Thursday, November 9, 2017

On Oaks, Maples, Gold Leaves and Angel Wings

When you travel you try to be in two places at the same time, where you live and where you are a guest. The timelines split and you enter the wonderful country of what if... 

Ujazdowski Park in Warsaw, Maple Tree.

In my recent travels to Poland I spent some days in Warsaw, walking through its wonderful parks, admiring the ancient trees, and then a week in Krakow, where the Old Town is surrounded by Planty - a park built in place of city walls and its moat.

In Warsaw I visited the Orthodox cemetery where my parents are buried. They both loved picking leaves in the park on Sundays in autumn. And the trees around the tombstones are full of birds singing, talking to each other... And the breeze flutters in the treetops... And it is quiet, and tranquil, and all is well...A place of reflection and rest. No wonder Poles especially Polish widows spend so much time in cemeteries!

and here we are
with bouquets of bronze leaves
timeless in sunlight

I spent most of Sunday and Monday  in October wandering around my beloved Warsaw - Pola Mokotowskie (Pilsudski Park) and Park Ujazdowski with the Paderewski Monument, and the Old Town, were the highlights of course....

striped with shadows
gold oak leaves get ready
for winter

I called those leaves "real oak leaves" and my son said, what do you mean, Mom, so California oaks are not real? Not in the same way, to me. Of course beautiful, especially when you see them, dark green and perfectly shaped, outlined against the gold grass... but the colors are reversed in Poland where the grass is always green (or covered with snow) and oaks reach for the glory of the Sun in their majestic golds and bronzes... 

no, we will not go -
said the leaves on one oak tree
in November

my oak leaves
turn sunny gold and bronze 
before first snowfall   

a blur of gold leaves
waits for the chilling wind - 
end of summer

so above as below
gold on the ground,  gold in the sky - 
last days of autumn

all made of gold -
I drink pure sunlight 
at noon

red, bronze and gold 
paint steps into bareness - 
last days of freedom

I witness it all - 
tragedies and joys pass  by  
under my branches

my path of treasures
no time to pick them all - 
an autumn rainbow

do leaves exist for
branches or branches for leaves?
there's no answer

many winters
one war after another -
the one to last

maple bright, maple right
paints the blue sky 
day and night

gold maple leaves  - 
uncounted on twisted branches,
explained by sunlight

Apparently at the end of the 19th century Krakow had such bad climate, it was Poland's capital for tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases, so the City Council made a bold decision, protested by many, including the famous painter Jan Matejko. But history had to give in to health, and the walls were taken out, moats were filled and trees planted, now ancient and surrounding the city with a beautiful green or gold ring. . .

Autumn Wings

A blue-winged pink angel
landed on my desk with a flutter, left one
soft white feather and disappeared
with a smile suspended in mid-air
like the Cheshire Cat.

I’m Alice in Wonderland,
as I wander and wonder,
bewildered by the beauty
of gold leaves under my feet,
mystique of sunrays piercing the fog
patiently filling spaces between 
church towers and ancient 
maple trees receding into silence.

Swish – swish –  the angel’s wings
above me. Swish – swish – 
crumbling leaves mark every step
as I walk through the golden park – 
its beauty unnoticed by passersby
rushing to appointments, parties.
Yet, this glory will sustain us.
This is what is – I stop to breathe in 
the scent of autumn leaves 
and last pale roses faintly disappearing 
into the silence of sleep

marked by the flutter of wings, 
blue wings of my brown-eyed angel.
Shy, demure, he looks down at his feet,
bare toes sticking out under  the pink  robe.
Oh, what delightful noise they would make
when he walked between the massive 
oaks, shrouded by the evening mist

swish – swish – swish  –
now and forever
swish –swish – swish – 

September in Krakow, 2017

And now, that we are in angelic realms, let's read one more angelic poem:

     Just One Secret

      Are you born of untold darkness?
      Are you a child of light?

     When was the last time
     you saw an angel in Hollywood?
     Awesome, majestic,
     dressed in light and ten feet tall?
     With rainbow wings
     perhaps, and a diamond crown?

     This gentle brightness
     is here to guide you
     hover above, guard your back - 
     It casts no shadow so you see
     clearly each turn and pitfall
     on your path.

     This is no faith, no hope,
     just plain knowledge - 
     look all around you,
     open your eyes -

    There is one beside the Superman
    another one above Snow White
    with too much makeup 
    Batman goes hand in hand  
    with his invisible winged twin

    An archangel watches over
    Darth Vader n a tattered cloak
    (in case the light saber is real)
    and a clown cannot shake off
    a flock of putti that giggle
    while pulling on his top hat.

    Cherubs, Seraphim
    with six wings, halos - 
    pure, luminescent
    dazzling and brilliant

    they simply ARE!

There is yet another "angel" poem that I posted here in December 2015 after coming back from Paris, "An Invitation to the Dance" (see It was officially published in the Altadena Poetry Review 2016, and then reprinted in the Poetry and Dance II anthology in 2017.  It will also appear in the new version of Rose Always - A Love Story, where it belongs.

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