Friday, 26 July 2019


by Kathy Duby

The open door admits a ribbon,
only a ribbon, of sunlight
to warm me as I paint.
Massive, scarred, and ancient,
built for a castle, not a home,
rough-hewn planks
held together with wooden pegs,
diagonal braces, not nails or glue,
the door bears wrought-iron hinges,
hardware featuring sculptural ornamentation.
Outside the door
the chest-high stump of a tree,
felled by lightning a century ago,
guards the doorway,
living remnant of the mighty oak,
which once towered
over my dwelling.
In the late afternoon sunlight
the trunk is gray like an elephant
wrinkled and pock-marked,
but on full moon nights
the trunk glows silver,
beacon to strangers
and friends alike,
who wander the road nearby.
Beyond the tree-trunk sentinel
three hills rise
one behind the other
like oncoming waves
rolling across the sea.
I long to climb those hills
ride those waves
but cannot know such freedom.
I paint all the hours
I am awake,
using all the dayligh
to see the shadings,
gradations and hue
of the only colors available.
When I grow tired
I sit on the stone floor.
Outside, the sky is glowing red
sunset approaches,
deep red rays seep down
over the distant  hills.
The flaming sun
touches the summit
then melts slowly down
behind the farthest hill.
Darkness comes on fast,
red fading away,
hills going black,
tree stump disappearing.
I lie on the floor now,
growing cold.
It is all illusion,
the door, the hills,
the sun, the tree,
a mere mural
painted on the wall
of my padded room
with my only colors -
excrement, then blood.

* * * * *

Kathy Duby lives in northern California and is about to turn 75. She has been writing poetry for over 60 years. Her poems spring from the heart, or from voices in the head, or from the gut. Those from her heart are lyrical, those from her voices arrive fully formed, narrated by the inner voice, those from her gut address the harsh topics of incest and child abuse. Poetry is her favored form of expression. Others include collage art, altered books, humor, and fiction.