Reckoning of the Heart

A Collection of Poetry by Michael Hager

Like many writers, I first put words to paper writing poetry. It is the simplest form of expression for me given that there is constant inspiration provided by the world around us to scribble something down on a napkin or to use the more methodical process of recording my thoughts in diary. Although these days I am more focused on writing novels and screenplays, I still find myself drawn to the endless satisfaction structuring words into prose. I have just finished an anthology of previously published work and some newly written poems appropriately named A Reckoning of the Heart. The title of collection is based on a poem for which I won my first monetary award. I remember clearly thinking at the time “that I had arrived”, but of course in retrospect, it was nothing other than an affirmation to continue working on improving my craft.

Denver Women’s Press Club—2017 Certificate of Recognition for Poetry

Napa Valley Arts Council–David Evans Award for Poetry–2000

Northern California Poetry Association—Poetry Contest Winner–1998

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Reckoning of the Heart

Diamonds, shipwrecked in indigo blue,
cat-eyed moon dangling from the edge.
I have come to this place,
this residence of last landfall,
to wash away my sins of self indulgence;
to dislodge the weight of my smothered spirit.

Sandpipers, scatter like pieces of torn tissue paper
stabbing resting periwinkles along the foam line.
In this veil of ruffled silence
my recovery awaits acceptance,
I embrace it, sliding into repose;
succumbing to this reckoning of the heart.

Sound buoys, barking course warnings,
the lighthouse beacon scraping a bandeau of silver.
My lover’s hand pulsates an invitation,
her eyes pouring into my eyes,
cascading, flooding every angle of my soul;
warming the cool blood of neglect.

Crusty pier, a centipede marching into the sea
tarred, barnacled legs holding ground.
We are perched on a lifeguard station
cuddled naked, stretching out our wings,
catching the breeze in the creases of our damp skin;
awash in the sanctity of each other.

Yellow Cadillac, cruising the beachfront avenue,
its high fins cutting through the lush night air.
We stroll back from our rendezvous
discarding the anklets of language,
tossing stones, breaking the glass house;
tasting the freshness of a new beginning.

A Prayer for My Son

I need to take you to this place—

where you can gaze,
over the edge of these hollowed-out canyons,
peer into the heart of holiness
and hear the voice of eons unfolding

where the lumbering river holds the stillness,
counting every wicking breathe of time,
endlessly carving its mythology
into these rusting crimson cliffs

where you know the horizon has an end,
in this high desert palace,
but your eyes struggle to find
the seam between the earth and sky

where you can watch galaxies
cleave the cobalt blue,
tearing at the fabric of the universe
opening your eyes to its infinite possibilities

where the wind scours the milky sagebrush clean,
lifting, carrying my cowboy songs from me,
across this sacred space, to you,
and beyond the halcyon silence

where the crescent moon lay like a cradle,
holding, embracing the North Star,
just as I held you close to my breast
when you were a sleeping child

where you can revive, relive
your childhood exuberance,
a place your innocence can open up
and run free again

I need to take you to this place.