Friday’s Poem: I Prefer Happiness

You once said that although you were drawn

to its music, you didn’t understand poetry,

all metaphor and simile, and why

didn’t people say what they meant.

You are a storyteller–we, born of the same mother–

but prefer spoken word, facts propped up by feeling.

I wonder what the difference is, in the end,

our voices as specific as bell tones parting silence.

Still, you want me to write all that you’ve labored over

but cannot quite say: the black heart of things.

We know how ominous was that era of darkness,

suffering a hair’s breadth from one another

though unknowing, each whittled down

by futility and terror, toughened by a scarcity of hope.

We were young then, now are well seasoned.

No, my dear one,

I would rather speak of ebullience.

Your effervescent laughter–

like Respighi’s “Fountains of Rome”–

even as your memory dims and the years truncate.

This: your expertise in salvage and reclamation;

your gift for leading and charging past dead ends.

Your strength as you bore on your back mattresses,

blankets, food to the midnight alley’s lost and woebegon.

Your trusting welcome of all creatures, whole or ruined.

So let’s set fire to the past and watch it burn,

smoke eaten by the heavens, flowers rising from ashes.

I would rather speak of happiness, our flags

forged from tatters and twigs, raised to the wind.

Our paths, severed then rejoined and our lives

linked forever not by the crucible of loss

but by every instance of warrior sister love

given and gathered and nurtured with light–

our song made up between us as we have sought our paradise.

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 Passing Fancy/Poem: Here We Go Again

close up of tea light candle against black background
Photo by George Becker on

So here we go again, a-swim in burgundy blood,
minuscule camera moved upstream into secrets,
the interior business of the engine of all.
The precocity of this act!
The magisterial powers of science and flesh,
the thrum of the vessel which
allows me enchantments by day and
freedoms by night–such privileges do I have.

My heart today matched my footsteps,
the trundling and climbing as the
fist-sized drum spoke of work and wear,
and small terrors and triumphs.
But it labored right, almost lightly, a gift.
My heart’s dense interior, inner sanctum
of a great house that bears my thinking,
doing and being, how it transforms into
a fortress of peace, rock of resolve.
It offers promises of loving and giving
for this small person, my passionate designs.

My simple devotion is to serve it well,
as it serves me even with remediation.
To uphold its intentions,
as it upholds me even when under fire.

So here we go again my genius companion,
tender ally, key to breath and bone,
sinew and pore, taskmaster and teacher
of wisdoms, stirred with rhythms, a symphony
weaving ache with ardor, this open heart
that sings of all I will not yet lay down.

Let us enter your temple once more;
let us bless and heal, reap more miracles


(My WordPress readers/friends: I was diagnosed with heart disease at 51, and have two stent implants that have worked beautifully for 15 years. Lately things has been a bit wonky so Monday I will once more undergo an angiogram, with a possible intervention. Thus, I may miss posting next week– but I intend on returning soon!)