About sarahwbartlett

voice midwife and advocate for marginalized women; creative spirit seeking space; lover of dark chocolate, gardens, my family and words; visual, tactile, kinesthetic learner; world traveler, homebody

rebirth

The Westport Art Group is having an in-person gallery show in its beautiful space, marking a slow re-emergence into public life. The theme, appropriately enough, is “Renewal.” For the first time, members of the WAG Poetry Group offered copies of their work to be included in the show. They hang in the lobby where a more intimate atmosphere allows a guest to stand quietly, read, then sit and ponder the words. The gallery is of course more visually enticing, with over 40 works vying for attention.

Of my three poems gracing those walls, I share one here called “Rebirth.”

REBIRTH

Connections grow slowly
where you cannot see
the alchemy of souls

interweaving their words
of love and despair,
of hunger and joy

rooting themselves within
one another as tangled vines
mingle stalk and leaf

the new sprung from the old
dancing step-in and let-go, sprouts
from the nodes of prior years’ blooms

splitting in new directions
even as our roots spring
from shared soil.

swb

latest review of a poetry chapbook

Aside

Diane's chapbook is now available from Kelsay Books

I continue to love reading and reviewing new poetry collections. As Mary Oliver wrote, “you never know where a sentence will lead,” I find all kinds of new ideas, unexpected connections, even familiar tales retold in language ranging from comforting to startling – and everything in between. And this latest collection, titled “Coronary Truth” by Diane Elayne Dees is no exception. The review, as most of the others I do these days, is posted on MomEggReview.

life lines reboot

Two years following its initial publication, “LifeLines: Re-Writing Lives from Inside Out” – our second collection of writings from Vermont’s incarcerated women – is getting a second printing and renewed publicity. This week my author’s note appeared in MomEggReview.

While the note covers the usual content of a book review – focussing on intent as well as content – it goes further to describe the process involved in bringing the book to print. It is our hope to re-introduce this important piece of work to a wide audience to include academic departments of criminal and social justice studies; social activist organizations; community organizations working toward restorative justice; and the general reader moved by these from-the-heart accounts of women, many of them young mothers separated from families and imprisoned for addiction and mental health issues far better treated in facilities designed for that purpose.

“LifeLines: Re-Writing Lives from Inside Out” remains available from both Amazon and Ingram. It is a moving read in its own right; but as a discussion vehicle for involvement and change fulfills its true mission.

spring birdsong

Spring Birdsong

I have been seeking words
for birdsong pouring full-throttled
from small feathered throats
pulsating strands of layered tone
neither drifting nor wafting
but tumbling, lifting, braiding
rhythmic clarity that spring
is not arriving but here
anticipating
unencumbered walks
into coatless sun.

Emerged from winter’s dark
over-long cold, I unwrap the fur pelt,
stretch heart to warming sun grateful
for the open sky of birdsong returning
after long silence, rising free
on nature’s urgent rhythms.

swb

in memoriam

For a dozen years, she walked, ran, leapt by my side, her constant vigilance a comfort, source of joy and inspiration. Last Monday afternoon, my beloved dog slipped quickly away, leaving one more gap in a life with ever more departures. But she well knew how to bridge each chasm. Her gifts were many, her demands few. I carry her arcing leaps across the neighbor field as I walk; her frenzied plunges into pools after ball or stick; her soulful eyes that held mine as long as I asked in our daily pre-food ritual of ‘Loki, look!’ In those moments, we were one intention, one spirit. She is missed and yet present in every aspect of my life. I am truly blessed.

Evensong
for Loki 7/13/08 – 3/29/21

No moonrise tonight
in the dark starry sky.

No great orange orb
peering over the rim
of the bay like dawn’s

eager brown eyes rising
at bed’s edge bearing
bright morning cheer.

***

Last night I lit the fire
not against cold but to feel
us curled snug together.

Today, against your disinterest
I offered my hand with some kibble.
You carefully lifted each

one crunchy morsel
at a time as to savor
every last bite.

***

Not three days since we walked
both beach and meadow
of a dozen years’ rambles.

And holding you now
I cradle your soft length,
hands stroking your chest,

drawing your velvet ears
through and through my fingers
again, once more, again.

***

Had I known that night –
this morning – would be your last,
I would have done the same.

In lieu of goodbye, let me honor
and bless all the years of you –
steadfast devotion

not even this darkness
can obscure.

swb