|TABLE OF CONTENTS
XVII:1 February, 2002
THE EARTH AS EGG by David Clink,
SOLITAIRE by David Clink
COLLATERAL DAMAGE by Gene Doty
JEWEL BOX GHAZAL by Ruth Holzer
LINEAL by Sheila Murphy
ACHE by Jennifer Pearson
THE EARTH AS EGG
This snowy evening I live out a meager life
I am a poor scratch mark on Earth's surface,
My body is a shell lying on a frozen beach,
I am empty and tired, my drifting eyes
Breathing in cool air, exhaling tenderness,
and I can't let you go.
pick me up, and listen to me.
I will share with you what is left of me,
Stopped by Woods on a Snowy Evening, our
There are hundreds of games
Sand and water create their own fun.
In Huntsville, the local beer store
the Canadian Tire is busy and
I have spent too much money, again -
along with crossword puzzles and
of solitaire that can be played.
I think I have played them all
bring an end to the drought,
but all we have to do for now on this
out to the dents being made in the sand,
In the news today: The Pentagon says "no collateral damage";
Cruise missiles swoop in from the gulf, skim from submarines,
Midnight screeches in the sideyard: The tom cat assaults
"Gunfire exchanged": Where? Does it matter? The world's loud
Now we admit the deaths of civilians, workers incountry
Ah, Gino, the news breaks your heart, but your skin's still whole.
JEWEL BOX GHAZAL
Six strippers writhe onstage at the Jewel Box,
You wonder as they peel their gloves, chiffon scarves,
The puzzle ring is a love-knot that comes undone,
A brass sextet plays, braying the next steps
Those women, to your delight, Ruth, are muscled men,
see sway the divans porchward if and when and if again
tease the sway out of the fixity and soon
slender goes the drabmost day until a cinch of evening
After a bone-weary hike, the mountain lake:
The this and that and here and there of work.
Stand and wait, stand to greet, stand to fetch,
A man can be like a hardwood forest:
A man can be like a cedar forest:
This man's green eyes, ah, like a snow melt stream.
This man's commitments: they stand, a thin wall
Light some incense, read philosophy,
Jen pauses before a mountain lake-
a quest ancient mysteries
treaty a sinister peace: those marked for slaughter fall away
end time prophecies
WORK OF THE WEAVERS
Yesterday, while I repaired your crocheting, I found myself looking down to feel the tying together of the old and new, of ourselves with ourselves with each other. It was as if you were there, Grandmother, guiding my hands, retracing the pattern to see the design. Grandmother, you tried to teach me how to crochet, how to knit thread to thread with my own hands; and it seems as if I am still trying to learn how to weave together with words what I could not weave with thread, words out of silence for which I must wait. Tonight, the house wraps me as if it were your shawl; it feels like an old woman, sitting on a rock, learning, as I must, how to listen, how to grow old. And I hear the healing that silence brings and I hear the repair that only waiting allows, while I retrace the pattern to see the design.
full moon at sunset
There are so many things in the world that flare up and vanish between the firings of a thought; mine are still too slow to grasp even one properly. I’m reminded of a Jimi Hendrix lyric that stated this so clearly: "I wanna hear and see…everything."
I would like to be that person who remembers with relish chasing fireflies when young, of running barefoot over a cool lawn with jar and net, a man who recalls fondly a parent taking them out to sit quietly on a stone to greet the edgy world of crickets and late spring warmth, or of being asked to hush and enjoy them if only for their own sakes. But the lure of insects is a questionable priority in some family circles, though I hold no brief as the southern saying goes, for their exclusion in mine: the darkness beckoned but I was asleep.
Years later I am amazed each day I live by things which seem to enter without my knowledge, directly, as if inhaled, and in so doing they signal an inclusive sweep of mind that tries to invite one more piece of the mystery, however small it may seem at the time, into my life.
Looking at my son’s face now fully visible in the moon’s radiant light, I recall an evening his mother and I had left him sleeping in his grandparents’ care while we’d gone out to enjoy a moon not unlike this one.
