29 March 2017

Gender Escapes


My pronouns are she, her and hers. I add
this to my name tags now, acknowledging
that There are more things in heaven and earth
than are dreamt of in old philosophies.

Once upon a time, surrounded by
women, I believed my identity
depended on having a womb—and so
dreaded a needed hysterectomy.

But I awoke afterwards even more
female in body, mind and soul, even
more feminist and non-traditional,
and more aware of women’s hard choices.

A year later, I fainted during my
doctoral research in Italy, and
woke up to male doctors questioning
why, so young, I couldn’t bear children.

Neither fever nor chills concerned them, not
pouring sweat nor stomach pain. Nor that they
could violate me while I was passed out. 
Not that they saw me as damaged, not ill.

Chilled to the bone, I begged for more blankets.
Scared to death, I asked to be discharged.
Told not until my fever broke, I fled.
The women in the clinic cheered me on.

My pronouns are she, her and hers. I add
these to my name tags now, quite happy
that There are more things in heaven and earth
than are dreamt of in old philosophies.

So this is a happy poem, a poem
of praise, a poem of gratitude that some
of us escape the cage. Biology 
is not destiny.  We can overcome. 


My blog poems are rough drafts.   
Please respect my copyright. 
© 2017 Susan L. Chast

24 March 2017

Looking for the Soul: Part Three


Exodus: Moses and the burning bush 
by Marc Chagall(1966)


Blood pulses like tympani in my ears
Because we take action. 
Fear, I suppose—
the old Uh-oh.  Or maybe it’s courage
coursing through veins unused to its power—
a fast-fast shuttle carrying God Light
across the dark warp of our body
to weave whole cloth out of the hope of us.

Because we take action, I am excited.
Witness Moses finally saying YES
and not backing away from the burning,
knowing his task will be inconvenient
and dangerous. 
Here I stand at the loom
ready to weave this cloth with words, to make 
it light and dark.  pray to play my part.



My blog poems are rough drafts.   
Please respect my copyright. 
© 2017 Susan L. Chast



22 March 2017

A Mirror Story



Brooks, books, trees and paintings on the wall—
Each reflects a story, each reveals soul.
Even these tiny violets I hold
show the face of God.

Break a mirror and be struck
With sevenfold bad luck.


All creation,
like a book or a picture,
is a mirror to us.
Alain de Lille


My blog poems are rough drafts.   
Please respect my copyright. 
© 2017 Susan L. Chast



Looking for the Soul: Part One


source



Neglect moves in steadily and Time melts.  
You snatch at last minutes as if they could be footholds, 
as if they could save you from undifferentiated matter.  

You have always escaped, you think, with skill, reason, instinct and faith—
rarely all four at once when one or two suffice.  Indeed, you rarely need faith 
because, you say, it sleeps in canonical tomes or dies with those who dare.

You search through libraries and galleries and find that history reflects you— 
you grown indulgent, slothful, tolerant of lies and hatred.
Part of neglect, You are neglect.

You are spark and tinder, too.  Enough to re-ignite care if you desire.
With reason dead and skill dying, instinct and faith must inspire.
If Time melts, nothing remains. Nothing. Find the path and burn.

Go on and buy your supplements, pay your cable bills and rent,
look out upon the homeless from grimy windows, then relent. 
Start divining footholds.  Seconds remain.

Clear a path out from chaos. Use words, color, sound and prayer.
Divine as if your life’s at stake.  Take the daring step you feared 
would lead to your death.  Revive your Soul.  And live.  



For Sumana's prompt Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Mirror
Also see Looking for the Soul: Part Two

(Something is churning about time/history/mirrors of a soul,  
but I'm not sure the words capture it yet.  
Let me know in comments, please.  
Thank you.)



My blog poems are rough drafts.   
Please respect my copyright. 
© 2017 Susan L. Chast



18 March 2017

Looking for the Soul: Part Two



Clay and Breath, Body and Soul—
What we’re told, what we know
Gifts we receive, Gifts we bestow.



We keep looking for ways to know the soul
deeper than reflection, more of a whole.
Begun in clay, and enlivened with God’s breath,
we are balloons afloat, alive and blessed.

The only impression we make at all
is in the looking glass hung in the hall,
but if we move closer to touch our frame
our breath turns to steam and obscures the same.

And if we turn away, Soul comes with us
to fill imagination with presence—
what was invisible is now enhanced
We are all dancers becoming the dance.








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

© 2017 Susan L. Chast



15 March 2017

The Impeccable Stranger



Solitude, by John B. Heywood.jpg
Solitude, by John B. Heywood (1859?-1865?)


The impeccable stranger is kind, of course,
kind to the nth degree—superhero
kind—without an ulterior motive
such as wanting a friend or even sticking
around to talk or walk when not wanted.

The impeccable stranger desires only
to be a better stranger—one who pays
a debt forward and pours spirit into
a starved and scary city to increase
its peace, safety and chances of justice.

A hermit speaks, of course, hard to befriend,
but one who loves all life until world’s end.





My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2017 Susan L. Chast