Friday’s Poem: Sweetness of Things (another for my children)

The sweetness lies in the small things

(as you know), the fire opal of sun

spreading its brilliance on the horizon,

the flick and fold of wings in a moss-adored forest,

the wink and riffle of water cleansing muddy banks.

It also comes when unexpected, when silent

wintered days sneak in to sit with me too long.

What arrives are packages

with great cushy socks for icy feet,

bright bottles of red and green chili powder,

an easy can opener, tubes of silky rose.

There is a card with “hogs and kisses”.

I open a wisdom handbook for my German-Celtic soul;

lift up a vase of peace, soon to overflow with blossoms;

Given, too, is an intricate drawing with declaration:

“Love is Everything”, and so it is, we know it is;

a poem that traces the manner of our circle

with irregularities and faithful, visionary ways.

This family morphs, stretches; it does not break.

Its divergence of pieces are gathered,

unified, set into bright overlapping mosaics.

Our hopes ride like feathers on swift wings

that turn, dive, rise and realign paths

in secret lowlands, imperial skies.

We follow light streaking through darkness,

sing songs that flood the air with ache,

amazement and random delight,

and can heal with tenderness and laughter.

I am gifted with these, by these, one by one.

For sweetness lives in such small things

and then grows bigger.

This is our constellation, one we need not see

but always know; it keeps us and leads us

homeward to the gorgeous might of the heart.

Friday’s Poem: A Small Map to a New Year

Let it begin, the invisible slide into another year,

feet and minds discerning the way from now to another now.

We have the moment, this one captivating us once more

as it enters full consciousness with sluggish drift, a fizzing spark,

a lone howl arising with chorusers lined up watching time.

The old wishing, an ardor for new and surprising, arises.

The new year’s smallness is made larger in expectancy,

though it will be more altered by random schemes.

Like the barn owl that I saw every walk: it disappeared.

Its feathers amid ferns make me weep. I thought it would stay

on and on, a sign of grace in the strife.

We cannot tell a story before it germinates,

is freely given or exchanged like a secret,

or peered at with a flurry of hearbeats: what will be made known?

And so another year’s unveiling is launched,

subdued, perhaps glittery.

Outside my back window, nothing startles me and yet

the old wide sky pinks up and oranges over,

then greys until, half blinded, I still lean

toward limbs of pines and shelter of mountains,

the horizon beyond current reach.

What is this time amid eternity’s strange magic?

Wind shivers my lashes as I step outside, but there

still remains a tick tick, tick tock: clock towers overseeing the night.

So then let it begin. We have done this before,

made time important as we still

opened arms and found them laden with sorrow,

the unweildy bulk of others’ wants and needs

but, too, astonishment and happiness,

love’s sudden salvation amid wars and storms.

Urgency can move us from victim to hero,

faces cleaned of bitter disbelief, transfigured by hope.

Oh, we are immense in our humaness.

We are brave and heartbroken,

scarred and beautiful beyond measure.

I am bowed down by miracles despite the malfeasance.

And the river knows what it knows as I move

through the days, walk, pray, am silent then sing.

In the center of forest, at water’s edge is renewal

but there is more ahead, women and men

and children rowing and trodding through the world.

Their breath as my breath, their fingers grasping my fingers.

We have learned how to walk on our knees all the way

from sunrise to dusk, and to carry or be carried,

have endured and languished in rock-hewn nights.

So we have lived these times, we have lived them in pieces

and in whole and those still here are living still.


Waiting for one moment to join

another, this age moving to that,

our scrap-stitched courage leading us

to the greater heart of humanity as we

cross bridges to lights in a beckoning distance.

I am crossing with you;

we will clear a path, devise our maps as we go.

Wednesday’s Words/Poem: Such Times Can Be Made Anew

Photo by Hakan Erenler on

As you tumble from the thicket of this year to another

and contemplate grievous wrongdoings in this world,

and how your mind has felt folded with sorrow

or slowed to a stop by the bridle of fear,

and you ask if one should wonder, at all,

why not pause. Look further.

Remember when you held enough hope that you

turned your face toward sunrise as day swung open.

Remember how the taste of honey graces

the buttery warmth of biscuits on your tongue.

Remember when you threw your arms out and

ran through the meadow greeting grasses and flowers.

Remember how, when someone collapses weeping

upon your chest, you are strong enough for all of it.

Remember that when your wounds were harsh that

healing remade wholeness, a weave of lace and steel.

Remember how bees, beetles and birds keep

good company among a delirium of cherry blossoms.

Remember when you dove into green lakes to search

for anything and fish flashed through your legs, and

you got tangled in murk so broke surface for air.

Down you dove deeper despite worry of leeches, for treasure.

Remember the firelight, endless stars dancing above pines.

And then recall this moment here, now, is one more passing,

as our moon and sun grant us rhythm, power, radiance.

If you hold on, beauty missed today will show up tomorrow.

No one can bear up your life as you can, nor clear its hurdles.

No one else can inhabit your heartbeat, nor recreate your story.

So give it more tenderness, allow it the good rest it deserves.

Ignite your natural illumination so it pulses in this fog, that cave.

Your walking in this place of thorns and berries will bless the ground;

if you lose sight of things Light will gather to lead your feet.

It will bring you along with heart and soul, and you’ll think of angels.

Love remains everything you ever wanted to know.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone, and may you embrace your blessings. Find the small joys; may we each be generous with them. I will be back later next week.

Friday’s Poem: Breathing the Breath of Winter

(Photo by Cynthia Guenther Richardson 2021)

The breath of winter is flung upon all

and the walk is scented with promise of frost that

may visit or transmute, warmed, into rain.

I am hoping for rain but planning for frost,

even ice, prepared for what comes.

Or I want to think so. I grew up in a land

of dense, deep snow; even birds and branches

were bitten by its ache, shaken by zero dregrees.

The beauty held me. I thought I was lucky.

Being alive was spectacular,

eyes watering, cheeks crisped, mouth puffing breaths

that floated, friendly clouds, in air that stung.

Today I am not afraid of much at all,

knowing I have lived through things like

water pipes freezing, the fire going out

so burning furniture to keep us warm,

cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner,

being thought a nuisance or failure

so later harmed and forgotten.

Suffering threaded through my passion for living.

Now I suffer with those who have shared such troubles,

and those who know danger and brilliance of snow,

the wonder of slow warmth after sheen of ice.

It is not easy learning to navigate

the wind’s vagaries.

But today I am lucky, still. I know where

I am going, to the broad river and home.

And this wind may carry a long, low moan

but it releases a ribbon of song in between–

and that is what I listen for, and that is what I hear.

Friday’s Poem: Leavetaking

I am going, I must leave you, for this

is a time when much that can be taken in hand,

into heart and held close is not disposable

but a need made known that might save you.

Outside I slide into fecund air, clean air.

The weight of a capped acorn, a burgundy berry

is not newsworthy yet form and function

matter more than chatter’s clackety-clack

travelling the table, words so much wail and

steam in a room before reaching me.

I don’t want to talk frailty and politics,

brutality and the states of moneydom,

but walk the deep singing sweet earth

that cushions my feet as I crest the next hill.

I climb harder, higher to better see the whole.

This is the matter I find at hand;

this is a way that divines who I am

and feeds me the elixer of great love.

I am shy before the sun’s curtsey

as it leaves lounging bodies of mountains,

this rarified country of trees, elegant creatures

putting themselves to bed

and I think with head bowed

Oh holy this perfect light and dark

that yet house us, deserving or not.