I’m excited about joining this group again. Completing the half-marathon in 2017 was such fun, and I can’t wait for all that this summer’s challenge will bring as well!
Church bells chime longest, resonating fullest at hour twelve,
reminding us to pause, gather, or simply look up.
Cinderella’s slippers remained enchanted come midnight,
allowing her escape from servitude and despair.
Childhood’s year before thirteen marks a bittersweet passage
from innocence to responsibility.
Stars guide our actions with zodiac signs ordered
for each year’s passing phases while
We embrace symbols of ourselves
in Asian astrology.
Such is the Cosmic Order of
1X12, 2X6, 3X4 with logical, progressive complexity.
Do we blindly judge and blame in a fearful Witching Hour
In our juries of twelve?
Universal patterns pale to the power within us.
Gentle Swallowtail bows and skips, whirls and dives, sunlight glistening August’s golden sun.
Flittering on the ground’s twigs, shadows, and fallen petals
Suddenly up, up, upward this reeler soars toward the flowers above, catch wind’s breath.
Catching the wind’s breath, this tiny being fleetly moves on.
Such is the moment captured in the mind’s eye,
Yet Swallowtail survives in thunderstorms, too, its tiniest velvet wings
Taking on water then flicking drops onto waiting grass below.
Stronger than the winds yet sailing on them, Swallowtail skitters a light jig.
No migration comes for this little one:
What the world brings is what Swallowtail accepts.
Opposing spring’s showers and summer’s beams,
Winter’s chill sparks a new turn of metamorphosis.
The fleeting dance slows, halts, and comes to slumber,
A death comes for one in the darkness of winter while
New wings build within a chrysalis, a rhythm for dance
Already building to a music nature will provide.
A glaze settled over her vision, tinting everything a murky brown. This winter no longer seemed gray but the sepia tones of daguerrotype Images: old-fashioned, detached, sullen in the moment captured. So many big fears had abated after the accident. Still, these small shifts of non-reality churned the dread That life would be forever altered, halted, and haunted By sensations beyond her control, Her own body turned against her. Such a small decision made resolute in depth -- A focus on color: just one. Her favorite color yellow would be her guide, symbol, theme, subconscious influence, mantra, and promise of return But where and how? A focus on what she new would hint of the brightness an egg yolk at morning a daffodil delivered in the vase by her bed her favorite childhood doll now resting in her arms She couldn't see the yellow, all muddled with everything else But she knew it was there Believed, Looked, Imagined, and Trusted. One day she asked for a break outdoors, with the yellow sun in the bright blue sky she had asked about. Bundled in blankets, her head gently nestled in full pillows, Loved ones next to her A nurse giddy to leave for a few minutes. She felt the warmth soak onto her skin, Heard birds chirping in the clearness, and Smelled crisp air, so she knew the sun was yellow Believed, Looked up, Imagined, and Trusted. The eyes danced with shapes and colors scattering, Pulling in and out of focus, Strains of brightness striking new blows, and Little by little the colors starting to come into focus. The days she left, she felt the quiver of spring's chill In the bottom of the breeze and a softer warmth for just a moment. Well, she didn't really, but she knew about spring winds, and she Believed, Open her arms, Imagined, and Trusted. Were there two birds she heard sitting outside? What was the taste? Did she even know? She could remember, and so she would With each morning, then after the naps, and into the evening She would assign what she knew to be true, Believing, Opening her mind to remember, Imagining, and Trusting. It was when the blossoms came two months later, When the lavenders, lilacs, pinks, creams, and soft greens Dappled together in whispered breezes And spread across her one day in the garden That she again saw the yellow, shyly lifting in happiness and hope. The brightness filled her, and she looked and looked and looked Once more and always Through soft tears of joy.
Creator of the World and Mother to the Sun,
Neith of Ancient Egypt wove meaning and life from nothing.
Time passed, and her strength was woven into
Babylonia’s goddess Ishtar, whose political power, beauty, and fertility
Demanded the protection she gave in war and combat.
Her brazen strength woven indeed by her arms passed to
Arachne, she with a keen mind and deft fingers which tpleased and angered
The gods as she wove stories and emotions into lives and history.
Each has embodied the spirit of the spider,
A creature tiny, mighty, multifaceted in talent and patient with time.
Magical to some, reviled by many, she reflects exceptional strength
Drawn from within
Glimmering in sunlight
Trapping those blinded by various forms of the dark.
Silken strength within these three females now persists in today’s women.
Whether in sewing shops, fashion industries, churches, civic centers, schools,
A strength emerges and grows, quiet yet powerful
In the weaving of new life, new communities, new possibilities.
