POETRY BY ZORA
THE EARTH, MOUNTAINS, AND TREES
ON DAYS LIKE THIS
On a day like this, I would love to climb, to the loftiest peak of them all
In the Santa Lucia mountains and sit by a waterfall,
Where all I could see as I turned my head, is the blue of the sea and sky,
A wind torn cloud like a tattered sail, on a ship that is passing by,
To gaze till my eyes have had their fill, and to hark to the glorious sound,
Of the singing birds and the rustling trees, where all the way out is down,
I would love to pose for the painting class, and be painted in all my glory,
With the moss green earth for the attic floor, in the worlds high upper story.
To sit at the very top of the world, would give me the greatest bliss,
And that is the thing that I'd love to do, on a glorious day like this.
SEEKING MY LEVEL
I am seeking to find my level, like water that runs in a rill,
And tumbles down in a waterfall, when it comes to the brink of a hill,
I just hope that my level is very high, like water that runs uphill,
And gushes out at the mountaintop, to wander away at will,
Till it finds a long dead crater, and turns to a sea green lake,
Reflecting the sky and the tree tops, and the beauty that snow can make,
But if my level is lower, and I drop like a waterfall,
And madly race down the mountain side, in answer to nature's call,
If I enter a wide deep river, that ends at last in the sea,
I still am seeking my level, whatever that level may be,
For no one can really be happy, if they're not in their proper place,
So that's why I seek my level, why I join in the mad gay race.
AND LET ME BUILD MY HOUSE: PLEASE
Let me build my house, but not too near,
To the side of a well worn highway,
Where the races of men run year by year,
Let me choose a dim old byway.
High up on the crags of a mountain side,
By the side of a mountain stream,
Where the gnarled oaks fling their branches wide,
Where the young fawns lay and dream.
Where the prophets wander on way worn feet,
On many a rocky trail,
Seeking the God they have come to meet,
Let them rest, lest their strength should fail.
Let them eat and drink at mine humble board,
Let them sit with me by my door,
Let me share with them my meager hoard,
Lest they pass my way no more.
Let them speak to me of the things they find,
Of the lessons that they have learned,
Of the kindred spirits with seeking mind,
Of other hearts that have yearned.
THE BLUE BIRD TREE
A blue bird tree,
Where the blue birds swing,
While the wind blows free,
And it's always spring.
Where the spring flowers bloom,
In bright array,
And there's always room,
For the kids to play.
As I sit beside,
The Carmel sea,
Whittling blue birds,
To swing in the trees.
THE TORTURED TWISTED TREES
I think I've got it figured out about these crooked trees,
They must have arthritis in their elbows and their knees,
The must have arthritis in their fingers and their toes,
To judge the curious twisted way their roots and branches grows,
It could not be hurricane, the Red Wood and the Pine,
That cover hills and canyons, grow straight and tall and fine,
But the Cypress, and Acacia, the Oaks, and Cedars too,
Just seem so bent and twisted, they don't know what to do.
You talk about your gnarled old Oaks, you haven't any gnarls,
Compared to these we have out here, all loops and twists and snarls,
So it must be arthritis, in their elbows and knees,
That's why the natives call them, the tortured twisted trees.
WHEN ITS TWILIGHT ON THE PRAIRIE
When it's twilight on the prairie,
Is a song I love to hear,
When I'm very sad and weary,
When i wish to shed a tear.
When I long for death to free me,
From the cares that weigh me down,
Then I seek a lonely prairie,
And I lay me on the ground.
Yes, I seek for lonely prairies,
When I lay me down to cry,
With my heart so filled with longing,
As I gaze on prairie sky.
But when I long for happiness,
And joy beyond compare,
I hie me to the hilltops,
To breathe the upper air.
There I can toss my troubles off,
No matter what they be,
They float away on mountain mist,
And all my soul is free.
The world is far below my feet,
My head is in a cloud,
The twilight that I find up there,
Can sing and very loud.
The night birds join the chorus,
In that lofty attic choir,
The lilting music lifts me up,
And up and every higher.
No I want to live forever,
And my soul with rapture thrills,
When it's twilight on the mountain,
And the suns behind the hills.
So, if you'd live sweet singer,
Will you kindly come with me,
To a high and lovely mountain,
Where some twilight you can see.
Where the twilight loves to linger,
And you can hear from every tree,
The softer sweeter music,
That can set your spirit free.
So tune this little ditty up,
And sign it if you will,
When you sing to be of twilight,
Make it twilight on a hill.
YOUR PRIMEVAL FOREST
(Written as a birthday gift for her daughter Imy in the 1940s)
Down the isles of your forest primeval, I have woven a pathway of gold,
As a guide for your feet, like the lights in the street, in this forest so dark and so old,
Through the pale green haze of the Willow trees, that border the brooks and rivers,
The gold glints through like moonbeams, that shimmer and shake and quiver,
Through the murmuring pines and the hemlocks, the gold twinkles bright, like a star,
Like fireflies that shine in the darkness, like candle lights seen from afar.