It was then that I noticed the beauty of fireflies for the first time. There was a hayfield full of them and the way they spiraled their quietness into long glissandi of flight if you cared to follow them, was a revelation. And here we are, thirteen years later. Such a wonder is time!
Now each year I look forward to fireflies as if they were a threshold through which the house of spring opens gloriously into room upon room of flowers and ferns, of warm evenings and honeysuckle; a time to take walks just to seek them out. In giving them your full five senses and thus leaving behind the troubles of the day with the noise of the supper table, it seems fundamental: we were made to pay attention, to be integral and not separate, to share in the world’s evanescence. In reading the ancient court poets, Komachi, Shikibu, Tsurayuki or Saigyo in verse after verse, I find their intimacy and footing with things speak as if less than one hour had separated their vast abyss of time from ours. Poems, or rather the sense that drives them to be born, must be those vessels in which the ungraspable takes a brief hollow form such that we can at least glimpse its luminous outline long enough to honor it.
Stopping by an ordinary patch of woods which this night has transformed into a depth of grotto, I say to our son "Let’s step in here and sit." He seems to know what we’re after and he climbs briskly over the banking and in among the slender pines, for the moon makes it a simple task to walk and find a clear place to sit.
The pine needles are soft but the ground is cold, the days being still too brief to carry the sun’s warmth on into the night. Having settled, we sit quietly and admire the spot we’ve picked for they are abundant. Their flames are so bright they illuminate the riven texture of the bark as they pass.
Their "floatingness" is marked by slow, languid spurts of effortlessness, and their mating hungers are lashed to the most sublime of silences. Lit up with their glowing bodies, the scene becomes magically animated with their pulses, and strangely, it seems as if silence itself were a solid thing, a dark mountain through which the insects wander like underground streams.
His attentiveness holds longer than I imagined and I can say with some assurance that one of the lessons of parenting is to try to master the art of duration. Neither of us speak as we rise to go, both having found it appropriate to tiptoe as quietly as possible out of the fireflies’ domain, as if we feared disturbing their delicate countries.
On the way home, we stop for a moment before a tiger lily bloom soaked to its veins in moonlight. How it seems to glow, its orange daylight color now a deep voilet-blue. How cool and soft its petals are! He, too, finds one to rub gently between his fingers and I can feel his reaction in the air. Having recently become a teenager, it’s no small victory that he’s come out with me tonight and has slowed down his young heart long enough to sit still and enjoy casually what might come next.
In the last stretch of road as I walk beside him, I can see in my many failures his potential triumphs. Finally at home with everyone else asleep, he says his good night and thanks me for our midnight walk. Sitting down then with ink and paper, I find I can’t write a word and put my pen away.
In the grotto
Saturday morning – bumper to bumper, coming and going, cars at the landfill, like two trails of ants, and then – "WHAT the fuh. . . .?" – My mind could not process fast enough what my eye took in instamatic ally. I thought the whole landfill had been covered with crumpled newspapers, but no, these gray-toned tundra machè was ten thousand gulls from the coast. I had never seen anything like it. And this far inland. And so many. Thick as penguins, they covered the dump like a mildew magnified.
AUGUST 17, 2001
I was awakened by such incredible beauty today. My eyes opened to see, just skimming the dark edge of the row of Bishop pines across the road, the slender silver ship of the moon with Venus at its side. In the blue of a sky still holding a few stars, the two bodies gleamed with a similar brightness. Their light sparkled with the hardness of diamonds set in platinum. They were so close, and the slant of the curved moon, made it seem as if it was being pulled across the sky by the eye of a dolphin.
