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***Poetry Contest #10: Fourth Place***

Poetry by Colleen Anderson

Triptych (Amsterdam)
Published July 20, 2016
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Publishes poetry, visual art,
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Calgary Poetry Magazine
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Triptych (Amsterdam)

I

What dreams do the dead cherish
as countless feet stroll over them
in cathedrals dressed in god's glory?
What respite do the deceased receive
when gazes turn toward mortal wonders
triptychs layered with sumptuous oils,
gilded frames, touches of divinity?

Each panel captures our gaze
as we ignore shades in the soil
The first depicts the birth of our beliefs
Its cold coil tightening
the ouroboros turns restlessly
in sleep as we tread on
a life abbreviated
in carved names and dates

The second panel is the greater span
more encompassing than those that border it
One's life a panorama, one scene
We are captured
pay no attention to the uneven edges
beneath our feet
the silence beckoning
Whispers and dusty tales

The last frame sums up those before it
as we notice graves
like faded memories
leaving this one imprint
there will be no more
triptychs added by the greats

There will be no additions
to the weight of one's life
To hold this simple footnote
reflected in engraved words   
lives erased by the years
no longer mementos of glory
          

II

Their skeletons cannot be weary
resting for two, three or four hundred years
They chose this eternal slumber
under the carefully designed cathedral floors
but not who would cozy up
beside them or on top
a ossuary made of history’s founders

While marble epitaphs anchored them
their souls drifted
felt the treads and touches
smoothing out their cares  
and the flattened headstones, quiescent
about deeds that filled the world
gold, garments and looks crumbled away

Once the top tier
prominent rulers, warriors
battled centuries eroding
effigies and tombs of fading importance
It is not conquerors who are adored
Not by those who stroll through
common as the bodies that line church floors

It is the pen and brush, the composer's notes
that lift the soul from the grave's granite anvil
Bouquets placed, pictures taken
where imagination's reliquary is stored
Swords and battles fall to ruin
when countless living revere the artists
who spoke more of life than war ever could.


III

It is the silence that settles
in our bones sifting down
layer on layer to crypts
decaying fibers, calcified dreams
The departed do not know of panascopic sacrifices
of laying down the mortal bricks
We walk upon the foundation
civilizations that desired eternity
now names rubbed smooth  
by those who came and left in blind devotion
Still upon these pillars of earthly remains
with this white dust of desiccating skeletons
do we mortar our departed with blood and tears

These dark tomb slabs obscure
the triptych’s last panel
except to inform that there were those
who led the way but had no means
to ensure favoritism from the celestial host
So we make our way between the pillars
of humanity’s deed's
Each path a lonely trail to follow


Biography
Colleen Anderson: My fiction and poetry have appeared in over 200
publications with recent work in
nEvermore!, the Burning Maiden Vol. 2,
and
Agnes and True. I am an Aurora Award finalist and I co-edited
Playground of Lost Toys with Ursula Pflug, which has also been nominated
for an Aurora. Some of the venues for forthcoming work are
Clockwork
Canada
, SpeckLit, Beauty of Death, and Futuristica. Colleen writes from
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Website:
colleenanderson.wordpress.com.
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Poetry Contest #10 Results
1.
2.
3.
4.
Triptych (Amsterdam)
5. Burgeoning
6. no milk no cream no sugar
7. No Man's Future
8. January Joggers
9. Heartlab: 20 Year X-Ray
10. Never Left the Flowing Meanders...
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