18 January 2017

Tuning Up the Image of Country





Remember when we changed our tune from City on the Hill
to Melting Pot?  From Melting Pot to Salad Bowl?  I don’t either.

I don’t mind salad which can be tossed and dressed and served,
but much prefer imagining a box of crayons, the bigger the better

(As long as we can still carry it, as long as it doesn’t exceed
the magnitude of its form) and allowing so much creative difference

That the skies sit up and take notice page after page, a never ending
story, a layered collage that refuses to morph into a hologram

That broken does not become little miniatures of itself, but becomes
so impoverished that all its elements contrive to stay whole.

Unity of heart is not conformity, is not swallowing the dis-harmonies
of sound but displaying them excitedly in a music festival

In a museum of art without walls, a lending library of products
and tools, an endless street of restaurants, a curving forest crust

Visible from outer and inner space, happy habitat of humanity
which has enough of enough not to need cannibals ever again.

I prefer the tune from boxes of crayons and art supplies that we can
replenish and expand without feeding on each other.





Posted for my Prompt 

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Unity



My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.

© 2017 Susan L. Chast




15 January 2017

Walking up Glaciers


Quelccaya Ice Cap 


Haven’t written since I cast my ballot
ineffectually last election
as if my public signature triggered
the loss of government dignity since.

This is down time, as in it’s all downhill
from here, as in now we’re down on the farm
although we’ve seen the glow of rainbow’s end,
as in haven’t we slid this slope before?

The cure, I’m told, is prayer for the soul
of officialdum, for seasons  of hope,
for reincarnation of art, for plagues
of blessings on pharaoh’s first families.

I recall melodramatic sitcoms
where even Archie Bunkers would reform
if loss of privilege came too close by
or if his daughter brought stray puppies home.

If only well-being would work as well
as wilderness to wake unfeeling souls
to empathy and generosity,
if only they stopped climbing as we slid.

But let's stop grieving now and write the cure, 
let's manifest its hope after we march 
to find the angry core and climb past that
to faith and to empowerment once more.





My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.

© 2017 Susan L. Chast



10 January 2017

How to Get In the Door






When words become too small
writers slide into metaphor.
Call it poetry if you must, a word 
only two syllables larger than Everything.

God is such a small word
(says he who carries The Message).
How long will we need to hold onto it
when listening is the key to open that Door?

And, anyway, the way
only seems locked.  Knock illusion
over gently without a key, it will
shatter easily and open to all.

The door is too flimsy
to keep us out or in. Its line
has no dimension and no end, it flows
into scripted words, each a Door, each Metaphor.








Inspired by Krista Tippett's interview with 
EUGENE PETERSON
On Being, 22 December 2016



"You’re not trying to figure things out; 
  you’re trying to enter into what’s there."



Peterson's books include Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer, The Pastor: A Memoir, and The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language.




My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.

© 2017 Susan L. Chast






04 January 2017

Painting the Revolution Poem








Yesterday’s visit to the art museum
kept me alert in fields of night horses
and lions, blood and adults strong and wide
as rock, alive as deciduous trees.

Tomorrow we march to the capital
again if we want to—but who will go?
Determined young women in pussy caps
will weave a strand of pink through our colors,
our hope and pride, our bald and tightly curled
heads, our loud voices and frightened bright eyes.


Yesterday’s visit to the art museum
gutted us on the battlefield of strikes
against exploitation where skeletal
remains birth fascism—where babes grow up
to march with swastikas until red red
and more crimson spells victory in bold
sentences wakening trees who survive

Tomorrow we march to the capital
in all countries and states where corporate
monopolies profit from powerless
imaginations.  We take more courses.

Montenegro, Roberto (1887-1968) - 1938 The Double (Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, USA) | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Yesterday’s visit to the art museum
showed us where we hid in masks of trees
and leaned on, learned from their core values
that knot their roots under visible grounds
of battle.  Under mud old seeds will sprout
in new communities of marigold
dreams, full baskets of fruit and peace lilies.

Tomorrow we need not march to know
these conversations reach our governments.
Everywhere we look we see people
we sat and talked with, anywhere we go
we have support and hold revolution
of power now in us, of us, for us.  


Philadelphia Museum of Art and Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes (2016).



Posted for my prompt 

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Vision





My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.



© 2017 Susan L. Chast



31 December 2016

A Year Like a Cat, a Dog, an Esther

Platter with Three Episodes from the Book of Esther



I want to pet the New Year like a cat,
a rescue learning to trust me as if
we came into this world and built our home
together.  I want to brush the New Year,
to brush away the tangle and debris
that troubles it, to feed it and provide
the atmosphere it needs to live and thrive.

I want to pet the New Year like a dog,
a puppy I am learning to love as
we train each other.  I want it to love
us better than the wild dog of last year—
at least no worse.  I want us to love it
as fiercely, kindly and creatively
as we are able, as we love ourselves. 

I want us to travel with this New Year
as if we had the courage of Esther
to stand up for our people, as if we
could stay awake and be the witnesses,
stay woke and give, stay woke and speak, stay woke
and know what happens to the least of us
happens to each of us, each living thing.




My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.

© 2016 Susan L. Chast



26 December 2016

What the Drawing Shows





It’s easier to draw than to use words
whose fragile bones break under meaning’s weight.

The faces from our morning prayer circle—
solid, unbreakable—stand in crayon.

Multiplied by those we hold in the light,
two look like twenty, water becomes wine.

Colors pile up as God’s own voices, drum
their welcome through hearts’ thin and trembling walls.

We hear the truth in form and weight so draw
race in as religious warfare—

That’s all, a dreadful gamble for power—
but white on white disappears in wax wings.

It flies too tight in formation.
It cannot be torn off, cannot melt.

Only other colors reveal white as
useful, necessary and beautiful.

In turn, white exposes the power and
beauty and necessity of color. 

These broken words may not carry vision
clearly.  To walk, vision needs stronger bones.




My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.

© 2016 Susan L. Chast