12 September 2022

The Iceberg that Sank the Titanic


What if the Titanic disaster was

earth’s early warning system? 

What if ice communicates like tree roots,

and the word came back to bite: 

Bite now! Let over-reachers know that harm will return as harm, that earth’s surface will act for her as mankind believes it acts for a god. 

And so the iceberg drew the Titanic

to her just enough to assert authority

but not enough to kill her—weakness of

design and of command did the rest, 

and anthropocentric till the last breath,

humans ignored the iceberg’s point of view.

No one addressed the ice and asked 

“Who or what are you?  What do you need?  How can we share this planet? Let your heart and our gods speak.

Is it possible that some ice, receding 

over 100 years later, still waits for an answer?


For earthweal weekly challenge: A CELEBRATION OF LIFE FOR ICE

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2022 Susan L. Chast

10 September 2022

To Sleep, To Dream


Drawing By Frederick Church (1870-80)


I wake to purrs, so reach out slow and smooth

not to scare the little ones at rest.

Moving my mouth, I moan in cat meter.


Moving the ship of state is a dance art.

Spark and let blaze like a western drought fire,

but in water, in atmosphere. 


In my rare dreams, my cats answer questions

unasked while I drink their strongest potions.

We are not yours, they explain. You are ours.


So easy, once the conditions are right. 

To make tinder, undercover agents

complete tasks, no questions asked.


Do I want to know?  No insist cat gods.

I yawn and stretch. I’m tired and sore, willing

to recline, decline, wink and blink and nod.


Many tiny boats in the flotilla

of state float beneath smoke, screams, and sighs, 

turning off sense for todays and tonights.


Posted at earthweal open link weekend #135

 My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2022 Susan L. Chast

26 August 2022

Should I Drive Faster?



Humans flow away from dried up rivers;

that is, they’re inversely proportional.

This is true everywhere, and death follows

climate’s excess drought, flood, fire and vast need.


I drive up the serene Hudson River

thinking this, then drive back down toward home.

The reservoirs are low.  Early red-gold

leaves stand out amid green leaves and needles.


New York City is on drought watch and sub-

urban lawns go brown without their ration.

Yet crowded cities of the Rio Grande send

busloads of refuges up to this lush North East.


And the Hudson seems undisturbed by news

across the country and around the world.

Nothing restricts its movement—nor stops me

driving alone in a gas-powered car.


Don’t I know we’ve drained earth’s inner rivers?

In time, earth's surface will share the same fate.

Enjoy each drive, I tell myself, as there 

may never be another.  Seize the day.



For earthweal weekly challenge: RIVERS, GONE.

Posted at earthweal open link weekend #133.

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2022 Susan L. Chast

18 August 2022

At Wells College




Cayuga Lake drew

lightning to itself twice more

to show its power.


No one graduates

here without learning to swim

through recurring storms.


 for earthweal weekly challenge: LIGHTNING FALLS

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2022 Susan L. Chast

03 August 2022

On Reflection


Echo and Narcissus by John William Waterhouse (1903)

This is not a Narcissus Story,

though we are welcome to join the crowd

of flowers, fruits, weeds and live beings

who thrive with sensual attention.  


We take in nutrients from rooted

and unrooted beings in order

to live in body, mind, and spirit:

We hunger.  We create.  We give thanks.


Life does not mirror us.  Marvelous! 

One caterpillar, sunset, fire, or

flood may stop our breath or restore it.

One moment may transform or destroy.


for earthweal weekly challenge: BEGINNINGS

 My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2022 Susan L. Chast


29 July 2022

Mystery and a White Pine Tree




My life is done” plays in my head.

I’ve waited ten long years to hear

a leading that would pull me near.


The life force left me here alone,

I told my tree. Though I’m not dead,

No purpose pulls me from my bed.


“I have nothing to give,” I thought.

We’ve used our earth down to its bone.

Soon human life will lose its home.


Bleakness will rule society.

But the wise tree leaned in and taught:

See how self-image brings all to naught?


What? I gasped, but see it’s true

Geography, society and me

are parallel. All three.


But which began the downward trend?

Which of the three could hope renew?

The questions let their light burn through.


“Which came first, my dear white pine tree?”

Which parallel caused hope to end?

Or did all three blend, my friend?


I loved that tree, and paused to play 

with this congruence-mystery

feeling awake, wild, and free.


All could be broken beyond repair,

but the parallels braid and fray

they glimmer, they say Seize the day.


Strands of each send out bright sounds

that invite me to look right there

to linger, to openly care.


They ask “What do you want to be?”

The pine asks, too.  Invites abound:

Thrive, strive!  Mystery’s around.

For earthweal weekly challenge: SACRED GLIMMERS

The poem is inspired by attending Spiritual Formation with Clinton Pettus from 7/26-27, 2022.  I hope soon to write this amazing teacher a better poem.

 My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2022 Susan L. Chast