Poetry Reveals Our Hidden Roots and Connections

Poetry Reveals Our Hidden Roots and Connections

Poetry reveals our hidden roots and connections. Isn’t that cool? Look what I just found. This brings me so much joy…

The Light of the House
by Louise Imogen Guiney (published in Happy Ending: The Collected Lyrics of Louise Imogen Guiney, 1909)

Beyond the cheat of Time, here where you died, you live;
You pace the garden walk, secure and sensitive;
You linger on the stair: Love’s lonely pulses leap!
The harpsichord is shaken, the dogs look up from sleep.

Here, after all the years, you keep the heirdom still;
The youth and joy in you achieve their olden will,
Unbidden, undeterred, with waking sense adored;
And still the house is happy that hath so dear a lord.

To every inmate heart, confirmed in cheer you brought,
Your name is as a spell midway of speech and thought,
And to a wonted guest (not awestruck heretofore),
The sunshine that was you floods all the open door.

The Sun at Your House
by Lori Kane (published in Unshaken Wonder: Becoming Playful Elders Together, 2018)

Warm sun pools and shines more brightly
in your home. Why is that?

Worn, beckoning rugs and life-soft chairs
a sentinel portrait at the door
rich green and red dirt-colored artifacts
nestled within white walls of recent pain.
Witness the dancing dust across sunbeams upstairs,
the bird in the kitchen
your crazy dogs at play in the yard.

Most fairies here are somber, yet there is heart
even joy
in all those faces and those fucking
cool guitars, Jesus,
and the tools, and the found things,
and the workshop, and the garage, and
in the art, art everywhere: things far too content to be clutter

far more useful than things designed only for use.

The love here isn’t just palpable. It knocks you down.
It feels like a missing tooth and bloody face
shining out from pure bliss: a sweet, well-caught ball
by a kid at the fence.

Windows and doors shift widely open for the souls here.
The one still walking the dogs, still finding community
creating art here in person and the one
moving only in sunlight now
guiding your strong gentle hands
like always
then shifting to starlight to stroke your cheek
in the too-dark night.

That’s the thing about the sun at your house.
She’s still with you in grief and at 4:00 A.M.
That’s the thing about your art. It’s still with me
here in grief and at 4:00 A.M
as I whisper, “Thank you” to stars in the darkness—
uncertain, still, about who it is, I mean…

Which who is it
that I’m thanking?

What the Blue Bird Said to Me Today

What the Blue Bird Said to Me Today

I want you to celebrate yourself.
Shake off your dust.

Find fierce stones that speak to you
hold them, gentle now, then
drop them into rivers
wrinkle your wide-eyed face to focus
as they sink
straight down
oblivious to the current.

Muck arrives through always-clear
water and we receive her nourishment: learning again
what we’re here to attend.
Listen until you can hear
your own cells singing, the blue bird said to me today.
Then, sing. Sing! Here, like this…

Dust burns wild here. The smoke
makes us wretch, too. Still
I offer my tears and somehow hosts
of forgotten children and ancestors
heal right along with me.

Our tears aren’t pulled from us by
some too-strong past, group, or being.
We offer them. We offer them gladly, most days.

So, I speak just to you now—
one offeror to another.

You are being called, right here.
Listen again to one blue bird on a gray day.
Attend her. Attend the voice that comes to your window.
Could you have been wrong about her? Is she really the bully
you imagined her to be yesterday?

All she seems to ask me now is this:
Step into the world.
Get closer. Listen. Celebrate yourself.

Celebrate until all the birds
arrange themselves comfortably
on nearby branches to hear you,
joining the celebration and singing the song
that you learned from them…

Shake off your dust.
Let’s celebrate ourselves together here.

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 Invitation

The Invitation

I love it when
the wind strolls in
and my meadow friends
dance and bow.

Love it when
waves rush to crash across
my ocean
where
the wide beach smiles up
where the eagles rest silent on the wind above
etch greetings sky to horizon down to me
all the way home: carried and strong.

I love it when
ears find old playground laughter between
the creaks
of empty swing sways
find 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.
Ah, little sisters.

Love it when
eyes cherish the faded flap-flapping flag
forgotten by neighbors rushing back 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 books, stones, deer, and gentle evening light
invite themselves to play:
sated, triumphant, wildly creative
complete within themselves and completely inappropriate.
All silent and awkward at just the right moments.

Humans arriving here
are few
and far between.
We arrive like children
gleefully joining the chorus
certain our tiny voice is heard
among books, stones, deer, dancing warm light
heard within silence.

Or, we arrive here like grownups: certain of nothing at all.

Either way, those invited here
come to play
pulled by the sea
or some other place
where they grow quiet enough to hear the invitation.

I love that we hear the call
so everywhere, so often now

More than anything else in this world
I love dropping every last big plan I had

just to respond, in kind
to the invitation

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.

The Sun at Your House

The Sun at Your House

Warm sun pools and shines more brightly in your home
Why is that?

worn beckoning rugs and life-soft chairs
a sentinel portrait
rich green and red dirt-colored artifacts nestled
within white walls of recent pain.

Witness dancing dust across
sunbeams upstairs,
the bird in the kitchen,
your crazy dogs at play in the yard.
Most fairies here are somber yet
there is heart even joy
in those faces and those fucking cool guitars, Jesus,
and the tools, and the found things,
and the workshop, and the garage, and
in the art, art everywhere, far too content to be clutter
far more useful than things designed only for use.

The love here isn’t just palpable.
It knocks you down. It feels
like your missing tooth and bloody face

shining out from pure bliss.
It’s a sweet, well-caught ball at the fence.

Doors and windows shift widely open for these souls.
The one still walking the dogs, still finding community,
creating art here in person
and the one moving only in sunlight

guiding his strong gentle hands
like always
then shifting to starlight to stroke his cheek
in the too-dark night.

That’s the thing about the sun at your house.
She’s still with you in grief and at 4 a.m.

That’s the thing about your art. It’s still with me
here in grief and at 4 a.m. as
I whisper “Thank you” to the darkness—
uncertain, still, about who…

which who is it
that I thank?