As I lay there watching the two marvels, they would occasionally blur as if an Adobe tool had been dragged across the sky. As the dawn gathered speed in its coming, I could see it was the wisps of ocean fog drifting over the picture. Still watching, still fascinated, these north wind driven creatures changed from their pearly white nature into rose, gold, and finally into a deep red orange. The play of colors between clouds and sky was in constant adjustment; as if the darkness from the sky was given to the hue of the clouds as it became a lighter blue and the clouds grew in mass and red energy. I felt I could see the color flow out of one aspect of the view into the other. And higher and higher rode the wisp of moon with its bright companion until it crested the top of my window, sailed off into the universe and I slept again.
the court is far away
Today was publication day for the Psalms of the New Testament. I thought by simply putting them up on the web instead of tucking them under covers, I would by-pass publication jitters, but that was not to be. When I took the first bite of an early lunch my innards turned over in that sickening lurch I know so well. And I thought I was over this kind of nonsense. Maybe my mind is, but the dear old donkey has not given up its muscular methods yet. Disregarding a pile of mail on the counter, and plans for working on the web site, I fell into a funk on the couch. I held a book by Virginia Woolf before my face, but had no idea of what I was reading. Finally I was able to sleep with the hope that would wipe my nervous slate clean but I woke up as frazzled as before.
who is the east?
Werner offered to take me to Mote Creek Beach. I was wondering why he was so insistent that we go. Only later, when that visit failed to change either my guts or my head, I realized he has often seen how going there completely changes my mood and was trying to help me out of my pit. I had not been in my prayers and the ancestors did not bother to notice them so the beach remained a pile of rotting seaweed and rocks. A bit more thankful for all the times this place had feed me, but still vacant and lost, we came home. Again the couch claimed me. At some point I told my donkey, "well, you can have this one day to grub and gruzzle, but tomorrow I expect to be back to work!" and tried various tricks to restore myself to myself. I even tried to crochet potholders – my lowest activity, but it was just too much work to sit upright.
Before going to bed, I began to feel a curiosity of whether anyone had even looked at the Psalms. Wouldn’t it be a proper joke if I had felt all this insecurity and defenselessness and no one in the world had even bothered to read them? Ah, there were three comments.
From Connie: "How very awesome that on my haiku path I would encounter words dealing with the concept of God! I have not read all of your writings but I certainly embrace what you are saying. I have been feeling unsettled for some time about my religious background and 'accepted' beliefs. I have been moving away from the dogma of religion to a more spiritual connection. Thanks for having the will to share this. I believe the God Spirit in all will expand, and this work of yours is a blessing."
With one breath my mood did a 180 degree flip. Gone was the gut pain, the vague lost feelings in my head, the emptiness of spirit as if no one was home in me. One person had been touched in a positive way and all the work was now worthwhile and there was no need for my funk. Galloping and charging again, riding into the wind again I read the next email from Gene:
"I've only had a chance to glance at your Psalms and bookmark them, but they are lovely. I read the first two and am very impressed. Over the years, I memorized a number of the Psalms, so your version resonated with the Jerusalem Bible and the Grail Psalter - and stands up very well, especially in the tone, the attitude that you capture. I really suspect that David would approve of your work. Your introduction sounds really close to the way Quakers talk, by the way. (I don't know any Quakers who use "plain speech," BTW; no "thees".) I plan to tell people who will appreciate your Psalter about it. Thank you for doing the work and making it available."
One person’s approval had seemed enough but now I had double riches. And I got a smile thinking of King David reading my hack of his songs! And I liked the word "Psalter" – salter. What a great idea. The salt of life, the songs of thanksgiving. I had read the Grail Psalter, on the internet, but seeing the word from Gene, it took on all new meaning.
And then I opened the third email which said in part. ". . . Although I realize and can appreciate the amount of work involved in putting together your version of the Psalms, it is of little interest to me personally. I am a Jew who prefers the passage below (from "Gates of Prayer") which epitomizes my belief system. ‘Behold, I have given you a good doctrine, My Torah: do not forsake it. It is a tree of life to those who hold it fast, and all who cling to it find happiness. Its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are peace.’"
As my oldest grandson would say: "okaaaaay." and my smile grew wider and wider. The longer I thought of these words, their incongruity with the actual words and philosophy of Old Testament Psalms, and the person who sent them, my face felt as if it was that morning moon as it shined against the darkness of a new day. I could hardly brush my teeth for the smile on my face. I went to bed and slept the sleep of those granted great happiness.
my river runs to you
L'AIR DU TEMPS
For all great music not yet played, masterpieces wait unpainted.
