The Invitation (Rewrite Approximately #7? I’ve Lost Count)

The Invitation (Rewrite Approximately #7? I’ve Lost Count)

When the wind strolls
in, my meadow friends
dance and bow.

When waves rush
to crash across
my ocean friend, wide beach
smiles back at me and the eagles
work-resting silent
on wind above etch sky-to-horizon greetings down
all the way home
so strong, having learned to be carried.

Can you hear the old playground laughter
between the creaks of empty swing-sways?
Hear playground teasing
within little sister crow’s
nagging cries
following big sister eagle back and forth
back and forth
boat house to nest
nest to boat house
boat house to nest?

Smile in self-recognition as
red-wing blackbird then begins
to nag big-sister crow.

Can you cherish the faded flap-flapping flag
forgotten by neighbors in their rush to return to the city?
Cherish wind: an
absent spacious presence?
Cherish sand: a
shattered toe-hugging perfect imperfection?
Cherish the polished-cream beauty
of driftwood?

Here stones, books, and gentle evening light
invite themselves to play—
sated, triumphant, wildly creative,
complete within themselves, which feels completely inappropriate.
Silent and awkward at just the right moments.

Still here?
Welcome. Please come in.

Humans invited here are few and far between.
Only those who gleefully join the chorus
certain their voice improves upon books
stones
dancing warm light
and silence.
And those certain of nothing at all.

All those invited
come to play
certain of little more than sea
and shore.
Lost accidentally or on purpose.
Either way
quiet enough within most days to hear it.

I’m so glad you asked me in with that sunbeam
when I was a crying child.

I’m more glad that invitation
is absolutely everywhere now
when I look for it.

The Apple Tree Who Brought Enough

The Apple Tree Who Brought Enough

Dancing in the breeze the tree
is quiet and self-contained.

Well, self-contained
except for the sun
the soil, the birds
butterflies and bees
rain and wind
Daniel and me
pruning away dead and crossing branches
inviting more sun in to her center
lending her our shoulders and driftwood
to prop her up
after November’s storm pulled up some of her roots.

Ok, so not exactly self-contained.
What I mean is self-assured
happy with where and who she is
not fliting about like we humans do.
You know, worried, questioning everything,
wandering some days, angry, distrusting
lost…

Although, some years she is lost too:
like the two years that she was covered with
tent caterpillars
she had to have been a little worried
made almost no apples, and dropped those she did, quickly.
Her world was dark then. She hunkered down, moved within
sent no new branches toward the sun.

Anyway
my point about this apple tree is that
she’s perfect.
Beautiful, strong leaves.
Graceful, arching branches
and more than a few that prove trees get bed head too
with limbs nestled all askew against the sky at night.
Amazing, delicious apples
beyond generous in her season
(to the point that we have run out of ideas again
for things to do with all these apples
and so have our neighbors
even the deer here are drunk).

The apple tree is pure delight.
To play a small part in her full and shining life is enough.

In Saying Goodbye

In Saying Goodbye

I found a perfect dead bird
on the deck, outside the window
victim of violence
a deceptive white light through too-big windows

his perfectly groomed feathers
grew darker as they moved
from his pale yellow-gray head to his almost black tail

I spent yesterday willing him, rise
please open your beak again, open your eyes
shake precious soft belly, hop to perfect black feet
dance again, go!

but he was gone

This morning I carried him deep into beauty
laid him to rest
in the tall grass of a clearing
beside the cabin
in woods and in sunshine

his family around me
we told him he’d be missed
that he was, is, loved, by everything around him

In saying goodbye
I fell to my knees
wept like a baby
for beautiful Orlando
I vowed to slow down and notice
to listen more closely
to love louder and better and more.

Then we all did.

 

Arlo

Arlo

Happy final day of national poetry month! A flash poem a day, every day, in April! Looking forward to next year. Here’s today’s silly poem…

Arlo

Waggingly
he came
from the
streets of LA

Bundled up, shipped off
to Seattle
where average time to adoption
was just 4 days

Part Chihuahua
part sun-soaked mystery
the day after he arrived
he found his new best buddy, a mom
from Whidbey Island

She took him
on a tour
of all the dog parks
Just to get his feet wet
and hers
As a new mom
she worried
about him

But he was brave
and kind
and strong.
Quietly outgoing
except in the presence
of bullies.
Wise
before his time.

His very first time
at Marguerite Brons Park
he hired himself
as Front-Gate Greeter
welcoming other new dogs
and old
waggingly.

The night after we met him
Daniel and I spoke of his magic
The next day
we bumped into him
at a café.
Still smiling
he conjured us to him
or we him, maybe.

And we’re smiling today.
Oh dear sweet Arlo from LA
what a gift you are
inside I’m still wagging.

Holy Ground

Holy Ground

the old man up the hill
tends the garden
of the woman next door

the woman behind us
up the hill
donates supplies to schools

the woman who lives beside her
takes her sick dog for very slow, sunny walks
to sniff the life from dewy blades of grass
while ailing pup still can

our neighbor below
home-cans food gifts for friends and family;
took in a toothless, clawless cat
so she’d have a safe and sunny retirement

another neighbor tends to her partner
through poor choices within dementia:
she’s stronger than the strongest battleship in existence
and kinder

another neighbor devotes her life
to teaching
and hosting the wandering and lost;
drops food by when she has extra
which is often

other neighbors
walk the perimeter
intending to keep us all safe

all give us tips
for who to call
to get our roof repaired
and where to go
when our eyes need a tune up
and what to do
when the power goes out

our neighbor eagles
cry to each other
when they’re bringing dinner home to baby;
and cry to us
“Welcome home!”

neighbor whales
pull forth the child from within us
every time they pass the shore
once I threw on two different shoes
running giddy-awkward
in a rush to greet them

our neighbor deer
teach us to sense presence before we see it
remind us of the unfathomable power
within vulnerability

our neighbor rabbits, birds, and insects
leave wonder-inducing patterns
in sand and snow
teach us new-old games as adults
we’d all but forgotten…

our saviors are our neighbors
our conversations, prayers
every moment
every footstep
lands on holy ground

Well Rested

Well Rested

I am tired
of this world

I’m tired of violence
rabid intolerance
greed rewarded
trodden humans
hidden, outright thwarted
young lives mangled, ended
weapons preferred to soft human flesh

I’m tired of being told what to think
how to think
why I’m wrong
every time I speak
I’m tired of politics. period.
I’m tired of extremes in memes
pointless contextless debate
distant argument and hate
short attention spans…

I’m going to clean this house
release the mouse
let go some old friends too
and start again with you…

I’m choosing artists and their art
kids helping parents re-find heart
I’m choosing nature walks
poets gathering in old schoolhouses
caregivers helping one another out 

I’m choosing animals
trees and perennials
bird migration routes
helping sisters out
solidarity
with butterflies and bees
quirky humans laughing
stretch selves, without crushing us
I’ve been thrown beneath my final bus
by these hands that forgot how to trust

I’m choosing garden plots
homemade neighbor gifts
shared with refugees
who feel like home to me
I’m choosing
books
that bend my mind
and those who let me play with it

I’m cleaning out my house
giving most away
loving those I’m with
helping exactly how I am

I’m filling all my time
showing up as gift
for those who need me as me
more deeply curious

And when I find myself
among the curious
among kind silly weird
among the generous
the unpredictable
the humbled, awed, and wow’d
the come and play with mes
the sit and stay a spells
Why don’t you rest with me?

then I will recognize
the home I’m longing for
is the space we’re sitting in
right now

we will find ourselves
at play on solid ground
soaring with dragon friends
among the clouds we make

at home
right here on earth

well rested