Monday, December 15, 2014

The Gift

The reason I’m looking out the window
Is because dawn brings hungry birds to the feeder,
whole flocks of rosy finches,
a pair of ruby cardinals,
sky colored jays and red capped flickers,
an upside down nuthatch in its gray-blue cape,
chickadees with their black caps
pulled down around their ears.

And this morning, ten days before Christmas,
a gift – an albino finch, white as the grounded snow,
white as the shy ermine down by the pond,
white as a feathered angel,
its wings fluffed against the cold - 

stayed just long enough for me to see it,
to say Oh! and cast about for my camera.
Then something – caution, fright, a need to fly,
lifted its wings and flung it back into the sky

where white clouds waited to enfold it.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Another Sunday Prompt

This Sunday's prompt was to find a poem and respond to it line by line. I fell in love with this poem at first reading and hesitated to barge in with my own thoughts. Still, it might make you want to try the prompt, too. At the very least, enjoy the words.

And the Cantilevered Inference Shall Hold the Day

Things are not as they seem: the innuendo of everything makes
itself felt and trembles towards meanings we never intuited
or dreamed. (My mother used to say that- nothing is as it seems – and I would look around me with my child’s eyes and wonder what she was trying to tell me, for to a child of four or seven or even ten, the whole world is magic.)  

Take, for example, how the warbler, perched on a
mere branch, can kidnap the day from its tediums and send us
heavenwards, or how, held up by nothing we really see, our
spirits soar and then, in a mysterious series of twists and turns,

come to a safe landing in a field, encircled by greenery. (Happy moments, I’ve come to call them, those times when happiness descends, surrounds, unbidden but not unrecognized, when all that is is understandable, even when you can’t understand what it is you know. You just know and that knowing is enough.) 

Nothing I can say to you here can possibly convince you that a man
as unreliable as I have been can smuggle in truths between tercets

and quatrains on scraps of paper, but the world as we know it
is full of surprises, and the likelihood that here, in the shape
of this very bird, redemption awaits us should not be dismissed

so easily. (Redemption – reclamation, restoration – the same old us looking through new eyes. We find we don’t know the world at all and so begin anew to describe it, and ourselves, to ourselves.)  Each year, days swivel and diminish along their inscrutable
axes, then lengthen again until we are bathed in light we were not
prepared for. (How easy it is to get lost in the winter darkness and forget that spring will come.) Last night, lying in bed with nothing to hold onto

but myself, I gazed at the emptiness beside me and saw there, in the
shape of absence, something so sweet and deliberate I called it darling. (The shape of absence – a place where we come in with our crayons, our brushes, our words, and create…)
No one who encrusticates (I made that up!) his silliness in a bowl,

waiting for sanctity, can ever know how lovely playfulness can be,
and, that said, let me wish you a Merry One (or Chanukah if you
prefer), and may whatever holds you up stay forever beneath you,

and may the robin find many a worm, and our cruelties abate,
and may you be well and happy and full of mischief as I am,
and may all your nothings, too, hold something up and sing. (Amen)