It could have been
a silver mercury portrait,
but a horse appeared
displacing stiff poses,
mane flying, neck muscles
bunched in effort,
a glimpse of the past.
Audio: Read by the author.
A marvelous photo of a Morgan mare by the photographer Deborah Glessner brought up the last two lines of the poem.
Walk the hills to home
Where love is found ripening
The true birthday gift
In song, music puts its hands around my heart and my words think tears are a puddle to splash through, shoeless. Color often stops my breath, and I am its willing prisoner. A sudden memory coming on fast might need release. Any of these call up joy or tears, and it is all wonderful. To me. When the signal comes they might glide to me in a waltz, or whirl up on the skirts of a wild mazurka. Better yet, ride in on the smoothness of an alto sax.
Olivia’s obelisk sits in tailored green
behind an iron gate and arrow pointed fence.
Jumped-up gold letters on the arched black sign
declaring Restland. Stand near enough
in late afternoon shimmer and her voice is clear,
restless words reaching for release.
It is spring, but where are the lilacs I asked for?
No rounded shapes, or shade, or not to be forgotten scent.
A bit of rest here and there would have suited,
but this place? That name? The gods laugh.
Where are the staccato horse clops and soft whuffs,
wagon creaks, quiet words from walkers,
children playing hoops, the church bell?
Only constant gliding rumbles, impatient horns,
blares of sound, no suitable rhythm for a hill town life.
Where are the visitors? None inclined or left to come,
not family, not him anymore. Is he here too?
Years doing women’s work, all the time seeing color,
rearranging light, and wanting paint and brush
to show him what I saw, wanting to say his given name,
not Mister, nor Mister Baker darling.
Where is the promised release of death? I lie,
still in my stays, oh god for a knife to cut their laces,
walk and breathe unbound, not go about exactly as a man
but with a woman’s eyes, much better.
Will he meet me here in moonlight,
pull my fingers to his lips, and say my name?
Each time I try to find
the edge of space, searching
in the darkest part of blue,
past stars and their hangers on
orbiting a single mote of dust,
it turns out I’m that bird
expecting infinity but
finding sudden glass.
For Mary Oliver.
The music stops and echos
shimmer then fade
our voices stilled waiting
for the flood of response
I fall into the silence
all energy given away
to singing’s singular joy
A long goodbye jumps the queue
to sudden extinction
Love lives on the mountain
ashes soaking into moss
his spirit coming back
to say that 40 years were
worth it all in all
and how are things
The chatter quieted
and in its place
a single sound takes shape
One note clearly formed
on endless breath
I find it comes from me
I had been singing all along
and never knew
a prompt from tonight’s writing group with Doug Anderson: endings
for the crew.
This fool’s day
with a bang.
NaPoWriMo 2017 day 1! We’re off to the races, rabbit rabbit rabbit. This was a fun prompt since I’m not much for rhyme, but it always comes (slowly) if given some time.
Perhaps the stars hold memories,
diamond pinholes punched in winter black,
life stretched across infinity, expanding
overhead, even as my focus
might be squeezing in and
only looking back, no counterweight
to shrinking time.
Well nuts to that, I’ll take
the milky way with thanks,
refusing blinkered days
or thoughts, and will not shut
all possibility away.
This heart and soul are
slated to remain
open for business
all eyes and
this great body
a razor thin
the music stops
I fall into
the abyss of silence
the moment after the end of a great piece. for Cailin Marcel Manson, who took us there.
there are trees here too
grown out of deep soil pockets
heads above the hardy root dug
mountain friends of home
this gathered woody host a nest
to hold a house containing
every one I love
still sleeping as the light
creeps up all cloudy
through the rain
a christmas only minds eye white
no clear skied sunrise
catching tree tops
red bronze briefly
glistened by those gone ahead
dropstrings of love and memory
beams creak awake
almost the hour
for letting loose small bodies
counting moments since last night
behind me thumps and sighs
two sets of eyes meet mine
my patient dogs
the first gift of the day
belongs to them
and we are kitchen bound
a small gift of words, a time filled with more love than things, christmas as it should be. my heart is very full.
gift from love’s pilgrim
my words have danced in your heart
they leap free again
Yesterday the Third Cousins Club met again. three cousins, Cassie, Elizabeth, and me, descended in separate lines from the same great great grandfather, knowing nothing of the others until an accidental discovery grew into a connection that has joined three family lines. Elizabeth’s sister Susan was there at the beginning with all of us, but she died this year. So Elizabeth has just made what I can only think of as a pilgrimage to the ocean places they loved together. What a brave and loving sister gift this was, saying goodbye again, ashes left to be a part of memories.