POND WALK Pond blinks, red-rimmed under October cloud-glare, as landscape begins to change. Or that is just eyes grown used to gritty air. But here, freely, widely do the encircling, while water shines or clears of sun-leaves, ripples, swans’ feet. Pass a wine-stained, blood-stained, love-stained vine winding a tree, a melancholy, a potion. Yes and no. Leaves know only their going, not the pacing of minds. Sit on a stone embedded by water. Pick up driftwood birch with its dark inscriptions, but look elsewhere. Hear the greens crackle behind you. Pond wind fans bright, cold coming fire.
You know how, when you’re on the first break from work you’ve had in years, and you relax some and refuse to call it unemployment, and you use your brain for nothing, and that’s good, and then you get several ideas for blog posts all at once, and you draft them all instead of finishing one, so you come off your break by ignoring them and posting a poem? Yeah, it’s like that. Photo by me.
for PC and J O’D
The wise write the mind
can know the border
of thoughts, one to the next,
to the next, as eyes
can see when one drop
of water turns to steam.
My mind behaves precisely
like an empty urban corner.
Leaves scrapped to dust, and
stained empty paper cups
congeal and scatter, the wind
full of scratching.
Rain, whose freedom
the wise suggest
we should lean on,
I watch from home.
Under streetlights, seeding
a parking lot with more
In the wall
over there, a pipe
becomes a vent
and then a slithering
line of steam, supple
ghost becoming dark
damp starlight on the street,
no longer even that.
As it happens,
branches reach toward
my window, close by
and clearly. How is it
the space they cross
as if the distance
held anything at all?
I take pleasure in sharing Creativity I encounter. in our brimming-over world. A couple of things about doing so occurred to me recently. One, I have some lovely photos of local gardens I am just too lazy to sort out of my phone albums. Two, Everyone and their neighbor’s second cousin is putting Creative Work online because we have to, and although the reasons are awful, the results are often wonderful. And three, I’ve never really put my own Creative Work on my own damn blog. Maybe 2020 is the year to let that hesitance fade into the past with a lot of my former way of living.
Actually, I’ve been writing as steady practice, and I’ve been growing. In earlier heydays of my poetry, there was an intellectual quality to the way I handled language and ideas. Buddhist practice has made me want to let go of that type of hard work, to see what happens when I am more embodied and present in the moment as a writer. Yeah, and vulnerable and open, and all that stuff…
The thing is, it’s working, and I like it. I still falter, as I did with a recent poem that originally had a fixed end point and a prettily written lecture to get it there. Turns out it really is a woefully and wildly personal poem , and I’m letting that happen now in the revision, and it’s like riding surf without a boogie board.
So I will share some of my recent work here. Although I have been published in both journals and anthologies, it’s a somewhat big step to put this here without the ringing approval of a poetry editor’s acceptance.
This is a poem I wrote for an artist friend when she shared on social media that her tough feelings about our times were hampering her Creative energy. I hope it brings some uplift. And yeah, I’m going to link you to her work, of course. It is her poem, after all.
Bears in Bad Times
Antique brown bear observes bad times from a shelf,
ears wide, silent, but flourishing its bronze ribbon,
a bohemian tie. Imagine evening, a half-dressed
painter, youthful and intent, the room’s view
a damp canvas, the sky’s blue hour rising.
Another artist, red and green in woods
elsewhere, is photographing bears. Her
bird feeders strain and sink beneath mounds
of starved gravity with long tongues
intruding. Every type of refuge now
seems hollow of all but emptiness. Yet
companions appear, right over there—
the bearings we have lost, the kind bearing
of chaos and grief, and creatures,
too, who are constellations.
Thank you for the inspiration and for your beautiful jewelry, Jen.