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.

Friday’s Poem: Bring Out the Light

Photo by Cynthia Guenther Richardson

It may be that you have all a man could want

but now the day is closing doors

as you stand on its long blurred edge,

time careening on without permission

in how or where it leads you. To loneliness.

You have always sought the jewel inside stone,

flowers under frail leaves, peace hidden in the fray

and yet there seems a dearth of light as

life balances on a tremulous hope, and slips.

You could be told otherwise.

That there will be more abundance,

that arms will entwine with yours and joy will gather

and spill like bright water from the well of night.

But this evening as dusk skims the waves

and your thoughts are a web of longing

you remember how she turned a last time,

your name an incantation on her tongue-

as if meant to root itself within the cosmos,

glowing syllables like song as her breath

brought it to a meaning not known before.

But even affections of such import can pass,

evanescent as the misty veil of sea.

So wait now. Rest your heart, empty thoughts.

Bring forward your vestigial light to sunset

as it prepares for twilight blessing.

Let it make a home there and

in your dreaming, and your blood and sinew.

She did not have to search and find it for you.

It was already there, if forgotten, but you

can stand within its prescient power-

you are made for this time, this life and more, much more.

Friday’s Poem: Cloudwater

Photo by Cynthia Guenther Richardson

The insistence of clouds and their vapors.

They will ebb and flow, one to the other

so as to never be lonely or dissipated,

great bodies a convergence of

moisture in ragtag whites and greys.

Then comes the hammer of far weather,

so they are scuttered and donned by winds

that lift and mold them into a face,

an ibis or tails of horses with

a brush stroke of air, a charge of lightning.

All we cannot see in their depths is secret

but their largess of water is borrowed from

the sea its own master; its pioneering tributaries;

the lakes which shift, thrive and are patient;

the brooks a dance and dalliance

in ruts and hollows of dirt.

They lift up the vapors, those beneficent caretakers

of royalty, life blood of the earth, each droplet

altered by movement and alchemy, some thunderous

clouds emergent with power…

…or those surrendered in sprinkle and mist,

soft upon the skins of this world.

A mystery of life in a sky of teardrops for all.

A benediction of water captured in time.

A rush and wash against shore and branch

like ancient harp and drum.

Here is the yielding of rain which

amorphous shapes retrieve to shape again.

The river today is endowed with cloud water.

I kneel at its edge and drink in

a visage of holiness, light to embolden

its sheen and sway, an offering of blueness

to restore my faded eyes with grace.

This signal, a psalm for life.

A restoration around and within.

Friday’s Poem: Time Unfinished

It comes nearer, ever nearer to an ending than

a beginning of this ramble about earth.

How many steps remain, how many breaths that

cultivate strength, resilience, the mouth full

of starbursts of air and puzzles of language,

of emotion that seeps and rushes from the center

over tongue and teeth to the world?

What are the answer I have not yet sought,

the questions not fully considered?

I cannot fathom enough of it, living

and shedding and gathering and more growing.

Perhaps I knew more at fourteen than I do now

it seemed a galaxy of matters and who is to say–

but if so it was somehow turned over and inside out,

spun apart, shifted, torn and rewound

so that before I knew it, there remained a frail layer

between me and baffling landscapes…

country and city made of people who shocked and amazed;

ancient outcroppings and tiny refuges of

animal, plant , mineral and water, air and fire;

and stories strewn everywhere

–they all pull me. Still call to me.

And a magnanimous Spirit is restive,

attendant to this path and countless others, with

divine wonderings and wisdom like markers as we go.

Therein is mystery: becoming one within the whole of it.

How deep dwells the meaning of all things?

When I come to one stop there is

a doorway, still, and that clarion beckoning.

Even a stitched and worn heart gives way

to a glance of compassion,

a flicker of fireflies, a rain dance on leaves,

and the slow laydown of sun upon sinew and bone.

That I meet face to face with such life, a miracle.

So I move forward into ever more

thrum and shush and jangle and slide

of each day and night, a holy human ride.

There is all that is still unfinished,

so much more to pluck out and love.

Friday’s Poem: At the Refuge

Photos by Cynthia Guenther Richardson

First this: brazen bolts of sound

as a multitude of geese strike the right

formation, alarm punctuating sky yet

harbored in a common beauty.

And the order of things alters

as the eagle rises to the hunt

so easy, magnificent.

One more joins, and I stay the urge

to salute or fall on my knees.

It is that tapestry of wild calls,

of bones within feathers like

an architecture of life, of power. Survival.

And then comes a rough-skinned salamander,

auburn and sleek atop dirt, beady eyed, prepared.

I do not touch even with careful toe of boot.

It is sleekness wrapped in poisonous skin.

A pencil-thin, stripey garter snake nestles

between moss and grass,

slips lithe and invisible into harmony

beneath an ancient white oak.

Great branches snag me as my eyes move upward,

lifts my soul to its crown; I am held in its breath,

am granted one spell of peace.

Frogs along the path like country singers,

sing sonorous measures in starts and stops–

a comedy routine, the telegraphed news.

Most of all, this great blue heron.

It stirs from riverbed before I hear it.

Leaps from water, rising with heartstopping wings

in a miracle of elegance and strength,

glides past clouds of winter

to light that spills into this day.

I think of it: laying on its fine back,

moving past edges of this world without falling.

I cannot say more of why this brings me to tears.

I am given this afternoon where

many beings show themselves and

the wetlands let me pass through, and

groves of oaks watch over, naked and unafraid,

and sunlight kind as compassion rests on my skin…

this earth so generous with blessings,

may I not ever, may I not ever forget.