Friday’s Poem: Spring Visitation

The magnolia stirs you with fantastical flowers

and just like that some loose part of you

scurries off and becomes a child, wanders under

rustling green canopies, blossoms fluttering

atop your shoulders like scented butterflies.

Then there is a building, a stand-in for a homely castle.

It beckons you, so you pause.

The oval of stones is formidable; the steps

are welcoming, and when a man

who was sitting and in his own reverie leaves,

you approach, eyes half-blind in sun’s shine.

It is not the castle of a childhood domain

made of birches, nor a garden of serpentine paths

and a scarlet bridge across a lotus pond. Nor even

the backyard with pines and the Kwanzan cherry tree

dazzling with fat, fluffy blossoms that decreed winter over, done.

It is not like stone churches where you

were given to shivers of visions as music soared.

But this sturdy oval means more than its simple parts,

a resting place for, say, an explorer-empress

with attendant froggy friend, a chorus. The gathered

trees are nodding with beauty, and living breezes

skimming grass, leaves, water, skin.

She–the child you were or wanted to be–

reaches the threshold, turns to smile,

slippers on feet glistening lilac and gold

as she steps up. And vanishes.

It is a tear in the veil of time.

A chimera you cannot see long.

A reminder that recalls all the innocence

that sings in the small vessel of a child.

The moment is a kind hand hovering

over your head like a benediction from afar,

and you hold it close and move on.

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: Just Let It Dance

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Everything seemed to arrive and hunch in

cold shadows; their words cut away kindness

as if it crowded the need for survival.

The world’s demons set them awry,

every day a forgetting of the rich marrow of life,

and night offering a hunger for solace that

was left empty promises. They sprawled

inside gaps and creases of sleeplessness,

dreamed of finer love or loss of it.

But as day broke open and music flew

under the clouds, they gave up and danced;

the mad din muted, then fell away.

Their movement stirred wild breath of sky,

and warmth glistening on throats and brows,

light scouring vision so a long view was seen.

Careful at first, a slip here then a turn,

hands to waist or back, chest to chest,

bodies tender and strong:

they stood in concert again.

It was a beckoning to joy that drew them,

each step a reclamation of freedom:

a low dip–glimmer of good intention,

a twirl and sidestep–preludes to all

most valued being reclaimed.

They found a way back in a re-fashioned waltz,

as sudden dancing must not be denied

if the hound of chaos will not quit.

An embracing–rooftop or kitchen, cafe or park–

is meant as reprieve. A rescue.

A witness to goodness, a window to hope.

It may mean other dangers are skirted but

love is bestowed like this, hand to palm,

feet a quartet of action, hearts tapping

with easy precision, spirits like kites victorious:

they would, each to the other, belong again.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Good Christmas/This Day So Long

Photo by Gabriela Palai on Pexels.com

The denouement of this day is long, so long,

even though morning’s sheen wore off worry,

polished any dullness with a lick of sun escaping.

A shimmer of expectancy colored time

so that the year’s cracked shards were kept

in place by a paste of will and hope.

This Christmas Day: an awkward, mended beauty.

There came movement between whole and parts,

small but needed seesaws.

A barrage of rain loosened sky’s heaviness.

Music’s enchantment scooped extra weight,

tossed all into the well of deeper hearts.

*

Prayer and wonder, a hand on shoulder,

laughter rising to the top, chai and babka-

such things bear pains and puzzles of life.

And yet, the greatest victory is not made

of these but endurance while

spun in, out of sorrow and amazement.

Longings, dangers, frailties-

words spoken, unspoken-

so much wanted, denied and replaced.

The music and candlelight loosened

this confinement: darkness now is lit with

exaltations and whispers of love.

God holds steady as I move

beyond precarious moments.

*

Faith winnows all offerings like a good psalm,

and it seeds this night with mysteries of the Divine.

It is a good Christmas; we have survived.

It is another day passing. It is this life given and received.

A long time of it, still; body and soul reach for rest.

I close my eyes, see the snow of childhood,

its flung nets, its dome of splendor,

and leave the ache of bitter and sweet.

Tomorrow will soon appear, a white flower

on the verge of blooming inside the spill of fresh rain.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: First, the Winter Walking

Not everything is sharp-edged, roped with worry or

shaken by the sight of winter’s familiar greying

as it gathers a curtain of chill, soon

to dissolve in staccato of raindrops.

A wool-bound fisherman at the river knows this,

and those nodding as they clip along the river walk

and the dogs that collide with me, all glad noses and tails

before they strain toward seagulls far from sea

that traverse this other water throughway.

I can’t help but be happy. I’m stuffed with nourishment

of wing and leaf, damp and moss, the wind a soft slap

on my cheeks, a tweak of muscles and bones.

Late light crystallizes the far horizon as I go.

November flows to the south where

waterfalls release the hurrying. These hills

settle deeper into irrevocable green.

It’s a lesson that comes when we see it,

the seeping brightness inside torrents,

rich mud snugged to asphalt and cement,

minty scents of winter with smoky autumn.

I am given this balm, ancient reassurance

as the river wends its way through wood and field.

There is kind remembrance of winters that have shone,

and will shine, and this poultice of rain and platinum clouds.

And, too, a daily circling up with love despite

tribulations, which one by one will

fall to earth and water,

stone and ash beneath our feet.

All photos by Cynthia Guenther Richardson 2020