Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: This World

Not the sea but the salt

not the sand but a grain

not the sky but the blue

not the cloud but the vapor.

Not the tree but the root

not the lilac but a bud

not the cave but a rock

not the lake but the fish.

Not the storm but the brightening

not the mountain but a peak

not the trail but the dirt

not the valley but the meadow.

Not the sickness but the healing

not the grief but the weeping

not the terror but release

not the hunger but the charity.

Not the moment but beyond;

not despair but keeping on;

not the end but regeneration.

…Not ailing world of bruising dark

without a rainbow bursting dawn;

not any street, alley or byway

without your waving at the windows;

nor the ragged thrum of hearts

without holy currents running

a rescue boat with nets and light

to gather and bind our wounds:

not this world but better with

an emergent covenant of care,

and not the blades of discord but

our human voices singing

bless you, amen amen amen

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Rescue

Photos by Cynthia Guenther Richardson

From a nest of dark root and sponge,

among the frenzy of greens

arises this one small star

into thin sliced light. A vinca jewel.

It cannot be made unbeautiful

in tease of sun or muddled drear.

A commoner of perfection, it come to me a salve,

its color a prize released from stealth of ivy

for my eyes which open, close, open.

Treetops impale and tug March clouds,

are watchful as I rest and rise;

nodding fans of ferns kiss

my legs, musky beds of moss

suffer my hands and feet.

I live here, too, and from wherever

this day arrived it now follows elegant

lines, spasms of light and the succulent shade,

bringing sky to rustle of feathers

to this skin I wear as poor if valiant shield.

See, they each bear me down to the river

so I may siphon off miracles.

Savor every proof of life.

Be rescued again.

Friday’s Pick/Poem: September Segue into Courage

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This is for all the times
we have not done enough
of what we might have done;
for moments when
language dangles between us
as heroic swinging bridges,
devised but distrusted;
for nights and days when
the ominous and sacred
are neither well discerned or heeded.

We can still seek luminosity within
pockets of space and thought,
recruit hope from the morning’s song.
And act as if truth lives here,

our efforts reverting soul’s unease,

filling needs for mercy multiplied.

I write this for you when you think nothing else can be offered, slumbering in a cave of defeat.
It is for when plenty seems paucity
and we have forgotten there is always
a greater sum than failed or shrieking parts.

You ask, I ask, what can save us?
Is not the value in our moments of courage,
readying for receipt of what may come? It may be better; our raggedness knows nothing.

What unspools next may morph with creativity, cause our cells to dance eternal, counsel us to believe. In kindness. To help each other gather up, move to the warmth in the dark, closer.

So lift your eyes before you curse every broken thing imperiling or wounding your feet.
Look up, praise the greatness of your God

without end.

Do you think we strive, fail, dream, mourn alone?
This universe does not quit, it labors, it redesigns and recovers, it offers evidence of this such

blazing love

aflame for us.

 

Friday’s Pick/Poem: Sea Wisdom

This is a moment again

that must count for dignity

and delight, here now as wind sculpts wave,

sky and its clouds slink along mountain,

sand favors skin with reminders

of pleasure and ache, body-mind

singing and howling secretly

-life this perilous and sumptuous,

it can barely be spoken of-

as summered light sifts from earth

and heaven fleeting colors,

shifts the veil of infinity,

imbues you, you and you,

yes (drinking wild sea)

most fortunate you

Friday’s Pick/Poem: Bodies of Trees (for my father)

They glowed like sumptuous bodies

lazing along a horizon, curvaceous,

heartstrings stilled from neck to belly

as they awaited your hands.

Violins wounded and worn out

were lain on the table, spruce or willow

parted from maple, ebony fingerboard set aside.

Burnished by use, flame and curl of grainings

brightened in a small pool of yellow light.

I handed you tools that pried, filed, shaved,

smoothed, fragile curlicues falling,

glue pot bubbling its tangy stink.

Your voice pianissimo, calando, as always

now more so as you split, rejoined wood

tenderly, and through thickened air it all

spread to me, the longing for symmetry of beauty,

its promise of more, all emptiness resonant

with respect for wonder,

and deft measures of love.

Tonight I rest inside this poem, watch trees,

maples shaking leaves as percussion,

pines gathering notes of blue shadow,

willows draping skirts for dancing.

The crickets call me closer to twilight.

And I know you were not satisfied

with hours of exquisite work, nor

your good, honest music making

nor the lives of your children of whom

you knew far less yet expected much more

but I tell you these trees are yet singing,

a timbre of richness and strength of the wood

and it takes hold of me as sudden light in

this deep forest, its vibrancy a sound post

for spirit, life’s movements a vibration

I claim, hum, can sing in kind solitude.

They are made of every song you taught me

and every song I did not share.

The bodies of trees ever pull me,

a living offering of grace,

their sacrifices never forgotten