winter solstice

this morning
the moon sets
in a song wing sky
and the world turns
towards the light.

there is a body count
in this poem,
between the lines,
between the writing
and the reading of this poem
people have died,
as a third wave rises tsunami
and we track its progress
continent to continent
until it crashes our shores,
until tuesday
smashes records
for new infections
in a 24 hour period

a pause for breath,
line end
or comma,
might be the last
for another

by friday his grandfather
her mother
their son

after a stanza we wait
to see what still stands
in a world that
and falls apart.

on tuesday before solstice we got the call,
home approval from the spca,
so we could bring the scrap cat home
from the shelter – and of course
we did and would,
knowing she had shown up for months in dream
before we met her in real, even knew her name
and the way she would curl up in my lap cross legged and purr.
her lantern eyes shining bright against the black of her fur
she stepped forward from shadow
and so it was and so it is.

but it is hard to be joyful
when her quiet turned to illness
and the little bone body
tented skin – backward and forward
from shelter to vet and home again
and weakening.
waking again and again in the night
to see if the little body still breathed,
syringing water by the ml
watching to see if she kept the food down.

and all the while hope danced shadow veiled
while the big being dream cat
wrestled the frailing kitten scrap
knowing the line
between the living and dead
is smudged solstice thin
by the the turning of the year.

sunday before solstice
she walked her bone feet
to the bowl and ate unassisted,
drank water as cats do.
midwinter monday she lived.

now as i write morning cold
she sits on my shoulder
watches ink become word.

it is hard to be solemn
carrying our lanterns
up the moon bright road mid winter
bare arms to the soft evening air
barefeet to the leaf crunch
gravel earth underfoot
after bergwinds had us feign summer for two days
and the fast approaching full moon
had us crazy belly laughing
and silly singing under the watching sky
while the wind stole and stole our flame

and it is hard not be solemn
singing those winter songs since the fires came
singing rise up o flame with half our breath
the other half held in prayer that the flames
do not rise up on the bergwind
that blows hot across the desert
to cool its feet in the ocean
billowing mist along the beach
while the forests swelter and crisp.

at the top of the hill we pause
and as the silence yawns
in the road on the hill
and our lanterns burn bright
with the light that we are –
we turn and turn again
turn back to face this past
that has marched us
to an uncertain future.
turn to face the future
on the edge of our imaginings
turn to the road
as it curves out of sight
turn to the sky and the moon
and the gods who still
wait with baited breath
for us to remember
that there is nowhere else but here
and this song has been singing
us from long before this eternity,
back down the hill
we sprawl on the lawn summer style
lanterns flickering
there is no untouchable
on this holiest of nights –
we bray a terrible bohemian rhapsody to the stars
listen to frogs
feel the cool of earth seep to our skin
remember what it is to be holy.

from this time thread
and lean into forever

for Brendan at earthweal’s weekly challenge: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAMTIME



i went to look for the moon last night
walked up the road
torchless and quiet
through darkness
only my feet could see by,
following spills of faint moonlight
between trees.

i found her there
halfway up the hill
veiled and gentle
in the curved branches
of a tree

and stood a while
moon spilled
in the dark beauty
of the night.

witching with the moon

long before
this moon rose
we crone-walked
this cusp world
and waited for change,

planted seeds
while the babies slept,
danced giddy
to the falling leaves –

and when darkness came,
as darkness does,
from the light that lives
and those around us fell,
kindling wood to altar fires
of the new gods of the darkening,

and when words of the making
were burned from the world
we chose the silence
of stone and mountain,
the potent silence of seeds
waiting for the moon.

it is knowing
our walking casts
a shadow
that keeps us
walking light.

bird moon



the birds swallowed the moon.
it sank – fell into the trees
from the soft forest sky –
corn yellow and full round
it fell.
the birds swallowed
the moon this morning
called their victory
from the shadows
and sang its rushing ocean beauty,
bright nights and pulsing trees.

the birds swallowed the moon
turned their backs on winter
sang the song of the living.









they waited

it’s beautiful
she said
leaning her taller
by the day self
against my shoulder
hand on my arm
as the moon pulled
free of the clouds
haloing the sky
and us
where we stood

Drawing by Steve Hurt












walking away(again)


let me feel the
moon in the sky –
feel the tide rise
crashing pulsing waves
that animal my limbs
and fidget my fingers,
let me speak in
the tongues of the crazy
and the loved,
the muttering who
saw the world
when the rising moon
still mattered.
there is no sleeping
in this starless sky.
let me be the crone
the hag, the scare in your dark,
uglier than all your imaginings.
let daylight not find
the sky in my eyes
until this night
has walked me.
look – the moon rises,
ready or not
i rise too.



the egrets

IMG_0587 (2)

of course they would come
holding bits of night
in dark shadows under white wings
that whisper low along the road
sighing across the rooftops.
they will find the moon before it sets.
beyond the hilled horizon
where it has already plunged
orange and silent behind the trees,
they will find the moon beyond these hills
where vast ocean horizons