CATHERINE COUNDJERIS - POEMS
A former elementary school teacher, Catherine has also taught writing at Emerson College and ESL writing at Urban College in Boston. Currently she is living with her family in Frederick and she is working on a YA novel. Catherine volunteers as an ESL Coordinator with the Literacy Council of Frederick County and she is very passionate about adult literacy. Catherine shares poetry with her students in her classes, revealing to them that reading poetry is a great key to attaining literacy.
Morning sun glittered and glowed hot and bright.
The day we parted was the end of summer.
Your surface was like a sparkling-diamond light.
I wanted one more swim; you’re such a tempter.
I drank iced-coffee on the driftwood porch
Combed seaweed from my hair and laughed to see
A ghost crab skitter by a used up tiki torch
Its smell mingled with the scent of the sea.
Your constant murmurs lulled me to sleep.
Through a hard winter I longed to see your face.
Your gentle gray eyes with a kiss from the deep.
Seagulls sent me your message: the waves will erase
Your name on my beaches. I picked up your shells
I nestled into your sand, tastes, sounds and smells.
The castles I built in the light long ago.
Are tiny grains of glass at the bottom of your heart.
I frolicked in the serf at night and risked your undertow.
A dark shadow through your big waves did swim and dart.
I watched the stars come out one by one upon your shore.
I listened to your music and danced upon the land.
Your lover’s voice did carry and set for me a lure.
To lie with you at midnight upon the cooling sand.
I ate shrimp for dinner every day there
And at dusk I drank sweet, sweet red wine.
Your plenty was so generous delicious your fare.
I was rich and free there I had nothing but time.
I long to return to your tender arms now
And spend long hours refreshed in your golden dayglow.
Cats are religious
Cats are religious
They put the cat in catholic
Cause they’re Universalists.
The purr in terrific
The mystery in hieroglyphics
They worship windows
Prostrate themselves in sunbeams
Especially the black and white variety.
They tuck paws under chin
In a most habitual way.
They count their beads
And play the cello all throughout the day.
Their caterwauling a chorus
Of adoration to the moon goddess.
They are the holy ones among us,
Playing with dignity chasing all that is
And nothing at all.
Their lives a history
Of what we don’t know.
Evening vespers by the fireplace
A litany of sounds and tastes
Detected by the pious twitch of a whisker
The beauty of form; the astounding dolor
In the solar orbit of their neon eyes.
Dedicated time spent contemplating
What we cannot comprehend.
Some cats are the irreligious ones
Among us, too,
Looking at life askew,
Sharpening their claws
Upon the pew of our poor furnishings,
Refusing to wear a collar,
Exposing their back molars
In open derision,
Sporting for a collision
Between thee and thou,
And only they know the difference.
Islets of Gloom
Pinpricks in the skin of our days
Prickles at the backs of our necks
Raise the hair on our arms
Tell us that all is not well.
Bones matter and they throb
In sympathy with the rain
Spreading a general malaise
Over everything we touch
Settling in around us
Like a heavy mist on
An Autumn day,
Depriving us of light
When it is fading fast
In the horizon.
Waiting for something to happen
A phone to call
A conversation that will begin it all.
Phone out of minutes
Little islets of gloom
Form in muddy puddles
As you race for the train
Your ghostly image
Splattered by the closing doors
You will miss the interview
That could have changed everything.
The Blues Singer
*Janice Joplin at a small concert replayed on TV one cold night on March 1, 2016.
I didn’t write the words
I made them up,
The blues singer insisted
With serious mischief
In her dancing eyes.
Sparkling rings on her fingers,
Pink and blue feathers in her hair.
She could easily have said,
I didn’t sing the songs
I lived them or
I didn’t make the moves
They moved me.
Transforming the stage
Into a town
Art into a folk
Music into food
Fire into spirit
Words into life.
A hummingbird of beauty hovered there
Right above the azalea flowers.
I held my breath and stood quite still
Afraid if I moved it would fly away.
But it stayed and flitted from bloom to bloom
I crept closer caught up in its magic.
Yet it didn’t heed my looming form.
Inch by inch foot by foot I moved,
Mesmerized by its clear wings,
I was confounded something was not right.
I was too near the elusive creature.
This was an imposter!
A sham yet hanging out carefree,
Humming above the tangle of blossoms.
Yet I saw antennae upon its head.
I came ever closer at a better angle.
It was just a moth--a hawk among moths--
A veritable sphinx, but only a mimic!
A mere insect this creature fooled me
And other birds, I would guess.
Then I smiled at the pure genius.
Just as pleased as if I’d seen
A hummer and not a humble chewer of cloth.
But it didn’t know of Nature’s ruse.
It just evolved that way and delighted in the day.
Nectar, sun, and summer’s gentle breezes…