Go now, make love
A POSSUM . . .
A possum comes to our back porch to gobble the cats’ food.
HOT KISSES . . .
Hot kisses taken from her cheek in a meadow of spring grasses
Pacing loose-limbed, white on white;
A nomad in arctic landscapes,
How strange this sensation
Snowbound greenhouses cascade
Nature lovers wander dazzled
Discard your coat--let us relish
Yesterday this hoary oak
Weathering storms, droughts and floods,
Now - children climb it's limbs
winter wind -
Shadows cough up the
Reading your letter
Have you also heard?
what is this need?
all night long
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS EVE
the sound of wind
grown faint with distance
suddenly the snow
at night I search the sky for the moon
out in the yard
not much celebration
its a little flaw
CRIES AND COURAGE #4 - 12
when you were ill
I did not know how to help
when the summer
at times you wept all night
then there were times
then the spring blossomed
the sea is not a sleepless dream
and then there is you
and there are those
but, do not despair
and when people are cruel
because the truth
no time for streams
the withering leaves
at the junction
A rat scurries
When we married
the garden cat
Momi Kam Holifield
my garden box
Momi Kam Holifield
squirrel carries nuts
Momi Kam Holifield
Momi Kam Holifield
cricket in the sink
at the credit union
where zucchini waits
a livid scar
wrenlet in a bucket
by the creek’s left fork
sitting on my lap
car lights crossing
Written from Acapulco, Mexico, for her sister city of Sendai, Japan, where for the yearly winter Pageant of Starlight, hundreds of thousands of tiny lights are strung on two hundred and more trees that line the streets of Sendai:
Their boughs twinkling
LONG YEARS LONG STRUGGLE
tugging at the ribbon
in a breeze
a storm is brewing
ruins of a desert city
restless i thrash and turn
more than the worst dog fight
at the violet edge of a long day
attic shelf -
how the past
so many footprints
The rising river
Take the recliner,
pishing and hooting
a large bee lands
I found you
rows of hymnals
in an unlocked church
the only member
of the group
I don't see
the boot tracks
from a car
to my door and back
the short time I was gone
is not about me
but would sound
just like that
if it was
to mom's trailer
a jigsaw puzzle
we've put together
somewhere. . .
for a moment
she's my mother
I treat her
like a friend
I don't understand
but then, there¹s nothing in me
that isn't part of me
in your embrace
Big as boxcar,
meant to reveal the
and nested inside
The x-rays will be
It will sail at a
where we guess black holes,
dark matter, the glue
slanting fall sunlight
on this subzero morning -
on a summer morning
WITHOUT AND BEYOND FORM
fray chasm it's gray pattern
red flakes division anguish rim
Be lunger shape be
Freight all of a sudden lengthens, widens,
Not just another, more
The days are dropped into
I learned to read
and I learned to see
on the beach
Walk on a neighbors path
Dark matter, in her eyes the health of distance
Barefaced in transformation, starboard first touch
a soul enters the mosaic of a time shredding reptile;
of sudden entry. No disc preformatted, abundant energy
her three months old fetus rebuilding its watery boundaries
stream of fear. The pilot on his nomadic journey,
to a picture in his wallet: there, his daughter, nineteen,
where the transparent sail's move changes all speed.
in advance, a manifold of encounters
- Since you seem to ask, yes, holding a
- Did you know anybody working there at the time it happened?
- No, well, only Prom.
The TV running without interruption. People watching the tragedy of the two towers burning and crashing for several times daily. After a while, their thoughts and gestures begin to change. In one way or the other they feel and act like participants.
Rain gutter, we listen to rust moving
Blurred perspectives along the roads leaving lower Manhattan.
- Nothing you would leave simply for its size?
Life going on
Discussing already planed trips extensively because oil
The couple bridging
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|Poems Copyright © by Designated Authors
Page Copyright ©Jane Reichhold 2002.
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