Sweet shield from snow. Peace prevails. Quiet comforts. Cold air on young skin. Crunch of packed snow speaks sled rides, group strolls. A people attuned to time and place. Hidden, their fierce resolve to defend the Motherland, deep-rooted union of land and people. A concept we can admire but no way grasp, the discord among us too vast. swb 3.12.22
INSIDE THE WAITING
Greed, spite, blind power grab
fire the world with disgust. Naked
obliteration reigns. Courage and truth
resist. Waiting for reason’s return.
Waiting for freedom, for
peace. Waiting …
It’s a strange kind of lethargy
this quarantine creates,
a Ground Hog Day repeat
of rhythm and routine
until we get it right.
And yet, it is cosy here inside
the cottage looking across the river
at the island treeline’s mound
of green rising like a turtle
from the water.
Through shimmering heat
sparks of light like daytime fireflies
flicker and fade, mirroring
the ebb and flow of tide
and my own energy.
The tranquility of this place
masks the turmoil beyond, where
‘news’ zooms and boomerangs
off nerves already shredded
by too much, and not enough.
If only I could bottle this air,
this peaceful solitude, and mix it
into the world’s morning porridge,
with a prayer to pay attention
to what really matters
we could find our collective way
out of this stand-off, this barrage
of bad, the sense of scarcity driving
a hungry few to overindulge, leaving
the rest of us to fend for ourselves.
SHE JUST WANTS
She does not want to fit into anyone’s box.
She just wants to love the earth, her fingers deep in spring soil; to remain strong
and engaged; to let her words spill onto the page.
She doesn’t want a product to justify her day, or to defend or explain herself.
She just wants a walk by the lake, creativity in process, evening wine; to snuggle in front of a winter fire with a good book and her dog by her side.
She does not want to go forth into tumultuous throngs.
She just wants to touch the hearts of those few she calls friend, or to whom
she extends the pen of discovery.
She does not want to listen to discord or chaos.
She just wants to live simply, choose silence or animated conversation
or Bach cello suites.
She does not want additives, modifications, directives or exclusions.
She just wants to ensure the health and well-being of living earth and her creatures.
She does not want to see the world collapse around her offspring.
She just wants to speak up for what she believes, for what is morally right and just.
She does not want 50 years of social progress burned in one moment of fevered frenzy.
She just wants people to listen to/treat/learn from one another with respect.
She does not want self-serving skeptics to destroy natural connections.
She wants us to re-member our humanity and shared responsibility toward our world.
She does not want to live in division, hate, falsehood.
She just wants to lift up what is beautiful and true with.
She does not want it to end quite yet.
3.7.17 fastwrite in ‘writing outside’ group, prompted by ‘Employed,’
by Beverly Rollwagen, from She Just Wants. Nodin Press, 2004
For the past six weeks, I participated in an on-line course with Mary Pierce Brosmer about making meaning of our post-election world. Accordingly, I suspended my plan for a multi-part ‘divided we fall’ series here. Instead, I have spent the intervening weeks reading a wide range of texts including but not limited to John McCain’s February 17th remarks at the Munich Security Conference; selections from Leonard Cruz and Steven Buser’s A Clear and Present Danger, Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark, and Ken Wilber’s Trump and a Post-Truth World, among others.
We spent six weeks reading, sharing remarkably relevant poems written long since, writing and sharing our words, discussing, questioning, opening our hearts to difference and our minds to ‘what next.’ During this same six weeks, I traveled twice to southwestern PA to be with my sister in her final days; welcomed my third grandchild into a family filled with February birthdays; and sat with several of ‘my’ prison writers through unimaginable trauma and personal tragedy.
Clearly, this has been a time rich with change on so many levels, transformations both anticipated and not. Above all, it has been a time to open up, expand information sources, broaden opinions and challenge my role in the larger world. While a continuing work in progress, I did not want to remain silent any longer on this page. As a result, I share here my final writing for that life-questioning course of words and ideas – and intentions for going forward. Next time I will return to ‘divided we fall – 2.’
Thank you for reading. And as always, I welcome – no, encourage! – your thoughtful responses to what you read here.
AT the CROSSROADS
That November crossroads stemmed from the tangle of tarnished truths
but I was slow to go there, lost as I was in the thicket of win-lose
when the multi-faceted is what I believe. Now we are offered
loyalty or disdain, history or ignorance, hope or despair.
How can this be our only choice? We have arrived at a crossroads
of morality. And though multiply manifest, it is the voice
of truth that must prevail, the voice of compassion
for us all – earth, sea, sky, collective spirit and soul.
I knew the night birth and death converged that we are in
for deep transformation, needing not to ‘get over’ or past
but to spell truth – yours, mine, ours. A time to speak out
past the divide and into the void, to speak without ceasing.
Thus am I pulled to provide all that I can – insight
and light to help guide the lost from personal hells,
reunite torn-apart mothers with daughters, guarding
ground and reason until mutual respect shall
in deed reign, parting the darkness of derision and disgust.
We must persevere until light seeps through every crack,
shattering false divisions to reveal the common bedrock
of our shared humanity.
swb (c) 2017