THE WITCH’S FOREST

 

Tall pines, a ridge of stone–
bones of Earth.
All summer our small band
wandered with our sticks,
pretending danger till

she appeared, real, (her red shawl,
her cane) and we fled.  Out, out 
of my woods, she always said.
So we feared
and loved the forest more.

Fifty years gone by,
a forest of my own,
its stillness my solace.
Sunset, moonrise,
slant the light alike.

I walk alone among the pines,
follow the fox, listen for owls.
Now in autumn,
I’m watching for the hazel,
its late, late yellow bloom.

Advertisements

ENCHANTMENT

. . not inexplicable, only unexplained
~Dr. Who

1.
She was already a grown-up
when she caught her mother
throwing all her dolls into the trash.
You can’t do this, she explained, 
gathering up the ballerina,
the homemade Raggedy Ann,
the Gigi she’d saved her allowance to buy.
Then she found the old walking doll
(the fine gold hair, white plastic shoes,
two little front teeth, blue eyes that opened and closed),
and lost all composure.
She’s been with me since I was three, she screamed,
You can’t do this.

2.
A few years later,
having read some Russell and Hume,

she took a hammer to the walking doll.
It was just a pile of peachy plastic,
some old rubber bands,
and a weighted mechanism
to open and close the eyes.

3.
Dolls can’t talk.
Tinkerbell is dead.
The angels are, at the very least,
in a torporous state, like winter toads.
Pan, if he ever was, has fled.

4.
Fact:
Continents are sliding under,
melting down, bubbling up.

Speculation:
The fairies disappeared
into the zone of subduction.

Fact:
No two snowflakes are alike.

Speculation:
The gods that form them are as different
as the shapes we make are not the same.

Fact:
Many groups of hominids went extinct.

Maybe:
They’ve slipped through wormholes.
Alternatively, they’re here,
close as our skin,
metamorphosed into yet another layer
of what we don’t want to believe.

We’re more closely related to potatoes
than tuberculosis bacteria is to cholera.

That explains so many faces.

The curvature of spacetime
keeps us from drifting away

and yet
we act is if gravity were real,
as serious as, say, love.

5.
My father saw Santa Claus in his sleigh, with reindeer,
flying above the roofs of Newport, Vermont.

Here, still in Vermont, I can talk, in real time,
to a friend in Nagoya, Japan.

When my son was eight years old,
he saw an angel in the downstairs bathroom.

At this writing, there are seven hundred and five thousand
listings for gravity curvature spacetime on Google.

Jesus turned water into wine.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the incarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion.
Mohammed split the moon.

Tuberculosis bacteria
made my husband’s bladder cancer
go away.

6.
Eventually, the unexplained was everywhere:
she found it in the forests,
under park benches,
tucked between books on library shelves.
Stop it, she screamed,
but it multiplied exponentially.
When she went for her evening walk,
she heard dolls singing madrigals,
saw fairies ducking into the shrubbery.
In the garden, the angels
were stretching their bony wings,
emerging from their long muddy sleep.
And early one morning, she awakened to find
a solemn Neanderthal squatting in her kitchen,
peeling potatoes with a sharp green blade.

OCCUPY THE WORLD

Occupy the World.

Start with the body.
Root your feet.
You are the same as trees,
the stuff of dust,
a universe of water,
inhabitants
no one yet can name.

Breathe this air.
It is not yours.
Passed through bromeliads,
stromatolites, tyrannosaurs–
through all the gills
and pores and lungs
of life–pass it on.

Open your hands,
marvel of primate finger,
clapping palm.  Point
at what you love,
draw it close.
Pat it gently on the back.

Find your voice.
Join whales,
elephants, the yapping
dogs.  In every pond
the frogs complain.
Desperate birds
are calling from
every branch.

Occupy the World.

MOON

The moon shines through the window like snow.
My husband sleeps on the porch in the cold
to hear coyotes and owls and wind.
I sleep in the warm room
with a cat curled small against me,
no sounds but her breath,
the moonlight falling on the roof.

I will dream of a  garden where I work
in the dark with my dead father
among fallen leaves, the scent of snow.
I hear a sound like a thousand bees
and my father opens the gate
to the moon.  She enters, whispering,
covering the stems and leaves with white.

I CONSIDER THE OAK

 

For her lumber is golden and strong;
for she gives houses and ships,
cradles and caskets and casks.
For the people share her abundant fruit.
For her bark is purple and thick
and good medicine.

For she feeds the forest:
squirrel and chipmunk,
jay, turkey, deer, woodrat and mouse,
woodpecker, pigeon, pig.
For her hollows give shelter to bee and owl.

For her roots tap deep.
For her twig tips cluster.
For her Spring candles glow yellow
and her Lammas shoots are pink.
For her green is protection from the sun.
For her leaves rattle in the autumn wind.
For her winter shape is pleasing
and her branches bear the weight of snow.

For she carries the mistletoe
and casts away the curse.
For a leaf caught in the air shelters
and an acorn on the sill protects.
For she draws the lightning
and carries its mark.
For she is knotted by the bitter gall.
For she does not bow to the storm.
For her bent boughs send up straight shoots.

PROBLEMS

 

She had to go to Idaho
(or was it Illinois)
and the maps were shifty.

Her husband, her mother,
a tree frog and a rhinoceros
kept telling her the way.

Her car had flat tires
and a sewing machine
where the engine used to be.

She had to make supper
for two hundred people
with teabags and a dozen eggs.

Headless chickens and shopping carts
filled with unripe and singing squashes
roamed the supermarket.

And then, there were spiders
in the sugar canister
and spots on the tomatoes.

Not only that, her glasses didn’t work,
she ran out of ink, and every pair of shoes
gave her blisters and hammertoes.