Friday Quick Pick: Rainy Rumination

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The rain is generous here,
manifesting its chameleon ways.
It beguiles and rages,
tap dances and waltzes,
arrays the city’s narrow streets
in a rainbow of taupe, bisque, slate;
calls cyclists and walkers
to come nest in cubbyholes
with a strong coffee or beer
and ponder from windows the
voluptuous clouds, their churlish rebuke.

Rainfall does not bother to cease
for rewards of joy or taxing sorrow,
will not flee farther eastward
to high desert, rocky buttes.
It commands, feeds bloated earth
and rattles the awnings
and rushes headlong into
mountains and rivers as if
it must bury every crevasse
and slick down every abutment.

And, too, drench our souls,
which pine for small luxury–to step
onto pathways with no slimy mud,
no gutter a shocking flood, to avoid
more wreckage of yet another
month that may miraculously
reveal fine blue horizons,
emergent from that muck and drear.

So as the brazen clouds regroup,
restrain deluge and drizzle,
we enter gardens long at rest,
see anew the rewards of wetness,
how it does right by its duty:
sumptuous blossoms, chittering birds,
the trafficked pond, waterfalls’ chorus,
our hearts hitched up again
as senses feast on seasons
defended, recreated by copious rains.

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Friday’s Quick Pick: Poem/My Dog at the Park

The usual motley group was there
as I passed muddy grass slopes where
everyone brings their canine companions,
then circles up to watch them romp and court.
The humans laugh and grouse, call out
to pets as if gifted or very bad children.
I paused with hands on hips, smiling.
Recalled four-leggeds Twiggy, Max and Buddy,
how they disrupted work and time with

ideas of pleasure like zigzag tag,
charging after bees or cats, howling
off-key with our music and oh, endless
petting, scratching of strange places. There
was our bribing for obedience with smelly
treats fed by hand (as if they were royalty),
palms tickled, scoured by long drippy tongues.
Our children commandeered them as beasts
to pull heavy objects, as alarms and look-outs
during high-jinks, or wept-upon confidantes
but never once did said dogs bite rudely
in reasonable protest. They adored their kids.

I vacated those memories, moved on until
there was my dream dog upon a hill–
so luxuriant a coat, that dignified stance,
such fierce beauty of the husky
desired all my life–which finally turned,
watched me gazing back, noting a minor
magnetic pull of my deep admiration.
Rather, there were squirrels, ducks, robins,
rousing scents on a breeze, a master at rest.
My longed-for sidekick observed and waited
unperturbed, best behaved, already well loved.

Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Death of a Spiritual Warrior

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(In Memoriam, for Vincent)

Old Ghost Man is gone,
he’s changed his name again,
left wisdom’s better parts
to seekers, strays and nomads,
those who embrace the good path
and those who care little
how life is dreaming come awake.

He drummed it up, offered a glance
of ironic cheer, a madcap holiness
brewed from trouble, trickster spirits,
eagle feathers, cries of wildness
human or not from streets that kill
when there ought to be redemption.

Take my salvation, it’s for real free
he said,
always enough to go around.
Yes, even you white woman,

you make stones turn again,
you know what I mean, aye?

The stones named:
men, women burned down to ashes,
shattered with grief, souls stitched
with bitter roots, scoured by drugs.
But welcomed with dance and story,
given respect, they just wore down hate.
Then they rooted out places my hardness
had cracked, my tenderness hid. We traded
thundering silences, lightning’s song,
tears for small joys.

Old Ghost Man, he nodded my way,
raised his hand in greeting when some
turned backs, were stubborn doubters.
See, just walk strong and soft,
he whispered, or chanted my name
without fear, cynn-theea-a-a, 
like a swirl of painterly desert winds,
a slow ride on river’s serpent back.

Ghost Man is gone, gone, gone
he’s changed his name again
is heard in echoes, love circling ’round
he’s slipped out, moved to a better house.
Old friend, I see you now beyond
that rain shadow mountain,
untethered,
laughing and winking,
aloft.

Friday’s Passing Fancy: For Wild Grassy Seas

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A swishing dance of barest stems was
perhaps nothing but a passing of the wind
and yet it came to me as kindness.
Sun with great dome of warmth blessing all,
flowery or buggy face a measure of its power.
It was welcome that I sought, leaving worries,
adding nothing to my thought than
assurances of earth’s own wisdom.

Those fine, secret hours. A promise of unity,
and forgiveness of capriciousness.
The girl I was, the ways I yearned–
heaven to lie among those favored
ones, creatures and plants gathered
without malice or demands.
It was no less than sovereignty
of beauty, ease and genius of this planet.

But it was only half (if that) a story then.
The lives of humans proved felonious
as well as courageous or reconciling,
gave or took such scarlet blood as well as love.
My own life was like others: peaks and rills,
made of rust, of lightning, midnight and morning stars.
These things meadows told me, too,
as I lay lolling in its wilder, grassy seas.

So I am reaching toward sweet if resting grasses
and their counterparts who advise: patience.
Abundant, brave spring will circle back.
I will let the world turn in its shadow and silt
’til messenger dawns arrive, bring us to thaw,
bestow upon us each a deeper truth, dear God, once more.

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(All photographs by Cynthia Guenther Richardson)

Friday’s Pick/Poem: Walk from Silence to Sound

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After the shocking snows melt, all
that virtuous stillness weakens.
So much living and dying,
need and want are magnified.

City jumbles of sound interrupt
before I am released of dreams,
and the hint of darkness taints
soft light seen through blinds
as I wake, swim through morning.

I take to the street as if
walking into any January day
and search for the sweep of relief.
The voice of my country clamors
before I can understand all its words.

Where will changes take us
while edging through winter,
pulled by yearning for spring?
Will we get lost in blind spots
that scatter among us or can
we mend our wavering shadows,
unfurl dusty or untested wings?

The watchful ones on the wire
manage as before, wait to burst into heat
of a beautiful day. I nod their way.
I fill with my own waiting and warmer air
when greetings of strangers cluster
about me like bright confetti of hope.

But there is no silence like the earth
faithfully turning within perilous times
and no sound like cries for liberation.

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