRUMBLED TO DUST
Candice James

Hands, now icy cold,
Crumbled to dust,
Once coursing with blood, warmth
And the fire of creativity.

Did this gifted artisan laugh too loudly,
Love too deeply?
Did he don masks to hide his tears
And wear paper smiles in public
Or did he weep openly
And parade his scars for all to see
On a stage of his own making?
Was the stage solid
Or did he build it on weak and shifting sand?
Did he give one too many performances
Or did he leave them aching for an encore?

As he gasped his final breath
Did his hands feign applause
As they lay limply on his chest
Or did he feebly try to wring them in angst?

Registration number 91750,
This piece of fine Coal Port China
Remains locked in life’s prison.
The hands that crafted it have escaped
With the angel of death.

I remain incarcerated,
Eyes fixed on this ornament ,
Very much aware of my hands
Soon to be icy cold,
Crumbled to dust.
..
© 2011 Candice James

View more at:
http://candicejames.shawwebspace.ca/
And…
http://saddlestone.shawwebspace.ca

..

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About Surrey Muse

An interdisciplinary Arts and Literature group that meets Fourth Friday of each month except December. Presents a Guest Author, a Featured Poet, and a Featured Artist/Performer. Discussions. Open Mic. Book Table. Book Signings. Free event. Donations welcome.

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