Yuletide greetings in August, The sky turning black in the middle of the day, A world of selfishness balanced by gentle moments of compassion. Knowing what would come, Would Emily Dickinson have followed Queen Victoria and Prince Albert with girlish glee? or Could she have sought the spectacles of P.T. Barnum while Mocking a tall president with the top hat? Were he to see love turned into mockery, Would e.e. cummings have turned to accounting For linear reasoning and resolute answers? or Would he have cynically chosen the safety of Home rather than valiant heroism as a war volunteer, Forever misrepresenting those who went in his place? Had Maya Angelou known the struggles would continue Years upon years after her civil rights work, Would she still have cast herself as a bird longing to sing? or Might she have stayed a quiet girl in the Missouri shadows, Fading and dessicating in the dusty town before being swept into the river? Juan Felipe Herrera and Tracy K. Smith? Who would they be Were it not for the poets before them? Would they have had the bravery to break the rules of social expectations? Could they have expressed, gathered, communed, and inspired Had voices, pens, and lives been dismally set aside, ignored, and wasted? A poem turned inside out: The message of the poet inverted. More meaningful if we read them both Worthless if left alone, vulnerable, and neglected.
Rain poured yet never asked me Oblivious to my plans My hopes My outfits matched with shoes and My plans for fun. I sit in the morning shadows Waiting for the clouds to fly away or at least Turn gray to cream white to toasted gold With the sun coming Through bronze chinks Passing over, casting shadows, cooling this street patch of bungalows, remodeled driveways, grassy yards turning back to green Clouds drift then circle then hang A tempting practice * * * * * * * * Rain pours yet never seeks permission Oblivious to my hopes set for summer regeneration, no longer the teacher working summers who Instead laughs like a coed through summer. Still, it washes down, failing to admire My outfits matched with shoes, all purchased at my favorite thrift store. A $40 limit for a season of action -- Flowing, wearing down with miles upon miles, dancing, skipping, tearing when climbing walls. Set against me, the water continues, swamping My plans for fun with The lively Silver Sneakers crowd, retirees who are active, sassy, happily opinionated After years of following the rules and being good. I sit in the morning shadows Waiting for the clouds to fly away or at least Turn gray to cream white to toasted gold With the sun coming Through bronze chinks. Cello music fills my home as I wander through my rooms in casual summer glory, My dark hair scooped up in a colorful scarf. Surely looking like I should be out on a Vespa while Sipping iced drinks, and I sigh as the last sonorous note fades. Passing over, the clouds cast shadows, Cooling this neighborhood's patch of bungalows, grassy yards turning back to green, Independent shops, community schools, dog parks, and community gardens. My polka-dotted umbrella at the ready, I peek out. Clouds drift then circle then hang A tempting practice For the eclipse to come When I will be like a starlet of old Walking through the clouded, rain-soaked streets or this Darkened, mysterious, changing world Knowing my moment in history Though no one else, not even the clouds, realize.
Its head resting on the crest, the lion still guards the Confederate soldiers buried in the aftermath of Civil War. Not a gargoyle spouting water, not an angel of compassion, not a soldier of upright honor: The protector of the Confederate Dead oversees those who fought in war, died perhaps in hopes of victory or in the long years after defeat. Childhood memories of this beast remain hushed For he lounged in his tomblike pose with somber silence an a permanent stone snarl everytime we visited Mario, our older brother sent to live in the state home for the others like him. "Retarded children" who grew into adults far away from their families in big cities, small towns, developing suburbs, schools with proms, sports teams, theater programs, rules about uniforms and hair, and the normal angst and joys of growing children. Separated. They lived, learned, slept, ate, and developed in every way within feet of this sad-honored, isolated lion. Set apart. The crowded home seemed ever silent, sitting directly next to the cemetery of the fallen. An odd placement for a state school, yet horrifically fitting. Both stood at the back-most spot at the edge of town: a place for the forgotten, the unpleasant, the no longer fit, the defeated. The soldiers' ages on the tombstones -- teenagers, young men, only a few who died aged. The children next door, born in times of poverty and misunderstanding, dying in childhood, in teen years, into their adult years still dying too young. No more than a few living fully. The school has closed, the cemetery has grown controversial in these cruel times, yet the lion remains, watching, seeing, observing, somber, cold, and cruel.
Morning walks to the bus stop
Steady steps in the coolness
A ride through my city
An adventure to be discovered.
Steady steps in the coolness
Take me past yipping puppies bravely guarding their people against my menace as I laugh.
Yoga devotees stretch, breathe in, extend, and breathe out again on dewy grass below their mats
Bustling trucks unload wares for Hay and Feed, tattoo shops, ice-cream parlors, music stores, and senior centers
As my inclusive, inviting neighborhood wakes up.
A ride through my city
Into parks and libraries of childhood innocence, playing until evening lights came on to run home for dinner
To the crossroad galleries and coffee shops bringing fresh ideas to rusty dusty roads,
Through construction of newest developments, malls and superstores and spacious homes in the prairie
As each community forms anew each day.
An adventure to be discovered
I assured skeptical friends with expectations of grand world travel, new accomplishments, and grand feats.
Still, my daily walking and vistas over Kansas City rooftops both challenge and exhaust
My shaky self: the next me who’s finding a new normal in a body rewired and under construction
As I create my place in life each gifted morning.