Sunday, December 4, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Thirty

O flame that circles me—O wisdom’s light,
seeking the way through my utter darkness,
hurtling from the outside through the starkness
to the inside of my heart, a dark night
of the soul cannot distance purer thee—
for I would write in ink your mind untold,
and fashion you as from clay to the world,
until the blind could endless, boundless see.
Through obsession I would find my novice;
she would be of one love and one desire,
lone in a convent cell she would retire.
She is blessed olive without one vice,
of a still-chaste, and contemplative place;
now humans could not boast to see this face.

Emily Isaacson

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Twenty-Nine

If I have loved you in a thousand ways
I have lit a thousand candles for you,
I have made a fire and cooked a beef stew.
My heart is sincere, my mind never strays:
I would but give a thousand gifts that morn,
if my life held you in one thousand wings,
if I gave away a half-dozen things,
my sentimental songs you would not scorn.
One thousand carollers stood at your door,
there was no unserved guest, no unmet need,
before your home of hospitality,
and each one ringing louder than before.
I’ll laugh again before my life is through,
because you have loved me and I’ve loved you.

Emily Isaacson

Friday, December 2, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Twenty-Eight

Now to my end I come in stately black,
for I am but a prisoner of this earth,
I can’t escape its clutches or its wrath,
nor any of its loves, nor laughs, nor births.
I bear the lovely France a final fleur,
I witness of this hour before the flame,
for all my visions have been of one cœur—
I cry to God, unyielding of his name.
Do not my hands untie, lest I recant—
for I am but a bird that cannot fly.
Do not relent, for I shall not repent;
my sweetest fame is written now on high.
You look upon my pure and martyred face,
that in the flame of love has found its grace.

Emily Isaacson

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Twenty-Seven

There are black figs that grow from thistle’s brier,
pears ripen from ev’ry Calvary’s thorn,
there is a land called heav’n—it is the morn—
and it descends on us within our mire.
My pristine view could spy its pearlesque gate,
from place of inky darkness I would look
from page to page inside an aging book,
the twelve tall oaken wall clocks growing late.
We don’t aspire as children to be short,
nor looked upon with unrealistic eyes,
nor told our Saviour bleeds for us and cries,
not when the adults do console with port.
I thought I’d leave some burgundy for you,
or seltzer water with a lime ice cube. 

Emily Isaacson

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Twenty-Six

When you are near to the tiny new babe,
extravagant love in coming to earth,
the incarnation of his virgin birth,
the light of the gospel that will not fade . . .
There is a reason for his kindness
to us, the season of rejoicing tells
of gifts from the Magi, frankincense smells
of beauty, myrrh restores our innocence.
Gold is the enduring royalty now,
an immediacy with God’s future—
our lives are now restored to us, sutured,
and sin is no longer the altar bowed.
To the underworld, death! For Christ is born—
if he should then die with bright crown of thorns.

Emily Isaacson

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Twenty-Five

Beside the red warmth of your roaring hearth,
I draw myself up to your friends’ circle
and the firelight dims to blue and purple,
the flickering stories revealed your mirth.
On the avenue of constellations
I walk upon the stars on the pavement,
everyone has a name in the cement,
their gold street of stellar revelations.
There is a home in your soul of contrasts:
I find a virtue in your caverns dark
that shines, a vein of gold within a lark,
some streak of light made you lonely grasses,
where the wild birds would swoop and make their nests
here the poorest peasants make their homes best.

Emily Isasacson

Monday, November 28, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Twenty-Four

When you retreat alone into the wood,
you are familiar with places forlorn,
you bow your silver horn, a unicorn,
and the poetic verse is now your food.
Look into the bright spiritual domain,
and see if heaven’s walls are high and close,
see if the door is open thee or closed,
look to the tower, the castle maintained
an archer, with a rainbow, sky to sky,
seek in thine arsenal the armour shined
for all of sixty years—thou art still mine,
beneath all sorrows that the poor would spy,
for we are never cruel nor cold, betrothed,
our hearts glow with our kindness and our love.

