Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: When He was Here

When he was here with her

the day was a fragrant sheen

of lily-of-the-valley, warm as skin

lolling under June’s bloomed sun.

With lips to her shoulder he

murmured love, momentous

as incantation in strange new language,

words like tiny birds freed from other worlds.

She sees them embracing at water’s edge,

fingers entwined, fledgling roots nourishing

roots they thought could never separate.

But there was no partaking of night’s

indigo power nor the incarnadine of daybreak.

They somehow got lost at the horizon, yet

spoke here and there like ghosts

through want and need.

In time life was built of something else,

they grew up, grew resolute, older, old.

But even now she hears his voice of honey,

words as wings brushing against bare shoulder,

recalls water and wind tasting of salt, amber and him,

that time a relief, a reckoning-

back then, when he was here, she was his

and they became crystalline in the passing light

Friday’s passing Fancy/Poem + Photo: River Devotion

(Photo copyright 2020 Cynthia Guenther Richardson)

Some of us live right here,

creatures who cannot be on land alone,

and others of us find our way to

mercurial sheerness swallowing sky,

powers of light that gather and hold,

breath of river infusing our lungs.

I come to cleanse.

I come to loosen tightened bands of humanness.

To hear with hungry ears, see with fearless eyes.

My blood runs rich, cells plump with exuberance

while my soul flees struggle to find again

river strength born along bank to bank,

its beauty carried deep and far

as I follow its waters on lithe feet,

a confirmed devotee of God made visible

Friday’s Passing Fancy: A Shadow Life/Light of Sobriety

My instinct is to pause near the weakened

and set apart, those men who shuffle bayside

with drooping eyes and lax arms as if waiting for a ferry

that has never come for them so why stay,

those women whose lips are dusted with crumbs,

no drink to wet and warm the slow tongue.

They speak different languages or none at all

but their stillness or words slip about me like lassos;

I am tugged toward a hidden cry of a mind

that seeks and cannot find.

It makes me homesick

for a happiness that can come to all.

You pull back- say we all must find our own way.

Distance may be the strong fence that keeps you in

a safer place, away from possibilities of

madness or privation, as if that suffering

will resurrect yours, bring you to your knees.

I say let us all kneel and nod in recognition:

humanity is dragged through life as well as lifted.

Let us net pain and give it refuge,

carry to brazen streets or yielding sky

any pleas for mercy as a potent offering.

Let slouching man and thirsty woman

meet our eyes with theirs and be known,

feel no shame of crippling loss. It is no sin

to be alive and stumble or to sense

an invisible gathering of angels or others

as their hearts labor for them without judgement.

To be is all any of us we have;

we are each given this, our chance.

Once we were closer to this than believed:

one man, one woman who carved

obdurate caves in which to conspire or hide,

and came the drink, a failed banishment of grief’s specter,

and the drug, a frail bandage to repair bloodletting.

Listen, I know those ones are my people as much

as those who manage dawn to dark with boldness,

heads so high. They have their own tender spots,

their lack of surety. I am not fooled.

I am versed in the strategies it takes to live.

You and I live like common meadowlarks,

migratory, adaptive, field and wood, art and hope

and Divinity the common passkeys

as we careen through lighting strikes of love or fury,

and ride on a wind that sings hallelujah

then drops us in mud and shining grasses.

Earthbound, still.

We know that sun and moon light disguise

and reveal, that shadows and darkness

do the same. One cannot live without

learning navigation, noting signs, getting honest.

But the truth is a shape shifter:

though we live in plenty and strength now

we could be leaning over water’s edge,

or crouched with bread heel in trembling hands

and passersby would turn their heads

only to become blind, or to soon forget.

We must never forget our sisters and brothers,

their bravery and their ache,

what we were, too, yet were welcomed

into a circle and given reprieve.

We must not forget this, how tenuous the line,

and give not pity but dignity,

an easy nod, good word, a signal of love.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem + Photos: What We Did Before Christmas (Avery & Asher)

Photos from 2013 by this writer

Those were times of easy-deep bonding

disguised as banter with little shoves and winks,

our group aesthetic so void of perfection as

velvet icing skimmed skin, spicy cookies taste-tested.

Moist, warm air crackled of sweetness

and all inside was calm while a slicing wind

rattled black-armed trees. But we

brainstormed, got to the play of work

and hours floated by like slow wintry boats.

Architectural plans came into being at your command;

bedecked snow people frolicked; roofs grew festive:

it was a black, cold eve kept bright as a snow squall arrived,

one more adventure waiting just beyond our door.

Those gingerbread houses stood strong a long time,

made to last a season.

You grew up before we expected it and

if I loved you then, I love you more now

(you may not know how infinite that is)

and I hoard such times as treasures,

kept safe for the unknown tomorrows,

rich nourishment for this grandmother heart.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Catch, Love, Release

The wise way is to catch the beauty

and then release, give no thought more

than comes in holding a moment

and then, filled up, even happy,

relinquish it to curl and twist of wind,

to three sister fates that weave this life,

and watch it sail into blue sheer day.

But the desire is to hoard this leaf of

vermilion golden carmine,

this late fall jewel caught in chilled fingers.

I want I want the heart and hand say

but my spirit advises

admire, lightly love, let go.

A compromise, then: tuck

in a nook for safekeeping,

for another seeker who may

embrace wonder and move on

toward winter’s advent and its gifts

(Photos by Cynthia Guenther Richardson 2019)