Wind is directing a waltz of swaying firs;
I hear the forest chorus, how they breathe
and moan, shush and shout. I know
they are dancing while singing, it is their natural state.
I am indoors, mixing love with color and form,
dab, swipe, smile: like that, paint comes alive.
But I am drawn to winter wind acting like its spring.
If I stood outside, my hair would be a flag
of white on auburn; pines would share their breath.
Is it the scarlet filling my brush, or remembrance
of that once-glinting hair: Stravinsky’s “The Firebird Suite”
brings in an orchestra and gifts euphoria to my brain.
With my cello I played it often under my father’s
elegant baton (and others’) and adored every note.
Still, it was my dance offered up to folk tale
magic that demands my attention now.
Entering stage right, at age nine
ready to be beguiled, and so sure-footed.
Swirling red chiffon plumes of my skirt
rose and shone as I circled,
leapt, reached and dove: Stravinsky
led me to my own small firebird.
Miraculous to the child I still somehow was,
I felt freed by bravery and joy; we were
twinned spirits as music with movement drew
me whole into a vortex of transformation.
Metamorphosis of a girl, an introduction.
Afterwards, that applause. It was a deeper
knowing of mystery that kept me aloft for months.
What pulls a child to the Firebird’s dance?
But children, especially, need saving graces.
In this moment sunlight sweetens
the clean pebbly paper. Bouquets of blue-greens
multiply beneath my careful hand.
The wind will romp through trees
while Stravinsky embraces, inspires me–
to make love strong and everlasting: more courage—
and all is well, even for the true
and beautiful, fearsome firebird.
May she rise up for all who admire her,
and let one more crimson feather drift to me,
landing gently on a limb of a waltzing tree.