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?

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.

Nursery

Nursery

internet, off now
breathing, noticed
ears
dancing with rain down eve spouts

family, hugged, fed, dispersed to their corners
paw, across cat’s face
wood floor, brightened with daylight through clouds,
appreciated

aspect, spacious
eyes, closed
lungs, expanding
chest, broadening
edges of self, stretching
until earth and moon become neighbors
until every last star is a friend
and
all recording devices
begin humming, with anticipation

poem arrives
dripping with life
surprised
curious
delighted, to meet you

she floats down and around
exploring her new dimension
kisses your cheek as she passes, visiting
the kitchen first, like we all do

as she tastes homemade lemon marmalade
warm bread and butter,
her eyes widen
and she giggles

for the very first time

re-melting once fluid hearts,
once open minds
with nothing but presence
without even trying
reminding us of home, returning us to us

as she rounds the corner,
we’re left wondering

who is she?
where did she come from?
how did she get here?

what is it exactly
about butter and jam
that has me crying?

A Poet’s Payment

A Poet’s Payment

Need a poem
or another gift
and you receive one

Love a poet
and you fall in love with every face
within translucence

Walk, or drink, with a poet
feeling the whole truth of a place
complete with hatred, laughter, fear
betrayal, goofiness, and tears:
theirs yours ours

Each new day is a slowing down
alone and in community
to find your

own
sweet
point

Writing imperfectly formed lines
again and again
to stumble upon
your three wise women.
Today m
ine are:

zero talent
broken dreams
unquenchable gratitude

Finally

Finally

Abundance
catches up with you

Contentment and angst
ally themselves on your behalf

Security nests within your ever-shifting heart

Galaxies and egos deepen
lightening up as you walk by
turning toward each other
like fellow sunflowers opening to their most beloved star

You have no control over any of it: nor do you need to

Seriously is not a thing to take one’s self
there are far more worthy gifts to give: and

Everything becomes a simple wonder again
just like you remembered

A poet is paid in wonder.
Every thing and one and where and why else
is a gift.

******

Happy national poetry month!

How to Make Magic Stay

How to Make Magic Stay

Like friendship, magic shows up when you invite her in. She sits to stay a spell when you take a deep breath and say “This is who I really am.” After that, to stay with magic becomes easier and harder. Easier, because now she’s an old friend. Harder, because old friends don’t let you get away with being less than real or less than true to yourself. We don’t make old friends stay. That’s not what friendship is about, and it’s not what magic is about. The best we can do is walk blindly into our old walls, bitch or laugh about those walls and selves together, and then haltingly, stumblingly, walk through the veils of our old selves, becoming more fun and aware versions of ourselves. If we’re serious about staying with magic—and I highly suggest we not be—then it is we who must get lost, fall down, look the fool, and receive help. It is we who must learn to move with magic wherever she takes us…

Intuition
makes all my decisions.

Dragons
live in the fog across the sea from me
I’ve visited them.

Trees
are my advisors
wind
my mentor
rabbits, eagles, dogs, and cats
my closest friends.

I write
for the pure joy of it.
I edit for joy, sure, sometimes,
and also to pay the bills.

At 45½, aka, today
I learned that I love
easy-listening country music
when I dropped my guard
and just let it help me
write poetry.
(My love didn’t have to leave me,
my car didn’t break down,
nor did my dog have to die.
Bye bye, silly old beliefs.)

Today I prefer the company
of poets, artists, musicians, and farmers
caregivers, scientists, and new parents
the wildly curious, the extremely vulnerable,
the very young, and the very old:
basically, all the people who won’t notice
let alone mind
that I wore these same socks and this same sweater, yesterday.

I don’t have the high adult walls that some other grownups seem to.
You might spot me in the front yard
laughing
to attract bumblebees,
crying
to hold friends or embrace demons:
doing both
apparently
uncontrollably.

But you know
surely you must know already
if only within your soul
or you wouldn’t still be here…

It takes extra-terrestrial freedom
to not have high adult walls today
to not fear some humans
in the world right now.

It takes extra-terrestrial control
to let unimportant things go
to go where your heart takes you
to go all-in
on what matters most.

It takes extra-terrestrial guts
to be kind in the now:
to offer the benefit of the doubt
while also bravely speaking your mind.
It takes wonder, awe, and magic
to have true courage, deep power, and trusted change.
This is my known.

For the longest time I forgot this.
I did what was asked of me.
Then I went to school after school.
Then I went to leaders, gurus, and, God help me, even to politicians.
I searched Google and Facebook, too:
went spelunking for all good ideas known to man and
still I came up empty on this.

So now I’m back to me.
I’m back to intuition and dragons.
Back to well-worn sweaters, cozy chairs.
Back to baby steps, random leaps, and deep love in all directions around me.
Back to writing poems, building sand castles, and paying bills.

Because it takes extra-terrestrial magic within
to breathe fully now.
It takes extra-terrestrial magic within
to answer the question:
Who am I, really?

Open space + invitation = finding that magic within.
Saying “This is the real me today.” is sitting with magic, old friend.
Then,
muster all the courage you have
or don’t.
Then get up and walk away
or stay.
Do whatever you’ve got to do
to leave your beloved old self and ideas behind
hit the road
again
and stay with magic.