Barefoot Poetry

SS Matthews


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Driftwood

A ceaseless current rolls its course as surface oscillations-
archetypes of the human mind, in endless fascination,
seek the swifter water where the elemental flows.

Barnacles bleached and drying cling to underlying form,
all my expectations wash like driftwood to the shore,
tossed to beach and dying in the aftermath of storm-

One more piece of flotsam set adrift from isle to isle,
powers unperturbed propel this raft of dreams I ride.

Overhead a field of blue, a blazing, sullen sky,
erases known horizons,
conjures islands through refraction,
life is liquid in reflection,
on a string of faceless landfalls spread
in giant strides apart.

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A Postcard to Whom I Thought I’d Be

vicky 001

These days shine softly after 50 years of rain-
sweat and blood, long dried into a callous hide,
is a chrysalis shed in this season.

Two bold tikes, two and four,
instruct in re-discovery;
Wet each other’s feet with glee,
as in turn attempting to ‘pee’
down the narrow neck of a crab hole.

Swooping seabirds’ surprise attack
upon poorly protected paper sacks
of crinkle-cut potatoes.

A simple display in grace
by seagulls hung like kites.
In the breeze, with effortless ease,
they flow-

The press of Atlantic tide;
a subtle but genuine force.
No castle built of shell and dream
may long withstand its relentless advance.

How soothing winds
with persistence rearrange
textures in sand, surf
and imagination.

Two small boys and I, their guide,
eagerly share near-perfect balance
on a shifting, ever-changing expanse.

To the North is a backbone of jetty,
away South, a centipede pier;
direction, once was an issue for me, for them-
it matters only that I am here.

SS Matthews 2005

Canaveral Pier


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A Casting Retreat

sunsets 003

I like a rod stiff, sensitive, strong and
This 5 ft. 5 FLW,
Millennium series chrome
Shines like a mackerel in May.

Matched with a silk-smooth, Spider-cast reel,
I can flip a half-ounce half way through heaven-

Where the sun in quiet grace recedes
Beyond this river’s bordering edge
Of sentient soft-wood trees.

Offering this moment
As penance I fling
My weight, with all my might
To a shimmering distance.

SS Matthews 2000


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Home Repairs

They come,
Seeking answers
To scratch paper sketches;
Porches, playrooms
Pantries and problems;
Resultant conundrums of a material world.

Expecting-
High pressure tactics,
Pushy sales person
Running up tickets,
And, of course, technical expertise.

What they don’t expect,
Is a Home Depot holy man.
An orange apron-ed mystic,
Offering solutions to drywall dilemmas.

Who studies the cracks in foundations,
Listens to camouflage
overlying faint cries of despair.

And hears-

How do I build a stairway of sincerity?
Tall as a tower, shining steps rising
Above the crippling contrariness of my life?

What manner of steel is so stain-less,
To weather the corrosion of my debaucheries,
To anchor my heals in righteous construction,
So Heaven someday may be within reach?

What padding can be so resilient,
To keep disappointment from scorching my ass,
Dragged through the coals of work-a-day world?
Flat on my bum, one foot entangled,
Eternally caught in the crux
Of life’s bottom rung?

And

Where do I find the cheapest fix,
To patch this hole in my heart,
Out through which my humanity bleeds?

Welcome to the Depot, he replies.
Mirrors, aisle seven.

Poetry by SS Matthews


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Counting Instants to Eternity

In the time it takes to draw breath,
A butterfly crosses the porch
On its way to a yellow Allemande
Bursting in glory.

A jet hustles anxiously somewhere,
Shedding miles of dun trails
Through inches of sky.

A neighbor’s car makes its way
From drive to drive;
Too fast for children at play,
Too fast to get there today.

Exhale!
And the world spins again-
Ongoing sojourn, rotating cycles in circles
Counting millennia as instants to eternity.

The breath is The Journey undertaken.
In the moment of this vision,
What need have I for destination?

Perhaps my tomorrows number like stars, or
Count few as that single hanging light ‘ore the horizon.
Each I accept as adventure anew.
Each wrought in wonder for my eyes to view.
Each is an instant of life to accrue.
As forever and always they shine!

Poetry and Photography by SS Matthews