Poem a Day: 29

The Prompts today just didn’t seem to be mashable. Here’s the one for the Poetic Asides blog. We were supposed to write a poem titled “Total _____” I guess I took that blank too literally.

Total Blank
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

I’ve drawn a total
loss of words a total
what’s the thing a total
you know I can’t a total
quite remember total
like in Scrabble
this brain fog
words just
dissipate
and I’m
left with
a total
blank

The other prompt, from my friend Linda, was Swallow:

Return
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

We’re no Capistrano,
but every year, just the same,
some day in early May,
we wait to see them
winging low over the fields,
swooping so close
they could be trying
peer into our faces.
Every spring,
we watch,
hands shielding
our eyes,
for their return.

Hello, Toadflax!

psychedelicrainbow
The other night when I was desperately trying to take a photo of the rainbow that would come even close to portraying the bright colors, I went through every funky filter on my phone.  This one came out really odd, but I like the psychedelic feel of it.  It’s kind of like a poem–it might not capture the physical reality of the moment, but the strangeness of the impression actually creates more the magical mood of the moment than the blander regular photos.

I have begun walking in the mornings.  I almost hesitate to say it, because it’s only been three days, hardly long enough to call it a habit.

Gratitude List:
1. Birdsong.  Swallows chittering.  Crow barking out directions. Sweet chirrup of goldfinch. A flock of swallows circled above the soybean field up near Mt. Pisgah Road, and one in particular sang a cheep-cheep, cheep-cheep, cheep-cheep.  Then it would swoop low, look me in the face, and say CHEEP-cheep right by my ear.  I find it amazing that something so tiny would take on a creature so much larger than itself.
2. Sun on flower faces.  There’s a yellow snapdragony-looking beauty that I have been calling butter-and-eggs.  Apparently that is actually one of its common names.  I must have pulled it out of deep memory.  Its Latin name is linaria vulgaris, and it is also known as Common Toadflax.  I love that so much, that we have a local plant called Toadflax.  Pleased to meet you, new friend.  Also, Queen Anne’s Lace veils the road edges, and the blue eye of chicory is everywhere.  Little patches of St. John’s Wort peek out from the poison oak.  The yellow bladders of jewelweed flowers are beginning to appear.
3. Cool breezes on the skin at the beginning of another hot day.  Warm sun on my face.
4. The scent of milkweed.  Milkweed a-buzz with pollinators, sending its aroma down the little breezes into the hollow.
5. Cold water infused with lemon, mint and basil.

May we walk in Beauty!

Letter

I have been thinking about you
more than you know, you know?

Here in the mornings when birdsong
enwraps me in a blanket
of messages in whistle and trill,
while the early morning chill
is dissipating as the sun
rises over the ridge,

or when I am out in the field,
or walking up our winding hill,
or pulling out the pans
to make tuna noodle casserole,

my heart will suddenly veer,
shift into a different focus,
and be where you are.

That little sparrow that hopped
along your windowsill
and peered inside
as if searching for someone.
That was my heart,
seeking you out.

The little white puff of cloud
alone in the blue sky
that seemed to follow you home.

The flash of sunlight
as you turned a corner.

I have wanted to give you words
to help you feel less alone.
Something that rhymes with hope,
or sounds like the whisper of the arms
of sturdy friends encircling you
through this slow and vicious storm.

Today, watch for sunlight on a bird’s wing,
look for the golden face of a dandelion in the grass,
the shadow on your kitchen table
as the day leans into afternoon.
Listen for the trill of sparrow
and the knock of a woodpecker
in the distance, from the park.

That vibrant net of color and sound
is woven by watchful hearts,
holding you.

 

My gratitude lists sometimes get a little birdy.  That’s okay, really.  Sometimes a bird is more than a bird.  Sometimes it’s just a bird.

Gratitude List:
1.  Yesterday, in the low afternoon sun, in a long, low, curving arm of the walnut tree, I saw a bluebird and an oriole sitting within two feet of each other.  Beauty, she just gives us so much color.  And then there was the crimson cap of that red-bellied woodpecker, set off by his black and white stripes.  So dapper and handsome, he.  That long, elegant bill, and piercing, knowing eyes.  I know I am just cheating here, putting at least three gratitudes into one so I’ll have more room, but let’s just pile on the fun: swallows in the gloaming yesterday, swooping low over the grass and up into the last rays of sun, their wings shimmering green-blue-green.
2.  Picnic at Sam Lewis State Park.  The view, the view, the view.  I think I saw all the way to China.  To Virginia, to Vermont, to California, at least.  Panorama, distance, layering of mountains and valleys.  And, of course, the River winding through.
3.  Last night I woke up only once before five o’clock.  No restless twisting, no aches waking me up.  It’s been a couple of weeks, and I was beginning to think that this was going to be my new reality.  Sleep is really a wonderful thing.
4.  Have I said how much I love my new job?  And I haven’t even started yet.  The planning, the dreaming, the idea-making, has filled me with such an incredible surge of fresh energy.  Jon has caught fire, too, and he’ll come down off the tractor with some suggestion or idea, or memory about a helpful teacher.
5.  The way the Earth gives us what we need.  I have been drinking fresh nettle and plantain tea lately to help with the allergies.  It has taken a while, but after several years of almost no allopathic allergy medication, my body has begun to respond to the subtle and gentle relief of herbal treatments.  Some days when I go out to pick the herbs for tea (nettle, plantain and mint), a patch of ground ivy will seem to shine a little more brightly, or a breeze will sift through some violet leaves, like they’re begging me to pick them, too.  Dock and dandelion, catnip, yarrow, chamomile, sweet clover.  Makes a mighty fine tea.  Now, if only I can get my kids to drink it.

May we walk in Beauty!

Prodigal as Love

yellow walnut leaves
twist and twirl silently earthward
lavishly giving themselves to breeze, to breath
prodigal as love

 

Gratitude List:
1.  Dreams.  And dreams.
2.  Passages, fledgings, relinquishments
3.  Raisin bread toasted
4.  Swallows migrating through
5.  New rhythms

May we walk in Beauty.

Finding Your Sacred Song

I looked up mockingbird in Ted Andrews’ Animal Speak.  He says the keynote of the mockingbird is “Finding your sacred song.”  In these days when the mockingbirds are singing from treetops in every hollow and on every hilltop, I wish you that finding.  May your song rise clear into the air.

Gratitude List:
1.  Deer and lion and rabbit and Suzy.  Messages of compassion and courage and listening.
2.  We managed to catch Pepita without too much trouble after she ran across the street and under the grumpy neighbor’s forsythia bush.  And we have a sort of funny story out of it.
3.  I feel so good about what I accomplished today, all that mowing and making supper (Shepherd’s Pie) and spending time with a friend–and the children didn’t melt down and fall apart in the meantime.
4.  The way swallows climb the sky.  How they beat their wings against the wind and rise up it.
5.  Forgiveness.

May we walk in Beauty.