Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘The Lament of Heloise’ and other poems

By: Arthur Turfa

Photo by Pradipna Lodh on

The Lament of Heloise

So deep in the labyrinth of my heart
echoes of your voice leave a joyous sound.
Not even the pain of when we had to part
compels me to regret the love we found.

Within the cloister walls your face I see
as if somehow you penetrate through stone,
I feel your strong arms encircling me
in the halcyon hours we spent alone.

I am not marble since I took the veil,
with me your tender words ever remain.
Regardless of the past, they cannot fail
the tumult of our senses to sustain.

Cruelly separated in life were we;
husband, let our graves near each other’s be!


Transformation Along the Pattee Mail

While shedding my youth I walked on the Mall
past the iron grill, many-stoned obelisk
to the library steps,. There rested my world.
At times savoring my pipe,
holding hands tentatively,
laughing with friends, dreaming dreams.

Over the arched elms alongside the paths
colorful flowers graced the green spaces
except when winter whitened ev’rything.
My Underwood typewriter,
at microphone, ON AIR sign,
discussing literature.

Perfecting my radio voice, searching
for connections in all I was learning,
Proteus-like evolving,
From keg to class a-going,
writing verse in green notebooks,
a Baudelaire in training.

Days learning another tongue, nights lurching
towards a vision more mirage than lucid,
Prematurely leaving what I knew well.
Then reading damning, faint praise
I pivoted to the south
vision now reality.

Several times walking the Mall not as the
long-haired radical lad wanting to read
works of the living, tilting at windmills.
Ev’ry so often I reflect on those
long-ago times on the Mall,
center of my universe


Often in motion I Remember Him- for AT
Often in motion I remember him;
Playing catch before sunset, hammering
countless nails, fishing from Canada then
closer to home, in open hearth’s heat as
steel emerged in glowing red-hot grandeur.

In retirement, then I see him sitting
explaining strategy on the kitchen
table cleared of dishes, late afternoons
with a mug of tea and Mogen David
or savoring the dippy bread that would
shorten his days with each grease-drenched slice.

Sadly it was not granted him to see,
like Aeneas, the proud descendants that
his roving younger son grafted onto
the family tree, or how his skills jumped
to the grandson he never got to know.


View Through Bare Branches
How often have we walked these roads
spreading around our house. Summers
following the shade during those
humid afternoons, in autumn
admiring the red-yellow
of leaves in their final glory.
Magda the Chocolate Lab and
I venturing out twice daily
since the pandemic rendered my
gym unsafe. We enjoy the sights
and scents of the subdivision,
still heavily-wooded after
a generation of houses.

Lately through the bare branches I
see more of the Little Saluda,
sunlight reflecting off of the
water flowing into the lake.

Along oft-travelled paths seeing
something new I wonder how much
I have missed familiar
routes and responsibilities:

I tug at Magda’s leash and bring
her next to me to continue
our course, watching as the swift deer
pass before us on their own ways.


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