Saturday’s Passing Fancy: This Wintry House

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This sturdy house of seven,
how it gathered close snow and people,
the ice-light of winter a magic reveal;
how yellow circled thrumming life, a
collective heat of its dense center:
such music, affection, courage, prayer.

And she lept into the beauty of it,
dove into wide, steep snowbanks,
rode the glistening waves on her
Radio Flyer or creaky toboggan
which transported her to Alaska
or Antarctica, toward the edge of dreams.
On her tongue snow melted sweet-sharp,
water for the thirsty child
who could have been lost but was given
doorways to joy, exploratory powers to
forge freedom in December treks.

Oh, such dancing flakes sparked air, drifted
in tenderness to kiss her face,
wind sang out, trees waving bared arms;
her mittens and boots grew encrusted with snow,
feet were certain of their simple fate as she made her way.

This house with simple Christmas greetings
on door and porch goes blood deep,
felt like our hearts worn on our sleeves.

And I confess each year my spirit strengthens:

how the God of Love reaches to uphold us,
how the winters can rescue a woeful child
how wonders cannot be separated from the living
and those gone weave a music of their own

how Christmas still carries hope of peace,
a great promise of healing that cannot be undone,
a blessing of mercy folded ’round broken hearts,
how good will can reign when all else has fallen away

Friday’s Quick Pick/Poem: Beyond the Ache is This

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To move, be moved by whim or design,
lilting, dipping on breezes, an invisible kite
shimmying, weightless in suspension,
a take off that is meant to fast ascend
like a creature of air, earthly or otherwise.
Any flight, any wings, lifting til gone.

I once so yearned for it, true freedom.
Plotting release from gravity,
shedding this tinsel thin flesh,
taking on feathers or silver scales,
then starting that vertical trip through
gale, fire or ice, into brave mercurial space.
Farthest away from this place of blood,
pain a clinging cape, and more
betrayals slinking by, misshapen things.

Yet my spirit found no passage for a final portal;
strength grew in place of bitter longings.

Where would wings have taken me safely?
What power would have redeemed all
unforgiven and unforgiving
and fill the cave of my heart?
Not one thing that is temporal.

Only deeper springs at bottom of the well.
I am older, know how to remember the good.
To take a bountiful day, all the Giver gives.
I was made futile by my youth but

live on, corralled by autumn’s
offerings: leaves innocent and vivid
while giving their last on earth;
this painterly stalk and branch
separating an afternoon sky;
happy howl and bark of dog; cluck of hen;
jazzy skitter of cat paws and tail;
bombast of notations from the crows.
Trees sing easy to one another and me
as I pass with a limp and nod.
My hope throbbing, a wild drum in my chest-
glory of joy careening in maze of veins:

bless and take every, any, all
this life this life this life

Friday’s Quick Pick/Poem: Tempo Change

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Photo, Cynthia Guenther Richardson

Despite a dire mood I enter the world
then woody trails, carrying my slight hope.
Forward movement of shoulders to hips to feet,
arc of arms and toss of hair, face lifted.
Enveloping me is ripening air, foretastes of fall.

Ah, I awaited this as a child, the sweat to chill.
I yet long for breath deepening, musk at the edges,
that change of meter, a slide from silken to rugged,
the sharp distinction between largo to vivace 
as in a series of restive dreams.

Skin will protest, toughen from little bites
of wind boisterous with damp and cold.
But the tree canopy is already happy, leaves
soon emboldened, colors a gleeful warning.
Then the flight: twig to air to dirt like daredevils.

So soon to prepare, I will wrap feet, hands,
pull about wool and fleece, lower the sashes.
No longer made for brutal beauties of snow,
I welcome a thousand acts of symphonic rain,
shuffle of leaves breaking, ancient fade of light.
It is a bearing down and a bolstering back up.

My heart now staccato as I scale a next hill,
mind shakes free of weight, chest rises, open.
Come close, season’s genius, tang and vivacity,
wide opalescence of sky, pulsing of rainfalls.
Let loose of holy robust brittle autumn,
dance swift into lean shadows of winter,
temper and burnish me maple bronze, apple red.

Bring my soul a harvest of wild moonlight.

 

(Belated) Friday’s Quick Pick: Hawk Eyes

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Photos by Cynthia Guenther Richardson

What was it you sought,
ecstatic heart pounding,
heroic wings bringing you to earth
amid city’s wilderness?
You wait for the denouement,
crows circling, black wings
cutting into sky with cries that can wound.

I want to be the one to rescue you
but there seems not one way out.
To leave in search of help may
sooner bring down crow strategists,
precise, swift against your loss of power.

Your eyes seek mine as I leave you,
a pawn in nature’s game, beyond my reach
but not without this moment of sudden recognition.

(This is a juvenile red-tailed hawk. I have never been within about 3 feet of one, able to study it, then wait with it. The deafening crows were arriving en mass. I have seen crows harass an owl to the point of exhaustion and one assumes, to death. I wonder what happened to this exquisite bird. The Audubon Society was called; I was too far from home to help it in time and I am hoping the Society was able to send someone out to soon retrieve it and care for it. But I will never forget this encounter.)

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Walking the Rocks

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Photo by Cynthia Guenther Richardson

He recalls his brother used to walk the rocks
in bare feet, leg muscles bunched and
hair long and loose, head tilted up to sky.
Heavens were unbearably far, earth a burden.
They made a fifteen year journey from
childhood to adult but it seemed beyond time,
was their time, separate from the slow footed pack.

No one dared deny the larger stories,
how his brother could fish with his hands,
call fox from its den and elk from the
shadows, conjured from perfection into fields,
alert yet perplexed. And girls in his dreams
whispered apologies for not finding him sooner.
Many people followed him into morning, past dusk.

Or this is what was believed and some say
imagined, but they didn’t know all. How he
investigated variables, lived outer limits,
puzzled out planetary maps and knew the arc
of a symphony of stars. It was trying to
be the younger, to desire a man’s wisdom,
be radiant as moonlight and tough as hide.

Stop desiring, big brother showed and said,
just live it, meaning do a thing, don’t pine
for it so now this is what second brother does.
Those days are half-erased when they both
would sling rocks and drop secrets
into undertow of the aged, roiling river.
He, the one left, walks rocks, runs fishing boats.

But his brother went up mountain to build a
hideaway between salmon bones and bear claws,
has turned contemptuous of gravity’s ties.
But he is no longer innocent of loss, for
he has abandoned his only brother, left the scene,
gone so far that smoke signals no longer rise and speak.