Friday’s Quick Picks: Poem/This Silenced House

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If this house could be what it has been
it would tell no lies, re-frame the life
that moved within leather, flame, silver, lace.
Doors shut in and breathe out laughter, cries;
floors hold echoing footsteps fresh or failed;
walls are thick with imprints of touch,
murmurs like charms against difficult fates.

Many things that could not be said
burrowed in like snakes, beetles, foxes,
sly and beautiful, disappearing from the
redolent air and revelations of light,
this house a ruin, abhorred, left for foraging.

Yet the aggrieved abode resists emptiness,
leans into harboring woods, birdsong, rain or ice,
holds out for useful salvaging or a last liberation.
For a visitor, an eye cast about its demise,
a lingering hand held into the darkness.

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Friday’s Passing Fancy: Call for Spring/Happiness

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He took the whole day off, declared it
expendable and he, a king (I, a queen),
time freed of bite, gone slack with ease.
We took roads beyond the bridges where
sins long past, weighted days and lean nights

dissolved inside blossoming light.
This is the way we want it to be,
hands dangling in shear of wind,
two hearts plumped with laughter,
a small mastery of life reinstated
on the marshy trail, that welcoming wood.

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Since the sun graced us with no precipitation in sight, we got our gear/snacks and my husband and I headed out on a day trip in Washington. We wanted to explore Salmon Creek Park. It’s a favorite spot of ours for a brisk or leisurely walk. Ordinarily we can continue 6-8 miles and we were up for the challenge. This time the creek was–not surprisingly–swollen and had overflowed its banks over winter. Earth was spongy and muddy, trails flooded in places. These are wetlands but knots of trees like it here, too. We had to forego dense forested acreage we love, as there was no dry way into it. Along the creek were signs of beavers having been hard at work, wood chips in nearly neat groupings. Some areas looked wane yet undaunted, but greenery is reasserting itself. Stones, birds, mossy sticks, roustabout water and aquamarine sky–all called to us. The early spring peepers’ songs were like bells jingling, bullfrogs like bass viols with excellent rhythm. Everywhere were people (and dogs) gathering and playing on and off the paths. It won’t be long before the weather will be finer, the rain more sporadic. Flowers and more leaves will burst in profusion. Spring will reign again.

Come along!

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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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Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: Invisible

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I live around here, too, unknown to you,
beneath my own flag of greens and blues,
amid dirt, broken glass, rock and trees,
watched over by wild animals, madmen
and the odd angel or two.
My world view is from a sidewalk,
behind a fence, through rain or spider’s webs.

The lives of many peoples like me
hide in musty corners, mingle by rivers,
traverse the paths that you avoid,
and our blood has colored much of
what was ruined, traded or stolen.
We may fight but soon give it all up.
We have so little to bargain with.

You don’t see us, don’t hear me.
I am an invisible, a tattered one
most often omitted in roll call,
overlooked in life’s endless lines,
or one who wandered too far from the crowd.
My bed is terra firma or a slice of space
between fifty others. Like a shadow
erased by cover of night,
I come forward with light’s breaking,
am weightless, transient as cottonwood fluff.

You think you know me and I, you.
We cross paths, share time, but fail
to recognize humanity in one another.
I may ask you for a dollar or small mercies;
you mostly turn aside. Fate is cast that easily.
But if you could look, take a chance even once

we might lock hands, see they’re both
etched with hopes, hurts and affections.
We could try to salvage one another
a little before it is too late–
brother and sister, it’s later every day.
We might set free one dazed and dingy dove,
then open the way to life’s simplest gifts
each ordinary person is meant
to embrace, to give and be given.

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