Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Playing for One

If she loved you once, she might love you twice

but this is her game, it is played as solitaire.

No fine king of diamonds, no mad jack of spades;

no fancy club for the lovelorn where you

can outmaneuver with a winsome grace.

This is not the game where anyone wins.

It is one heart played and nothing more to spare.

Like a dreamy master game, one step forward,

crisscross, slide three over but the window will close.

Set a table as if waiting for two– although

no service is forthcoming, no challenge of wits;

not even remembrances served with an aperitif.

After a cleansing fast, she may even return;

but this is her game and still true to one heart

it is played alone, remains a lively solitaire,

a long running, loss-defying life of solitaire.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: First, the Winter Walking

Not everything is sharp-edged, roped with worry or

shaken by the sight of winter’s familiar greying

as it gathers a curtain of chill, soon

to dissolve in staccato of raindrops.

A wool-bound fisherman at the river knows this,

and those nodding as they clip along the river walk

and the dogs that collide with me, all glad noses and tails

before they strain toward seagulls far from sea

that traverse this other water throughway.

I can’t help but be happy. I’m stuffed with nourishment

of wing and leaf, damp and moss, the wind a soft slap

on my cheeks, a tweak of muscles and bones.

Late light crystallizes the far horizon as I go.

November flows to the south where

waterfalls release the hurrying. These hills

settle deeper into irrevocable green.

It’s a lesson that comes when we see it,

the seeping brightness inside torrents,

rich mud snugged to asphalt and cement,

minty scents of winter with smoky autumn.

I am given this balm, ancient reassurance

as the river wends its way through wood and field.

There is kind remembrance of winters that have shone,

and will shine, and this poultice of rain and platinum clouds.

And, too, a daily circling up with love despite

tribulations, which one by one will

fall to earth and water,

stone and ash beneath our feet.

All photos by Cynthia Guenther Richardson 2020

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Abundance

Photo by Cynthia Guenther Richardson Copyright 2020

A scarcity of words

scatter then to now-

how much can be told

in small offerings,

like seeds cast

upon wind that may

take root elsewhere.

Simplicity,

the whisper of austerity,

reveals abundance.

So, too, with us.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Eileen with Wild Petunias

We have moved through much a long time,

in weather sour or promising,

with heads in our hands or raised high

and often shoulder to shoulder

making a tent to protect us from this or that storm.

We once may have lived parallel lives,

capricious yet generous, cabaret-infused,

fine literature with potatoes for supper,

and working our way toward freedom.

But a laugh or a howl often passed as

one and the same, floating up from

magic wells of elixirs that soon took us down.

Still, we were big women in deeds, few apologies,

and outliving ourselves, appetites infused

with strong hints of the sacred,

but oh– the loves that followed

as we fancied ourselves enchantresses.

If we were or were not, we imagined or made it so.

Perhaps we did gather up ancient myths

and madness as we went– until it bedecked us

all bright and bountiful, confounding

as changelings or shooting stars arcing over

purpled nights, perilous dawns.

We found bits of peace amid puzzles of need,

then followed thrills on trains to somewhere.

One might that say we beat the bitter odds.

And how we came to value that. Oh, yes. And each other.

Now–these conditions of leave-taking,

me swamped in glories of geraniums

with perfumed leaves that

you cannot pack to go the distance.

You piling one thing after another

in boxes that will not hold all the years

or the more persistent secrets.

This move will accommodate you with newness,

sleek desert moons above swimming pools,

glittery sands folded into naked breadth of sky.

You will dive in, carry on with laps in mirroring water

that keep arms strong, heart calm, face a-glisten.

There will be shocking blossoms amid thorns

and heat that rules, and a horizon open to anything.

Your Maizie: cat nose sniffing at edges of desert;

you: squinting into brazen sun, holding her close.

Nights will welcome the days; your family

has already set a place at the table.

You know that is love in the first degree.

Here will be the rain dances on ferns;

wind to carve the gorge and deep dark as I dream.

It will green from one day to next, trees trembling assent.

I will be awash in stories, mugs of tea, flamenco and ballet,

smiles of grandchildren with rainboots gleaming.

My hair will streak whiter as your red softens.

I already gossip with your shamrock plant,

and will bathe it with east light.

Your berry and pine afghan will

swaddle these feet and arms. Winter’s silence.

Still, we can call for advice, reveal our events,

anticipate truths, and excavate meanings

to hold up to these heartbreaking times.

We are two aging warrior women so battle savvy,

still pilgrims but no longer abandoned, and

counting the good fortunes–and

such men, plans and angers turned loose.

Each discovery of beauty is, we know,

an excellent find amid the rubble

meant to be shared and thereby increased.

It is a trade we like, good giving and receiving.

The distance will recede, our psychic shores

a stone’s toss, gathered words like weathered nets

bursting with gifts, rich nourishment.

And before long we will find our way back

my Irish sister and fine prattling cohort,

my brave, my lustrous friend,

Eileen of the wild petunias.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Preparation for Freedom

Oh for heat and length and ease of

our bodies returned, a simple certainty

of life even as time dwindles, loses track or forbids.

Yes, what I would give for a life lived

so as hands or feet or arms seek others

there comes a meeting of strength and balance,

a compromise between gravity and flight.

Such lightness and courage of bodies that trust…

Before these days, the poisonous winds,

people in their sporting selves

glowed inside the loosening of green

and warming saffron of fall days,

and perhaps there was a small anointing

of flesh, of spirit with safe exhalations,

and armfuls of praise which result

from such comraderie.

I watched them then with clear eyes;

they welcomed with gestures, smiling.

We now step into October’s gauzy air

streaked with smoke, as a myriad of

spinning leaves fall like shy visitors to earth,

and glance off our finely tempered skin.

Which we yet do own and don’t think otherwise:

our flesh has memorized our contentments–

how do we forget comfort when there is a lack?

–and they call to us as our bodies labor.

Still, we likely dance or tread as solitary over earth.

And all the while inside these besieged vessels,

our exquisite homo sapiens sheaths,

we are waiting as if cocooned,

readied for liberation, poised

to be released–and then to once more rise.