Emily Isaacson

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Twenty-Three

If I am set in my maturing ways,
I may be now an octave not a note,
lest drawing years now catch me by the throat,
and victimless the world would seldom stay,
held dear, a crime of passionless embrace.
The echoes of the weapon on my neck,
the tumbling fingers keeping me in check,
the slant upon my skin of scar’s necklace.
I would be still a frightened Northern star,
now gleaming through each variegated tree,
aurora borealis glowed briefly
if I was to imagine life unmarred.
You sent me sterling, my lover was new,
I was to sail in a cedar canoe.

Emily Isaacson

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Twenty-Two

Many red apples of your orchard grow,
each rust variety I could desire,
eaten fresh or roasted over the fire,
glow in deep burgundy, magenta, rose.
You harvest the supernatural book
to feed a town not far from the river,
from the King James’ version, reading scripture—
an Abbott was once fording the clear brook.
They sold your ripe fruit at the marketplace,
McIntosh, Spartans, piled high in wood bins—
you were a ruffian who’s forgiven,
you offered help to the lady with lace,
she crocheted doilies for your table,
where the fruit bowl would sit and be stable.
Emily Isaacson

Friday, November 25, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Twenty-One

Go catch a mouse in your medieval life,
for Persian cats these days have not changed tin
to bronze; I would that you go out, yet in
you come, no alchemist of human strife.
You chased a dandelion’s last feather,
and watched the drooping rose lay down its head,
you curled up in a cozy basket bed,
your down was damp from terrible weather.
What’ere I wish, it likely will not be,
and I could cross my fingers, hope to spy,
while serving chlorophyll in salmon pie,
around a cat as difficult as me.
With luck, she never actually offends,
she utters loud meows with no pretense.

Emily Isaacson

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Twenty

Your last word in this pallid hospice realm
was miniscule as round millet is small,
impossible to catch beyond the hall,
yet indicative of golden ship’s helm,
voyage looming onward into heaven,
far beyond this one sombre meaning filled
room, fragrant with flowers on the white sill,
from each child beneath your heart, all seven.
In righteous clothing you are finely dressed,
there was a call to you once with meaning,
past the world’s inebriated dreaming;
what word of praise to give the very blessed?
The last moment with you I saw a door
you opened to the sick, the homeless, poor.

Emily Isaacson

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Nineteen

The clock chimes eight, and through the window pane,
the light so dim, my dear, at evening's end,
and purposefully twilight bows its head;
it never poured anointing on the lane,
but walking to this antique house you came,
with walking stick beside you striking stone,
and rivulets of water ran alone,
across the cobbled pathway just the same.
You saw me through an uncorrupted lens,
I was an age-old book you'd read before,
from the glass teapot, wintermint was poured,
we spoke in lowered tones at time's expense,
before the cherished crystal breaks and cries,
a boreal reflection of the skies.

Emily Isaacson

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Eighteen

I am an agent blind of all sadness,
I am deaf of mournful mysteries! Still
of misery made from a cup of chilled
white wineone dime, recalled work in darkness.
Soul, I cannot tell. I am urged to run
by impetuous breath and false decree;
I fall and fall in swift descent to thee.
I am at the bottom of a well, done,
better if I pull myself up by my
bootstraps and go down to the potter's brown
stone house. If sometimes, I dare turn and frown,
it is that I have never met the sky:
pots and works of clay that were amber red.
Potter with so much coloured glaze, my head!

Emily Isaacson

Monday, November 21, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Seventeen: A Handful of Blackberries

The last of light has faded with the night,
and shadows disappear into the dark,
the sun is now forgotten like last lark,
and rounded moon is captive to its light.
Walking with a handful of blackberries,
I'm nestled deep inside my guarded stance,
I'm made of stone, unblinking in a trance,
I wrestled with the thorn bush then tarried.
My artisan bread contains the berries
and the last cream rose petals from the arch
over the garden's entrance in the park,
there, where my truest friend was once married.
We walked on friendship's path of watermere,
and contemplated future moments dear.

Emily Isaacson

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Sixteen

If you have loved me, I have not complied,
although I dance with you to our first tune,
float by on the canals beneath the moon,
the oar for this gondola you supplied.
The yellow coat I thoughtfully recall,
I hung my reverie on your door hook,
I remembered hungrily every book
you recommend, every word read, the small
bowed tell-tale things I cold not forget:
your leather briefcase, your love of dark 
coffee, Turkish tea that started it all
the contest of wills to see who was met
by strangers in foreign lands and who stayed
home. But we both had degrees of straying.

