sensory detail

All posts tagged sensory detail

Celebrating Autumn

Published October 7, 2017 by kdorholt

The trees brilliant–
burnished crimson, rust,
and varied yellow hues
lit by harvest sun.
Leaves rustled by the
crisp, cleansing air.
Eventually drifting
like monarchs to
the ground
forming mounds of
nature’s autumn jewels.
A generous gift,
this crescendo
of seasons. Yes!

No! My soul cries–
Decay smothers me,
bombarding my eyes
with beguiling beauty
Blood red and
jaundiced yellow abound.
Leaves withered with
blight-brown blotches
blown by remorseless
whorls of whining wind.
A season of cynically
seductive scenes.
A cataclysmic caution:
Death’s deceiving decimation.


All Wrong

Published September 29, 2017 by kdorholt

*I wrote this poem after I received a pneumonia shot and was in a fog of hurt and reaction to it. I was reminded of the times I’ve had bad reactions to prescriptions. I can remember one time in particular when I was sitting in our upstairs hallway feeling like the skin on my body had come loose and was rearranging itself. I told my husband that I understood why some young people commit suicide because they can’t abide a reaction prescribed by an authority and think that this is their life sentence. As an adult, I knew, I could get through the night, however horrible, and be prescribed something else the next day. Many young people haven’t grasped that yet.

All wrong

A taste
of rusted metal
and white vinegar

A smell
of unsuspected sickness
and overripe cherries

My vision
blurred like looking
through poured motor oil

His voice
distorted like commands
from a badge and bullhorn

A feeling
casting the sense of me
inside and out at once

All wrong
Never again
Too painful for purgatory

In Innocence

Published April 29, 2017 by kdorholt

She romps along the furrows
in midst of meadow’s blooming
unencumbered by
random ruts and roots,
as if her toes have been
taught by lambs
how to prance in play.

Trilling, true giggles,
as easy and real
as raindrops in
a soothing summer shower,
mark her heart’s merriment
matching each felicitous footfall.

The flowers she caresses
bounce in willing harmony
to her body’s beat.
Colorful consorts to her
comfortable vulnerability.
Exclamations of unwavering joy
and guileless understanding.

See the emboldened sun
beat brighter at her
pure presence!
Hear the birds sing
this moment in the making
and its worth to the world!

Pearl in Translation

Published April 30, 2016 by kdorholt

Pearl (Middle English)

1 Perle, pleasaunte to prynces paye
2 To clanly clos in golde so clere,
3 Oute of oryent, I hardyly saye,
5 So rounde, so reken in vche araye,
6 So smal, so smoþe her syde3 were,
7 Quere-so-euer I jugged gemme3 gaye,
8 I sette hyr sengeley in synglere.
9 Allas! I leste hyr in on erbere;
10 Þur3 gresse to grounde hit fro me yot.
11 I dewyne, fordolked of luf
12 Of þat pryuy perle wythouten spot.

“Pearl” in Translation

Pearl favor worthy of nobility,

A match for gold, this treasure.

From the East, this wonder be.

No  gem can meet its measure.

Perfect circle–splendid curiosity,

Dainty, shining–mine forever.

I set her down in silken luxury.

Wherever I roamed she gave me pleasure.

But in one spec of eternity,

Four brigands stole her from my sack.

Now, I will not fear what dangers be

Until I bring my pure, pearl back!







I Remember Grandma

Published April 29, 2016 by kdorholt

I remember Grandma Karason,
a most loving soul,
the first person I ever knew who went to Heaven,
I remember that I’ve never grown comfortable with her leaving so suddenly
without a final good bye
I remember walking up the gray front-porch steps on Long Street
how she stood at her screen door
how the tears sparkled in her eyes like bits of magic
when she greeted us hello or wished us good bye
I remember her short, stout arms, made strong and sure by years of taxing labor,
reaching out to us in joy and comfort
and her songlike voice caressing us with her immigrant Hungarian tongue:
“Lány” for me     “Fiú” for my brothers–
special words bestowed like papal blessings
I remember the look she gave my father,
(head always cocked delicately to one side)
like he was an answer to a special prayer
I remember her hugs that always carried a bit of her kitchen when she drew us close

I remember that kitchen–like no other anywhere on my earth–
her kingdom–where she cooked and baked us Hungarian dishes
I was sure were really meant as gifts for the angels
I remember her working the retes dough until it looked as thin and lithe as linen                 and her carefully forming it into a dough tablecloth
before she’d cut it up for strudel
I remember poppy seeds and front-yard cherries
chicken paprikash and stuffed cabbage
I remember a Singer treadle sewing machine,
its place by the wall at the entrance to her kitchen,
and watching her work fabric under the pressure foot as she pedaled
I remember how she’d purse her mouth so her lips disappeared
to make the material move just the way it needed to go
I remember her house was “the old country” dark and heavy
the sun only shining when she was in a room

I remember her waist-length, wavy salt and pepper hair
braided and coiled around the top of     her head
like a crown every day
and hair pins–loads and loads of hair pins
and the blue tin (with the silver butterfly on the lid) that she kept them in
I remember her sturdy, black, perforated Red Cross shoes
and stories about her father, the shoemaker
I remember the whispered secret that he died in Auschwitz for being Catholic, too
I remember the fragrance from the lily of the valley that ringed her house in the springtime and         permeated her home with its bloom
I remember a tipped navy blue hat on her head
with a bouquet of white fabric flowers pinned to the front
delicately dancing up and down in rhythm to her minuscule movements
I remember the dull, definite thud of her body whenever Grandpa pushed her
against the wall in anger and frustration
I remember her asleep in her (one comfortable) living-room chair,
her hands folded, remarkably at rest
the slip of a serene smile
and Hop-Along-Cassidy in the background

I remember the feeling of melancholy
and the importance of prayer,
family, good food, faith,
love, forgiveness, grace
and simple joy . . .

She would not want me to forget.

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