Door to the Sea

Find the door early in life that will lead you into your future.

Stand in the sand—
meet the vast ocean in your bare feet
where the relentless salt waters the shore
pounding it in forgiving rhythm.
Washing my soul this way
with tide pools left behind,
archiving hermit crabs
in miniature mother-of-pearl spirals.

All that she claimed as sacred in her life,
are as the artefacts for a future art gallery.
As a child, she collects the rocks,
shells and seaweed of the shore for her museum;
seastars are the lights of Stella Maria.
Later, as a gallery attendant, she leads us on a tour
of the museum of human life, its first conception
through final breath and beyond. 

Emily Isaacson


Entrance of Wild Oat

The discovery of a foreign land is as discovering the country within you.

While I was waiting for you,
sitting in the entrance,
the halls hushed,
I heard the sound of a bell,
tip-toes clicking on the marble floor,
then you appeared, with lips like satin
and skin bronzed, with slanted eyes.
I stood at salute, while you bowed.

Here was a gift from me to you;
a watering of a stone
from many journeys.
When you saw my grand pianoforte,
your curiosity placed one hand
upon its keys, which sounded the note.
Resonating on, as a noctilucent cloud,
we would transcend.

Emily Isaacson


1800's Rival

The sun and moon are rivals. The present life and the afterlife rival each other also. My name in Latin means rival.

The creaking burnished door to life
named her Rival—
and every woman who looked on the child
glowered white until their eyes grew dark.
She blew the dandelion in seed,
wishing, wondering, wanting—
The fairer life of the meadow
met with the mountain’s shadow.

Hoping for things not to be hoped for—
her 1800's purse was black with gold tassels—
believing in things not to be believed in—
on her velvet dress was the beaded bodice.
Forever gone, holding on—
opaque moon and golden sun rivalling
present life and afterlife rivalling—

the dream of time gone by.

Emily Isaacson


Wild Rose

Make one's way in the world, from the very childhood that enclosed you in a place of dreams.

Follow the river’s edge
where the wild red rose
and dark horsetail grows,
follow the impulse—
on earth, the mountains of stars
can be watched
on a flat rock that
would destroy all my apathy.  

Don’t resist the moon-watered rock,
capturing and controlling
my stony unimpressed eyes,
with the inspiration not to run,
but to enclose my spirit, to re-live,
to breathe deeply
from my lungs
into the morning.

Emily Isaacson


Ginger Lily Needlepoint

Antiques are the haunts of yesteryear.

The solid walnut narrow chest of drawers
contained the treasures of Victorian time:
ginger lily needlepoint spoke
of painstaking measures;
a velvet autograph book,
enamelled with its signatures
of well-wishers and sweethearts, rose
and fell with the swoons of youth.

There lay a pile of faded photographs,
children without smiles,
spinster women in black, and men with top hats.
In velvet, a set of vintage silver teaspoons
and sugar tongs tarnished with neglect,
an antique fan aged, embossed with memories
and pewter swirls; a pocket watch,
precisely stopped at half-past nine.

Emily Isaacson


The Willow Tree

The mother lifts her child up to the light.

Beside the path, where
I wandered, there grew
the crocuses, gold and lilac—
early morn had invited them
and not hindered their bud,
they called me mother...
A bloom under
the willow bent with years.

Where the knarled branches
lift us to paradise,
closer to the sun and moon,
high in their ethereal limbs,
I let my child climb—
youthful and questioning
of nature’s realms and heaven’s glory,
of the rising from decay.

Emily Isaacson


Victorian Portrait

At times we hold a paint brush for a self-portrait,
then are captured by another’s face.

The vanity mirror over the bonnet chest
hunted my image, creating a self-portrait,
and choraled my maze of human emotion
into the glassy eyes with fringed lids,
bossy curls, nomadic hairline,
purling mouth, with teeth like
knitting needles,
clickety-clack, purl, purl.

My scarf of faith had the same quality
of seven church services, only more colourful,
with wool singing an hymn
of having once been carded, spun,
and dyed. Now the lamb saw
her practical purpose, in giving
of the fleece that would start white as snow,
then drift into other bright-hued shades.

Emily Isaacson


Winding Road

The road, as a ribbon, wound through my hair.

The fury of life
is depicted in its fortes,
unleashed by its powers,
drawn up from within—
while others hesitate
you roar from the desert,
kinetic eyes staring into the sun,
mimetic at an oasis of finery.

The wallpaper climbed like a vine,
and you were its flower;
in iris hues, warm and delicate,
you rebirthed prestige
from within a silver frame,
wore each bud,
and named each child
after you.

Emily Isaacson