i just wanted to share some recent poetry I have been writing this summer on sabbatical. some of it was written in Wyoming, some in the woods in Tennessee, and some is just the outpouring from the gift of time.
I cross my heart at the altar,
then trip over my own two feet.
I get in my way so easily
that roots, open doors, or tiny cracks
throw me for a loop.
Walking with grace is a dream
Offered to flawless women I pass.
I know my mistakes so well.
They are scarred on the back of my hand,
tattooed on my lower back,
and etched on my heart.
I wonder if people see them in my eyes
or read them into every line
I write about mercy.
The times I have tripped
Kept me close to the ground.
Mistakes have taught me everything
I have ever known about love.
My missteps lead me to the place
Where I can trust that
Tripping puts me into love’s arms.
still mountain lake
Her silk water reflects landscape in watercolor perfection.
Clouds sail past like four-masted ships on her canvas.
Wind becomes incarnate, rippling her surface.
The thimble weed and delphinium share the shoreline
where we come to her curved boarders to quench longing.
The faithful pine and aspen suiters watch over her.
We are parched for her life-giving water formed
In the mystery of mountains and carried down canyon aisles.
Mica adorns her with hints of jade that add to her calm majesty.
Silt and mud sink at her feet in quiet repose;
Their glacial journey long ago laid to rest.
She laughs as rainbow trout swim in her belly,
Hungry for the next hatch of flies she offers with grace.
Breathing in thin air on your way makes you dizzy with dreams.
In her deep black eyes, you look perfectly young again and know--
This is why you love still waters.
pearls of great price
When I still spoke as a child
And dreamed of being a dancer
my innocence was traded
For a precious secret pearl.
I placed it in a silken purse
bound to my heart for years,
praying a moth would eat through it
Or a thief cut it loose.
Instead of dancing,
I dreamed of forgiveness
That would let me offer the pearl
More valuable than a widow’s mite.
I could lay on the altar of my youth,
And watch the stone roll away.
Burn the purse as a sign of grace,
And dance around the flame.
Marveling at my unbridled heart,
Done grieving things I can’t change
And holding on to useless treasure
I would be free at last.
the edmond-pettus bridge
I drove down to Selma
About 50 years late
To see What its like to cross
That bridge when I finally
come to it.
Weary signs marked the way
Where heroic black men and women took
The high road against violent terror.
Stopping under a Lob Lolli pine
I saw the spans from a distance
And wondered if forgiveness lives
Like an old troll under the Pettus buttresses
Or if its more like water flowing,
long since carried out to sea.
Maybe we are alone in thought,
But maybe its planted in us
By more faithful pilgrims who
Knew their way here without signs.
dancing with cicadas
The cicada’s high-pitched,
Wavy, tymbal song
At first blush is incarnate stress.
It builds from white noise
Into the forefront of thought
Pushing peace to the recesses of memory.
The woods sound like a loud club
Where the noise rises beyond reason.
People are drowned out of thought.
Suddenly the whirring becomes the music
and the cicadas call us to the floor with
fluorescent disco wings twerking.
The pulsing sound shifts from stressful
To delight with dervish drumming.
I hope they don’t quiet down until
I feel dizzy from this dance.
The cicada is not made to stress,
But to help us find rhythm and dance.
The storm is brewing in the mountain top.
Clouds are a stage for lighting dances
As thunder rolls in a distant heaven.
Hawks soar low as they scan the meadows
Looking for the needle in a haystack of prey,
Like pilgrims searching for a thought.
Moses saw God near predators gliding on updrafts
Where lofty thoughts dwell
As longings are sated by inspiration.
Mountain tops roar with of power.
Born in the depths of sea, they are the survivors.
We climb their backs to rest with mountain dreams.
Photo Credit: Becca at Radnor Lake, Peggy Napier