Friday’s Poem on Saturday: Life Undone

It’s life within a life of life cycles,

an identity of layers like nesting dolls

not always expertly fitted,

a change from this day to night to next.

It’s being on the job always, feet swollen,

pressing their ache against the floor,

eyes lit with congeniality, banish any pain with

that long-trained endurance,

and easy tolerance meant to welcome.

At home, time to mother-father,

kids whipped up with more need of love,

cat and dog taking turns begging,

all the dishes empty, then fuller, then empty.

When the home is still and the worker

leans into weariness, a bottle comes out.

Or maybe a lone soul is in search of more,

or less, so a corner stop, and the way

back home is easier.

The bottle of brilliance, glass brimming amber gold,

a luxury and necessity, dreamy, devastating.

That drug that frees, a harsh magic.

Cat and dog watch, eyes pretending sleep,

wary, bored, puzzled. The way drink lights up

a human, pills a dessert, powder sifted in…how this

softens then creases a face and a self into parts

like a map, pleasure to oblivion to dangerous lands

all in the span of unfolding.

They sleep, fitful.

They all slip under a deep sky that harbors

music strange and known,

and elegant branches capture stars

then part to release them to velvet belly of night,

and the beginnings of dawn just a shiver,

a pointed call in the distance,

as if calling to a beloved softly, urgently.

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(So strangely, as I was writing the last lines last night, we got a terrible call.

I could not have known in the usual way. .So I am not revising again.

A granddaughter has died too young and hard. So I leave the poem as I wrote it.

I may not be writing next week. Though writing often saves me.

Grief cannot be spoken in this language today. Hold close those you love.)

Friday’s Poem: A Call to Spring

All photos by Cynthia Guenther Richardson

The vast drape of land calls us,

its undulation of tilting trails and spread of green

over density of earth teeming

with unseen things. There is genius

of growth beneath while horizon’s blue

offers a new comfort of light, empty of rain.

Today it is a genial drama, spring’s arrival,

and to be a witness is to feel the spirit stir, rise

with a deepening breath that carries

silken perfume of cherry blossoms

that startle the air with innocence

and shy resplendence.

Friday’s Poem: March Anticipations

It’s what we long for, lushness sparking the

dailiness with dollops and spangles of vibrance,

a rustle and sway of green-crowned trees

that will lift our heads and plants that give forth

a carnival of blooms so we lean forward, bend our knees.

The desire is for wintering to be done, the shadows obscuring

city and country to be subdued or made ghostly luminous.

But inside our flesh, we can be anything.

Inside the in-between-ness of now,

there is winter, there is autumn

and summer and spring, the blood and spirit

our testaments to time’s wisdom, hearts thumping

to rhythms this planet and beyond offer up.

Or so it seems as I awaken at dawn and sense

possibilities of celebration– even as prayers slip from

my lips to guide and protect, hold all close to the center,

manifest in everyone’s life the brazen powerhouse of love.

A gauze of light filters across the nesting room,

touches my fingertips, arms, face as it beckons me.

I rise up limb by limb. Beyond my window is brash azure

of March, stark branches potent with buds,

birds rattling the morning with musical events.

I can wait for flowers to strew more joy

but run downstairs to you sipping espresso,

and to my berries, bagel and vanilla chai,

a Friday unlike yesterday, its bouquets of abundance

made of hidden wonders, of laughter like spice.

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To hear me read this poem aloud click on the podcast below. Thanks!

Saturday’s Poem: Ardor

In youth I believed in ardor

but not even once in roses,

their showiness too sweet

and hues refined, dainty or unreal,

their lives taxing everyone

with the care they demanded.

Hothouse flowers, a pampered lot,

made for show and selfish delights.

And those thorns.

Who would love a flower

that hurt you, drew blood

when one–quite enamored–reached for it,

and with deep fragrances that lured

the admirer into danger disguised as elegance?

Trillium or marsh marigold beckoned me;

forsythia, tiger lily, cherry blossom, wild violets

and those iris whose drooping, near-translucent petals

hid heavenly wonder, yet held

a tenderness that begged for protection.

But the truth was, how much

the rose bush reflected my life.

All the years I sought magnetic attractions,

cultivated or bound by no rules and thriving.

How much attention staying alive took,

the most desired moments being the most costly.

There were threats of harm amid sumptuousness,

enchantments that became tiny pieces

staining pathways as I slipped away,

just making it out alive, the random beauty in ruins.

It was many bruised roses, too few trilliums.

I still believe in ardor’s mystery

if not now seeking it on purpose.

Roses do grace my life along the edges,

tidy rows that bloom under nurture of other hands.

No longer hunting for what is not there–

there is plenty that is–

I wander among light or weighty scents

and often find rainbows, happy even,

as if I belong here (though ever an outsider),

a ballad seeker and lullaby singer

so perhaps at times useful;

a colorist who fills up days in swirls of ink;

a woman on missions with arms held out

despite sudden punch or cut;

holding fast to beauty while binding wounds

and finding a flurry of petals floating to earth.

They shift in their smallness,

and soften under bare feet to make living

even more than expected,

like random plenty amid austerity.

I can, it seems, now be struck silent by roses.

I cannot, it seems, put aside ardor,

nor it, me.

Friday’s Poem: Walking Among Them

To be in winter slumber.

To wear musky scent of moss,

find dark soil as a good cushion,

branches a furry canopy,

a united gathering for all occupants

by a rippling, rasping creek.

To be not moved.

To be not alarmed by disastrous

feet tapping messages, cries flung

across dirt–fugitives locked under lid of sky.

To sense one prayerful human.

To bear sharp arrows of need,

such arms embracing ancient forms,

water, bark, lichen as sustenance

to each and all famished ones.

To inhabit a deeper soul like rock

in repose, beauty and succor of the ages.