“On The Feminine As Muse:The Sea, The Sea” and Other Poems, by R. L Boyer

THE HOMELESS MADONNA
1.
I never expected to see Her
standing there at the busy intersection
near the freeway off-ramp. Standing
there like a statue—a homeless
Madonna without Her Child. The
wretched sadness of Her features
etched in pain on Her dirty, tear-stained
face. Her moist, red eyes held the
terror of a child awaiting punishment. But
most of all, it was Her mouth, the way
it turned down sharply at the corner. The
sad mouth of a clown, turned down
sharply at the corner, like the blade of
the Reaper's sickle dripping blood.
2.
She just stood there like a statue, an
artist's model, hardly breathing, gazing
with empty, fear-filled eyes at Her
faceless future—gazing with empty
tear-stained eyes at the long rows of faceless
strangers, sitting comfortably in
warm cars on Friday night, Christmas eve
rush hour, waiting for the traffic
light to change. Gazing with empty, hopeless
eyes at Her fragile, unplanned future as
the chill of winter darkness gathered
quickly, embracing Her like Her
dirty, worn-out, second-hand overcoat,
holding Her with rough arms. Darkness
swallowing the message roughly scrawled
on Her cardboard sign that said: "I'm
Homeless. Please Help. God Bless You!"
3.
I tried not to look too closely. Dialed
up the holiday season rock-n-roll
blasting on my radio as the light
turned green. Rolled up my window as
my car eased past Her; pressed the gas pedal
harder to accelerate my forgetfulness.
That was Christmastime. Three months later and
I still cannot forget Her! O Strange and Homeless
Madonna! Forgive me for the cruelty
of this -- Thy – sorrowful world! I should have
stopped to save Her. Or, at least, to silence
the howling dogs of conscience
cheaply with a little Christian
charity—a sawbuck for a sweet
cake to bribe three-headed Cerberus. Now,
I pay with interest made of heartache,
offering this humble poem. Ransoming
atonement on blood-stained knees.
4.
I never expected to see Her
standing there at the busy intersection
near the freeway off-ramp. Her moist,
red eyes held the terror of a
child awaiting punishment. And
Her mouth—the way it turned down
sharply at the corner, like the blade
of the Reaper's sickle dripping blood.

DYING MONA LISA 

Is it not true/That dreams are often premonitions? 
	—Pedro Calderon de la Barca 

1. 
In a dream she sits before me without moving: a grief-stricken woman in mourning. 
Her head hangs down in sorrow, like a dying Mona Lisa. 

She is adorned in the simple black dress of a widow, dressed for a funeral, most likely her own. 
Her beautiful face is the color of chalk; upon it grows visible the pallor of death. 

"Why am I dying?" she asks. I have no answer. Her sickness is beyond human remedy. I stand 
silently before her and her great sad eyes. 

I watch her dying before me. There is nothing I can do. 

2. 
Nearby, her family gathers together—two men, two women—adults but still childlike. 
Who will take care of them when she is gone? They are indifferent to her suffering, yet 

afraid that she is not with them. She has given them everything, even her soul. 
Her head is bowed down in sorrow, like a dying Mona Lisa. 

As I watch her dying before me, there is nothing I can do. 

3. 
I am drawn outside by the whispering waters. The world is so dazzling and bright! 
Sunlight sparkles everywhere on the glimmering ocean; waves dance upon the undulant sea. 

From the shore, I glance back at her little villa, where the doors and windows are closed. 
Inside she sits dying alone, beneath great palm trees, on the shores of Paradise. 

Her head is bowed low in sorrow, like a dying Mona Lisa. 


THE SEA, THE SEA
            —for Neruda
Listen, don’t you hear the cries of invisible gulls?
—Albert Camus
I.
Daughter of
            The Sea
where my brooding soul was
born, where Time began,
you were mine, Love, before the
stars were born, before
            The Sea
                        The Sea ...
You and I, Love, divided now
by Time, by silence tyrannous,
by wounds. I wander, lost,
between the earth and sky,
my thoughts, tempestuous,
drift like waves in a white
fury of foam where my wild
heart seeks refuge along
forsaken shorelines of
            The Sea
                        The Sea ...
II.
No one (but I) remembers the
bright pink roses on your
dress that day as we walked
hand-in-hand, and kisses fell,
one by one, like the glimmering
waves amid white fury of
foam where now I wander,
lost, between the silence and
pulsating murmur of waves—
and in the eternity of a kiss
and the bright song of
            The Sea
                        The Sea ...
my heart seeks living waters to
make the flowers rise and
bloom again. You and I, Love,
our kisses fell, one by one,
wave by wave, as now my
sadness rises, falls, wave by
wave, as our kisses fell, and
in the breath-like rise and fall
of waves, a beating heart
            The Sea
                        The Sea ...
III.
Wave by wave, in the sad song of
            The Sea
                        The Sea ...
I hear your voice—shape of my
sorrow, mirror of my soul—form
immense, of salt and fire, of blood,
pulsating and bitter, tasting of
tears. I wander, lost, along forsaken
shorelines beneath darkening skies.
The fading light casts long
shadows over silent depths.
  `         The Sea
  ```                   The Sea ...
The shape, immense, of my brooding
love, dying wave by wave—a sad and
lonely voice
            The Sea ...

R L. Boyer is an award-winning poet, fiction author, and screenwriter. His poems have been featured in Depth Insights, Mythic Circle, Poetry Zone, ReVision, and other publications. Boyer is a two-time award recipient of the Jefferson Scholarship and a two-time award winner in Literature from the John E. Profant Foundation for the Arts, including the McGuire Family Award for 1st place in Literature. He is a depth psychologist and current doctoral student in Art and Religion at the Graduate Theological Union and UC Berkeley.

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