27 November 2021

Digging Down, Way Down


You ask for a song in praise, and so I look up
to the sky over the mud cylinder I have
dug myself into, and find gratitude for damp earth
and light, for the expansion of ribs when I inhale.
I touch the sides.  They weep, but my eyes are dry.  We
take turns, it seems, as we learn each other’s rhythms,
Earth and I.  We row our boats along the root rivers of trees,
drink at dark pockets of nutrient-restoring compost, and spit.
I am grateful to see this life within the abused soil, grateful
to be part of it when alive, before I am burned and buried,
before I am bound to stay six feet down and to join it wholly
and absolutely.  Now I know Earth breathes and wants me.

  My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
If you quote, credit this page.
© 2019 Susan L. Chast

31 October 2021

Samhain ~ Halloween ~ Hallowmass ~ The Night of the Dead

 A poem from years ago:

File:Candles in Love 07406.jpg

Now that the young trick-or-treaters are gone,
white candles flicker in the dark silence.
The border between life and death is thin
tonight.  Cats of years past visit til dawn.

The littlest, Red, comes first and then Wicca,
Pierette and Miracle ~ all stay awhile.
While they purr, I sense people who have left
this plane walking in and out of my mind.

I hold each for a long minute, and more
for my dear friend Nancy who would enjoy
watching a film ~ Cat People, maybe, or
Bell, Book and Candle ~ if she were here.

The films play one after another as
we reminisce about decades past
gathering with women in bonfire light, 
drumming, dancing, blessing, and howling

Those revelers scattered over this world
and the next one.  Some returned to childhood
faiths, and some like me became convinced
of Christianity.  Jesus shows up.

I myself am Jewish, he reminds me.
I’m willing to be Christian, but I’m still
wary of paganism ~ though nothing
indigenous is foreign to me. 

My eyes are closed now, and I’m contained in,
enveloped by environment: the warm
and shadowed room and the scent of sage grass
the sure knowledge of trees and homes outside.

I pray to be open to the cross and
the resurrection in Jesus’s presence,
certain we need both faith and good works,
that this isn’t debatable.   Certain.

This thin time is full of earth, air, water
and fire.  Certain I am called to teaching
and word-smithing, but not debate ~ only
witness and testify and remember.

Don’t lie.  To thine own self be true.  I smile. 
Sometimes Jesus sounds so much like Shakespeare
that I recall the King James Bible dates from
exactly the same years.  I love the sound.

And now it’s time to awaken, blow out
the candles, and come home from traditions
present because I made room for them in
my life, made room for Light and for Darkness.

In this thin time, we embrace a wealth of
accumulated experience, we
remind ourselves to increase positives
and decrease negatives.  We hug the earth.

For Sanaa's prompt Poets United: Midweek Motif ~ A Million Years Howl When Voices Whisper Among The Trees 

 My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
If you quote, credit this page.
© 2019 Susan L. Chast

26 October 2021

At the Edge of Creativity


Having fallen off the edge of creativity,
I find it’s closer to ground than I thought—
not a place I climbed to above the crowd,
but a place I reached down to beneath it—
a place where life’s crumbs form trails to follow
and also cobwebs easily destroyed

as I had planned to be. I meant to leap,
but earth was close, and angel or devil
insists I try again. Creativity
is close enough to touch, and my weak arm
reaches for it with a will of its own.
I close my eyes against what happens next.

Something beyond me wants more time;
Why is an answer I have yet to find.

  My blog poems are rough drafts.

   Please respect my copyright. 
 If you quote, credit this page.

     © 2021 Susan L. Chast

13 September 2021

Flat Line


What is the line between life and death—
a line not obscured by death in life,
seemingly alive, but hiding
with dead things at hand:
this paper (the death of a tree)
this plastic pen (the death of land and sea)
a usefulness, a profit, life killed (though
well-used, excess can help others live).
What is the line between life and death
for those who’ve left everything—escaped—
not me who simply jettisons excess cargo—
What is the line?  The one before the thought
“I’m awake; I’m alive; let me keep moving.”

The line before “As long as I have breath . . . “


 My blog poems are rough drafts.

   Please respect my copyright. 
 If you quote, credit this page.

     © 2021 Susan L. Chast

07 September 2021

Body, World ~ Awe, Terror


 Human Body 101 
National Geographic, 5:10

This amazing body.  Alive.  Awesome as a whole

and in its systems and all the little pieces that add up

to functioning as a whole world: a body-world

exquisitely designed to move among body-worlds,

to form and dissolve relationships as we move

along our own short life-spans. Wow. Amazing

to grow big from something quite small, each

like an acorn growing into an oak, as a blossom

becoming an acorn.  And then tree, body-world,

and other life forms communicate.  Brains blow

my mind, existing to hear and learn sensually,

experientially, musically, and mystically within

each body-world, partnering with each heart. 

I’m in awe, prizing how heart and brain enliven

and direct my body-world, this complete world

that thrives and functions like planet-earth, each 

part of it in necessary relationship, working as if 

both random and pre-ordained.  I type in amazement

at damaged synapses that allow action against body-worlds,

to act against pieces of it.  I type awed and terrified.


 My blog poems are rough drafts.

   Please respect my copyright. 
 If you quote, credit this page.

     © 2021 Susan L. Chast

04 September 2021

Waking in the Spirit of September


Marc Chagall, 1912, Still-life (Nature morte), oil on canvas

As my feet hit the floor, I say Hello Earth,

let me stay attached to you today. Hello God,

let me stay aware of what I am, and alert

to the agency you give me.  Let me hold

the intention to use the gift in giving.


I recall the story of Abraham and Isaac and

say, Let me help you do it again, God.

Let us prevent the sacrifice of children,

so they, too, breathe and touch the earth

each morning, and grow into their gift. 


Dear Earth, let me greet children with apples,

challah, and honey where they wake among

trees and buildings, where they see life wild

and tame.  Let me teach and learn with them

to recognize self and society and their gifts.


Our work here is to see the agency of life, and value

those living over those unborn and dead, to use tears

as libations in earth friendly places that welcome

children.  Let them wake and breathe.  Let our every

breath radiate the possibility of well-being.

 My blog poems are rough drafts.

   Please respect my copyright. 
 If you quote, credit this page.

     © 2021 Susan L. Chast