Charlotte’s Retreat Poem

by Robert Lockridge

Like a rock in the desert
Hollowed by the wind
Rain falls
The birds swoop in
And drink their fill
Such giving
Even the gods cannot
Nor the elements contain


by Robert Lockridge

Love is like a blooming bush,
That cannot wait for spring;
Heart stays still in sudden hush
That joy and sorrow bring.
What fills us up must then flow out,
Until the whole world sings;
In grace and fullness twirl about—
And do not wait for spring.

Love is like the searing sun
That marks stark summer’s height;
Heart can hold but only one
And has no other sight.
All other senses drop away,
Or soar in endless flight;
Intent is helpless in its sway—
So only hold its height.

Love is like the morning chill
That rustles leaves in fall;
Foretelling how the winter will
Soon cast a bitter pall
On everything that brightly shone
On summer’s fertile soil;
With no ceremony followed, gone—
So heed the rustling call.

Love is like the bitter cold
That covers winter’s ground;
All that matters bought and sold,
And lost without a sound
Of protest from a hateful earth,
That once we twirled around;
Only seek to find rebirth—
And thaw hard winter’s ground.

For My Son, April 27, 2013

by Robert Lockridge

36 years ago
—Just yesterday—
I looked into his eyes
For the first time.

And when I say in my poems
That the light of a thousand eyes
Sets fire to the universe
That is what I mean.

We named him Keir Hardie
After a man
Who died of a broken heart
when he could not stop a war,
Who would not stand for one msn
Being put above another,
Who wanted freedom and dignity
for everyone.
He has lived up to that.

Someday his strong and gentle arms
Will hold me, helpless,
As once I held him.
And the circle is complete.
360 degrees.
Rivers are rivers.
Mountains are mountains.
No mountains, no rivers.


Looking up,
The sun is bright and warm,
The air is cool.
Tears on cheeks,
Heart breaks and heals itself,
Peace comes.

Bitter Training

by Robert Lockridge

Bitter training
Breeds sweet result.
But maybe not what you seek.
Leave behind the faculties made
To cradle and secure your fantasies.
Watch them flow away
Like water through open fingers.
Watch your mind grasp at fluidity,
Scratch and claw at earth,
Reach to the sky
To contain the wind,
Grip and clutch
White-hot coals
In utter and futile hysteria.
And again
And again.
Do this without relief
Until desperate utility
Rules your aimless passion,
And imploding into your heart
Breaks through the wall of self.
From this no effort survives.
No grasping is possible
No comfort remains.
And absent that blinded toil,
The making mind is shattered
Like a glass goblet
On the stone steps at Diamond Hill,
And the universe fills
With the light of a thousand eyes.
Clear direction comes.
Correct function presents itself.
Action is required.
Sweet result,
Bitter burden.
Maybe not
what I
Am seeking.

Right in front of you

by Robert Lockridge

You already understand.
Right in front of you
Your beard is gray
Your heart is hard.
What can you do?
Is there nothing that just appears?
Eyes ears nose tongue body mind
Blood bone and marrow —
none of these suggest anything?
Walk on the high places
Over the green sea
And look up at the deepness of the roiling sky.
Still nothing comes?
Feel your feet on the earth
And see if you can remember that.
Soon you will see clearly.
As chariot wheels spin bright spray
from the glittering strand,
You will dismount and slap the dripping haunch forward,
Forsaking the engine of despair,
And wander insanely like Yeat’s mad barbarian king
As the light of a thousand eyes
Sets fire to the universe.

The Shallows of the Heart

by Robert Lockridge

Like a graveyard where flickering           shades  of risen phantoms
Are reflected in the polished   tombstones of dead lovers,
In the shallows of the heart swarm schools of silver fishes,
Their shimmering scales reflecting
night’s sinister illuminants
In pale imitation of true light.
Knuckles white against the oars,
A hunched and hooded specter
Plies its worn and rotted keel
Back and forth,
Back and forth,
Across black and furtive lakes,
Stopping to cast a tangled and torn net
And again
And again.
Above is the open sky,
Unobscured clarity and radiance.
Which one is true self?
Looking up,
The sun is bright and warm,
The air is cool.