April 5, 2017

Two Poems by Kevin Doherty: "AFTER THE RAIN" and "ON FINALITY"

Kevin Doherty is a 63-year-old native Californian who lives in Long Beach. He enjoys freelance writing, visual art making and creating autobiographical poetry as a means to process and make meaning of personal experience. He works as a designer and art teacher by day and plays solo pre-war Country Blues on acoustic guitar in small venues on weekends.


January’s gift: misty morning, Monday.
Sidewalks cool and grey,
carry imprints of rusty leaves from maple trees;
ephemeral echoes of yesterdays rain,
a tapestry for my steps alone.

First light says her goodbyes,
yet Venus shines bright and still
and a Falcon heralds dusty shades of crimson waking in the east.
Scented in sage air lingering ,
wooly fleeced forms
carry wispy promises of roses and of oranges .

Houses along the lane ,dark and sleepy,
know not the fleeting wonder of outside moments.
Treetops do.
Their tear laddened branches glistening,
lend music to moistened earth below
and upon the brim of my hat
in tender syncopated song.

At oceans edge now,
a lone seagull chants a dirge to winter.
All along the shingled beach, sands scourged by churning
seas give way to the will of water.

Pipers dart to and fro cheating the surf
while above billowy roses dance
the blues, beckoning the Sun.

A pod of Pelicans
parted per chevron ,
ablaze in starburst orange ;
skirt cresting waves fishing, flashing.
Flashing through the water.
Flashing through the water.


For a time his hand, new, small, fragile
Fit entirely into the softness of her palm.

Through fast fleeting years
Along sometime seashores
Down noisy city streets,
Up fragrant mountain paths
Or along quiet sidewalks of the neighborhood,

Hand in hand.

On the playground,
First day of Kindergarten .
At the doctor’s office when needles pricked.
After First Holy Communion,
When bees stung or dogs bit.

She offered her hand

Yes, she had loved,
And Cared,
And tended him as rains awaken seeds
That bloom under the warm springtime sun.

In a small room darkly,
By her bedside he sits:
Her pale-sheeted silhouette,
A screen onto which
Memories play like a silent film.

Within his soft palm
Her small hand rests:
Frail, wrinkled, aged.
Gifts given, slowly taken away
One by one,
Drawn back into the ether
From whence they came.

And he too had
And kept her safe.

Her face, a portrait of finality
Mirrored all the fleeting years reduced to
Final moments both gathered and spent
On a beguiling stage called time.
He whispered to her:
Mother…Mother… Mother.


I am
Save one hand in his,
Oh so cold.
I lie still, feeling I stand.
I sleep awake, eyes wide dreaming.
Betwixt and between.
Betwixt and between.

Yes, I played.
I went to school
Became a teacher
Joined the Navy
We met, we married
Made children
Laughed and cried
Over mountains high
And valleys low,
We broke bread.

Look at us now,
He and I: Newlyweds!
We walk in song,
Hand in hand ,
Along oceans,
Through fragrant fields,
And lazy meadows
Where murmuring streams
Laugh as they pass,
Falling to the sea,
Rising again as fog
Out of the greyness of which
Bathed in starlight
Like a Holy apparition
My sister Mary
A child in lace
Garland sparkling
Long hair flowing
Blue eyes beaming
Hand a waving
She beckons to me.
Ever so slowly
She beckons to me.

And I call to her from afar:

© Kevin Doherty

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