burn this if you want to

i offer no illusion
last night the hen house was raided.
opened the door to a mess of
feathers and blood this morning
nothing of the spotted hen but her liver
licked clean on some star splashed quills.
the rooster dead and whole in the middle of it all
too big to be carried into the night.
and what is to be done now
when there is no undoing
and blossoms still open
petal by petal
to the sun.

i offer no hope, i never could.
i never could be your shield
in the face of inevitability,
your deep pool
waiting for you to drown
in your own reflection.
i never could be
your mother
your forest secret
your elixir of youth.
i want to see us thrive,
but that is between me and
and the rich dark earth,
hands and knees
in the garden.

i offer no explanation
the moon rose
the raspberries were good, tart,
early or perhaps really really late
either way there is no space in the sky anymore
for anything other than what always was
and always is.
plastic bags have learned to swim like jellyfish
riding ocean currents crammed thick and close
with plankton and krill and bottles and stuff.
this is sad.

i offer no religion
but the taste of rain
and pulsing forest
though you know
we turn to prayer
when the world is aflame
and the ocean starts to gnaw
at our cities, but who then
will be listening –
which sane god would choose
to love us now.

i offer no gratification
i am not a season you might remember,
but a landscape.
winter has washed through me
left my bones clean to the wind
and yet spring rises – sap green and bursting,
birds are building nests in my hair.
when autumn comes,
the birds will fly
and i will be here
still, shedding skin like falling leaves.
here.

i offer you nothing but this effigy.
gathered words and cloth bound with my hair
and the grass rings woven while
the wild freesias bloomed along the river
where sometimes fish as long as my arm
leap, slap the surface silver before
returning to the depths i could never fathom
even in summer, diving below
ears taut and full with pressure
arms reaching beyond my breath
outstretched until there is nothing but sun-shafts, shadow-water
and eternity looking at this moment bathed in light.
i offer only this
burn it if you want to.

 

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piet-my-vrou

first call of spring

did i expect perfection
that first evening of spring
when the red chested cuckoo
called me outside
to see the evening star
in a salmon sky – clear and still
horizon to hilled horizon
where all but he
held its breath
while his song
fell from the trees.

 

second call of spring

and the morning will come
when you find yourself
new out of bed
on your hands and knees
on the forest floor
thorns snagging skin and hem
following otter strewn duck feathers
along the deer path
whispering thank you
i love you and
i’m sorry to all of it
while the cuckoo sings the sky.

 

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in wilderness the shops open at seven

when i was in the shop
the egrets were flying over.
when i was getting milk,
scanning the day’s bread delivery,
greeting the cashier,
the egrets were flying over –
hundreds of wings
whispering the grey sky
i could not see.
when i was unfolding my bag,
packing my groceries,
entering my pin,
the egrets were flying over.
when i was walking to my car,
in a small piece of sky
held up by my breath and
old branches of trees,
the last egrets were flying over –
muttering wing prayers
for the forgetful and the forgotten
for all of us.

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sacred ibis

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they were made for this sky.
wings shaped by this wind
that rushes and flows
over bent trees and low roofs
tossing them back to the
gods who named them,
formed them wisp feathers
of drizzle and grey-shadow,
of sodden silhouette black
and the startled white
of light breaking below the clouds
illuminating their flight
before evening falls
like winter rain across the hills.

still here

 

do they get tired
waiting for us,
watching us lose
and find ourselves
on endless repeat.
does she, hand extended
wait for my return,
longing as i do
for reclamation –
offering salvation
to the sound of my foot prayers,
redemption at my dark soil
under nail prayers
as if none of this
has happened before.

does she wait at the tree
my heart in her hand
saying here,
you buried this,
i kept it warm for you.

 

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drinking water from other mountains

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1.
it is my old song of stones,
my bedrock home of
granite bones in seams of
clay and loam
that must be left behind –

2.
mothers are a special kind of god
defined before they even know it
by their making and making of a world
and like all gods
the day comes when they say
what the fuck were we thinking
giving her wings to fly away.

3.
when your daughter leaves
your world is suddenly
or bit by bit
simultaneously smaller and bigger.
the places she lived contract,
collapse into themselves
on well thumbed folds –
kept close
while the places she lives
grow roofs and walls and trees
until she stands at the door
and her house whispers home.

4.
i went with her to the spring on that mountain
whipped cold by wind and the almost taste of rain
washed the travel dust from my feet
and drank joyously.
this is the water that sustains her
these are the stones that grow her bones.

5.
and as the road carves home through red mountains,
straight rise and fall to the horizon
through desolate hills under a sky still promising rain
though the sun now sits low
and the hills of my own home greet me
i wonder if it is consolation
knowing the water there is no less sweet.

in may

dandelion 009

mist waits low
on autumn fields
tangled in grass heads
brittle as bird legs
and bleached of seed.

(in and through
the pinking sky
small wings have
purred and wheeled,
quickened the day,
carved shadows
from light)

but heron stalks
the morning,
swirling silence
with each
careful footfall.