Emily Isaacson

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Fifteen

When I started at this one quarter note,
perfect order of a five finger scale,
it became something of a killer whale
by Beethoven, a black and white emotive
played for background noise called the Fur Elise.
My classical training at dawn each day
never let me forget my practice way
my gilded lily was a fleur-de-lis.
For I was small and a witness;
you are my father and you put my first
coat on my back before we went to church,
my brief spoken prayers were the crucifix,
beyond religion to the spirituals
lend me your depth, I practice rituals.

Emily Isaacson

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Fourteen

If ever you were mine, don't leave me pearls,
my eyes brim with tears at your advancing 
years, your leopard prints and tango dancing
into the looking glass with whitening curls.
You once were beautiful and sweet,
the men that took your picture held their heads,
they courted with intentions you were wed,
they benefitted you with Purdy's treats
How momentary  is a compliment
unless a woman's character is built,
a castle on the sand is anchored silt
foundation of a home is wet cement.
Oh now, my darling, do not look at me,
for I beautiful, but never seen.

Emily Isaacson

Monday, November 14, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Thirteen

The horses, stirred up, in the darkening France,
went thund'ring down the hill every which way,
I hid in terror from their highland neigh,
behind a trunk, while holding to a branch.
It was magnolias upon the tree,
their fragrance was as gospel to my heart,
rivaling holy scriptures from the start,
the gardener had planted much for me.
Without regret I knew that I was saved
from illiterate end without a book
for I was cloaked in words, ink shod my foot,
without debt, in the black, I calmly stayed.
For writing is divine when free from fear;
reflection's more successful in the mirror.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Twelve

A voice cries out, I dare not turn my head,
the abyss is deep and to its depths I see
it red with flame or blood! Turn away thee,
fatal path, woe to those who want me dead.
I shall not touch the wound that gored so deep,
make not faithful love the duty of a wife,
she is fortunate without their passion's strife.
Incumbents of religion now would weep,
if no one would oppose mental cruelty;
for this has been a battered, silent church,
not one voice uttered not one febrile word,
to encourage some brutal brass fealty.
There is always tomorrow to resolve
the hearts of our dear marriages dissolved.

Emily Isaacson

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Eleven: The Freeman

Now to the world that has put me in chains,
I will laugh again, beyond this oak tree,
for I was once driven too, to be free—
there lies another prison when it rains:
there lies another logic that compels,
when forced to plant a marigold, plant ten,
throw seeds into the ground beyond land’s bend,
my father, in the harvest time it tells
you were on a ladder of broken rungs,
chores burden you when you are ancient now,
with all the winds that have passed through your boughs.
You helped right the fallen trees, roped their trunks
so now they’re back to back in allegiance;
no longer fallen, in a freedom stance.

Emily Isaacson

Friday, November 11, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Ten

Soldier-like, bravest man a rising moon
backs to earththere is a warthey'd open
their eyes, if on their eyes they could depend,
before all loyal sons lie in their tombs.
Hills, look to the hillswho'll join me, not one?
No longer have I a friend to think of,
all my patriot friends are fallen doves.
No one thinks better than of his own son,
a mother's tear would not forget this morn
for here I stand, a lonely soldier last.
Fly from me enemy! Fly from my past!
I have courage for war until I'm torn,
and it is fully time, fly from me then.
Undeceive thyself from my contagion.

Emily Isaacson with Victor Hugo (on Remembrance Day)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Niagara Sonnet Nine

Lovely, my lovely when the night has passed,
I dream, though waking, my tears on your face,
I have lived my lifetime, and now your grace
has wakened me once more to autumn's last:
the leaves all turning as a crimson tide
vacating Dallas Point becomes the fall,
the moments before winter's silent call,
and the last mother stone cathedral's chide,
her bells have rung out in the Sunday morn,
the whitened light through stained glass, glowing peers, 
and falling snow will wait 'till late next year,
'till after the new dairy calves are born.
Fortuitous that I have heard you call,
before the ground is frozen, shadows tall.

