25 July 2017

Just in Case: A Checklist for Sanctuary

Just in Case: A Checklist for Sanctuary

Sanctuary is in the air—
a sibilant chorus of threat
and promise—now that almost one tenth
of our earth’s population roams.

Uprooted homelessness comes with
unimaginable dangers,
and I find myself glued to the news
where images arise as truth.

From where I live, I cannot see
the needy hoards directly.  Threats
have neither prompted me to leave
home nor to open up my doors.

But just in case, I’ve filled water
bottles and packed my get-away
backpack.  And just in case, I’ve laid
out my disguise, layers of clothes.

I’m weaning myself from pain meds
in case my prescriptions are lost.
I’m hoarding my supply to share—
in case that could be a mercy.

I'm forcing late seedlings for food
and air and beauty now that I’m
learning what sanctuary could
be for my two cats and for me.

In this apartment we call home
we have windows and doors to come
and go, and we have entries to
our soul through eyes open and closed.

We meditate alone, but touch
to sing our songs.  Like them, I nap 
lightly, I sniff the air with mouth 
ajar, and my skin, like fur, responds.  

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


Anonymous said...

Well composed journey of a mind alone as it drifts

Marja said...

Beautifully written Love the last stanza. It is unimaginable of what it is to be a refugee and roam around. We had a little sniff of it. Once because of flooding back in Holland and once because of an earthquake here in Christchurch. We could return safely But just these minutes of insecurity fully engulfs you. Human beings are very resilient but where does it stop.

Sumana Roy said...

"now that almost one tenth / of our earth’s population roams." Oh! My heart breaks reading this as I remember My mother recalling how her family was uprooted from East Bengal which is now Bangladesh and thrust upon this land called India just a year before Partition in 1946. What struggle my maternal grand parents had to go through! I truly feel there's no sanctuary like home.

Jae Rose said...

Open doors and furry friends - sounds blissful

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I most love the closing lines of this poemn, with your skin responding like fur. Another beautifully deep and reflective poem.

annell4 said...

You end your write beautifully!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

"where images arise as truth"....what a powerful line that is. The plight of refugees is so dire. I note also the awareness that we in North America would be wise to have flight bags prepared ourselves. One never knows when calamity will strike. We are blessed to have our safe homes........but life can change in an instant. I especially love the closing lines, "my skin, like fur, responds."

Mary said...

Ah, if only filling those water bottles and preparing a getaway backpack would give us the sanctuary we needed. And so many of us cannot see those needy hoards, but we must keep them within our hearts nonetheless.

Old Egg said...

Sanctuary is only possible if someone else cares. Sadly we are becomng wary of anyone who seeks sanctuary now, so many countries, so many people, are wary and in fear of what accepting refugees will produce. I am ashamed of what Australia is doing by denying so many boat people fleeing terror, a haven.

rallentanda said...

Refugees have been living in tents in camps forI liked your poem years and the wealthy countries have homeless living on the streets, the lucky ones sleeping in cars.The ever widening divide between the haves and have nots is going to erupt eventually.I liked your poem

totomai said...

I really like the ending, meditating alone can be a sactuary, Susan. Inner peace is all we need to survive the chaos and horrors of the world

indybev said...

I love the Wallace Beery poem "I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief". There have always been and will always be world disasters we can heap upon our shoulders until we fall into an abyss of depression.

purplepeninportland.com said...

Well done, Susan. My dogs bring peace to retreat in, when I can't take any more horror. So much sadness and need in this world. You have portrayed it in a thoughtful, lovely poem.

Sreeja said...

You have so well expressed that feeling...i liked the way you arrived at the end making the reader aware and feel ...!