Friday’s Offering: Forecasts

(Photo by Cynthia Guenther Richardson)

The river hastens without desire or regret,

carries remnants of gleaming heat with

a forecast of chill whipped and stirred.

Rains huddle at the horizon in silver-bunched blueness.

Splashes of warmth do not keep up with

night’s drama, a cape thick with crickets,

their songs wrapped about me.

I close my eyes to hear and feel.

Leaves whisper and fall, kiss feet and face.

Within these months has come

a stutter of healing, invisible, slow.

At the edge of wounds are signs of strength:

sleep still and deeper, bursts of laughter,

the sound of your confusion no longer

so raw to my heart, if still startling.

I accept that you wander, surprised,

in a vaporous land with fewer borders.

You fumble and shrug, embarrassed-

for a lifetime you designed and wielded time.

We still understand one another.

But sometimes I wish you would stride

down all the paths with me,

your hand in the crook of my elbow,

mine in yours, no words needing excavation,

with nods of encouragement for the redhead

who sits alone looking for happiness.

We already have carried it between us, sister,

and hoarded its beauty for all that lay in wait.

I was more expert at preparing for poverty.

But who ever expected such hungering now?

Who could have imagined this wilderness lay ahead?

I make my way toward you, arms opening,

and you hand me a mother of pearl hummingbird

with a tender smile:

“You still love these birds, don’t you? You can have mine.”

(For those with dementia and those who love them.)

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 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.

 

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: This, and What Lies Ahead

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Green lake, MI. Photo by Cynthia Guenther Richardson

This sweet tang of Indian summer,
how it turns me over with its
strewn luxury, all that brass
and fire, coral and sapphire.
The air is laden with promise;
sun hitches a ride on my back
as if tagging along for the thrill.

And then a small vortex of wind
calls out, careens, an edge of ice
secreted in its wild timbre.
A taint of sootiness threads
this sheerness, such rose of sunsets.
Clouds gather in fists, then dance.
I know well what lies ahead,
heavy velvet days that merge
with chilled silence of night.

All will be safeguarded,
blankets flung about and the
wood stove will be radiant with heat.
This heady flare will dim, one verve
becoming another as great trees
surrender their raiment and rest.
How far am I now from beds of snow
for angels, peals of laughter to scoop
and fill up hollows with winter?

So far that, when I step off the plane,
the Oregon rain with its fineness
and ferocity, even somber romance,
cannot rival the dangerous splendor
of ice strung from northern eaves,
mystic swords winking, startled by light.

Friday’s Passing Fancy: For Wild Grassy Seas

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A swishing dance of barest stems was
perhaps nothing but a passing of the wind
and yet it came to me as kindness.
Sun with great dome of warmth blessing all,
flowery or buggy face a measure of its power.
It was welcome that I sought, leaving worries,
adding nothing to my thought than
assurances of earth’s own wisdom.

Those fine, secret hours. A promise of unity,
and forgiveness of capriciousness.
The girl I was, the ways I yearned–
heaven to lie among those favored
ones, creatures and plants gathered
without malice or demands.
It was no less than sovereignty
of beauty, ease and genius of this planet.

But it was only half (if that) a story then.
The lives of humans proved felonious
as well as courageous or reconciling,
gave or took such scarlet blood as well as love.
My own life was like others: peaks and rills,
made of rust, of lightning, midnight and morning stars.
These things meadows told me, too,
as I lay lolling in its wilder, grassy seas.

So I am reaching toward sweet if resting grasses
and their counterparts who advise: patience.
Abundant, brave spring will circle back.
I will let the world turn in its shadow and silt
’til messenger dawns arrive, bring us to thaw,
bestow upon us each a deeper truth, dear God, once more.

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(All photographs by Cynthia Guenther Richardson)