THE SWING

THE SWING

~after Marc Chagall

 

His mouth is open, mid-sentence.

The soles of his shoes are yellow,

his pants are green, his jacket

is blue. The figure behind the swing

is a brown blur. The swing

is in mid-arc, coming toward

the artist. In the ether 

above the child, three cats

and a dog named Crazy

who is brown as Earth

are springing into being. 

Crazy went away once

for a fortnight. When he got home,

he fell asleep at once. The animals

came with the swinging child

when he drove from California

to Vermont in one day.  The cats

are named Thak, Willy, and Quilly.

They all died before you were born.

 

 

~Realized the next day that this is an imaginary Chagall painting. NOT Cassatt!

 

 

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PRACTICE

 

PRACTICE

Let there be no routine.

Let the white cat disturb

your meditation,

the black cat interfere

with your tai chi.

May the dog demand

to go out while you’re trying

to pray. 

May your husband knock

on your study door 

because he cannot find 

his glasses. 

Your old friend will call

while you are chopping onions

in a mindful way.

Answer the phone.

MEDITATION WITH ANIMALS

MEDITATION WITH ANIMALS

 

I set my coffee cup on the table, 

open the book for lectio divina.

I will not light the candle today

because the north wind blows through the window. 

The white cat creeps up onto the table

and asks to be in my lap. I comply. 

I open the book. The dog, who has been

asleep on the couch, looks out the window

and sees a rabbit in the yard. She screams

to go out. I set the cat down, cover

my cup with a saucer to keep the coffee

warm, replace the bookmark, and get up to

let the dog out. My husband, who had trouble 

sleeping last night, is still asleep on the

porch, so I guide the dog past him, silent. 

I hold the dog’s collar till I’m sure 

the rabbit has escaped through a holes in

the fence, and I let the dog go. She tears

around the yard. I return to my table 

and book, listening for the dog’s call to 

come in. The cat settles back on my lap. 

I read a sentence, and there is the bark. 

I do not cover my coffee this time, 

but go through the porch to the back door 

and let the dog in without waking my

husband. I give the dog her rawhide bone

dipped in peanut butter and return to 

the table, the cat, and the lukewarm 

coffee. I read another sentence.

BLACK CAT ZACH

BLACK CAT ZACH

 

 

I am the only one who spells

his name correctly:  Zachariah.

He appreciates that, and rewards me

by losing hair on a patch of his belly,

by leaving half-eaten mice on the rug,

by snagging my sweaters with his claws.

He is seven years old today.

Climber, racer, shoulder-sitter, 

keyboard menace, (;ljhd )

friend of Thumbs Magee, 

destroyer of plants and china bowls.

His beauty covers his sins.

March Prompts #2: ON CLOCKS

ON CLOCKS

~a response to yet again another daylight saving time hangover

Clocks should be limp, like Dali’s,

should flow into the tunes we sing,

the love we make. Clocks should

liquify and drip from the eaves,

turn to jelly and ooze through cracks

in walls and floors.  Clocks should be

loose, relaxed, rubbery, unsettable.

Clocks should be like glue, like wicking,

like olive oil.  Clocks should be

controlled only by cats or lazy dogs.

EARLY MORNING TAI CHI

EARLY MORNING TAI CHI

 

Slow, the Jade Lady works the shuttle.

There was a dream about the dead cat

who did Tai Chi whenever she moved,

stepped with great care, raised one paw

in graceful greeting.

                                     Just because

he can’t move slowly doesn’t mean

I have to hurry all the time. The coffee

makes a sound going into the blue cup,

the pen whispers words on the page.

The breath.

There is no hurry.  The grave

will still be there.

 

 

 

Winter Prompt #21: A Country-Western Song

 

A COUNTRY-WESTERN SONG

Winter Prompt #21

Refrain:

He came through the night,

runnin’ all alone.

All he’d had to eat

was a thrown-out chicken bone.

 

 

This old cat has seen a lot of years

From the night I saw him first—

A streak of white across the drive,

Just fur and bones, but real alive,

All hunger, fight and thirst.

 

Refrain

 

We trapped and took him to the vet

We thought we’d set him free

When he was fixed and had his shots,

But it turned out he liked us lots—

My good old man and me.

 

Refrain

 

So now he’s sleeping on the chair

All full of fish and cream.

It goes to show that any stray

Just needs a hand along the way

To realize his dream.

 

Refrain, fading. . . .