Friday’s Poem: Flowers Do Not Forget

Every other breath could be a reminder

of where he was that day when

much that was wild and miraculous– like raindrops

illuminating the backs of her strong hands–

came to an end.

The finality held no sound;

his breathing paused as

she measured her steps through the grass–

as if afraid she could lose her balance–

and so it was she departed, soon a ghost of love.

He returned to the garden, watered flowers,

kept all pestilence at bay;

watched bees circle and taste offerings, flit away.

He called her after time carried him forward.

She answered, said

your voice still sounds like honey,

and laughed away sadness.

It was those words, her laugh that he recalled as he

sliced flower stems, separating very few

from the group, embracing them with a loose grip

until he found a vase for a home.

And the bees followed, sunshine blessed and waned.

But he did not bring in bouquets, anymore,

those colors and fragrance a triumph.

Such a gift he could not accept–

so left them to the quiet of evening,

forgetfulness of night,

until another tending of his garden,

more gathering of any love left there.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: The Sound

No speaking, my love.

This must be the moment we remember.

Between one day and its night,

amber water and horizon below and above,

your hands and my hands.

Everything now envelops this northerly air

and we, it, even our faintest breaths,

mine alongside yours, and exhalations of shadowed seabirds,

orcas with their white bellies and eyepatches,

ghostly visitations here, in Puget Sound.

You yearn for all you cannot have, impatient with this life.

Those better parts of your desire where we are free,

set loose like wayfarers with no need of a compass.

But this moment feel the pull, pitch, roll of waves,

let your eyes awaken as sunset unveils its fire,

let soul alight, mine leaning into yours.

Take this breath, this welcome. Want for nothing.

For this, no speaking, my love.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: These Feet of Rain

This is how life can turn,

on ghosts of smoke, spin of air

and flare of yellow as

clouds grab and release

the weighted, bilious sky.

My toes seek the rarified wetness;

my breath does not halt and drag.

This thundering morning

is not (for me) like the other eleven

as firestorms snagged and exploded

not so far from this locked, taped door.

Long hours have been disappeared into jaws of flame,

bound by smoke, thief and master.

Who believed that time could be erased

by a manic advance of fire that roared,

massacred like hordes unleashed?

There are too many who dread the final report.

But here, now, I unlatch, open my door a crack,

lift my nose to sniff a slick of breeze,

push outward inch by inch into open air,

step into the diffident moment and

an exhausted, mourning earth,

a world that still spins within loss.

I cannot believe any promise of full healing.

Every step now feels like a lingering cry,

a call to wilderness whose great heart blackens.

Still, now, these feet of flesh and rain

hold fast to the primal dirt,

my face lifting to a startle of sunlight.

Saturday’s Poem: Put Me Outdoors

Put me outdoors, into the arms of evening.

Let pungent winds enfold me, lift me to a hiding moon.

May birds whisper sweetness, cougars lie with paws close,

deer stir inside pearled twilight, eyes bright as honey.

Put me on a saved trail, into satin cloak of dark.

Let the sky find me, Cassiopeia and Cygnus, loyal Venus.

May waters ruffle and mirror, fish tip into blue hush of sleep,

river otters float among dancing grass, muddy stones.

This useless poem is trying to find itself,

is an urgent dream

as demon fires kidnap, possess

flailing branches, a tapestry of roots;

to punish the life-giving dirt;

smother forsaken ones, their dwellings of love.

How does one sleep in a night like this?

How does one rest when I cannot

step outdoors to take in a breath,

am not to trod the trails first

shaped by God’s mastery, of holy

regard for all? Days and nights

are sleepwalkers, are at the mercy of raging

otherness that covets the beauty.

Nothing but ash and tears track the stinging hours,

the birds silenced, the cougar screaming softly,

the deer racing and wandering lost, the fish–

the fish who float somewhere, waiting,

small sleek bodies shimmering

in garish light of ambush,

this curse of wildling fires.

My heart pounds the heavy drum of me

as forests fall, let go, are defeated, gone.

Please, put me outdoors into the mourning night;

grant me one prayer for gifts of the emerald life–

for healings to lift up all creatures once more,

to allow more worship in the arching realms of leaves,

under maps of a trillion stars, light messengers of hope.

Soon release us of this beast’s dominion

and teach us to become wise, how to live in these times

o God o God o God amen

(Close to a million acres have burned in Oregon in unprecedented firestorms. They burn near me. We wait for containment, for victory over them, and a long recovery.)