Friday’s Pick/Poem: Bodies of Trees (for my father)

They glowed like sumptuous bodies

lazing along a horizon, curvaceous,

heartstrings stilled from neck to belly

as they awaited your hands.

Violins wounded and worn out

were lain on the table, spruce or willow

parted from maple, ebony fingerboard set aside.

Burnished by use, flame and curl of grainings

brightened in a small pool of yellow light.

I handed you tools that pried, filed, shaved,

smoothed, fragile curlicues falling,

glue pot bubbling its tangy stink.

Your voice pianissimo, calando, as always

now more so as you split, rejoined wood

tenderly, and through thickened air it all

spread to me, the longing for symmetry of beauty,

its promise of more, all emptiness resonant

with respect for wonder,

and deft measures of love.

Tonight I rest inside this poem, watch trees,

maples shaking leaves as percussion,

pines gathering notes of blue shadow,

willows draping skirts for dancing.

The crickets call me closer to twilight.

And I know you were not satisfied

with hours of exquisite work, nor

your good, honest music making

nor the lives of your children of whom

you knew far less yet expected much more

but I tell you these trees are yet singing,

a timbre of richness and strength of the wood

and it takes hold of me as sudden light in

this deep forest, its vibrancy a sound post

for spirit, life’s movements a vibration

I claim, hum, can sing in kind solitude.

They are made of every song you taught me

and every song I did not share.

The bodies of trees ever pull me,

a living offering of grace,

their sacrifices never forgotten

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: The Dreaming

At last, in the lengthening night

there is a turning around on

velvet pathways with curves set

softly afire, oceanic darkness linking

conversation with wisdom, Mother Wit

coming up from deep wells, talk that seems

real as dreaming slips in, out, past day

and tufts of songs rise behind teeth

like whistling grasses caught on branches

and light threading petals, future morning glories

while the mouth, heart are rich as darkness

and in its absence speak and are understood,

rising from waterways where traces of stars

act like power, lithe and brazen with love–

then with no warning: my awakening and

leaving bed and entering dawn

as though saved, realigned body, spirit, mind

and my Italian mug blue with silence,

waiting on a counter and ignorant of

sleep or little of it, yet a fine fit in my hand–

always deaf to talk, even this gratitude

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Young Strength to Greater Strengths

Photos copyright 2019 Cynthia Guenther Richardson

 

Way back then it began with

big energy of desire behind arcs

of movement through flowery air,

your flash of bravado like

(at 2 you jumped in the pool and swam),

some cellular lightning rising off head and feet,

arms outstretched for the world and beyond.

No one knew in ’86 what was coming,

that such play and work with those wheels and board

would crest and carry into mainstream places.

This was strange outlaw living then–

you weren’t trodding a middle way,

alive at deep edges, the high heat of competition

never greater than when against yourself.

 

Heart of warrior, alchemical dreamer,

adventurer’s sinew and bone,

mind swinging open sizzling with joy:

you were so young and wildly brave.

Slight and intense, admirer of sport, I followed your progress

(breath held, police watch), cheered

each feat–more so incandescence of hope

as your passion reshaped air, time, thought.

 

You are older, braver, stronger, wounds knit

together into tattooed tales of loss and discovery.

You’ve expanded with things endured,

a richer faith, and every time you test bonds of gravity

that essence shouts, flies as you rise, fall, rise.

A circuitry of life imbues you by sculpted

propulsion of fire’s calm– your daily devotionals.

Still out there, and I yet watch (going grey now)

you skate with zero regret and a fine crackling of

laughter and sweat, mastery of gratitude, sheen of wonder.

(And still I hold my breath then let it go with the winds.)

 

Many still do not understand the allure and respect for skateboarding but it is a demanding athletic endeavor (it became an official Olympic sport is 2016), beautiful and fascinating in motion. My son, Josh Falk, has been a pro skater for over 20 years and has been on several teams. I have never regretted encouraging him in his passion. You can find many photos, videos, film and magazine feature info as well as his Northwest Skate products online if interested.

   1986-Josh and me

Friday’s Quick Pick/Poem: These Things Amid True Beauty

All the pleasing useless items

hedging their bets that they

take precedence, lined up along

walls or closets, at attention on shelves

and bunched in summer’s spark

and colorations–

these objects playing at art, their

hollow meanings ascribed by those

too restless, with avarice or adoration

 

and how can possessions claim prominence?

What makes the parade of belongings so winsome–

temporal natures proffering importance,

their attributes heightened when placed amid

life’s cracks and repairs, we so arrogant, faithless?

 

Why must this small thing with heft in hand seem a treasure?

We are directed to acquire and we obey easily, choices

a surrender to ragged need of relief. Or simple delight.

We bring so close what fails to stir us deeply,

as if the material world is what saves us.

Which we know will most often

discard us with no backward glances.

 

I survey decorative items chosen and gifted,

at ease in place despite my pondering.

Often their loveliness is facile,

turns heavy and dull, the room more lonely.

I note: let no thing enter that is not real. Wanted.

 

But there is a finer matter: human spaces shared.

A life opened, remade with the touch of a hand.

 

When beckoned by a call, stillness rippling,

I scoop up this blooming peony-soft being

that fits here without thought,

warm against my chest,

eyes round with no blame or insouciance

mouth void of duplicity or meanness

and the breadth and width of the whole world

empties and refills with inestimable value.

This moment and place I belong to earth

becomes infinite as I belong to her.

Any praise uttered cannot

state enough truth

so she sighs and chirps,

speaks for me,

an expectancy of and

a claim upon love.

Monday’s Randomness/Poem: Hold On

This may appear all that is left

after the lifeblood’s power is sown

in places so needed, its source emptying, an echo

as your voice is thrown into midnight or dawn,

when everything that could take you to

the core of need and fear and desire and loss

has done so, then again done so deeper.

That is when to wait, to pause and gather

the lost bloom of your life, cradle it in hand,

feel its riffling curves, its dense symmetry

and memorize its lushness as the center of you

expands and you cannot deny

the ineffable joy

nor it, you