Emily Isaacson

Niagara Sonnet Eight

City of flowers, sweet moments at will,
remember me lonely as a kindness,
a sea-sick isle swept with reminiscence,
from starry wood-fenced meadow to the hill.
I played beneath the poplar trees at school,
a delicate child with gold braided hair:
I was your poet, knelt, composing there,
pupil of the largest transcendent pool.
Your children Thetis and Saltspring come by
for tea in a garden of fine incense,
steaming rose hips and the lingering reasons
for conversing with a true butterfly:
sending you their translucent wing letters,
setting your thoughts free from iron fetters.

Emily Isaacson

Niagara Sonnet Seven

When I would give my parting glance to thee,
when I would bid thee my austere goodbye
I give you my respect with lowered eyes
passing by you, I would imagine me
with you, a better heaven than before.
I saw you rise to glory without qualm,
the storms of life had all resolved to calm.
Your aging rage had crashed upon the shore
as you conceded life was not to be
forever and forever of thy breath,
but families continue on into the next
years, and generations rise to thank thee.
When I would pay my last respects, in laud,
we all would give your well deserved applause.

Emily Isaacson

Niagara Sonnet Six

The city bourgeoned by the waterside,
as isle of apple blossom, steady pink,
and winter skated sorrow 'round the rink.
Through former age, in word and deed, now bide,
to resolution, cavalier and bold,
that evil will not fall upon the mild,
and vales of lilies grow 'till they are wild.
We picked fiery bouquets, as we were cold,
and mothers gathered families 'round the vase,
and walkers of the road were doubly blessed,
by nature's bounty, giv'n at their request,
a boy who heard the gilded ringing paused.
For history was reticent and kind
at island's song repeating on the mind.

Emily Isaacson

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Niagara Sonnet Five

There was a light that burned upon the prow,
the figure of a woman in its mast,
in dark, the isle of drudgery was passed,
and ram-rod straight she stood with salted brow.
The moon reflected on her seeing eyes
that looked into the distance with constraint
the figurehead of politics restrained,
she was not fearful of their dreadful lies.
Unyielding at the storm of every task,
she sailed as ship 'Restorer' through each sea,
her silvered hair of wood hailed ocean's lea,
the waterlilies bowed for living last,
forgotten, starboard's view of fading light:
the sun has set, tomorrow will arise.

Emily Isaacson

Niagara Sonnet Four: Ode to Canada

My country was the destination near
of immigrant, traveller, visitors,
and men and women sojourned on our shore
made haste from old dominions rung with tears
They left in boats as Syrian refugees,
the dead of night had hid them, and they rowed,
arriving with their children in the flow
of time, through oceans, poverty's disease.
To freedom!—people called with libertine.
Their hearts were softened to a native land
where people stood together hand in hand.
Their eyes were widened, they began to sing
We are the patriot wanderers home,
in all of us command our hearts aglow!

Emily Isaacson

Niagara Sonnet Three

When I have lived my years, I shall recall
of days when I would not recant my youth,
the hours I walked among the sandy dunes,
observing gulls that flew 'till they were small
upon horizons far 'neath dusty moon.
My mother was the sea, my father, sun
I was the morning light through seaweed dun
that tides had strung the shore we walked so soon.
If anything in childhood I regret,
my life would be too sentimental now,
when auburn frames an alabaster brow,
the names of all my starfish I'd forget.
What word I spoke in child-like melody, 
became the verse that echoed from the sea.

Emily Isaacson

Niagara Sonnet Two

The light shone out a little bleary-eyed,
from every casement window to the night,
it was the little house that glimmered bright,
we walked the lake road to the water's side.
It was the home that we had waited for,
it spoke to  us of hearth and firelight,
the attic rooms kept children within sight,
the plans we had would make us long for more.
Beneath the eaves the memories were dear,
and countless others had this way come by,
with dreams romantic, lovers that would tie
their hearts unto each other, ever near.
We counted every penny with intent,
but came up short, with modest discontent.

Emily Isaacson

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Niagara Sonnet One

Remember me, though friendless now I be,
when through the parting sash I waved so cold,
and when the downpour drenched me growing old,
it was your friendship I desired to see.
Your chestnut hair was like the autumn's end,
then parted as a river from its source,
your red lips spoke in snows like holly boughs
poisonous green, yet comely to defend.
My eyes have now been opened, I was fair
to every friend I valued in the mirror,
my foes live in a realistic fear
I'd intuit my neighbors and their cares.
If only I'd extend my hands in grace,
I'd look upon a multicultural face.

Emily Isaacson