11 September 2023

The Weather in Philadelphia



Philadelphia heats and rains,
a little more than usual.  We sit
snug and watch other parts of the world burn,
aware that we didn’t have winter last
winter, and this may be the location
of rain forest(s) eventually,
but we’re not flooding either.

I don't . . . I can’t get the formula right. 

I write love songs, faithful and un- songs
and I roll such songs back and forward playing
“what if?”:  What if all love songs were about earth?
were to earth-God? what if always we pledged
loyalty to the earth and meant it? Dear love
best love, please love, do not abandon me, love. 


How’s the weather? 
Whether or not we’re together,
I love you I love you forever
You know where I can be found.


I walk on green hills in a non-flood zone
praying that songs make a difference
in a world that’s constantly changing.
It’s not a matter of being sure,
it’s just the trouble of doing something
here in Philadelphia.


If I could get the formula right. 


For the What's Going On? Blog: HOW'S THE WEATHER?

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2023 Susan L. Chast

04 September 2023

Take this Poem


First of all, believe me when I say that there is no improving on the model poem for Mary's prompt: Take This Poem by Elizabeth Willis.  It’s brilliant.  Go on and read it.  I’m trying to create something else with a similar rhythm of urgency and hope.


 Take this Poem
This poem is
a red and blue
pill you take
to reveal or disguise
the matrix.
Take it alone or
In company.
Conformity becomes
group experience
either way.
Do you hesitate?
Sit there
without deciding?
At least watch
people choose
a pen or ax
a hammer or cudgel
a plow or weapon.
Watch who walks
toward danger
and who is danger.
See who simplifies
Into love and hate
and who embraces
the complexity
of growing up
of trial and error
of standing up after
being flattened
by oppression.
See who listens.
And then, instead
of pills, take courage
to walk your fear
out of its
of closets
and stand up
for voting
for dis-arming
for nourishing
the malnourished
earth and its
Stand up for freedom
And equality.
Go outside naked
free of mask
and prejudice
free of tears
free of need to
divide into binaries.
Go outside naked
this poem in hand
and share it
to develop a better
one for place and time.
One that will explode
systems that limit
human possibilities
systems that destroy
environmental futures
systems that create
us and them
and he and she
and rich and poor
and users and used.
Create instead
like nature
from seed
to fruit
like the gods
from nothing
to something
with growth
and change
built in
like a life force
like a wind
like a sun
like a cloud
like a bird
who wants
to do its part
in the survival
of the world.

For Mary's prompt TAKE THIS POEM on the Blog "What's Going On?"

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

© 2023 Susan L. Chast


26 August 2023

Becoming Part of Nature



For Amy    

If you ask a natural thing to talk,
you’ll find being, pure being, surprised
and pleased that you asked permission.
And if you then turn and invite humans
to talk just as you did the natural things,
they’ll feel a strange kind of non-aggression.
You did this for me yesterday, and I
experienced a slower, kinder rhythm,
one that allows choice and agency.
That is, when you talked to me as if I
were a tree or another natural thing,
I became more natural than alone.
When you dared to lead by invitation,
I forgot ego to enjoy choice, and
I noticed other beings choosing too.
Did I first seem impatient, unaware
of the gift you modelled?  Forgive me.  I 
am grateful for a way back to nature.


My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2023 Susan L. Chast


18 August 2023

The Importance of Lavender


Rains winds tornados floods and fires
each with fierce sounds and music.
And daily chores at home:
waking cooking cleaning.
Soap, rinse, repeat.
Armies and navies, too,
brave the weather,
Survive kill die. 
Soap, rinse, repeat.
Rinse and repeat.
Is it different when we fast and pray for Light?
or when a woman secrets a sprig of lavender
into her friend’s place setting at lunch?
The blessing and the curse:
cycles continuing unchanged
with small moments of delight
and large expanses of prayer
hoping everything is alright
when it isn't
but lavender continues to grow.


 For the new "What's Going On" blog!

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2023 Susan L. Chast

03 August 2023

Taking down the Ash



Light branches swish to the ground, sliding down
the slope of the white pine—“We won’t hurt it”
the tree crew swears.  Which tree? The pine might live,
through this, but the ash is dying.  I feel
its heart give way.  “It’s already dead” say
these surgeons—their card says surgery—and
it’s true that the ash’s crown is dead, but
leaves on the lower limbs obscure the view.
Passersby don’t know the growing danger
to them and their possessions kept below.
The emerald ash bore took residence
in its bark, and will eat the rest quickly.
Perhaps, then, this is a mercy killing.

And yet I feel the tree give in, its heart
breaking more than before.  Like my heart breaks
in stages, gets heavier over time.

Thank you, dear white ash tree.  Thank you for your
shade and beauty, for carrying unique
quiet.  Can you feel my prayer as your
trunk falls to the chain saw?  Surgeons lower
you piece by piece by piece now that they have
finished amputating your limbs.  They draw
and quarter you, still living, I believe,
sap running down to your roots.  I see you.
I sense your soul—sad, not grateful. Who wants
to die before their time?  And as you leave
a hole opens in my universe.

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2023 Susan L. Chast

01 August 2023

Just Breathe


After intense extraordinary
heat, sun settling around me on windy
fingertips is refreshing as a dip
in the sea, waves gently tugging on toes
and everything inviting.  Clouds are low,
but not threatening, just low enough to
say, “The trouble is not over, but rest
while you can.  Lift your cheeks into the wind,
eyes open or closed.” My gratitude smiles
throughout my body, and I sigh, thankful
for reprieve, for sanctioned forgetfulness,  
for freedom to grow stronger without an
oppositional force.  “Yes, that’s it.  Breathe.
Remember to turn away when you need.”

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2023 Susan L. Chast