COMING TOWARD HOME

COMING TOWARD HOME

 

I want to love things all by myself,

not looking sidelong to see

if others are loving them, too:

the sky like old blue glass held in by a tracery of trees,

the great horned owl’s cynical question–

Who’s awake?

the falling cold stars of snow.

 

One night I snowshoed in the woods alone,

the full moon lamplight gleaming

through the lace of soft snow clouds.

Coming toward home I saw in the frame of an uncurtained window

the painting of a summer orchard

above my piano against the green wall,

my husband moving across the kitchen with his teacup.

I thought I would break for joy.

 

This is an old one. It was published in Calyx, in September, 2000

March Prompt #0: ALLOWED

ALLOWED

March Prompt #1

No purpose but pleasure:

Tai Chi before breakfast,

coffee’s bitter “Aha!”

Not to clean the air

but because it’s lovely,

the pink cactus flower

above the desk.

Bread is not nutrition.

Wine is not a drug

to make you live long.

It’s not exercise,

the morning walk

with the dog.

THE CRUELEST MONTH

THE CRUELEST MONTH

Here, it’s March.

The back door was opened.

Now it’s closed.

We don’t know what to wear,

where to turn.

The petals of yesterday’s crocuses

are frightened stiff today.

And Lent, of course,

our season of deprivation.

The less you eat, the longer you live.

 

The dog has to go out, never mind chill below zero.

On this deserted street, through my muffled head

I hear the nine o’clock bells ringing

from the steeple of the Federated Church.

An old familiar carol.

I stop to listen while the dog sniffs

a plastic tricycle left beside the sidewalk.

“The world in solemn stillness lay” is it?

“To hear the angels sing”? Yes.

A pause, and then “Once in Royal David’s City.”

Through carelessness or a great kindness,

through the misery of March,

Christmas rises triumphant.

Now, through the instability of things,

I need this wild sweet music so much more

than I did in December’s beginning time.

 

There is a time to sing,

to eat and drink abundance,

a time to remember the return of light,

youth and brilliance, salvation,

the givenness of everything.

There is no one else on the street,

so I begin to sing along:

with the poor, and mean, and lowly. . .”

The dog looks up at me, puzzling,

and wags her tail.

Winter Prompt #19: Forget Matilda

FORGET MATILDA

Winter Prompt #19

No problem. I never, ever

remember her. Waking at 4 a.m.,

that old fear clutching—I am not

remembering Matilda. Walking

by the sea, filling my pocket

with white pebbles, admiring

the pair of osprey hovering

beyond the tide-line, I do not

think of Matilda. Stretching

my ice-cleats over my boots,

clipping the leash on the dogs’ collar,

following the ways of rabbits

through the snow—no Matilda.

Singing lonesome madrigals,

buying onions and soap,

drinking coffee with my husband,

feeding the cats,

reading to our grandson—

Matilda never enters my mind.

I have long list of sorrows,

but the one thing I do not regret —

I never remember Matilda.

“Leisure”

“Leisure”

What is this life if busy as hell

We have no time to sit and smell?

No time to sit beside the bogs

And smell as long as cats or dogs,

No time to scent when fields we pass

Where some one stopped to drag his ass,

No time to find, as though alone,

Where someone chucked a chicken bone,

No time to ponder every track

Of each deer passing onward, back,

To use your nose to best avail

To search the neighbor’s garbage pail,

No time to sit and contemplate

What each and every neighbor ate.

A poor life this, if busy as hell

We have no time to sit and smell.

 

 

I wrote this somewhat iffy poem ages ago—a parody of one of my favorite old poems, “Leisure,” by William Henry Davies— when we had an airedale. We have another dog now, and it still applies.

April Prompt #11

April Prompt #11

WHAT DID YOU MOST RESIST BEFORE YOU FOUND IT SUITED YOU?

David’s #3

Every thing taught to me to do.

There are adjectives for people who don’t:

shiftless, selfish, irresponsible.

In my circle, too,

despite Martha’s sister, unChristian.

 

SAY YES!  REACH OUT!

A friend to all and a sister

to every other Girl Scout.

I tried.

 

*  *  *  *  *

 

These days, I say No.

Reach in.

I walk alone for miles,

sit in my house with a book,

or in the meadow with nothing

but thoughts and birds,

or in this café

with my notebook and pen.

 

How introverted.

How lazy.

How unlike Mother

and the people

she so admired.

How unVermontish.

How useless.

April Prompt #20

APRIL PROMPTS: #20

David’s #2:  A Sea Chantey

How wise we are!

Though the sky be dark and the voyage be long,

Yet we never can think we were rash or wrong,

While round in our Sieve we spin!

  ~Edward Lear, “The Jumblies”

 

That’s what it is, isn’t it?

A-sea in a sieve, spinning around

under a dark sky. Who knows where

we’re going. No compass, no wheel,

no sail. Will we pass Easter on the back

of a whale? Will we reach the Isle of the Blessed?

 

Or is that where we’ve been all along?

Morning came again, and spring.

Does it matter where?

How wise we are!

 

Walking this morning, in the rain,

I watched an old man in the wrong lane

on the crest of a hill, driving steady, heading south.

I called the Sheriff. What else could I do? I’m not ready

for anything, even the black-haired baby who sailed in on

Thursday, at dawn, as oarless as his Nan.