Sunday, March 7, 2021

Two Small Poems for the Season

Baby Spring

the girls call
this time of year
Baby Spring,
and it is the case
that baby leaves
have sprouted
on the young pomegranate 
and the Japanese maple.

The sun has returned
to the back deck
after its three months
of yearly absence.
Pink magnolias swell
on the tree two yards over,
while white and pink blossoms
decorate the plum trees
two houses down 
the other way.

in this light,
in this time,
with birds chirping
from here to there
and back, 
how could a woman not
appreciate this very day,
this very time?

The ginger plants
are dancing.
Come! the wind says.
Breathe in the fragrance
of the early blossoms
on the vine below.
Let the sun
do you good.
The green world
is offering itself
for soul healing.

Sky Seeing

The day's sky
a touchstone.
The birds, clouds,
sunrises, sunsets
summon attention,
directing mind
upwards and out.

The night's sky -
Big Dipper and Orion
(visible now in early Spring) -
evoke the Great Mystery.
lifted spirits
and a settled heart.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Morning in the Realm: A New Poem

Every morning I go downstairs to write, and I look out at the expansive sky, the land below the hill we live on, and over to the hill on the other side of the avenue.  There's an apartment building on that hill that often catches the first beams of sun rising over the larger hills to the east.  Sometimes I imagine the building as a castle, lit up by the dawning light.  Here's a photo in which you can get a glimpse of this place:

Why am I telling you this?  Well, the "castle" came into this small poem this week.  Really, there's nothing at all spectacular about the morning, the building, or the poem.  But I can tell you, when I manage to have mornings like this, I am truly grateful.

The sun rises
above the
eastern peaks
and lights up
the pale walls
of the castle 
on the hill.
A black bird
wings west and
suddenly drops
as it hastens,
then rights itself
and lands on top
of a spindly pine.
This is morning
in the realm,
the bluing sky 
smeared with clouds,
the regal trees still
in the calm 
morning light.
Another day begins,
and we, too,
begin again,

Thursday, January 21, 2021

A New Poem: And the Wind Blew

Inauguration day felt hopeful.  Such a good thing.  I wrote this a few days before, and even with some renewed hope, I can't forget or ignore what feels true.  

And the power went out. 
The wind lifted and overturned chairs,
    bent and broke tree limbs and whole trees,
    crashed through wind chimes,
    tossed bits and pieces of things to the ground.
Was it coincidence that it was the last day of the presidency
    that also upended things,
    that plundered the earth for profit,
    that enlarged the rich and diminished the rest,
    that lied in order to sway the gullible?

Perhaps the wind came to disrupt,
    but not in the way he disrupted.
Perhaps it came from an earth
    attempting to cleanse itself and us.
Perhaps the unsettled feelings it inspired    
    were not a bad thing.
Things are unsettled, and so
    must we be.

A virus rages and mutates as we
    do not change enough, or fast enough,
    to learn the lessons of the necessary.
Will the change of power brokers be enough?
There are 400,000 dead in our land alone,
    and many deaths still to come.
Maybe mine.  Maybe yours.
Perhaps the wind was a warning
    as well as a cleansing.
Perhaps we should listen to the wind.
Strike out "Perhaps."
We should listen to the wind.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021


 Sometimes the poems come quickly, all of a piece.  This is one of those.

Anxiety rises and sets
like the sun.
Every day passes
like the last.
Sheltered, walking,
eating fine meals and
drinking bitter dregs.
We hold the tension,
pulled and pulling
this way and that.
Calm and safe
in an unsafe calm.
Holding on 
to a Christmas tree
past the time it should be 
tossed to the curb.
This is how we live
in the time of old age,
in the weary age,
in the world-beaten age.
This is what we have -
our hands full of salt,
our nights full of dark dreams,
our lives still shining with light.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Out of One, Many

Out of one, many.
    From the Great Mystery come
Asherah, Demeter, Cerridwen,
    Lakshmi, Hel, White Buffalo Calf Woman -
each a unique manifestation 
    of the sacred,
each a facet
    of a single jewel,
each a colored thread
    in a celestial weaving,
each opening a doorway
    to the One.

There is a goddess to touch
    every woman's heart,
to deepen her bond to
    this beautiful, bountiful earth.
Reciprocity with the one
    who chooses you
(who you think you choose)
    will yield a chance to
live as a tree does -
    roots down, branches up,
reaching for that
    which is greater
than yourself.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

I Dream of Swan Bones

The other night I woke up with a dream image; it was a plastic bag or a basin full of bones in liquid.  I knew they were the bones of a large bird, and I felt that they must be swan bones.

I've had a thing about swans since childhood.  When I was growing up in Baltimore, we used to go ice skating on a frozen stream, and there were often swans there that I loved seeing.  I also fell in love as a young ballerina with Swan Lake.  And then there was the story of The Ugly Duckling.  Who among us hasn't felt as though we didn't fit in?  

After sitting with the dream image for a while, I had the thought that one possible meaning was that I am about to embark on a new phase.  Tomorrow is my last chemo, and when I recover from that, I will be considering how to put my life back together.  This past 8 or 9 months has been a kind of spiritual dismemberment.  Maybe the dream is showing me that I need to reassemble the bones and reanimate them.  And not in the same way, not back to some old sense of "normal."  There is no normal now, not for me, not for any of us.  What will life be like moving on, especially taking into account all the uncertainties?

So, this poem came:

Stripped down to the bone.
the essential pieces of a life
float in a basin of liquid, waiting.
They were not buried or burned
but are held suspended, so that
they might be fleshed out again.
Wing bones, leg bones, long and white
wait for what happens next.
Will the feathers still be white?
Will the eyes be fierce and dark?
Will the swan swim and fly freely
once more?

I am also reminded of the story in Women Who Run with the Wolves of the one who gathers and reassembles the bones.  It seems a worthy task.  

Also, another swan association is my SoulCollage® card for my 4th chakra (sorry it's not a great copy - just a phone photo):

Sunday, November 8, 2020

 I am moving towards the end of round 7, having had my double-dose chemo on Wednesday.  Although there are always some surprises, I am very familiar with the side effects by now.  They will pass (I keep telling myself).

I use my SoulCollage® cards daily.  Sometimes I do Tarot readings.  But lately when I have big questions, I use the I Ching.  The other day, I got an astounding reading and this poem came as a result.




When I inquire

about prayer and opening

to the Great Mystery,

the I Ching responds with

“Field/Yielding” and

the Mother Goddess,

the Dark Animal Mother.

Six young yin lines,

no relating hexagram.

It is pure and clear

in its message.

She gives blessings.

She receives the dead.

The field is open

and enfolds all things.

It is my task to yield

to each arising moment.

There is no way to doubt or to

brush away the guidance

with the customary wave

of my cynical hand.

I am in a great field.

I yield.



The SoulCollage® image is called "Offering."