words VARIATIONS: FOUR WORDS, THREE STANZAS

bear

grace

raven

point(ed)

VARIATIONS: FOUR WORDS, THREE STANZAS

1.

The raven has been flying to and fro 

over the earth. She has returned.

I think it will rain again. 

 

Do you know the meaning of grace?

The word you say before you eat;

the way a dancer walks in her pointed shoes.

 

The bear has been seen again.

We say “the bear” as if there were only one

running through the woods between our houses.

 

2.

It’s enough to make me believe

in Satan’s test of Job.

How much more can they bear?

 

The talking raven will not be silent.

Over and over she says 

“What’s the point? What’s the point?’

 

Like Hecate preceding and following Persephone,

grace precedes and follows us.

The question remains, “When?”

 

3.

Once I found a raven grazed by a car.

I set her in the grass, covered her with leaves.

The next day, in the same place, 

 

a raven circled me three times. 

The acknowledgement was almost more 

than I could bear. And I’ve wondered

 

since if the point was not gratitude but

taunt. “You cached me in the grass,

foul human, but see! I live.” 

 

4.

A raven pair tumbles over the yard

and the dog will not stop barking.

A bear climbs the fence and the dog is silent.

 

Raven is a trickster.

Bear is a god.

Is there a difference.

 

Walk the shore to the farthest point,

the place where sand turns to stone.

There is no limit to grace.

THE POET AND THE BEAR

THE POET AND THE BEAR

~for Karin, because I couldn’t go to her reading,

having instead a commitment to go learn about bears.

 

She emerges from the cleft between stones.

She is ragged and lean.

She smells hungry, like earth.

Her cubs clamor to be fed.

She digs beechnuts,

jack-in-the-pulpit bulbs,

things buried in bark.

She picks larvae from ruined hives.

 

The sun grows to warm her back.

Blossoms turn to berries around her.

Above her, music drops like petals from the sky.

SELF PORTRAIT: An April Prompt

Green sedges, buckthorn,
wild apple and willow,
grew in the hollow
where I hid, and cried.

Today, at dawn,
a single robin outside my window.
Later, ten thousand
blackbirds returned.

In overgrown pastures
beneath the weight of sunlight,
I steal blackberries
from the bears

who inhabit my dreams.
They rumble by the doors,
they prowl with the wolves
that no one sees but me.

If I were free,
I’d dig through ice,
cut away dead branches,
rake dead leaves.

My hands
are strong, my fingers
long.  Under my nails
the dirt of ten thousand springs.

Inside myself
I keep things
frozen, remote.
Sometimes I sing.

 

Written during Poetry Month, but it has raking leaves in it, so it counts as a fall poem.