03 May 2022

In My Backyard


 

Seeking beneath green to billion years-old
rock pressed of sand, gravel and clay, down
through worm work in rich compost and crushed brick,

I hear immigrant and native gods
look up to sub and top soils for bones
along brick and flagstone walls.

They check the wire fence and find it porous.
They circle my feet and heart.
They shake my gravity and levity.

You are still part of what you didn’t build,
they murmur, whether walls or flora and
fauna. You are exhaust and floral scent.

You plant wrong species of tree, you wear
bad footwear. Leave old. Bare soles. 
They nudge me. 
Touch deeper, we invite you. 

Eyes open, I see only robins.  Surprised
and dizzy, I reach for trees to embrace,
white pine and lilac among the maples.


for earthweal weekly challenge: SPIRITS OF PLACE

 

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© 2022 Susan L. Chast


28 April 2022

Where the Commons Is

 



In my core, I hold

an old-style public commons--

a Zócalo of the heart—

with benches, gazebo, bingo game tables,

public flower/herb/vegetable gardens,

blanket vendors of shirts/pottery/carving,

and cart venders of sweet ice, pretzels and corn on sticks—

antojito for the mouth and mind. 

 

The commons in my heart is a place known and safe.

Though common is a dull word, in its middle

nestles a comforting mo/ma of nurture

to imagine or remember or visit.

I've visited to read/converse/walk

and to join events and rallies promoted

on the internet or by word-of-mouth,

calling me out to non-computer social space.

 

And my spirit seeks out the commons

to walk in memory with ancestors,

to fly kites with pigeons and forefathers,

to race with brothers and sisters, freeing our legs

from constraint and hugging at the finish line,

sweaty and happy, to listen to mothers' and grandmothers'

circles of story and food, oral wisdom

with open invitation to participate.

 

Here we meet neighbors and refugees,

immigrants and lost relatives including trees,

plants and animals we finally recognize.

This paradise incorporates change,

death, danger, and bad weather

in an atmosphere of mutual aid, open hands,

and common awareness of safety, the sacredness

and blessing of our presence in the heart of life.

 

for earthweal weekly challenge: THE COMMONS 

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


21 April 2022

Something to stand on



Shared beauty expands
like rumors or poison ivy,
but it is beauty.

Found in wild nature
or finely cultured gardens,
beauty restores heart.

Heart, courage’s core,
when shared, resurrects the hope
needed to find beauty.

Anywhere. Yours. Mine.
Let’s spread it as if bedrock
to build on. Beauty.



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


19 April 2022

Ending the Day

File:Rabindranath Tagore Woman Face.jpg

source

 

Sometimes I forget to end the day,
to draw the covers of the night up
to where my open mouth breathes in
the whisper of an idea.

Remember how rare an idea is?
How like a tea kettle, it doesn’t
boil while you stand yearning,
your hand wrapped around mug and strainer.

Like a butterfly, the idea flirts around
just as I want to sleep. Should I breathe
quietly and wait for the idea
to boil, wait for it to bloom? or

Should I quickly sit up and capture
it while still in seed and unformed?
Pen and notebook call to me from
my bedside table, waiting to be used.

Sometimes I can be a notebook, too,
recording what comes to me, waiting
to know, yearning to hear, praying to
stay awake as the whisper shapes me.



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

16 April 2022

Day's Awakening

Aurora: The dawn rising on the Ukrainian steppes (1852), by Alexei Kondratievich Savrasov


From my front porch I’ll view it, if
nature shows us her cheery face,
sun rising with just cloud enough
to add drama to hope and love—
Or so I read it at Easter
time to think on resurrection
and how the Christ fits nature—
its daily/yearly fall and rise.

On my front porch I also dream
my ancestors' Passover feast
and its yearly story open 
to new questions of freedom—where
may change, but not demanding it, 
taking it at a run, grabbing/
renewing/seeding/harvesting
freedom day to day, year to year.

Dawn occurs whether or not we
see it with mortal eyes or search
for it or raise it by ancient
rites.  But we must tell its stories.
I can no longer meet others
in gardens by rivers or seas,
but here on my porch I'll evoke
hope, dawn’s renewal and promise.

 

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
If you quote, credit this page.

© 2022 Susan L. Chast



10 April 2022

Trying to breathe in five tanka and five haiku


In your desire to
know God, is it not enough
that nature doesn’t
recoil when you attend it?
Love this nature in yourself.
Dense red blood and fire
overwhelms cherry blossoms
this tragic springtime.
Rushing to blossom
dogwood, lilac, azalea
and wisteria
overtake pinks and crimsons
with purple and blue bruises.
Rainbows of songbirds
arch over parking lot beds
of fallen petals.
A blessing of hands
searches for survivors and
pulls them from cellars
and the depths of hell before
liberating body parts.
Apartment building
walls drop down when the bombs hit.
Skeletons remain.
Bright coats for grade school
give invaders clear targets
along escape routes,
join with delicate petals
and stubborn red bricks.
My heart breaks. Egg shells
crack open, and I scramble
breakfast. I can’t eat.
Forgive my distance
an accident of fortune.
Momentarily
safe, as if watching neighbors
burn from a high balcony.
I live in prayer.
Seeing you, I won’t recoil
but pick up my pen.



For April, poetry month, writing daily.  Russia still invades and destroys Ukraine.  Posted at earthweal open link weekend #113

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
If you quote, credit this page.

© 2022 Susan L. Chast