Like a woman, spring offers glimpses
of secrets with calculated abandon,
loveliness just a hint until ready,
then as you move in to discover
the mysteries there is more waiting,
a few required shifts, a pause unexpected,
one last flourish before its unveiling.
Treat even these moments as small gifts,
for such restraint of exemplary beauty
brings sweet virtues to finest completion.
Days become open, elongate
as tenderness seeks each flourish of light,
finds roadside bud and petal,
graces bough and wing inside chill wind.
My body like theirs tilts toward sun,
struck by expectation, how it thrills.
Adornments of earth trumpet
caregiving Mind of God made visible,
how it scours and sloughs off wintry rags,
conjures rustle and sigh of life spun, released.
This hidden skin of mine, fluff of milkweed
covering elegant spine and capable wrists,
bright collarbones, coiled arches of feet–
my soul flies on the trapeze of body
in higher places, an homage to each spring reveal.
The heart takes it all in, the tender and piquant,
pings of sadness that stop us in the street,
messages of death carved on the walls,
yesterday’s certainties strewn at your knees,
empires treacherous, unknown or golden
and sound of dew gathering, incense of ancient wood.
The heart gathers secrets: pearls of light to part gloaming,
the wildness of fighting and loving, sleepwalking fears,
shadows of scavengers perched upon pinnacles,
shouts of joy flying on a warm west wind,
your victories and beatings entwined as twins,
betrayals like rust in your mouth. Hope abloom in your belly.
The heart knows and bears and intuits all things.
It is a marthoner, meant to service you without fail,
a constancy overlooked as the air you breathe,
it’s precision a mysterious matrix, sinew and blood.
It doesn’t beg attention nor keep track of favors
nor run you ragged–until it’s become too late.
Within its inner chambers reigns a holiness.
Feel the prayerful music and dance? It lives for you.
Shelter and adore it, rescue and honor it
as it starts and finishes every single moment with you.
February is American Heart Month–this is why I am wearing red today and holding up a stone heart I found–and feeling gratitude. Diagnosed with heart disease at 51 a couple of days after suffering a suspected heart attack while hiking, it changed my life. But this year is my 17th still alive, thanks to medical interventions I’ve received and ongoing management of symptoms. I work at staying well, as 1 out of 3 women (and 1 of every 4 men) in this country die of heart disease. Learn the symptoms and signs of heat attack and stroke as they are not always obvious! Care for yourself enough to preserve this wonderful powerhouse that keeps us going. Check it out: http://www.americanheartassociation.com
What was it you sought,
ecstatic heart pounding,
heroic wings bringing you to earth
amid city’s wilderness?
You wait for the denouement,
crows circling, black wings
cutting into sky with cries that can wound.
I want to be the one to rescue you
but there seems not one way out.
To leave in search of help may
sooner bring down crow strategists,
precise, swift against your loss of power.
Your eyes seek mine as I leave you,
a pawn in nature’s game, beyond my reach
but not without this moment of sudden recognition.
(This is a juvenile red-tailed hawk. I have never been within about 3 feet of one, able to study it, then wait with it. The deafening crows were arriving en mass. I have seen crows harass an owl to the point of exhaustion and one assumes, to death. I wonder what happened to this exquisite bird. The Audubon Society was called; I was too far from home to help it in time and I am hoping the Society was able to send someone out to soon retrieve it and care for it. But I will never forget this encounter.)
The freshening darkness sings and snarls.
At the window she rests and waits for
that loft and heft of air that carries
all four directions into her emptying mind.
She doesn’t need to move an inch from the
extra wide bed (nor can she) that cradles her
smallness like a bird wrapped within
skeins of a variegated night.
It is a waiting that brings pleasure
as all the light is turned down.
Things that were hiding or resting
take their places, reveal wondrousness.
It’s all a giant music box that pops open as
last shards of color soon pale and vanish.
Why and for what must you wait? he complains
as he nudges her bones away from his heat. To be friends with life, she tells him.
He utters noises that suit the hollow he makes;
she watches beyond a narrow window, senses keen.
An easy enchantment as earth shifts, sighs;
wind brings sonatas to her strong teacup of a heart.
Everything living in the far-flung night is
larger, far more than she knows, but this is
a comfort: cats ferocious in hunger and desire,
handfuls of birds all glide and whisper,
squirrels and spiders that burrow and spin.
The moon glows without prejudice as the man
creates distance, keeps safe his importance.
Once when she was a brave child
she sat at night under the peach tree.
Savored flesh of tender fruit as twilit sky
stirred with a flurry of bat wings,
each no bigger than her fingertips.
Insects joined in chorus, brittle and bright.
Warm were the rocks, smooth beneath
her failed legs; night crawlers scaled her toes.
No one knew she had dragged herself out
until morning and they found her asleep
by a den of foxes. She had dreamed
she’d stood up, raced in fields behind them.
She grew but her legs did not lead where
she begged them to go. Later, more useless
than when she was certain of healing. Romance.
She has been more at home in breadth of bed
day and night. It has become less to bear.
Fine night creatures circle under the stars;
nature’s design makes room for her in the
unnatural world of trivia. Useless tears.
Night breathes on me and I am freed of it all, she says.
He snores on, head under quilts, blind and safe
from the dark while she floats, heedless,
toward the salvation of this in-between time.