Thursday, April 3, 2014

Observations
















Photo: (c) Barbara Melton

I wonder,

What do the wild geese, looking down, think of us as they
V northward in raucous skeins at Winter’s close?

And, what are they saying?

And, why have I not yet learned the vocabulary of passing geese
after so many years of backs and forths?

And, what good is a romantic notion if no one ever gets kissed?

It feels something like that, don’t you think?
The wild invites fullness and emptiness 
     in the same casual breath.

I have been wild. My soul remembers 
     the intuitively tenuous sound of that vow.
Being of the wild requires that we pledge 
     ourselves to authenticity:

A muskrat agrees to be an oily-haired muskrat.
The praying mantis dedicates its two front legs
     to grabbing and holding and worshiping,
And, a bird says, ‘yes,’ to being whatever species 
     of bird laid the egg that it pipped out of, 
one ‘it-must-be-now’ peck at a time, 
on that first day of its life.

You must not waiver or doubt your destiny, 
for everything else is depending on you to keep your agreement. 
To show up. To do what it is you do. And, generally speaking,
that will include dying to something bigger than yourself.

Yes, I wonder,

what the wild geese think of us as they V northward
in raucous skeins at Winter’s close.

Perhaps they say to each other:

“See, down there, the footprints upon the land?

This is what it looks like when a species breaks the promise.”

And, meanwhile, here we are, looking up and thinking:

“Oh, a flock of geese!

Oh, how wonderful it must be to be wild and free.”


© 2014/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Wonderment: New and Selected Poems" (a work in progress)
Many thanks to Barbara Melton for the beautiful greater snow goose photo!

(Feel free to share. Poetry is meant to move.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Rolling Snowmen















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

I can’t remember the last time I rolled
a snowman. I would have been a young girl,
wearing my hair in two long brown braids,
and blissfully naïve to what was coming,

ignorant of the fact that childhood can
end so abruptly,

and without warning, explanation, or apology.

Had I been wiser, I would have cherished
everything about that day:

I’d be able to tell you the color of the sky,
the rate of snow fall,
the size of the flakes,
the thickness of the pack,

and if it were wet or a little too dry.

Was it particularly cold?  Had my mother 
knitted my cap, or scarf?

Was the snow still falling while I made him,
or had it stopped?

How big was he? 

Certainly, I used a carrot for the nose. 
Rocks for eyes?  Was he smiling?

Did someone help? Younger sisters? The neighbor-kids?
And, what did it all smell like? There were pines 
in the front yard – one very big.
Is that where I learned that each species of pine 
has a different odor? Was I wrapped
in a perfume of pine and snow and happiness?

**

Now I’m going to show my age, and maybe some experience.

I have chosen to apprentice to
that which teaches me
to cherish every moment:

uncertainty
wonderment
gratitude.

The sky is platinum.
The snow is falling fast;
a dizzying cascade of thick, wet flakes
forming fluffy biceps on the boughs
of the evergreens, which,
yes, I can smell from the threshold of
my open front door – made of solid mahogany.

A male cardinal just called out.

I want to be sure to acknowledge him -
this crimson guardian of winter hope.

After all,

this could be my last poem.

Or, yours.


© 2014/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Snow Days: Reflections by Candlelight" (a work in progress)
(Feel free to share. Poetry is meant to move.)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Awakening




















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

Everything
I see and hear
is some form of life, saying:

“I want to wake up.

I want to be alive again.

I have slept long enough in darkness.

I am here.”

The titmouse in its song.
The daffodil in its bloom.
The wood frog quacking in the pond.

On these early spring mornings,
I want to arise with active hope.

I want to exclaim, “Me too!”

And, I want to find moments under
the crisp vibrant-blue sky to wonder
about things that it can be seem
so dangerous to wonder about in winter.

Like:

The possibility that we too can awaken
and save the world
that is ourselves simply

by showing up.

© 2014/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Wonderment: New and Selected Poems" (a work in progress)

(Feel free to share. Poetry is meant to move.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Flame




















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

Sometimes you have to pour out the melted wax,
or it will drown the flame.

**

One winter night when I was twelve,
my father started a fire in the fireplace.
Just as the flames began to rise,
a large, hairy wolf spider emerged
from under the bark of one of the logs.
I squealed, afraid for its life and
grabbed for crumbled newspaper and kindling
in the hope of urging it to me.

Instead, it ran through the fire, its two back legs
igniting, dragging, singed and paralyzed.
I screamed, unable to stand the pain.
And, then, mercy took it all at once,

and left me wailing.

**

I’ve lost count of the campfires I’ve known, and
the bonfires too. And, forgotten the names of most
of faces that were
there, circled, in the captivating flicker of light.

Not so long ago, our kinship would have
been a matter of survival, and the stories that
arose, like smoke, would have been our bloodlines.

**

Salamander

Greek: salamandra

Fire lizard

Spotted salamanders will crawl through the snow to mate
and place opaque egg masses on plant stalks in the shallows
of temporary ponds.

True.

**

We put many things into the flames –

to heat our bodies
to nourish our bodies
to free our souls...

To kill the projections of our fear.

**

The phoenix arises from the ashes.
But, not just any ashes: the ashes of its predecessor.

Manifestation is not possible without destruction.
Destruction is not possible without manifestation.

**

Ask a prairie what it knows of fire
and it will answer you
with flowers and grasses
and gratitude for your question.

Thank you for taking the time to notice
what brings it alive.

**

What do I know of lovers and candlelight?


**

Sitting here with this flame,
on this night,

I know that I can love this world.

**

Pour the wax slowly.


(c) 2014/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Snow Days: Reflections by Candlelight" (a work in progress)

(Feel free to share. Poetry is meant to move.)