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Writing Portfolio: Contents & Synopsis

  1. Southern Summer – free verse poem: recalling sensations and memories of my days growing up in the rural hills of Grenada County, Mississippi

  2. Heather – free verse poem: An ode to a girlfriend of mine who tragically died in 2009

  3. Putting Neil to Bed – non-fiction narrative: An excerpt from my personal diary recalling a disturbing visit to the house of an ailing friend of my father’s

  4. Love’s Music – free verse poem: A comparison of the love of two people to the uplifting and magical nature of harmony in music

  5. What Happens – free verse poem: A philosophical inquiry about the nature of lost love and unfulfilled dreams

  6. Prayer of Composition –poem : A quatrain beseeching the divine essence of the universe for inspiration and understanding by the reader (background image from my sketchbook)

  7. The Song – free verse poem: A solicitation and invocation to the power of music
 
 
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"Southern Summer"


Long shadows linger on the hillside.
I sit on the hilltop with Bo in my lap
The sounds of crickets and tree-frogs
Of my dog panting, of my own heart beating
The smell of freshly cut grass
Of honeysuckle, pine sap,
And dust from the gravel road
The feeling of grass prickling my legs
Of the warm setting sun on my back
Of the cool evening's breeze
The tastes of Mississippi
Summer on my lips
Blackberries and lemonade
Bologna and cheese crackers
Southern life is never boring,
It is, even in the most innocent
And simple of moments,
Sensual and sublime.


-Geoffrey M. Latham 1-6-02

 

“Heather”
Sprung from the rich dark soil of the alluvial plane
With a heart both tender and strong
Roots that sink deep through time immortal
Branches reach out agile and sturdy

No flowers adorn, no leaves enshroud, no bark shields
It is fauna not flora of which I speak
Grace and beauty enough to make a doe green
But she is more goddess than creature

Amber locks soft lips sweetly entangle me like muscadine
Soft and gentle her hands touch mine
Glances betraying the fires burning beneath manners
Her eyes a balm of wounds and a spark of joy

Rapture spun like wool and woven into the tapestry of my life
Laughter that makes my heart glow
Beneficent and magnanimous ruler of all that I am and shall be
I am yours you are mine and we are ours forever

-Geoffrey M. Latham 3-23-09

 

“Putting Neil to Bed”     From the Diary of Geoffrey M. Latham       November 11, 2007


____I have been very concerned about my dad. He has an elderly friend, named Neil, who has been in bad shape for some
time and Dad has been bending over backwards to try and do everything he can to help him. Dad is the executor of his estate and after Neil lost consciousness for about seventy-two hours, the reality that Neil may be near the end set in. Neil begs for death because of the constant pain he is in. Seeing his friend in agony, seeing that he is cared for, and the looming thought of having to deal with his friend's family, should Neil pass on, has taken a terrible toll on Dad, and he has not been able to work for a week because he has been dealing with the issues of his friend’s health.

I went to help Dad move a couple of beds at Neil’s house the other day. As I walked in, the first thing I heard was Neil calling out for help. Dad responded and I entered the back part of the house to get a look at what was going on. Neil was lying on his side with a pillow between his knees and his legs half drawn up towards his torso. He jerked involuntarily as a wave of pain shot through his body and I saw such agony in his face that it made me step back and take pause. I could see the sorrowful frustration that it caused Dad to know that there was nothing he could do for Neil. Every few seconds his friend would shriek out in agony, “Aahh!” and at times he would yell out “Mike!” (my dad's name) in desperate panic.

The hospice worker buzzed about, mostly getting in our way, as we disassembled a mechanical hospital bed in the
living room and moved it into the bedroom to replace the regular bed on which Neil was lying. After fighting with the heavy bed frame and getting it into place, we had to move Neil and negotiate with the bag and tube tied into his bladder. Dad slid his arms under Neil’s shoulders and I grasped his legs under the knees. We lifted and moved him like a sack of flour from one bed to the other as quickly and gingerly as we could. Neil shrieked out in pain as we moved him and began to cry out “Geoff! Oh Geoff! Oh God, Geoff!” My heart broke and I prayed for him silently as I attempted to maneuver him and get his urinary tubing out from under his legs. “Mike, why didn't this kill me?” he asked Dad several times, referring to his most recent lapse in consciousness. Then Neil asked for a cigarette. Dad said he could, “have one later,” to appease him, but had no intentions of letting him smoke in his condition. Dad and I then disassembled the regular bed, all the while plagued with Neil’s screams of tortured pain. We moved the mattress, box springs, headboard, and frame out of the room and repositioned the hospital bed. I walked out of the house and got
into my car and sat there silently for a few minutes as the echoes of Neil’s pleas and cries resonated in my mind.

I wondered why his children weren’t there for him. They were in town, or so I had heard. Were they just waiting idly
for him to perish, more concerned with claiming their inheritance than Neil’s comfort and care? And what kind of life was this for their father? This man had been robbed of his dignity; every second was a torturous spasm of wracking anguish. He was forced to be a burden to those paid to attend to his needs as well as to those that loved and cared for him. Would I not crave death I was lying there? If there was no real hope for his improvement, then was prolonging this hell on earth really the humane and loving thing to do?

It is one of the things that I have witnessed in my life that I wish I could forget. The thought of wasting away in a
hospital bed is not how I wish to envision my departure from this world. The stress on Dad has been terrible and I hope that he will find the strength to bear the burden for as long as he must.

 

“Love’s Music”

Resonating together in harmonious vibration

Point and counterpoint strolling hand in hand

Loving and loved as heaven first intended

Adam and Eve with innocence regained

Dancing cheek to cheek and soul to soul

Longing fearing fretting yearning no more

Fulfilled completed perfected together

Two hearts beat in synchronized rhythm

For life and love in this world and beyond

-Geoffrey M. Latham 3.8.11

 

 

“WHAT HAPPENS”

What happens when the goddess falls?

What for the poet when the muse fades away?

Who will hear his prayers of adoration?

Who will inspire his lyric verse?

What happens when the lover leaves?

What for the knight when the maiden is lost?

Who will cherish his tender affections?

Who will invigorate his manly valor?

Where do the broken pieces of love go?

Where to store the fragments of shattered dreams?

Will they fit neatly on a shelf in our memory?

Will they fill a forgotten corner of our heart?

What happens when the beauty departs?

What for the man when his mate says farewell?

Who will he gaze upon in enraptured awe?

Who will fill the void left in his embrace?

-Geoffrey M. Latham  5-27-08


prayer The Song