Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: New Talk, Old Talk (for Craig)

We friends learning each other carry stories–

being told them, telling them ourselves–

and speaking for myself moving

like a thief to steal this or that one

from pockets of thin air–

and we trade one chapter for another

in the corner coffee spot: talk reveals things,

talk connects.

But I am in between the moments

as treetops gather and release

sweet bits of sun, gold gleanings of time.

Gratitude spills from our lips

while in me an ache drifts by, a pale feather.

Loss bleeds, though I say only that

a sorrowful message came early today.

Strange how one thing begins, another leaves off;

breathlessness coexists with breathing;

victory is won for some as others flail in darkness.

That one may have left the earth without

one’s hand in another’s–this thought stabs me–

and that hope is held close until there is nothing

brave enough to prop it up against emptiness,

so is abandoned:

this is not what I speak about.

That knowledge slips through a safety net

of words that holds fast the fragrant coffee shop

and moors me–and others–to the ordinary world.

But later on, when on my walk unspooling in the hills,

there are pines that offer themselves

as protection against wind’s wounding

and my legs and heart propel me to the crest,

November cold ripening, roughing my skin.

And as I pause in a swath of sunshine there

comes a whistle through a maze of branches

that holds, a moment, then releases your name.

But I hear it, feel it as I stand alone by the road,

and it’s like a passing train on a high ridge

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 Passing Fancy/Poem: Where It Happens

This is it, where it happens that

life turns, turns, vast kaleidoscope

all brilliance of human mosaics,

a quixotic time come true,

this gathering up of more

stardust into fine arrays,

rare skin of butterfly wings,

sea eyes fathoms of wonder,

twenty fingers of power,

twenty toes of shyness,

pulsing spirits of trust

offered to our daily welcome

of grace unto miracles: they

dismantle–such ease of it!–

every single doubt in life:

these our gifts earthly, holy.

 

 

(Readers, the twins arrived safely. Bliss…)

Friday’s Quick Pick/Poem: Sister, Alright Now

It is quite alright, anyway, sister,

this is one more reconfiguration,

a slip-slide to the right,

a gutsy careening downhill,

a pulling this part closer,

letting that old thing fall,

leaning minor or major to the left,

reaching past what obscures the way,

one leg rather tired maybe dangling

but another still dancing a jig,

one shuttered eye seeing as much

as it can, another luminous and brave,

while our spirits move in vivid infinity

or sing with the rivers, wind, stars,

and burnished wings stir old romances

the rock in your hand a shadow

of old hurt that will bruise no more,

as your rallying for the unwise or forgotten

becomes quieter (we all need mercies),

your thoughts rustle over blue-green lakes 

like a flock of startled geese,

and reflections ripple, smooth your  

face as your eyes widen and narrow,

two sunsets. I see the universal you

 

and the reason this is on my mind

(besides you being you)

is that all of us everywhere must one day

realign renovate rescue relinquish

transfigure our bound-up lives

into a more tender, valorous humanity,

into the torch of compassion,

a superior imagining of love

 

and so, also, we two–you and I–

will hang on, mosses clinging to dirt

on old paths remade for the detours

no matter what they inform us

no matter what you can no longer name

no matter if turquoise skies fade to grey

no matter when the next bell tolls

sounding each new arrival and leave-taking–

 

I will drop from the line and find you.

I will remember everything, my sister.

Especially and deeply for you.

 

 

Friday’s Quick Pick/Poem: Notes from a Journey with a Daughter

 

Ecstatic, potent as a siren with wind-ruffled allure

the sea breaks beyond our lifted hands.

You spin, bend and unravel a cocoon of mist,

hair tossed wide like a burnished net,

catching cries of gulls, shadows of cormorant wings.

 

A dangerous joy! I follow, brace myself

for demon waves that may dare to capture you

but you disappear, no backward glance.

 

I discover you barefooted atop the rocks,

waiting for shoes to float in.

Not stranded; alive, shining.

Eyes are drenched in sea light,

hands licked by stinging salt, alien foam,

and barnacles hold firm beneath your toes.

 

Broken shells you give me, agate adornments,

and laughter that calls to fishes, seaweed,

and you sing free a blaze of light along the horizon.

You dance toward an incoming tide

for you are falling in love, out of

sadness and its dogged fears,

your woman-child wildness stirring up

sweet tang of air, hope anchored again.