Poetry by: Nancy Hill

{The Little Brown Helmet} {Prisoner Unleashed} {Unattainable}
{Horizons} {Promises} {Slave}

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The Little Brown Helmet


As I sat in the drive, still behind the wheel
After a four hour drive, she opened the passenger door.
Smiling, she handed me something that
Through exhaustion and astigmatism
Looked like a little brown helmet.
Then you whimpered, looked up at me,
Suddenly barked as if to say “I am fierce and you must know it!”
Even then, only six weeks old and four pounds,
That zealous sound and the lucent eyes behind it captured my heart.
Festooned with a red bandanna, you strutted through the kitchen
Past a mystified great yellow cat and announced to a
Heap of sorted laundry that you were home and these clothes were yours.
However, you needed no beguiling to accept as a premium transaction
Their replacement by flannel sheets on an antique oak bed
Warmed by a seething fireplace.


On the coldest of winter nights
Snuggled under weighty hand-made quilts,
You claimed the warmest spot of all in the crook behind my knees.
What a shock at two in the morning when a cold nose touched to my nose
Led to a hasty exit for us both out the back door into the
Frosty dampness.
All through that winter, you slept, grew, and with one
Flop ear tuned to the music of the seasons, awaited
The spring you would for the first time see.


In summer, there came explorations of endless
Flowers and butterflies,
Ditches and pastures.
Later, there were other summers of canoe trips,
Cat fishing,
Pond swimming, all enriched by
Little rides to town for cheeseburgers hold the pickles.
Funny how your curiosity never
Ventured toward fast cars or ribbons of highway.
Scrambles through hedges and blackberries,
Playing chase and guarding stashes of bones
Were far too time consuming.


Thanksgiving brought you into the oak and flanneled bed by the fireplace with pains you had never known. All hurts had been dispelled there before, but we could only cradle your head and wipe your tears. Suddenly, out the door and under the house for three days, then four and then five. We welcomed you back with pizza and meatloaf as you announced the arrival of your five to match ours. With dip net in hand, I crawled beneath the house and inched my way toward the four whiners and one yeller (who indeed turned out to be yellow!) we had for some time heard each night from under the house. You claimed the flanneled bed as yours and theirs and ours that cold night and we all snuggled beneath the warm weightiness of handmade quilts as the fire crackled and hissed.


I look past
The moss-encrusted black walnut tree to
Quiet cedars with lazy
Kiss the ground beneath them.
I gaze down,
Into their lowest tips to the
Small green
Patch of zoysia
Silently bordered by white jonquils.
I know you are safe within flannel sheets
And brass-plated collar.

A snow
        To drift
To you
        From an icy
                December morning
Lit by a full moon's light.
I know I will forever miss that little brown
In the warm crook behind my knees.

nmhill © 1998

{Prisoner Unleashed} {Unattainable}
{Horizons} {Promises} {Slave} {top of page}



Prisoner Unleashed

Come rest and heal,
Oh wounded one
Whose sleep the long-ago haunting times besiege.
Curl into the warmth of me, to there
Unleash your buried heart.
Slide beside me in the night,
Offer your lips to mine, and
Take in return from me your desires.
Oh longing one,
With your need to hold belov'd the soul of another.
Quell the fears of your imprisoned heart,
The key to that pain-forged lock has already turned,
And the door,
Standing open,
Oh waits ever patient,
For you,
No longer the aching wanderer,
To journey forth into soothing dreams regain'd.

nmhill © 27 december 2001

{The Little Brown Helmet} {Unattainable}
{Horizons} {Promises} {Slave} {top of page}



