Michael Keshigian


As far as mountains go, it’s not very tall
though its winter personality is precariously erratic
and the most difficult to tame.
But during the summer and in my boots,
I climb and climb the various trails
until every foot of its six thousand plus
are behind me and nothing remains
but blue sky, bald summit observatory
and a green beard,
reaching outward all around.
On a clear day, in one complete turn,
I can see the ocean, the concrete peaks
of a city over one hundred miles away,
westward hills humped like camels
against the melting sky,
and northward, another country.
Yet the most striking vision of all
stepped out from a cloud of maples
and padded along the brink,
sure footed and unafraid,
a magnificent cat perusing her property.
Her wide gold face was interrupted
with a white muzzle, intense hazel eyes
and black lips that curled a subtle snarl,
her shoulders vibrated and her tail swayed
as if to sickle the wildflowers.  Moments later
she was gone, leaving me alone
to contemplate her perfection,
a lean and muscular mystery
that belonged to the achievement
that was the mountain,
home to such creatures
whose distinction is nature’s miracle,
randomly revealing themselves
from the waterfalls, forests,
and unencumbered caves of this idyllic green cage.
Crimson fire,
your color deceives,
your company is gracious,
here beneath
your shadowed branches
I lie in comfort,
secluded and shielded,
under the small, twisted clusters
of propagation
which gently tickle away
my slumber
while their red bud clusters
sprout toward the sun,
I embrace your poise
and solemnity,
the calm you evoke,
here by the sleepy pond.
It was between seasons,
after the oven of August humidity
but prior to the departing splendor
of Autumn foliage.
He absorbed the scene
upon the wooden bench ay the lake,
an impressionistic portrait of trees
in rainbow garb,
yellow illumination and clarity
accenting the great Winnipesaukee
and her ice blue disposition
occasionally ruffled by a lick of wind
that forced the water to dig into itself.
It was worth admiring,
its transience and the fickle weather
might dissuade the ambience
for years to come.
He took note of the quiet,
the slow departure of sunlight,
the uncanny glee the lake evoked
since the tourists departed
and the two loons in the cove,
moving freely about
without the intimidation of speedboats.
It was one of those mornings
that made him want to seize the day,
grasp the glory of the conscious moment,
yet while staring for a while longer
at the hilly terrain against the sky,
the lap of shoreline hissing contentment,
he decided to turn back
to the order of his study,
determined instead to capture
this first Monday
in the month of October.

There are so many
of these brilliant birds
that live amid the leaves,
vocalists the entire day through.
We might only suppose
that as we sleep
they ready their morning repertoire
in the dim light
of an obscured moon,
melodies that fill the infant hours
after they flutter
through the air to a higher branch
replete with a thicker layer of leaves
to solo sotto voce
above the whisper of wind.
But these words are not disposed
because such birds seek acknowledgement
for the sweet melodies
they perform unassumingly,
nor are they offered to disclose
habits of these crimson minstrels
upon their own few trees
or how they are reluctant to step forward
though their songs mark reveille
for the sun.
These are words recognizing an ease
they instill upon our psyches,
how each singer
that rustles amid the leaves
reminds us of the perpetual happiness
that exists in simple living.
I looked up
toward the highest of white pines
and saw
barely hidden between branches
and fir,
a keen fowl
dressed in light,
highlighted features
with pristine down
in shades of brown and white
with yellow eyes and beak
that out shone the sun.
It illuminated the treetop
with vigor and pride,
an ecstasy with which
it embraced life,
a testimony to exemplify
the glory of living.
When I coughed,
it acknowledged me,
spreading its huge and opulent wings
as if to delight in my thoughts.
Then it flew,
commanded the sky to clear a path,
empowering me to follow its lead.

Michael Keshigian’s poetry collection, Eagle’s Perch, was recently released by Bellowing Ark Press.  Other published books: WildflowersJazz Face, Warm Summer Memories, Silent Poems, Seeking Solace, Dwindling Knight, Translucent View. Published in numerous national and international journals, he has multiple Pushcart Prize and Best Of The Net nominations. His poetry cycle, Lunar Images, set for Clarinet, Piano, Narrator, was premiered at Del Mar College in Texas. Subsequent performances occurred in Boston and Moleto, Italy. (michaelkeshigian.com)