Combining the moonlight and sunlight, and the greens in this forest so old,
And I trust this will give you much pleasure, as you rest 'neath the sheltering boughs,
Camouflaged, like a deer, when the hunter is near, While you watch all the wild creatures browse.
In the heart of this forest primeval, you can rest at your ease through the day,
And at night you can wander in safety, for the gold will light up all your way,
It is not that I feel that I owe you, anything in the world but my love,
The same rule goes for you, your love is my due, it's what we have plenty of.
A PICTURE OF OKLAHOMA IN THE SPRING OF '89
A picture is in my mind tonight
Of a land that once I knew
Of tall green grass, the call of a quail,
Under a sky of blue.
The startled rush of a herd of deer,
The flight of a turkey wild,
With rabbits hopping from every clump,
In the land that I knew as a child.
Oh! I would that I could find a land like that,
With a home I could claim as mine,
Just a picture of Oklahoma,
In the spring of '89
THE SPRING DANCE OF THE GOLDEN ACACIAS
The Acacia trees troup out in spring, to dance in the sun while the wild birds sing,
With blue green ruffles and golden curls, like a troop of golden dancing girls,
The acacia dancers are graceful and sweet, they scatter gold dust around their feet,
To blend with the older, darker mould, till inches deep is the carpet of gold.
All through the spring the acacias dance, tossing their gold as they turn and prance,
Till the last pale nugget is laid to rest, and into the carpet is firmly pressed,
And still they dance neat a silver moon, in bluegreen ruffles to a slower tune.
THE POETS SECRET
I know the secret of poets, I know why they write as they do,
They are telling their hearts deep secrets, when they are writing for me, and you.
A true poet never writes fiction, a poet can only write truth,
When they write about lovers in springtime, they are telling of their own youth.
Then comes the changing of summer, but still the poet will sing,
Of the growing of grain and the fruit trees, that they planted when it was spring.
Then they sing a song of the harvest, as they rake the hayin' the sun,
They garner their stores of provision, 'gainst the time when summer is done.
Then they sing of the hoary winter, with their hair as white as the snow,
But always you hear them singing, wherever the poets go.
OH! ARTIST GET YOUR BRUSHES
Oh! Artist get your brushes,
Your paints, easel, and pallet,
And paint for me this picture,
Of a land that is far away.
Oh! Paint for me this picture,
This lovely intriguing scene,
Where the hills and the meadows are azure,
And the sky a lovable green.
The brook that runs through the meadow,
Has rippling ruffles of pink,
The pebbles are gold and silver,
The fishes are blue, I think.
The flowers are all of colors,
That flowers should never be,
But when you come to the cattle,
The cattle that no one can see.
For the cattle of course are purple,
The calves of a violet hue,
When you come to the bulls, just paint them,
That's more than I could do.
IN THE HEART OF A TREE
Some people look in the heart of a tree,
To read their sweetheart's mind,
Some gaze for hours, in a crystal ball,
To see what they can find.
To find what is on the other side,
Some climb a high steep mountain,
While others will enter a wilderness,
To search for a magical fountain.
Some seek in caves, some dig in graves,
But none of that for me,
Just see what I found on a Carmel hill,
When I looked in the heart of a tree.
Some wicked old sorceress of long ago,
Doomed a Princess to dwell in a tree,
Her delicate hands reaching upward,
Longing so much to be free.
She had gathered some woodland flowers,
Which she holds in her stiff dead hands,
No princes ever came to release her,
And no one understands.
How she came to be caught in the forest,
With the wild flowers lovely and gay,
And her delicate hands still reaching,
From day to endless day.
A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME
If by some chance a rose was called by any other name,
It would not be a rose of course, and could not smell the same,
I love the scent of violets, the name just fits the flowers,
Also the dainty four'oclocks, that mark the twilight hours,
The sweet perfume of lilacs blooms, the morning breezes bring,
The Hollyhocks and graceful Stocks, that bid the wild birds sing,
But ah...a rose..a perfect rose, could never smell the same,
If by some chance, it had been called by any other name.
A WELL LOVED GARDEN
To see a well-loved garden, makes me happy and content,
I enjoy the glowing colors, and I love the mingled scent,
Like the fragrance of Pot'porrie, from an ancient chinese jar,
That seems to last forever that time can never mar,
But an old neglected garden, makes me very sad indeed,
With it's dying ragged foliage, and the beds all choked with weeds,
So I always look at gardens, as I pass along my way,
And I love the well loved gardens, with the flowers so bright and gay.
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