22 June 2022

Snow Globes for Climate Action


What if we made snow globes instead of poems?
What if we made glass paperweights at home?

We’d show cities and woods as they once were
before fires and floods began to occur.
And each bubble would be a tiny ark
holding inhabitants, even skylarks.
You’d see each scene on-site through air-proof domes,
some in glass, some in tear-filled catacombs.

These shows would spread, would be open to view,
while performers recalled life’s sounds for you.
(A built-in benefit would be their weight
to hold down safely what fierce winds might take.)

Get ready! As seas rise and coasts erode
we can preserve what’s there in a snowglobe.

I've been thinking of forms of protest that might work, like road signs reminding people of what used to be--but ahead of time--as if satire could provoke action that truth saying does not.  Are we speaking of a commons?  Only under the domes and in us creators/spectators.

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2022 Susan L. Chast

16 June 2022

Heeding the Messengers' Promise


"You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves."*


When I lose my way and forget

how to access earth’s wild music

in this changing world—lose my

song—poets are my nature guides:

Mary’s trees say to “stay awhile.” 

Wendell enters “the peace of wild things.”

Gerard finds “nature is never spent.”

Walt and Emily and David

and more find God in the details

or find nature itself enough.


And then begins my journey back from Hell. 

Orpheus and Eurydice at once,

I seek confidence, seek sense memories

as companions, and seek stories as songs

till I hear wild life zinging, and can step

away from careless-ness and sorrow.

Invites come from all directions, but to

steady myself, I gravitate toward

bright beings, to songs that demand nothing

but give simply by being alive and strong:


Touch and lean on the sycamore

dressed in white bark and spreading branches,

the birch in slender crowds of gold

reaching to the blue sky in leafy frames.

Feel loose stone under old dry leaf

below, both on a foundation

of slate cliff edge and moist brown earth.

Stand still to watch the chipmunk play,

to listen to birds call, flicker, and rush

the wind.  I greet them in my first song.


I stay awhile, until the light in me

grows strong, until peace slows my breath,

until I know again—like falling in love—

that I’m home in creation and renewed

until next time I’ve drifted too far and

begin to drown, begin to gag, think of

quitting, until by chance I pick up the poems

of the messengers singing their promise

to heal (without eliminating pain),

to remind humans of earth's wild music.

Posted for earthweal weekly challenge: EARTH’S WILD MUSIC

*The quote is from Wild Geese by Mary Oliver accompanied by artist Anna Chromy's ALONE (lovers on an island).  I will document the other poets later (smile).

My blog poems are rough drafts.  

Please respect my copyright. 

 © 2022 Susan L. Chast


09 June 2022

From Press Photos to My Backyard


During Russia’s assault of Ukraine, trees and bushes

stand defiantly by rubble that a few weeks ago was

homes, businesses, cultural landmarks, and lives.


Here I read the spirit of the people of Ukraine

and imagine defenders able to pause and refresh

from green growth.  I know it doesn’t restore victims.


I imagine women and childrenremote refugees from war

near trees as well.  I climb down to my home's backyard

to join them in spirit.  As always, I clear trash—


and then stand in the waving arms of pine trees, thankful

for soft touch, rough scratches, hard branches, and cones,

and thankful for rusty needles covering moss and grass. 


And here I linger.  The truth of the recent press photos fade.

Beauty seduces me into presence, into gratitude for life, and

into concurrent awareness of the gap where purpose groaned. 


Here I witness departures and returns, the rhythm of time

that uses us and reprieves us as necessary, that spills love

into us without warning that it will hurt, that it matters.


for earthweal weekly challenge: DREAMING IN GREEN


 My blog poems are rough drafts.  

Please respect my copyright. 

 © 2022 Susan L. Chast


08 June 2022

Riding the Stationary Bike


I ride the reclining stationary bike at our local Y

peddling uphill for a greater sense of movement.

I like the feel of spiral rising, as the experience

of multiple departures and returns is my truth.

I walk out in order to regulate breathing and return,

anger gone or set aside to consider later.  I weekend

in order to week, vacate in order to inhabit, leave reason

in order to passion freely, then communicate reasonably.

The rhythm of departure and return includes change,

that small spiral rising, lengthening, and growing that

is the healthy opposite of repression.  Consider how

spring restores summer after winter’s leavening.


What is lost and grieved, what seems gone but is altered, 

what is gained however unexpected. How I am moved.

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
If you quote, credit this page.
© 2022 Susan L. Chast

07 June 2022

Ministry in Song




Let me go bodies sing in chorus.

Let me go and I will return 3x3.

Let me go bodies sing, timing

each note differently for multiplicity. 


Let me go sing my body, earth’s body,

the body of worship, the body of Christ,

the body of governments, the bodies of citizens,

the bodies of congregations, and the bodies of the dead.


Let go. The din of song means try something else:

try non-invasive therapies, try leaving room to expand.

Why do you intend to retreat?  When my body solos,

earth joins and we duet.  Behind any two, many croon.


Let me go to join the chorus of hope

Let me go to refresh and heal and return.

All bodies interpret spirit in familiarities;

I hear spirit in words and familiar beings.


Alone, the voice lifts, You let go!  The notes crack

and a new being seeks embrace from the first arrivals.

Whether we see, hear, or know it, earth sings 

Let me go!

with other bodies, and soon, soon, sings Welcome.

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
If you quote, credit this page.
© 2022 Susan L. Chast

05 June 2022

Body's Demand


Two Girls in a Rowboat, Winslow Homer 1876–80 

My body claims both mind and soul
for the purpose of healing. Who are you
to want events and writing to go on
without pause when I need you more?  Body
demands answers. More, it demands good time.
Close both your eyes, it says, close them and focus.

Earth’s body also refuses to give
while it heals. Gravity heightens, absorbing
sun, water, and all the gravel under
the trash. Let me heal, it says. Stop asking
for anything.
Is this too much to ask?
Earth starts breathing and absorbs nutrients.

Don’t argue. Rest. Observe beauty passing.
Sniff scents close to the ground. And stop waiting.


My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
If you quote, credit this page.
© 2022 Susan L. Chast