Night lingers to greet day.
Swirls of an organza mist
wrap the vista as I stand invisible
at the prow of a tall ship with taut sails;
it carries curiosities, sustenance, shards of hope.
There is no shore; I am on a balcony outside
the warmth of my house, that place where
time is greeted and resisted, cupped in my hands
and released. Out here the view holds surprises,
tosses them like ribbons of silver and green
across my mind, enticements for a restless soul.
An icy spray settles on face and hands
but the grand matron of earth nourishes
its beloveds even (I pray for this daily) me.
Amber leaf, veiny stone, pine cone
and red holly, a blue-black feather-
these are raiment I’d wear if permitted,
a cloak of bits and pieces, a laugh in the midst of things.
If I was brave enough to be visible, with my essence showing–
a woman who gathered pulsing rays and glowed in the dark.
Simple as that. But this is human life
and thus not an angel’s scheme, is that how it is?
Let me seek and discover.
Fog secrets away the mountains so I retreat
indoors, labor awhile. I rest, absorb my books,
their exploratory maps.
They prop me up, lift me over the cliffs of misgiving
and toward gates of wonder.
The words emit scents of cedar and river,
of moss, apple, lavender. Plum, rose, fern, bird bones.
Later I climb the hills, new stories at my heels
like sprites and elves in the brume.
Squirrels fatten up but glance my way as if
sensing my hunger for chicken and dumplings,
my mother stirring the pot,
white waves damp at her forehead,
face pinked with heat and pleasure,
common wisdom added to the stew.
The abundance of it shapes me still.
My throat closes then opens to music
that visits me in solitude,
this one for my mother–
but it is only a desire or a memory,
lyrics and notes drifting like smoke lost to rain.
A finch offers a refrain in consolation;
and it tenders me as I tack and sail
into the heart of woodland, beyond sorrow,
past the shame of all that’s unconquered,
still left undone.
A wintered wind ignores such musings
but my mother’s spirit implores
like a medicine woman:
write write write sing out.
These days it seems a luxury but today
feeling and thought–sharp, sweet, savory–
fill me up as I trudge through murk.
Music, language, how they hoist and shoulder
the weight of my life, fix it, free it.
Sunlight steals through this landscape of haze,
or is it seascape and soon to be moonlight?
The glimmering limns the curve
where I am heading right into
the thicket, the glory of it,
as you, too, may have imagined.