The Fado Suite
A cry for hope.
Sure, but so little.
Just because a swallow dies, spring does not end.
The soul gets tired.
The fingers take orders from the heart.
We leave our bodies when we sing.
The alchemy of sound and poem,
it’s inside us from birth.
I cannot remember if
there was a candle
on the clothed table
set for one.
I do remember the vinho verde
chilling in a teakwood bucket,
poured solemnly between
sets of fado, smoldering and
tearful singer, wet cheeks lit
by dying candlelight.
Listening to Amalia with the windows
saudade piercing the autumn
My new Portuguese guitar
yearns for me to learn, to teach
old fingers new licks, so I dream
I am wandering the calcadas in Lisbon
inventing my own heteronyms, humming
melodies born under different names.
I greet Fernando Pessoa,
“Bom dia, Senhor. I saw you sitting
outside the Brasileira today but
you were not actually there
nor anywhere else.”
“That is how I prefer it,”
they replied without inflection
then vanished scientifically
in the color-swarm of Chiado hordes…
I awake to Amalia singing
life’s last song,
to the gray-soaked murk and
The music pours through
my opened heart.
My weeping eyes listen
to the distant, wild ocean wind.
(c) Eric Walter 2022
He Heard Wings
The herons had not appeared for quite some time and he wondered if his presence had finally driven them away. He searched the deep sky above the lake, branches of towering firs, rhododendrons in the shade, and the reeds clustered in marshes and coves. All the places he had ever seen them before. Nothing stirred. A mild panic enclosed him. He needed to see them. To assure himself that he had not broken some vital chain. He began to dream of salamanders and small fish. In the flames of his campfire he heard wings.
Eric Walter - from the book "Sounds from the Old Lodge" ©2004
Dust Off the Two Bronze Bells
Somphoun elects not to climb
The 100 steep steps up to Wat Chom Phet
Instead lies down to nap on naked wood.
As I ascend alone, a mangy dog growls
Barks fiercely then turns tail and vanishes
Silent into the somnolent
The temple compound is serene
Void of humans
But a statue appears to breathe
The Earth Goddess Nang Thorani
Wringing water from her bibulous mane
To drown the army of the demon Mara
That would stay the Buddha
From his meditation.
I sweep the verandah with a worn broom
Dust off the two bronze bells
Enter the sim to sit in contemplation
Beneath a lustrous crimson ceiling
Carpentered firmament adorned
With florid stencils in gold
Mice, butterflies, peacocks, and bees
Mythical creatures amid delicate feathers.
In the corner, a shining gong I will never hear.
Late afternoon sun on
The jade sparkling stream
I hear your voice in the riffles, soft currents
Soothing whispers, tender murmurs
And joyful sighs
My own voice trembles to answer
To sing you a song
To speak you a poem
Of deep running love and
The deep grief I bear,
Of devotion never dying
Solid like the mountain, like bedrock
But with words like the clouds
Here then gone
Like you, my angel
My truest love.
Dawn on the river brings
A soft rain, gauzy fog
Geese barking on the sandbar
Wet madrone, color of tobacco
Songbirds muted by mist.
I come from strange dreams
To you, your picture by my bed
Altar of petals, mala, candle
Swath of beautiful fabric gifted
By a loving friend, to honor
Your spirit, your smile the brightest of
Anything in this unfamiliar room
Here by this river with
Its stained-glassy glimmer
Grey clouds and oak leaves weeping.