Sunday, May 25, 2008

Early Riser


When I sit in my room
of many windows
especially at early morn
gratefulness fills me.
As the sun pokes through
the trees, there are
silken strings
hanging, shimmering
fine threads of the Master
who was weaving
while I slept.

I wonder
on this particular sunrise
as I watch them sway
caught in passing
by a trembled breeze . . .
how light of sun
can play upon them
fragile chords of morning song,
silent beads of glistening dew
ascending . . . descending
stretched across each silver filament
coloring hints of rainbow . . .

visible only in this brief encounter
spared with grace for early risers.

Joanne Cucinello 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Father of My Heart

father child
Father of My Heart

You visit me in dreams
sometimes . . . silent always . . .
often in disguise,
my father, who was seldom silent
has no tongue to speak now
in that world of spirits.

The passing years
attempting to erase
the sound of your voice
the way you spoke my name
. . . that smile
the one I memorized
that kept you just for me
. . . my father.

Death came for you
swift and unexpected
on that rainy night
in a drunken car that raced
to claim you for its own.

We who loved you still
were set to cheer
and celebrate your life
of eighty years . . .
in just a few short days
but that was not to be
. . .was it?

Instead we gathered,
the five of us, around your
wooden overcoat
to cry and weep remembering
how in childhood
we made you promise
not to die.

You would have danced with me
that night and with my sisters
the way you always did
when the old songs played
those limber feet
across the floor with ease
shaming men much younger
but that was not to be
. . . was it?.
No, sweet Father . . .
that delight was saved for heaven.

Daddy . . . was your name,
since that first day I could utter it
and crawl upon your lap
since the first day you looked into my eyes
with your great soft love.
Daddy . . . you were always mine.

I remember how you walked inside my life
carrying me on your shoulders
so many times
telling me how I was always wanted
always loved . . .
coming to my rescue
through all those teenage fears and blunders.

Daddy . . . you had such a special heart
strange to some who'd scoff
at your devotion
but what would we have done
we five little stars
without your steadfast love
those dark-remembered days
when Mama blew the roof
off of our house
and let the demons in?

Joanne Cucinello 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Far Beyond One Lifetime


Far Beyond One Lifetime

Mother Dearest....I think of you in these nights of silence,
trying to remember your face and your flesh.
I've grown so far from childhood's gaze
and yet . . . the scent of yesterday remains.

You were once the earth beneath my feet,
the comfort of a stroking hand upon my brow,
a woman filled with daydreams and surprise.
I was enchanted by your creativity,
that spark of life so vibrant in your eyes.

Too young to recognize the pain,
it sprang upon me in a moment.
There was your life.....ebbing away unnoticed,
but I couldn't hear the melody.
The songs you used to sing had all come true.

You were darkness and light those days.
The way my fingers flicked a switch
is how you passed from day to night
with just a song....a melody or two,
that stirred some old familiar longing.

I have traced your face so many times,
with searching fingertips,
the face that once I knew as well as mine.
But your voice is lost in yesterday,
like the rumble of a subway train I used to ride.

I strain to listen now in dim recall,
yet there are only silent picture frames
that speak to me in muted words,
a painted bubble here and there,
that rises in my mind to call me ...Child.

Will I take you to my grave, as you have taken me to yours?
Mother.....the cord that binds us holds me fast
and tries my soul, stretching far beyond one lifetime.

And after all these years have blown
their changing winds upon my soul
it stays so poignant still....
the memory of your warm skin close to me,
my Mother....and the shadow of your arms.

Joanne Cucinello 1997

Thursday, May 15, 2008



There is a place
within the human heart
where Spirit spins its woven net
to house the precious Soul.
The journey to this place
may take a lifetime . . .
for it is not an easy one.

Roadblocks and detours:
Suffering and Humility
wind their way along the path to
Wisdom's door.
Pride and Arrogance
undermine the human journey
. . . yet sweet Compassion
holds the key.

When we arrive at that opened door
all doubt will fall away
our truth illuminated
and at rest
in that house of Communion
where body and soul are one.

Joanne Cucinello ©2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Once Upon A Time On Mulberry Street

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Once Upon a Time On Mulberry Street

He was a bitter man
even of children.
He came from Italy
a ship stow-away
who earned the keep
for his family
pushing fruit in a cart
down Mulberry Street.
“Niza ripa peach e banana
Two poundza pa quarta”
Typhoid and dysentery
took his little son
and wife when the
coal was scarce
in the winter of 1914 . . .
On the streets
of Lower Manhattan
he screamed for mercy
almost lost his mind.
Nothing was good anymore.
There was no God
on the East Side
and every day
that river called to him
promising peace.
Five more winters passed
before he met Maria
and that was the first day
he saw the sun.
Can you imagine it?
He saw the sun!
How long does sorrow
keep the heart imprisoned
and the mind sealed shut
without due consolation?
And when is it elected
that the heavens should open up again
and pour forth
sweet healing balm
in the form of another soul?
This was Maria
brown-eyed beauty with hands of silk
and bosom full and tender
She came to draw the curtains back
and let the sunshine in
to touch the walls with laughter
to fill his bed with long lost love
and to give him back his heart.
Years passed
and on that day he died
a house on Mulberry Street
began to cry
and all who knew him
in his blossomed life
stood in the small stairway
filled with flowers
singing songs with Maria . . .
songs of a man they’d come to love.

Joanne Cucinello 2007

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