I want to look into your eyes and see smiles therein that lie.
I want to touch your hand and touching, the quivering in your soul
tangles into me.
Would that I could slip into the empty seat beside you in a shadowy theatre,
the fragrance of your skin intoxicating me.
To rove a deserted white-sand shoreline,
To hear your laughter brightening the already impossibly brilliant waters,
        while arching dolphins paint the horizon,
these memories I desire.
If I could gather you in my arms, I'd know the swell of your breasts against mine.
If I could linger upon your lips to kiss, surely never could I stop.
I long to gaze upon a star and present you with the wish,
        simply to glimpse the wonder grazing your unexpecting heart.
I long to pick a white rose to give you in the moonlight,
in your hand merely to see it glistening.
To look on you, sleeping, in morning's silence supernal,
would cause me to weep a single tear of enchantment.
To savour the liquid fieriness of the passions I rouse in you
would probably make me drunk.
And neither the ocean's song-haunted calm,
nor the salt sea's misted hush
shall dispel the swelling storm you shape.

nmhill © november 2001

{The Little Brown Helmet} {Prisoner Unleashed}
{Horizons} {Promises} {Slave} {top of page}



Morning broke, cold and damp,
grey with clouds
saving the snow for another tomorrow,
passing shadows over dead grasses
left from blackberry winter.
So cold.
down to my bones cold,
here in memories
of breath-stealing heat of summer gone past,
here in wishes
for a faint warm caress of musky magnolia breezes,
creamy white splashed amongst a green
that colors the grass again.
In this place of wilting ladies
and old men
smelling briefly peach brandy,
keeping time with time.
I exist now in no time,
only this place drawn into itself.
And then upon the eve of setting suns,
painted by brushstrokes of desert risings,
another bursting star on the horizon appears.
A pondering desert wanderer, shadowed and
no longer seeking treasures,
no more to taste the freshness of cool springs,
dying sunsets haunting,
she comes through the night unaware
of her own desires too long dormant.
Into the lush green she stumbles,
yet content to never find,
content to exist in the place only as one passing by,
onward, deeper into the darkest reach of her soul's lament.
A flash of lightning fills her mind,
one word,
one thought of recognition.
And the hunger returns,
the thirst torments.
This one of desert dreams imprisoned,
embraces the sunrise of a new horizon,
even as she glanced backward to her setting
star that had shone briefly yet so brightly.
And turning eastward, she comes alive again.

nmhill © 1 january 2002

{The Little Brown Helmet} {Prisoner Unleashed} {Unattainable}
{Promises} {Slave} {top of page}




If you came to me in the night
when the stars threw a thousand sparks into the air,
I'd lay you down in pale sheets,
crisp and cool,
my lips dancing over your slick, hot skin.

If you came to me on this torrid summer's night,
sweet voices singing an ancient,
rhythmic melody you would hear
as the flames lick higher and higher up your body.

With each naked tendril of my tongue's fire,
and the silver coolness of white sheets
streaked with your own white hot passions,
you could swirl in the winds of the tempest.

All this and more, if you came to me in the night.

nmhill © 17 december 2001

{The Little Brown Helmet} {Prisoner Unleashed} {Unattainable}
{Horizons} {Slave} {top of page}


Dedicated to Em

Hard rain lashes at the window like a vile whip
tangled in the unforgiving
hand of a slave master from days gone by.
Yet, he does not know his
command to torture is past.
The windowpanes streak with clear
cold liquid;
I see only blood rivers
coursing down the naked backs of
the damned.
Thunder peals boom
so loudly that the ground itself shudders,
quakes through me like fear in
the knees of cowering slaves buckling
to each report of merciless pride
only to tremble anew with each raising of
stinging leather poised to sculpt with
its white-hot lightning sear,
seeking flesh to shred;
the pursuit of the human heart.
Chill winds, reminiscent of
wailing women's screams
and children crying,
witness to the whip's rise and fall,
past barren tree limbs.
I track its path,
feel the sting of ancient leather
enrobing itself around my own back.
The shrieks of
death and dying carry upon curving air
even hundreds of years
removed unto today.
I reach to touch the
inside of the pane,
unearthly coolness when it should be
scorching hot with the blood
of the innocents.
I am not inside the pain,
merely sheltered
from the past by particles of glass
tempered in the fiery hotness
of death itself.
And my own blood
cold fused to hot.

nmhill © 13 december 2001

{The Little Brown Helmet} {Prisoner Unleashed} {Unattainable}
{Horizons} {Promises} {top of page}