GRAFFITI 5, TWO POEMS: TREE TRUNK THOUGHTS
1. Reading Graffiti
He thought he read it right, graffiti on his path:
Voice, Love, Peace. Then Frogs on the nursery.
How could he have missed the toboggan hillock,
At the road’s fork as the terminal for those words?
Voice love peace, frogs; frog’s peace love voice:
Reading them coming from or going to the park
Is like reading Braille with stone blind eyes. Try
Intoning them like a soloist’s sol-fa sans sound,
A mute contralto, or mimed oxymoron. Meaning
Flies in the face of urgent pleading. Graffiti must
Yell its halloo, to reach out to all those cavorting
On the grass beyond the asphalt, among the trees
On the children’s hill, (the winter’s peace offering
For lovers of slush and snow). Graffiti must punch
The heart of the numb, scare it into beating again.
Quite like a prima volta, it makes a quick return
To the melody lest it be lost in a rude cacophony
Of inadvertent refrains. Voice love and peace,
Not the vulgar croak of a frog plastered for eyes
And ears to sense on despoiled walls or fences.
2. Re-Reading Graffiti (On Trees)
Because he craved a clear picture of the sunset,
An old man’s attempt at a silent prayer, he took
The challenge of the little hill, trudged to its top,
And found the gentle tale-end of what otherwise
Would have been a jarring sequence of useless
Graffito on the ground or up the walls. Eureka!
Four trunks facing the sun bore the last four
Words that started on the street and cross over
To the footpath of the hill that seemed to echo
With children’s laughter. A quartet of trees like
The praetorians on the Hill, basked with unlikely
Planned graffiti: |WILL| |YOU| |MARRY||ME?|
Lend voice to love and peace. Will you marry me?
Was it a lovesick lad’s supplication? Or a fearful
Girl’s who dreaded the broken troth of a sulking
Swain when told he would make a good father?
At sundown, even the glorious bravura of light
Could not distract him from an unfolding story.
Why would lovers dread the prospect of a child?
He asked the trees absently. They were silent.
---Albert B. Casuga
These poems continue the Graffiti Series I started last March. As Poem #22 and Poem #23, they are part of the poem-a-day project to mark National Poetry Month (April).