18 March 2018

Depression, This Time

autumn trees house newyork fall fog forest sunrise buildings landscape photography photo seasons unitedstates foggy hudsonriver select publish landscapephotography collectionlandscape highlandfalls husdonvalley publishflickr collectionsunrises collectionrcc competitionrccprint
Hudson Valley in fog

This time it sits like fog in her visual field,
fog like pea soup along the Hudson River, thick
and unrelenting, it absorbs the light that tries
to penetrate it, all the “why don’t yous” and hugs
get lost in the grey thickness of despondency.

This time it sits like cotton balls in her ears, sound
muffled and balance off, so if she stood she might
get lost or fall and hit her head and sink in a
pothole so big she'd need to be towed out, fog horns
blasting, embarrassing her like her car alarm. 

This time the similes prompt her to write, to be 
amused that she's chewing cookie after cookie, 
the stash open on the coffee table between
herself and the TV, tuned in to anything,
and her still sitting, not moving to get paper.

This time she knows the fog can't stay. Her mood
lifts it. She hasn't much patience for old stories, 
just two more cookies worth before she stands, opens 
the door and ushers fog into the night.  This time
she notices that sight and sound and light return.

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

© 2018 Susan L. Chast

14 March 2018

The Sounds of Natural Environments


Somedays everything screams: Alarm clocks. Tea
kettles. Children before puberty. Blood
in eardrums. Sun on grass. Waves returning
to ocean.  Trouser legs brushing. Wind
storm at cliff edge and in loose window panes.

Seeking my natural habitat, I
quite often find my way back home.  Human--
I own more than fits in a crab shell
and less than a full house can hold—
I need three rooms built with easy access.

And there, I scream, then stop the scream in safe
silence. In pillows. And in pleasures like
bath salts. Cat fur. Low TV.  Hot dinner.
Then screams and silence shape themselves into
assorted sentences and pencil sketches.

An open mouth matches the red sunset.
A figure starts in black and blends in blues.
A snatch of dialogue catches its breath.
And paper that started in white or cream
ends in colors and words, lines and swirls.

Only after day darkens can any-
one say they have been heard.  That they listened.
Evidence litters floors and table, daybed,
kitchen sink—detritus of creation—
material that screams, that accuses.

Somedays everything screams: Alarm clocks. Tea
kettles. Slogans. Tree stumps. Garbage.  Gun shots.
Silence takes time and safety.  Friends go home.
Prepare for show and tell.  Plan another
day’s adventure.  Don’t plan.  Stumble and Dance.

For Sumana's prompt 

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Scream

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

© 2018 Susan L. Chast

07 March 2018

Slight and Might of Hand

Tipping Banner.jpg

Money clinks, crinkles and fans
Whether real or counterfeit
10% or all of it
Money is sight, touch and sound
Money is scarce, not enough
to go around.

Believe that? Here’s another:
Money won’t help our brothers
It’s worthless in a shipwreck
when there’s not enough water
to drink, but plenty to sink—
Look all around.

Invisible value lives
underneath: hands that make beds
eyes and voices that read lines
ears that listen, arms that open
and trade that could yet be best
Blessings abound.

For my prompt Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Money

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

© 2018 Susan L. Chast

28 February 2018

When the Time is Right

Esther touches the golden sceptre.jpg
Esther touches the golden sceptre.

The full moon throws long shadows of Esther
kneeling in front of her husband the king. 
This could be her last day alive.  If he
won't lift his golden scepter to save her.  

His ministers see fear in her trembling,
but she swallows as much anger as fear.
Is it so rare for kings to overlook
disobedience?  For queens to transgress?

She’ll grovel to save her people.  She’ll give
up her dignity to obtain justice—
much more important than equality—
at least today—in this exigency.

She hides her pride in the full moon shadow
ready to play the part her people ask.
They give her little in return.  For them
she hid her faith, left her friends, married.

She speaks.  Come to my rooms and dine with me.
Come and listen.  Dismantle plots. Bury
weapons or give them to everyone.
Imbalance of power makes us weave webs.

Understand, I will kneel, will stand, will speak
for you as well as they—for me, for we.
Understand, hidden in full moon shadow
is an Esther who wants the right to live.

For Sumana's prompt: 

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Carpe Diem / Seize the Day

                                                                                        Book of Esther - Wikipedia

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

© 2018 Susan L. Chast

21 February 2018

Where the New World Hides its Muse: a Lop-sided Song

Orchestra section from Fantasia 

The old age home applies the mute to brass—
and woodwinds, too--in broken orchestras
and concerts with too many empty seats.

Get close enough to listen and you’ll weep.
Get closer yet and hear aged narratives:
Percussion delivers their heartbeat still.

Should they rise, this collection of discarded
instruments? should they ride on strings to homes
and play louder and longer than welcome?

Can this last home now guard the new world’s soul—
the one we fear we’ve lost along with pure notes
and dissonance, along with sound and sense?

 For my prompt 

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Voice

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

© 2018 Susan L. Chast

What the E-Mail Said

Vincent van Gogh - Starry Night on the Rhone, 1888

The dreaded words arrived in a brother’s email:
A fight about driving . . . and confusion . . . 
Slurred speech . . . frustration and rage . . . ambulance 
paramedic . . . cops . . . medical center

A dad is furious--no longer free—
and children are tied, too, in tests and calls
and hope, though after all, he’s ninety plus—

It’s not the end, only the beginning
struggle, as if he’s taken Thomas’s
poem to heart and tuned it up again:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.*

And so the light won’t die but strengthen while
gentle stars mingle, ghosts at a party.
A dad is talkative, no longer alone.

Brothers and sisters seek accounts and keys
secreted like chocolate.  Yesterday
the dreaded words arrived in a brother’s email.

Always there is the fight followed by flight
and safety without power and freedom.
Gentle ghosts shelter from rain and storm,
glow bright against the rising of the night.

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

© 2018 Susan L. Chast