Sunday, March 06, 2022

 


Sunday morning writing prompt - what that you love most about life would you give as a gift to someone? Here's my gift to you:
I would give you dawn in vivid colors and in rainy gray so that you could give each new day its proper due. I would wrap sunsets in shades of scarlet and orange, and darkening evening skies that glimmer with starlight. I would give you cold November rains, colored lights gleaming against the snow in December, the warmth that grows in April and blooms in May, the chill that signals autumn, and brilliant scarlet leaves that tumble in the sweeping winds of change.
I would give you meadows full of daisies, the sweet scent of new mown grass, the contentedness of pastured cows. I would give you the red fox that leaps for ripening grapes, the possum that chortles to itself on its nightly ventures, the bear that sharpens its claws on a dead tree. And I would give you trees in every height and variety, those giants that sink their roots deep and hold their heads high.
I would give you the smallest stream that rushes downhill from a mountain spring, a river that tumbles over a dam, the ocean teeming with life that never ceases its restless, shoreward roll. I would give you pearly shells and starfish, harsh-voiced seagulls, ducks and cormorants and slouch-billed pelicans. I’d give you the scarlet cardinal whose voice drops liquid notes into the springtime air, and a small chickadee that dares to feed from the palm of your hand.
I would give you stones that sing about the earth in deep tones, and craggy mountains that offer visions of timelessness. I would give you distant blue hills and an adventuresome spirit that would, even if you never left your homeplace, encourage you to learn about faraway places and people and landscapes that would forever expand your narrow confines.
I would give you the fragrance of a spring wood violet, the delicate perfume of a rose, the piney scent of a forest path, the metallic taste of a snowflake melting on your tongue. I would give you the silence of a winter snow, a dawn symphony of summer birds, the song of the wind in the high treetops, the sound of wings.
But, these are not mine to give, so come, sit here with me, and let me picture for you with words all the wonders that I know.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

 



Then life Intervened

 

I was contemplating the way the sunshine gleamed

on the polished chrome of the kitchen faucet –

creating a star of cosmic proportions for a small sink –

when the telephone’s strident voice

broke the silence.

My book, the story forgotten on my lap while I

thought of stars and moons and planets

loose in my kitchen, fell to the floor and closed

its covers so the occupants could not escape.

Donning hat and coat, boots and gloves against the cold,

I ventured out to collect the “ready for pickup now” prescription 

of pills designed to keep the pain of old-age rheumatism at bay,

at least for a while, and returned home with a quart of milk

and a box of Bandaids, the former to add to my tea,

the latter to pamper the small cuts life provides daily.

 

Ensconced in my chair once more, a quilt draped across my lap

to still the shivers, my book once again in my hands,

a mug of milky tea at my elbow, I searched for the page

I’d been reading before the advent of the star. 

Three lines later, I glanced out the window to see a crow, 

followed by three more, slice the blue with its black wings.

Four crows now flew in my head, their raucous voices echoing – 

did they call directions to one another? Gossip? 

Shout for the pure joy of hearing their own voices in the void?

I noticed the faucet star had turned to a rainbow that danced on the floor 

at my feet. And as I watched, it slowly crept toward the quilt on my knees, 

climbed my leg, and spread itself across the pages of my book. 

 

Rainbow words, redorangeyellowgreenblueindigoviolet, shimmered.

I tilted the book, splashing the colors on the floor once more where they

lay quietly, singing themselves out of existence as the sun inched westward.

I got lost in the story, conversed and ate and slept, worked and wept with the

people who lived forever between cardboard covers. When it grew too dark

to see the words, I set the fictional world aside and made my way to the 

kitchen, remembering it agleam with reflected starlight, itself a fiction. Which world

did I inhabit, I wondered – the fictional one I’d just left or the one I made up

for myself? 

 

As I prepared supper, life intervened. I fetched a Bandaid for the cut.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Two Small Winter Poems


 
Waking In a Snow Globe

The wild wind tipped the world
upside down while I was sleeping.
Now, snow catches in tree-caught gusts of air
that blows small birds off course
and sets the wind chimes swinging.
High above the spinning white,
the sun is prying the clouds apart,
loosing snowy feathers from the downy puffs,
until the air itself is made of silver and gold.

Winter Day

Snow is falling all around,
it swirls and eddies to the ground,
it makes a kind of whispery sound,
as is comes tumbling down.

Sunday, February 07, 2021

Mystery


With all the Bernie mitten memes circulating the internet, I found myself thinking about mittens and remembered this poem from my years in the classroom teaching poetry. It was winter term and one second grader said, "It's cold out. Make up a poem about mittens." So I did.

Mystery

I found a mitten in the snow,
just one, just thumb and hand,
and stripes of red and green and white
around the mitten band.

I don't know how it came to be
alone and in the snow,
or where the other one might be
and how was I to know?

perhaps it from a pocket fell,
perhaps a child lost it,
perhaps it kept a snowman's hand
from getting cold and frosted.

I hung it from a bushy branch
that grew there on the lawn,
and next day when I went to look
the mitten? It was gone.
 

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Friday, January 29, 2021

 



Perspective

In early 2000, I returned to school to earn a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, VT. My roommate was a sturdy woman from Michigan. Both of us were used to the cold and often during that first winter semester we rose at 6 a.m. and booted, hatted, and mittened, we walked for 45 minutes before breakfast.
One chilly day we decided to walk into the town to fetch a couple of gallons of drinking water. We bundled up as usual and walked the half mile down the hill to the store. There were very few cars on the road and still fewer people. In fact, we hadn’t seen a single soul until we entered the store. At the clang of the bell over the door, the young clerk looked up in surprise. We grabbed two gallon jugs of water each and approached her, smiling. She rang us up and then asked, “Are you guys from the college?” We said we were and she shook her head. “Did you drive down?” she asked. We said, no, we’d walked. Why?
“I’ve heard there’s some strange folks up there,” she told us. “Who else would walk down the hill for water when it’s 40 below zero?”
Roomie and I looked at each other. 40 below? Really? A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. The hike back uphill seemed much colder than the walk down and by the time we reached our dormitory, half the water in each jug was frozen.
My outdoor thermometer this morning read 3° and the wind chill is bringing the temperature down to a balmy -13°. But, I’m running low on milk – anyone up for a walk today?