06 October 2015

Miss Brown

To teach she sat behind her desk
something I wonder about now
I couldn’t do it—sit, I mean.
I bounced around my rooms to teach, engaged, 
but that’s something I wonder 
about now for she made me bounce.  
That’s where it began, for sure,
with pretty willowy Miss Brown.

The way she cupped the flip in her
shoulder-length hair, leaning forward
so soft and orderly—the way
each day her red cursive “Good Work”
graced book reports, essays and tests—
Remember?  Spelling eighth-grade words
was fun, such fun to please her red
ink slant atop pages I wrote.

For her, I risked being better,
focused my normal Look-At-Me
on perfection, neatness, power
in what I read and wrote  and Oh!
She published the literary
magazine and my first story!
Certainly that’s where it began
this eagerness to be best, this
belief I could do anything.

To teach she sat behind her desk
and quietly noticed us all
and we saw her hand writing on
our inner walls saying “Good Work”
and her hand cupping shoulder curls.
We saw her seeing us each day
and sat up straighter than before
behind our desks for dear Miss Brown.

For my prompt Poets United Midweek Motif ~ 
Teacher/One Who Teaches

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast


Now old, I remember childlike wonder
at everything that tried to delight me once—
like the color purple, yes !  
It took deep sleep—
the adolescent-beauty kind—to wipe
out paradox with 
polar opposites
like male and female, 
weed and flower, 
young and old.  

Inside a voice whispers the truth
wordlessly and I feel my youth alive
like seeds curled up within a dying bloom.
Ah!  There you are!  
You were right, you know!
I smile at she who 
waited for me to wake up, 
reversing the kiss of lore 
that pulled the wool over my eyes.  

Alright, I think.  
I needed time
to earn a living, 
simplify the rules
and multi-task achievements 
others benefited from 
before reawakening
with readiness to love 
the larger  world.

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast

05 October 2015


My heart beats with the earth
now that she forgives me
and her vast love roots me.

I move with earth and rhyme
in sync with her dream time.
Now mindfulness won’t drift;
rest is the earth’s true gift.

Thank you, thank you, I sit
and breathe, so tired no wit
visits my tongue today

but gratitude bids me pray
silently for strength and grace
to build a new home here
on welcome’s small frontier.

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast

03 October 2015

Fear Melts

What if I had dared ride
your darkest mare,
dared ride bare-back, 
my hands a hold
her mane?  How would life be
different now?
I held her nose instead
offering her
sweet sugar cubes, my cheek
against hers, soft,
listening as the lake
froze.  I was not
courageous, no, I lacked
fortune’s favor.

Posting the above for Kerry's FLASH 55 PLUS!

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast

But then it grew into a sonnet.  O Fortuna!

Fear Melts

What if I had dared ride your darkest mare,
dared ride bare-back, my hands a hold
her mane?  How would life be different now?
I held her nose instead offering my
sweet sugar cubes, my cheek against hers, soft,
listening as the lake froze.  I was not
courageous, no, I lacked fortune’s favor.

I lost you then, I know, you who rode tides
to dare the boundaries of right and might
until you were caught.  But I am here and
offer home to you still.  I’ve no courage,
but lend my roof garden where we'll drink tea
with scones and cream and watch for armed forces
together there where I sculpt ice horses.

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast

01 October 2015

If We Felt Terror

Za'atri camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan18 July 2013

What wouldn’t we give up to stay alive? 
What number of transports, secrets and lies?
And if it took our truths, sacrifice and gifts
Would we start sooner our lives to shift?

Simpler to help than to shatter,
Better to feed than to flatter,
Sweeter to share than store water,
Stronger to try to stop slaughter.

Might it be we passing, barely upright?
Concave, broken, too tired for fright?
Can we witness hunger and homelessness?
Refuse to erase these from consciousness?

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast

29 September 2015

Step Up

Universal health care
58 countries with universal health care, according to Stuckler, et al (2009)

That moment when opportunity knocks,
“Yes” falls from you and you don’t stumble,
step up to machines, knives, technology
and doctors with kindly eyes and skilled hands.

You surrender to them as if they’re gods,
quietly praying to your own for each one
they don’t fumble but step up to your spine
and fix it while you're in morphine slumber.

You wake in sterile haze, alert enough
to know there’s months of healing left to go
insurance will step up and juggle bills
for nursing, rehab and medication.

You ponder luck during long hours alone,
thank God for union benefits and pay
physicians who step across borders
to serve people in crisis free of charge.

As weight of brace and sensed foreign presence 
in spine replace unbearable leg pain,
step on slowly, grateful to nature and 
science ~ and spirit silently applauds.

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast