Elmarco' s Web . . .


This is a poem I wrote while paricipating in a group called "Writer's Roundtable" during my years at Iowa State University. The faculty advisor for the group was Dr. Pearl Hogrefe. The poem was published in the March 1955 issue of Sketch, a "Magazine of Student Creative Writing."

Warm Valley

In the middle,
the end is endless:
Beginnings are obscure, forgotten.

        *  *  *

I was alone;
and did not know it.
Life was barren, unfulfilled and empty,
saturated with doing and going, eating and sleeping:
A surfeit of activity
floating on a hollow drop of nothing.
Day followed day in an unending procession --
       happy, carefree, laughing days,
       bitter, fruitless, aching days --
all the same.
Waiting, waiting;
searching, searching, for an unknownn goal:
Hidden truth and beauty.

How long I waited I do not know;
I only know I have waited all ny life --
an eternity of meaningless minutes and hours --
waiting for you, Warm Valley.

And when I found you, when I found you --
green and verdant, ripe and fruitful --
the sun rose shining pink chime bells against pale white clouds;
radience filled my soul;
and music:
Light overstretched all.

We met . . .
       (your face , a gentle silhouette of star,
       shone in pristine beauty).
I heard your name . . .
       (I knew you only as Warm Valley,
       your other name I used but once).
We talked . . .
       (and the warm valley of our love unfolded into being,
       a single, bird-like flame, delicate and fine).
You smiled . . .
       (and eternity's soft fingers rippled and caressed me).
You moved . . .
       (and sea waves crashed and rose against my heart).
Your soft eyes sparkled . . .
       (and my inner sun knew the touch of laughter).

No word was spoken:
But when I left
you rose and walked beside me.

Vibrant body moving,
still sweet form at rest,
laughing eyes and feet
(swans at dusk in pale starlight are you).
And I bask in the warm valley of
your touch, your gaze, your instant nearness;
and night's warm inviting mouth closes down upon us.

Love is your soft, smooth skin, gentlly tanned,
electric to the touch.
It is the softness and silkiness of little brown hairs
on your arm and at the back of your neck.

Love is a passion:
It is my hands on your smooth, sweet flesh,
my lips on your warm wet mouth;
and it is my body pressed against your softness,
drinking up your warmth,
inhaling the warmth of you into my body;
feeling la muerte chiquita,
the little death.

Love is being alone with you:
Just lying beside you,
in silence,
looking up with wide open eyes that see nothing.
But sensing the fragrance and aroma of you,
the clean, sweet smell.

Love is laughing with you when no one has said anything.

Love is you, Warm Vally.
No one else.

(Love is a quick thing.
It is s small thing.
Love is odd.
Love is nothing; and it is everything.
Love is short-lived,
like a flower that buds in the morning,
blooms at mid-day,
withers away and dies at nightfall.
Love is beautiful
like the flower in full bloom.
And it is ugly,
like the withered, twisted and dried-up blossom.
Love is confusing; but it is very good.
Love is a quick thing.)

And secretly one night, our love came into being,
the essence of our truth evolved and grew --
as spring comes (softly, mysteriously)
breathing green life into the earth,
moving forever into here.

Your body becomes the sun and the moon for me
(for you carry -- hidden deep within you --
the distilled image of our eternity);
and I rejoice, and I smile
(fingers of grass twine lovingly
around your golden, sun-drenched form,
which quickens with the pulse of unborn life).

Pre-occupied, morose and sullen,
you carried the tender-sprouted bud within in you.
(Didn't you see, Warm valley,
the wonder,
the glory of our gift?)
So you sat and sighed;
thought and acted . . .
And the quickened untried pulse was dead.

My mind went cold.
Thought-paralyzed,
I lay there,
numbed.
You couldn't.
(Kill what had lived, was good;
destroy our safe warm valley;
despoil our fragile love.)
Unthinkable.
But you did.

Rage quicksilvered through my heart's illusion:
I stood at the funeral of my only reality,
and gave the bitter benediction:
"God dman your soul, Warm Valley.
God damn it."

The anger passes; hurt, hovering like a hawk,
smiles and settles down with sharpened claws,
and the keen edge of intellect
slices swift and sure,
trims the love in bits and partd:
Analyzes the chiseled pieces,
precisely analyzes the bitten-off pieces.

What I loved was gone,
only the desolate loss remains.
I cursed you with your other name:
You were not my Warm Valley.
You were a stranger,
an ugly unpleasant stranger,
whose face recalls only vague impressions
of dislike.

So you left.
And my grief was true,
my mourning earnest,
for my Warm Valley, the Warm Valley that I loved.
And they said:

"Peace, Peace, Peace be with you.
Go far into the western sky,
Wail no more, save your grief.
Quiescence and abstention are alone
In solitude>"

(But the aching face of my mind
denies existence of soul or matter.
Harshness tears my immortality,
strips and shreds all dreams and hopes.)

And only the remembrance of my Warm Valley
stays beside me, warm and fragrant,
as I walk in the fading mists of memory,
in the drizzle of remembered days.

Warm Valley, come back,
touch me once again;
breathe your magic, give your giving,
cover me with your blanket of softness:
Make me whole.

Come back, Warm Valley:
Touch me once again . . .

        *  *  *

In the middle,
the end is endless:
Beginnings are obscure, forgotten.


Visitors since July 3, 2015.
Send an e-mail to the Webmaster -- that's me!