Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Suddenly Like Light

Time changed without his notice, suddenly more like light
tracing the tops of pines, spectrum of greens finer and more haunting
than tones of an Indian raga, mysteries in a needle's breath--
eyes ached against borders of being human, to know
this shade of a young fascicle at dawn compared to its late afternoon
hue, when the odor of baked pitch and resin presses up
to the canopy, or this night color, tantalizing, back-lit by autumnal half moon--
too delicate for his own receptors--green which forced his kneecaps to earthen debris,
drew out a prayer, lips fervent and wet, to just once see with eyes of an owl or hawk,
to divine from this ebony green how old the needle was, how much life
it contained, how long until a breeze would usher it from the branch
and fold it into the earth.  He began to think that if he watched closely,
the whole future might spread out before him in a ray of light. 
He couldn't remember when the thought first occurred
to him; it seemed now that he'd always believed it.


© Michael Mahoney, 2014

Long-leaf Pine
Photo by Tony Russell

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dream of the Seed-Bird

In my dream our young bodies prowled a warm night, 
a garden-park, vacant besides us.

As we ranged, breathing mist,
we saw a free parakeet with flowing ribbons clipped in his crown feathers. Bright comet descending, he stopped by the fountain, admired his new colors in reflection. 

I crept close. He was slow to react, so I caught him.

I removed his crippling decorations, then saw that his wing feathers were delicate sprays of millet, shedding seeds onto my palm. Surprise loosened my grip, and he flew.

I have failed as his righteous savior. He is too fragile, too delicious to live; he'll be giddily stripped at dawn by a dozen seed-crushing beaks. But that is Nature's way, and I am its student, so I must follow to see.  

We slunk after, feeling our midnight way across well-kept lawns by instinct and by science - 
we are hunters and scholars. Soon we saw him land on a roadside sign; he was not alone. 

Two more parakeets, a budgie, and a red Amazon parrot perched together, greeted and groomed, with beaks and claws gently setting each others' plumage right, tucking in the seed-bird's millet, so his wings showed just sleek feathers. 

They chattered on. Without translation I understood this convention of uncaged birds, sharing stories, commiserating, celebrating free life. I need not save them; I need not observe their bitter endings. 

So I learned. So we learned.

We turned to each other to celebrate free life. We set each other right with fingers and mouths, landed together for a while, then bounded apart into the dawn. 

   © Laura Seale, 2014

Malabar Parakeet
Photo by Suriyahumars
from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, October 13, 2014

Insomnia Ghazal

"What was your name again? When did your chair get so close?"
The voice of all tired women in bars with no close. 

His eyes found the checkered tile of the bathroom ceiling.
It's hot enough tonight, he muses, to forego clothes.

God, why did you deign to teach me the tongues of angels
When my weight of sin wouldn't let them dare to go close?

Counting Games: Sabbath is Seven. Victory. Seven.
Freedom. Seven. (She clenches her eyes, sleep is so close).

He traded baseball cards for a new glove, forgetting
The shears. The tangles of briar beyond the fence grow close. 

There is no sleeping here. No sheep to corral tonight. 
What hope is there without counting? The night knows no close. 

"When will you learn?" mother laments, brushing my wild hair. 
Like I'd care for style in treetops where the wind blows close. 

Again: Sin. Three. Hell. Four. Shame. Five. Submit. Six. Slumber.
Seven. Restful. Seven. Sarah. Two away-- so close. 


© Sarah Fletcher, 2014

"Complications of Insomnia"
Mikael Haggstrom from "Medical gallery of Mikael Haggstrom
Wikimedia Commons

Monday, October 6, 2014

Standing Proud

There are times when you drive 
a square peg into a round hole,
as a trunnel fastens
post to beam, but today it’s round into round,
and when I’m done, the pine panel
will hold fast to the frame
for a lifetime or more.

I touch the protruding head 
with a calloused thumb,
finding it stands just a little proud.
With a scrap of sandpaper
I smooth it and touch again,
all the time thinking of Dad’s words
as we sawed and hammered 
at something long-forgotten:
“It’s the proud nail that gets driven down.”

Another lesson from that country poet
that even now shapes what goes upon this page:

words that as I trim and sand these lines
remind me that brilliant phrases are given us, 
that what I leave behind is more debt than gift.


© David Black, 2014

Mid-19th C. post & beam barn with pegged joints
Whidbey Island, Washington
Photo by Anne E. Kidd for the National Park Servise

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Inspired

Inspired by two young women 
who at less than half my age 
already understand and articulate 
twice as much wisdom and knowledge
of the heart, 
and how we are all connected – 
or not —
to our own pain 
and the pain of others, 
to our goodness 
and the goodness of others, 
to the spirit within 
and to and from and back 
to us. 
Inspired by two young women 
whose words of poetry 
flow like song, 
assuring me, 
and starting somehow 
the continuing process 
of my own healing.
Even at more than twice their age. 
I take still small steps 
and gently peek beyond 
the curtain of my soul, 
once again daring
to look deep 
and connect — with 
God, 
self, 
and others;
allowing my pain to be expressed, 
knowing the peace that comes
with letting go and opening up
to be 
inspired by God.


© Anne Cressin, 2014


Jona Noelle and Flora Lark
"The Fire Tigers"

Monday, September 8, 2014

Praise Song

I praise the West Wind that blows down off the mountain
Whipping up waves and currents
On our back yard lake.
I praise the Sun as he reflects and shimmers
Bright diamonds moving across the water.
I praise the weeping willow as she
Waves her hair wildly in the wind
While the perfume scents of the blooming trees     
And flowers waft our way.
I praise the Seasons – turning on the wheel of time –
Each becoming more precious the longer I walk
This earthly journey.
Though darkness gathers and day draws to a close,
I Thank the Sun setting in all his revelry and
Bless the promise of another sunrise yet to come.


© Diane Harner, 2014

Sunset
Photo by NOAA from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, September 1, 2014

If Only They Knew

Who are we to think that we’re any more alive than the stars,
Who spend their days burning, exploding, screaming their innermost selves to one another across the mute emptiness of day to day void,
Livers of a continuous present,
Residents of an oceanic nothingness with the bigness to hold them, now and forevermore, face to face in an unyielding embrace,
Dancers of a billion years’ dance,
Runners of an eternal race,
Giving birth with their final act of death,
Legions of celestial mothers patrolling heavenly haunts?

And we, spectral sparks cast carelessly from the surface of our tumbling ember,
Have the audacity to name them.


© Axel Cooper, 2014

Van Gogh's The Starry Night
from Wikimedia Commons