13 February 2019

Love Is the Present


They are the chosen ones
who have surrendered.
Once they were particles of light

now they are the radiant sun. 

I forget if I don’t take notes. Two thoughts escaped
an hour ago, before I found paper and pen. They’re gone.

This may be the beginning of living in the present.
O! To live precisely now, without drifting into the past!

When my elderly librarian friend found this present,
she beamed in smiles that embraced me with her inner fire.

I pulled a chair and a treasured few books over to her.
After our moment of silence, I asked “What should I read?”

And she laughed. “Read anything,” she glowed. “I hear it as if
for the first time, and fall in love over again.” O! Now.

I spend time writing, sorting and divesting to free my soul.
What books will I—will you—keep as companions for the road?

A Testament of Devotion

For Sumana's prompt

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Love

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

© 2019 Susan L. Chast

08 February 2019

Crowds On Call for Really Bad Days

Procession of Characters from Shakespeare's Plays

Indulgent, I lean in to every
moment of day’s end—nature’s twilight
and my wee morning hours of darkness.

My spinal column gives up its task of 
uprightness, but though this tree sways, it won't--
it refuses--to lay down into sleep.

As if sleep were oblivion, Hamlet’s
edgy question.  As if insomnia
were certain, stating Macbeth's “Sleep no more.”

And guilt follows with the nastiness of
cover ups.  I accuse everyone of wounds
and error, before hearing new voices

demanding forgiveness, promising to
remember that we humans fail, crying
with Lear, "Howl, Howl, Howl," at last.

I am Hamlet's Ophelia, Macbeth's
Lady and Lear's sweet Cordelia dying
alone in despair, crushed and powerless.  

But surrounding these tragic figures are
siblings and confidants and creator--
evidence that life is more than metaphors 

we use to speak of pain, more than we see 
in the magnifying glass of fiction, 
more than trees and spines and philosophies.

When you hear me whisper and shout these words:
"We are more than . . ." help me fill in the blank.
The important thing is to be alive.

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

© 2019 Susan L. Chast

06 February 2019

Grading the State of the Union

(This is a very rough draft. Most likely I will be cutting this in half as I revise. 
But, O, did you listen to DT 's SOTU?)

From Wikipedia: The State of the Union Address (sometimes abbreviated to SOTU) is an annual message[1] delivered by the President of the United States to a joint session of the United States Congress at the beginning of each calendar year in office.[2] The message typically includes a budget message and an economic report of the nation, and also allows the President to propose a legislative agenda and national priorities.[3]

Watching a president who cannot work
hard except to find loopholes and back door
entries into lands no other countries
enter.  Dear president, one wants to say,
you waste the air around you, boy.  One wants
to strip him of his lies and vagaries.
One wants to dare have zero tolerance
for people like him who would kill any
baby except white American ones
and any almost fully developed
in American women’s wombs.  Watching
this ignorant, arrogant president
stand before a palatial room full of
intelligent men and women.  Watching
women in white struggle to keep their poker
faces, while he traces his great power
on and on, for well over an hour.

When can we dare have zero tolerance
for social illiteracy and more—
a dangerous wielding of non-grace—
an ignorance that has nothing to do
with levels of education and much
to do with foot stamping willfulness and
feelings of entitlement, with dis-grace.
Watching the president, I see what kind
of man could and would withhold money from
socialist endeavors—even healthcare.
I see the kind of man who secretly
enjoys the indignities immigrants
and women must survive, including child
abuse, slavery and circumcision,
withholding of basic human rights to
liberty, sanctuary and safety.
Don’t these crimes deserve zero tolerance?

Watching a president explain the state
of the union, I wonder at those who
won’t listen, I wonder that I don’t take
the same kindness instead of tuning in.
There is nothing I can do but know.  Yet.
Fear and stress battle with the restfulness
of ignorance.  Neither alternative
is the zero tolerance I seek from
voters and investigators alike.
So very tired, I would wander toward
my bed, except what does that privilege
look like to those who have no place to rest?
So very tired, I would forget to watch—
a behavior most favorable for
this president who works between sixteen
and 25 hours a week, who wants
to build a border wall.  Out of sight is
out of mind.  Out of sight is where profit
plays, where prisons pay, where horror stays.

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

© 2019 Susan L. Chast

28 January 2019

Finding the Calm Between

File:Sanford Robinson Gifford - Cows in a Pond at Sunset - 1988.317 - Art Institute of Chicago.jpg

Cows in a Pond at Sunset, Sanford Robinson Gifford (1860)

 “I saw, also, that there was an ocean of darkness
and death; but an infinite ocean of light and love,
which flowed over the ocean of darkness. In that
also, I saw the infinite love of God . . . .”
~ George Fox. Chapter One.

In the calm between mood swings,
moments I wish would linger pause,
then scoot.  Often a zephyr blows
so pine branches toss, turn, thrash and
shatter slow-soft swaying poses.
Beyond the moon-fed and scenic pulse,
nature’s human offshoots suffer
from swinging bi-polarities.

Manic and anxious and depressed
by turns, humans become entire
hurricanes, with mad gusts, full eyes
and bitter tears.  Godlike, we then
create—though who’s to say which—storm
or creativity—is cause,
which effect? How much does light need
darkness?  How dangerous the switch?

Do we want to solve these mysteries?
Oblivious to mosquitoes
and ticks, we rush to our mountain-
wild meadow to sit with cows
and their industrious chewing
in their mud and their maple shade.
There we'll wait for the next storm winds,
for the next impulse to create.

When twilight approaches, the cows
amble toward straw and milking stalls.
we watch dark spill in from the west.
Above distant pines, sun’s edge is
caught in dark needles. Dazzled, I
shut eyes, then open to night-rise
with lighter sky flowing above. 
I breathe in love as questions fade.  

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

© 2019 Susan L. Chast

27 January 2019

Five Haiku upon Seeing a Japanese Mended Bowl

Since you went away
I’ve repaired my broken heart
with golden sun kisses.

It’s not like before.
Gold fills the scars preciously
and cools in the shade.

I am like an old tree—
knots and growths and parasites
are my adornment.

Each year I am stronger,
my cracks lovingly blended.
Your time was one piece.

The growth around you
is caress-like.  I’ve no regrets
My branches spread wide.

Posted in Poets United 

Poetry Pantry #437

Written in April 2018

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

© 2019 Susan L. Chast

23 January 2019

My Place in the Family of Things*

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry - Le Petit Prince - 26.jpg
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry - Le Petit Prince - p. 26
From my house on its square quarter acre
you can barely see the climate changing.

Like the Little Prince’s glass globe, my house
keeps me from feeling night winds, from feeling
and seeing it’s been much too warm to snow.

Here is a cottage industry of faith
in science that stops me running water
without thinking while brushing my teeth and
washing dishes, that makes me recycle.

I don’t want to see the climate changing.
I read of stranded polar bears and dead
whale babies, of people leaving parched land
to find greener pastures.  I see the grief
and awful risks.  It can happen right here.

Climate change refugees have no more homes.
They are Princes leaving little planets
where they had houses, land and animals.
Still, they have a place in the family
of things, as do I.  Having tamed this place,
I must care for it. To care, I let it tame me.

*The last line of Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese”

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

© 2019 Susan L. Chast