17 July 2024

Elegy

 

 


My eyes and heart are full of your presence
in colorful pastel landscapes and oil-
painted trees in and outside of window
panes and frames, and in your book of sketches
and poetry ready for your 99th
birthday.  I wish you made 100.

I still reach for the telephone every
other day, still hear you rave about your
children and their children and your great
grandchildren.  You speak from everything
you made, and every tree still waiting
for you to paint it and to bring it home. 
 
Thank you for being here for us. 
Thank you for showing me how to see.


Posted for Sherry's prompt "Elegy" at What's Going On. 

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2024 Susan L. Chast  




07 July 2024

A Good Friend


Ah, friend!  I don't remember your laughter.
I remember your smile of pleasure on
your Valentine birthday.  Sometimes your smile
was joy with tears ready, like at movies
in moments of beauty.  Often your smile
was wry, amused by my optimism,
the smile of your decisive personal
motto: Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.*
 
We argued about that, a small luscious
tug underlying our friendship.  Listen:
I enjoyed your pessimism in talks
following films and news.  And now I take
you with me to movies and to theatre,
noting where you might react and where we
would disagree.  I saw Oppenheimer and
Barbie that way.  Lots of sister smiles.


*The more things change, the more they remain the same.


For my prompt "On Friendship" at What's Going On?   

(And here's one from the archive "Having Seen the Other Side.")


 My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2024 Susan L. Chast  



02 July 2024

The death of a tree

 

source


 Last night’s thunder was sharper and louder
than ever before.  The morning revealed
a huge tulip tree split and shattered—just
far enough away from structures and wires.
 
Try to imagine that minute’s drama:
thunder along with a streak of light miles
high and inches low, blinding and deadly,
targets the heart of the innocent tree.
 
And then in small gusts of wind, gentle rain
blesses the victim and scene of the crime.
All around it, saplings and grasses lift
their heads and drink, thirst foremost in their minds.
 
And the earth keeps turning toward morning.
The earth keeps turning toward the next dawn.


For Sumana's prompt "Rain" at What's Going On?

 My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2024 Susan L. Chast  

25 June 2024

Knocking On the Door

 

source

“To he who knocks the door will be opened,”
Jesus said in the sermon on the Mount.
Well, I’ve been knocking and no one answers. 
I read “he” who knocks as universal,
but maybe “he” literally meant males—
at least to church leaders who formed the Book?
 
Because we can’t be sure what pronouns were
in the original message, can we?
Scribes copied scribes and translated scribes till
anything is possible.  And, too, no
time line says when the door will open, or
if God will answer directly or not.
 
God and Jesus like paradox in their
parables. They like variety in
stories, including, I’m sure, your story
and mine.  They may need them to
play out until the cliff-hanger when things
get tough, and we knock more desperately. 
 
And even then, they may hesitate, as
if given just a few more minutes, we
would solve the problem unaided by
external hands.  Create yourself, the closed
door seems to say, let me answer in your
living heart, and trust it right there.  Trust it.
 
My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2024 Susan L. Chast

If it's Home

 

In my home, doors have been open or closed,
attached or detached, and desks or tables.
 
In my home, doors are walls or corridors,
rejections or invitations, and peepholes.
 
In my home, doors enable me to love
safely, to hold you out or let you in.
 
In my home, doors allow kin and kindness
to grow in understanding without fear.


For Mary's prompt "Doors" at What's Going On?


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

© 2024 Susan L. Chast  


To You Who Are Travelling

 

Someone is knocking at your door
too far away for the peephole
to show, but likely you know who
is whispering your name. Silly
poems out of place and rhyme

hold you safe in heart and mind while
you continue your alone time.
 
When you reach this journey’s end,
and open your door to the living,
we’ll hear your heart beating and smile.
Everything will be all right.  
We’ll cheer you on to more adventures,
risks taken—open or closed door—
in the knowledge that you’re secure.


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

© 2024 Susan L. Chast