Degrees of Light

She squinted, watching circling gulls
Fly overhead; small rhythmic waves
Slapped steadily upon ship hulls.
Brown crabs dashed out from wet sand caves

Evading hungry birds; dried fins
Of fish lay underneath palm trees.
Sleek dolphins laughed with long fixed grins,
Warm west wind stirred, strong humid breeze,

Fierce storms came following; gray rain
Swept down in sheets, obscuring sight,
Then faded, giving way to reign
Of silver stars and blue moon light.

She raised her eyes to see the stars
Embedded in their velvet cloak;
Low full moon’s face was marked with scars,
Mice foraged underneath old oak.

When morning’s dew became a fog,
Small birds’ soft trills spread through the woods;
A fern grew near a rotting log,
An ant ran home with hard-won goods.

The morning’s light began to send
Concealing mist into the air;
She turned to watch the sun ascend,
Soft sunlight filtered through her hair.

 

Years 8/4/2/1

Smoke laughs aloud, its coils begin to snake
As arguments break out about its name.
It sends a shape, death follows in its wake.

2001, mist arrows strike and make
All New York City feel their hate filled claim.
Smoke laughs aloud, its coils begin to snake.

2009, Fort Hood endures heartache
As heated haze sets out to kill and maim.
It sends a shape, death follows in its wake.

2013, Boston shocks awake
As young smog wisps achieve horrific fame.
Smoke laughs aloud, its coils begin to snake.

2015, Paris mourns for sake
Of loved ones twice as vapor war claws came.
It sends a shape, death follows in its wake.

2016 in Orlando, same
Results, soot shooting from a mind aflame;
Smoke laughs aloud, its coils begin to snake,
It sends a shape, death follows in its wake.

 

Charlie resides in Apex, NC and is a salesman for a commercial carpet manufacturer. 

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27 Responses

    • Charlie Bauer

      Dear Mr. Sale,

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my poems.

      Best Wishes,

      Charlie

      Reply
    • Charlie Bauer

      Dear Ms. O’Driscoll,

      I am grateful that you enjoyed Degrees of Light!

      Best Wishes,

      Charlie

      Reply
  1. Lorna Davis

    The images in Degrees of Light take you right into the moment. You can almost hear the lapping of waves. Lovely work, Mr. Bauer.

    Years 8/4/2/1 ties those tragic events together like sprouts from a single sinister root. Chilling. Something about it reminds me of Nostradamus.

    Reply
    • Charlie Bauer

      Dear Ms. Davis,

      Thank you for your comments. Your line “sprouts from a single sinister root” was a nice turn of phrase!

      Best Wishes,

      Charlie

      Reply
  2. .Sally Cook

    .. Both descriptive and disciplined,.this is.accomplished.work!.

    Reply
    • Charlie Bauer

      Dear Ms. Cook,

      From someone who’s work I admire as much as I do yours these are generous words indeed. Thank you.

      Best Wishes,

      Charlie

      Reply
    • Charlie Bauer

      Dear Warren,

      As always you are kind, generous and encouraging to a fault!

      Very Best Regards,

      Charlie

      Reply
  3. Bruce Dale Wise

    I agree with Ms. Davis; there is something in the spondaic tetrameter lines of “Degrees of Light” that is reminiscent of lapping waves. She, of the poem, is certainly not one of the mermaids Prufrock never heard.

    The device of listing years in the villanelle is a nice touch; however, I must agree with Ms. Davis, the poem, through its title, strikes me Nostradamus-like for its numerology. The personification of smoke is also an effective element of the poem.

    I appreciate your remembering the Fort Hood shooting; because I believe that one of our duties as poets is to depict our times—directly or indirectly.

    The sonnet I wrote on that occasion back in 2009, which has none of your lyrical elusiveness, I include only for those who may have had some interest in that event.

    Sonnet: a Muslim Psychiatrist’s Murdered Victims at Fort Hood Remembered

    Michael Cahill, 62;
    John Gaffaney, 56;
    Juanita Warman, 55;
    Libardo Caraveo, 52;
    Russell Seager, 51;
    Justin DeCrow, 32;
    Frederick Greene, 29;
    Amy Krueger, 29;
    Kham Xiong, 23;
    Michael Pearson, 22;
    Jason Hunt, 22;
    Francheska Velez, 21,
    pregnant;
    Aaron Nemelka, 19.

    Reply
    • Charlie Bauer

      Dear Mr. Wise,

      Thank you for your comments and the gift of your poem!

      Best Wishes,

      Charlie

      Reply
  4. Wilbur Dee Case

    I concur with Ms. Cook, “yours is descriptive, disciplined, accomplished work.” I also think Mr. Wise means “spondaic-laden iambic tetrameters.”

    Reply
    • Charlie Bauer

      Dear Mr. Case,

      As in the case with Ms. Cook’s response your words are extremely generous and I am honored. Your work “A Look at T.S. Eliot Looking at Edgar Allan Poe” was very thorough and thought inspiring.

      Best Wishes,

      Charlie

      Reply
  5. Charlie Bauer

    Dear Mr. Case,

    As in the case with Ms. Cook’s response your words are extremely generous and I am honored. Your work “A Look at T.S. Eliot Looking at Edgar Allan Poe” was very thorough and thought inspiring.

    Best Wishes,

    Charlie

    Reply
  6. David Hollywood

    Two very halting poems. Great rhyme and structure and abstract title to Years. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Charlie Bauer

      Dear Mr. Hollywood,

      Thank you for kind words!

      Best Wishes,

      Charlie

      Reply
  7. Sultana

    ‘Degrees of Light’ is a very atmospheric poem. Like the imagery. It has a light, airy feeling, yet it has deeper parts, such as the feelings of the woman, whose thoughts are perhaps mirrored in the scenery around her, like dappled sunlight. The palm and the oak give a sense of contrasting places. I love the line, ‘An ant ran home with hard-won goods’.
    Bon continuation,
    Sultana

    Reply
    • Charlie Bauer

      Dear Ms. Sale,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my poems and for your comments! It would be interesting to see what you (or any other reader) thought of the imagery, the implied thoughts of the woman and their relationship to light.

      Best Wishes,

      Charlie

      Reply
    • Charlie Bauer

      Dear Ms. Sultana,

      Please accept my apologies for not addressing you correctly by your name. I was reading Mr. Sale’s latest entry prior to responding to your comments and, well, operator error…

      Best Wishes,

      Charlie

      Reply
    • Charlie Bauer

      Dear Karissa,

      Thanks for your kindness!

      Very Best Regards,

      Charlie

      Reply
  8. Katie

    Degrees of Light is so descriptive, it paints a picture all its own for the reader and is a real delight to take in. The imagery is so powerful, I can almost here the seagulls squaking! Thank you for sharing this poem that feels both sweet and sad – it’s extremely moving!

    Reply
  9. Charlie Bauer

    Dear Katie,

    Thank you for taking the time to read my poems; I am glad you liked “Degrees of Light” and appreciate your kind words!

    Very Best Regards,

    Charlie

    Reply
  10. Charlie Bauer

    Dear Platinum,

    Thanks for your kind words; I’m glad you enjoyed the poem!

    Best wishes,

    Charlie

    Reply
  11. Rick Allen

    Two great poems and well written and descriptive to awaken the mind. Can’t wait for more Mr. Bauer

    Reply
    • Charlie Bauer

      Dear Ricky,

      You and your kind words are very appreciated!

      Very Best Regards,

      Charlie

      Reply

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