Friday’s Poem on Sunday: Return to the Falls

For wind which carries rain and sun on its breath,

and secret messages from sea and valley

I give thanks.

For trees and ferns in green garments

which dance, shelter and bend,

which break, fall and sustain

I give thanks.

For fragrant trails hewn of rock and dirt

so feet can trod up the mountain

I give thanks.

For waters that race and slink,

that house fishes, stones and newts

I give thanks.

For shadow creatures passing by,

and bright flip of wings and tails

I give thanks.

For song of beak and river,

rhythm of hoof and paw,

ancient tales of the mountains

I give thanks.

For this seeking life that was half-lost

in forest magic of the Gorge

and rescued there again

I give thanks.

For my soul passing through

holy ways of the Creator,

this woman- a shard of the design,

one day joining sand, air-

I offer most humble thanks.

The picture of me on the crook of the tree is a tradition. Every autumn for 19 years I have hiked the trail to Bridal Veil Falls in the Columbia Gorge, where a heart attack felled me at age 51. Gratitude does not enough express what I feel every single day –and never more than when partaking of nature’s wonders. Anyone recovering from heart disease–please do not give up hope.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: September Moons

This was then, before shadows

pounced at the soul of the city:

orange moons strung by walkways,

golden globes floating on shining surface,

the tea tastes floral or astringent inside smiles.

We slid under the high beaming orb of September,

laughed deeply, and no tears. Love such as that.

So natural, arms about one another,

a tale or song on our lips and as we turned

to watch the crowd, more of the same.

If we stepped away it was to take in marvels.

When we held back it was to drink from

well of fragrant night, trees whispering,

night ponds beaming back happiness.

A Chinese Autumn Moon Festival

pulled every person closer, made designs

of hands and voices, music of colors,

a magic so generous it throbbed

with expectancy of more and as kind

as all we passed between us, eye to eye.

This was then, true, and yet

it lives still within, indelible–

a red lantern a good omen swaying

in the brush and hush of twilit breeze,

falling waters compositions like dancing hearts.

Sky widened, a canopy of luminosity

and every passing hour was safe,

even raucous city greetings

as we stepped beyond the inner gates,

reluctantly, arms linked a moment

before drifting each to home.

Yet in not so far a distance awaited two new moons,

babies yet to join the circle, just

then nested in the jubilance of our daughter

and made stronger, more sublime

by our tenderest admiration

and offerings of the flare of autumn’s peace.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Soul Sailing

Yachats trip, last day 092
Photos of Tillamook River rest area, Tillamook, OR. by Cynthia Guenther Richardson

I am taking a small break today from the blog and may take a day off next week if the ocean calls me. But I offer this poem from 2017 and an uploaded audio of my reading. (In the future I might try more recordings; I sure miss face-to-face poetry and other public readings.)

I hope you find a phrase or two to uplift or enjoy today. Please have a safe Labor Day, US readers.

That light is captured by treetops again.
It shakes free its magic and onto me.
I slide into a leafy river afternoon;
earth refines its song, music for living.
What is this tugging
at the corners of my soul?

It becomes a broad sail shining so I go,
passing by smallest creatures that
know me by my name and I, theirs.
This is easy falling in love,
sun riding wind caressing earth,
more sparks from the universe.
Everything is in this balance.
Whatever has been, shall be sacred,
revealed in cathedrals of earth.

So tell me: why do we hurt each other?
Do the skies wound mountains,
or mountains defy their forests,
rivers bleed cradling lands or
lands shun bits of stones hidden deep?
We claim the same privilege of life;
it seeks not to rend, never to ruin us.

Forget not how the Giver loves;
hold back no small act of honor.
Find the root and its branches;
they anchor us one to another.
This I recall by glossy waters,
by the greenness of things.

There, light is captured by treetops again.
It shakes free its magic onto me.
I slide, reach inside a bloom of sun
sheltering a summer sky, soul gliding
like hope to truth, heart to heart.

Yachats trip, last day 081

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Summer’s Song

A summer day sings a choir of trees,

tonal brilliance leaping branch to leaf,

skimming long-necked flowers or snaking vines,

then at rest in clouds and dirt, pooling in our hands.

Wind is breath of heavens unknown, unending;

sweeping valley, summit, plain or desert;

across swamp, the sea and brook;

and swirling, fleeing about gorge and tunnel.

Summer succor is warmth laid upon our flesh.

It wakes sleep walkers with notes of invitation.

Music to romance the ones who must crack open to mend.

July’s tunes dance where there is no one hopeful

enough to move to rhythms of living–the times so

reviled, forsaken and stolen. Suffering, cries that echo.

But still, let summertime enter, settle, sweep out the rooms,

shore up the fearful or weakened, calm the proud or jaded.

Summer unfurls its golden streamers, builds such lattice of shadows.

It deepens the seams of what is torn then slowly repaired.

Find herein a refuge of beauty’s secrets; tilt faces upward.

What can we not love about this winsome repertoire of calls;

gold glimmer astride wings; sunshine-ripened fruits;

and greenness, a miracle of this our yet-turning sphere–

such power, promise cascading from chalice of an azure sky?

Listen. Attune the soul with sweetness,

for it ever sings, the summer, generous

and abundant, day in and day out,

and will most sing for us here, now.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Memory Amid a Garden

Such summer spun sweetness has a meaning

I cannot quite name in late day as

ruffled petals warm in sun, sturdy in my fingers,

a luxury with their beauty. But a waft of

memory languishes, a visit from the land of youth.

Happiness teases. Yes, you. Me. How we knew

so much had to come true, for to imagine it

was to conjure from the startle of our present

unto tomorrow’s certainty of victory.

It’s voluptuous denouement, soul, heart, body.

But back then: one arm lain upon another,

a cheek pressed like this, petal against petal;

our words fragrant, rising and falling

in a waterfall of flowers, then quietness like

a veil lifted to show us truth of everything.

Our shining foreheads bowed

to each other, hands fingertip to fingertip.

To revere such love was easy then,

second nature, a daily theater in which

we improvised gaily yet restraint

overcame us, closing eyes of shyness.

There, now I catch the drift of your voice.

That sound that made language radiant.

It filled ears with generosity every time.

And these pinkest roses scent my thoughts with you.

They whisper of aqua satin, white lace,

deep eyes brimming over like wells of dreams,

and hidden, too, pangs of other hungers

and yet that world we fashioned stood

for all eternity, a fortress, pinnacle of art…

before saying over and over

an embroidered

then unraveling,

misgiving and

final farewell.

These roses, I see: meant for you.