24 June 2020

Waiting for Magic

This poem tells me it’s tame and local, but

wild enough to commune with earth, air, fire,

and water as if I didn’t exist.

Like the red fox who moved her kits under

my cousins’ backyard porch, it needs safety

enough to move closer, but no touching.

I lay my hands on pen and paper, and

the poem laughs.  That is not me!  it exclaims

as if it is a god I try to name.

The earth is at stake, it crows, not one fox,

one backyard, one sunset, one dogwood tree.

Could such arrogance lead to unity?

Here I sit among the tools of my life

frozen between extremes of fight and flight,

while an invisible force faces me.

A big black bird lands on the nearest pine

and waits.  The wind stops, too, to see what’s next.

The roses need trimming, but I don’t move.

As if I asked, the answer comes: Because

you wouldn’t listen, no one would, to soft

words from us and those you looked down on.

We are all around you, waiting, sometimes

loudly, to be heard, to be respected.

I fear breathing will break this magic.

But as sun slips into night, and black bird

leaves, I feel a faint breeze.  Under my hand

the words stand “Forget magic, we need you.”


For earthweal weekly challenge: CULTURE AND NATURE

My blog poems are rough drafts.
   Please respect my copyright. 
 If you quote, credit this page.
     © 2020 Susan L. Chast


Sherry Blue Sky said...

My favourite poem of yours of all time, my friend. I love all the creatures in it, the laughing poem, and the voice of spirit, which knows every one of us is needed for the work at hand. Your fox made me think about the orphaned baby raccoon living, for now, across the hall for me in my neighbour's apartment. It was plucked from the ocean where it was in distress, no mother around, and my neighbour found it huddled miserably in a parking lot, so he brought it home to tend it till she is big enough to be set free. The problem being our building manager. Hope he doesnt catch wind of it........

Mary said...


Lindi said...

This is beautiful and tangible and lovely. Thank you for sharing.

Kerfe said...

The interactions between the human and natural say it all, beautifully.

Brendan said...

Sorry to get by slow -- Such an earnest attempt here to mediate culture with nature and vice versa. For me what is noblest about this poem is its humility -- we are so small, so limited in comprehension, so inept at listening and seeing nature, both outside and within. There is even a refutation of poetry ("forget magic") in order to embrace the poetry of silent things. This is life sized and precious. - Brendan