tanka

tanka--
small songs I sing
to join
my voice to other voices
hidden in the grass

Sunday, December 25, 2011

At the Turtle Hospital

Great maimed beasts swim listing in circles,
weights glued lopsided to shells like rippled sand,
drawing them down toward lost
unreachable depths.

Rescue a turtle drifting at sea
and you earn the right to name it, like Adam,
though its true name be always
unspeakable mystery.

If ever I saved a sea turtle floating,
I’d name it, mother, for you—
and you’d laugh,
you who taught me it’s all mystery, all holy,

fish and the leaping, moonlit illusion of fish,
sea wrack and driftweed,
dark tides and the body
bathed in luminescence,
the least, lost creature drifting toward home.

You, who after the stroke swam listing through time
on half-blind limbs, shut out
of the silted sea cave of memory
until at last you dove alone
into the deep welcoming ocean of home.


 EarthSpeak 7, Spring 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Poetry Plum

I wonder who it is that names the colors—
those six thousand eight hundred and thirty-nine
hues and tints and shades, the possibilities of paint?

Who wraps and ties these splinters of the spectrum
in tidy packages of words—alchemy, nankeen, tassel—

packages that split and spill their rainbow
contents all across the Earth—lacewing, picnic,
charisma, quest.     I want that job.

Can I be paid in colors—impetuous, carefree,
frolic, rain? Colors would lap around my ankles—
rapture, bubble, nautilus—and rise buzzing into air

as clear as gambol gold—bee and butter-up
and nuance vanishing among the trees at dusk,
the deepening shades of oakmoss, refuge, lark. 

Slowly all the syllables of color leave the sky—
moonraker, lantern light, inkwell, stone

and sleep comes murmuring
the full spectrum of imagine—
enigma, daydream, ponder, soar.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Witch Hazel


autumn
a handful of berries
opening
a blue glass bubble
of remembered light

burnishing
the trunks of birches
sorrow
the old crone’s shadow
on the white moth’s wing

dust motes
in a circle of light
the bubble
shrinking to a stone
inside the chest

stone
to build a fire ring
kindling
flame from ashes
before dusk

the scent
of apples—
bubbles rising
each a different mirror
to a changing face

hearthstone ashes
the price of wisdom  paid—
but
can witch hazel bloom
so deep in winter

firelight fades
the old crone follows
the glint
of drifting bubbles
through the dark wood

 Lynx XXVI: 1, February, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Donors




The out-breath of trees
rides through seawater
on the beautiful

biconcavity of cells
traveling in their innocent
round back to my heart

until the needle prick
diverts them into the plastic
bag that dangles at my side

and silently fills
until the lever trips
to interrupt the flow—

which will continue
in the veins of someone
whose name I do not know

but who breathes
the same sweet air as I—
gift of anonymous donors,

the narrow veins,
the tiny silent mouths,
the myriad leaves.

          EarthSpeak 7, June 2011