Next in our heartbreak series is a submission from Ronald Peat, a poet based in the State of California. Ronald was born in Sacramento, California in 1942. He now lives in Auburn, California— a small town North of Sacramento.
In this poem the reader is swept along with the poet into a world of beauty mingled with the intense pain that can only come from heartbreak.
The poem is immediately followed by an author interview I conducted with Ronald.
It’s only when the cat can feel
the rippled shadow of the hawk
within its wider gyre above the trees,
when clouds are sparse, and sun
is bright through early spring, where swift
the budded limbs spread wide as clock-
split hands; then I remember how
you took my heart away in play to run.
Inside un-shifted time; we laughed
and sighed to make the world seem light—
within our passing hours that came
and went with rosy thoughts in sleep.
There joy out-stretched our day in hours
with brighter stars that hung throughout the night;
we danced and sang with leaping pulse;
we held the moon too close to keep.
In tangled love we did embrace
the bluer sky with pillowed cloud
to shrink our days amid the light;
we built our dreams atop the hill
where deer still roam and birds still fly
across the fields to sing out-loud;
where last, I wept alone beneath the sun
to feel its burn as Summer’s chill.
© RH Peat
1. Are you a first time author?
I’m not sure what you mean by a first time author. I’ve been published in three other countries and the US of A in various anthologies. I’ve won awards for my poetry through the years. I started writing poetry in 1962 and it has continued to the present day. I’ve self-published a lot of poems over the years. I’ve given readings in the area where I live. I’m active in poetry events and readings. I’m not a first timer in the sense of writing a poem and getting it published. I’m always looking for a place to publish my work. I have never had a book of my poems published that wasn’t self-published into 50 books or less.
2. What inspired you to choose the concept of unrequited love as your subject matter to write about?
I write about my own experiences. A lost love inspired unrequited love poems. In 72 years I’ve managed to lose as much as I’ve gained at times. A zest for life I guess. The willingness to love, knowing that having the experience leaves you vulnerable. Life takes place in the moment whether we plan for it or not.
3. Tell me a little about your work as a writer. What other poems, etcetera, have you written.
The list is endless. Where do I begin? One of the most enjoyable published poems was a tanka that I shared with Shimizu San in Tokyo. He thought it was an outstanding tanka and translated it and published it in the poetry magazine there called “Boobytrap”.
4. Do you plan to publish a book of poems in the future?
I’m trying to put together a manuscript right now. But it’s moving along very slowly.
5. What’s your best advice to first time poets?
Don’t give up on yourself. And have fun while you’re writing. Always be willing to share your words with others. Look for venues to read as well as workshops to stretch your understanding of the craft. Workshops offer criticism and viewpoints that can’t be acquired any other way when you make your presentation. There are workshops that also offer concepts for writing poems. Both can be very helpful in your individual growth as a poet.
6. What is your occupation/background? Tell me a little about yourself.
Well, I’m 72 and I have been writing poetry since 1962. I’m a painter, sculptor, potter and poet. I’ve also done a fair amount of printmaking. I’ve worked in many different jobs to support my arts. I’ve worked as a laborer, a graphic artist, a fruit picker, a gardener, a janitor, well, you name it, and I’ve probably done it. Mostly I worked in the medical field as a Med Tech in hospitals and teaching the developmentally disabled visual arts and poetry.
7. How does Poetry fit in with all of that?
It expanded my horizons and gave me subject matter for writing poetry. Your personal experience enters into what is written in many different ways. You would be surprised how past events come into your mind when you start to dredge up your experiences to create an image or a metaphor. The experience is worth the journey. Give it your all!
This poem touched me deeply as I know it will touch our readers. Ronald definitely has a way with words. We are swept up by a current of strong emotions as he carries us along his journey which painfully ends in heartbreak. There is something sinister about the imagery of the hawk and the cat, followed by beautiful imagery-trees, clouds, sun, laughter, joy, playfulness, and a hint of something equally sinister-tangled love, then blue sky, clouds, hill, dreams, crashing into nothingness as he weeps alone beneath the sun.”
But I will say no more as I want my readers to digest and analyze this poem as it comes to them, but before you do so I would ask you to let go and just freely experience the strong feelings that this poem evokes.