Saturday, February 6, 2016

In the Woods

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

I take long walks in the woods, usually up and down mountain
slopes. Usually, alone. Alone in that I’m not in the company
of another human. I’m never alone, really. I’ve known this since
I was a little girl in braids. The forest is such good company. It 
can hold you in ways that people can’t, even those who would 
want to. You can be invisible there, yes, but you can also be 
seen. I think this is important, this being witnessed. I think we 
have forgotten about it, witnessing. It is a testament and a salve. 
It used to be initiation. All the while the birds are singing, we 
miss it. On the branches of the trees:

“I see you. See me.”


© 2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Conversations with Mary"
To be published by Talking Waters Press in 2016

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Friday, January 22, 2016

As the Storm Begins

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

You know the storm is coming, it’s been in the news for days.
“A big one,” they say. “Blizzard!” But, there sits this little brown
bird, a winter wren, appropriate as that may be, atop a lovely
candelabra of crimson sumac berries. The first big flakes have
settled upon him. There’s something magical about that.
Something wonderful. You’ve been rushing about doing chores,
bringing in wood, filling buckets with water. He meditates.
What is it that you have not yet learned?

© 2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Wonderment: New and Selected Poems"
To be published by Talking Waters Press

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Mockingbird in Winter

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

All winter, Mockingbird, in his steel-gray
suit, perches atop the tangled thicket of
multi-flora rose, swallowing bright red
rose hips and awaiting the next blessed moment,
brief as it may be, when the sun stirs
a drowsy insect awake and into a fine death.

It’s a rather odd thing to watch him in silence,
mine and his. We both have so much to
say, and hearts that have forgotten need translators.
I wonder about words pulled from the voice of
the world and words pulled from within.
Are they so different?

You give us the instruction:

“Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”

I’m sitting with that, as the mockingbird sits not
far from my window pane, fluffed and
elegant, and fully aware that I am watching him.
And, maybe too, he knows that I am wondering.

It can be hard to speak without contempt for
this self-led world, but he does it all summer long.
And, I try my best.

What is it like to shake off shell fragments and
become the great celebrator of life?


I think the mockingbird needs another name.

And, I want to tell it to the world.

© 2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Conversations with Mary"
To be published by Talking Waters Press in 2016

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Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Pale Mists

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

We must have been two of those old poets of China. I remember
being in good company, sitting on a rough-cut bench, smoking 
long pipes through streaming grey beards, high in the 
cloud-cloaked mountains. They say that masters come in many 
forms. For us, I think that it was the pale mists. How they taught 
us to see what we couldn’t see. How they taught us to write 
about unspeakable things.

© 2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Conversations with Mary"
To be published by Talking Waters Press in 2016

Feel free to share

Sunday, January 3, 2016

So This is Fear

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

“So this is fear,” I say when the stand is taken.

“So this is fear,” I say when the next stand is taken.

Have you ever seen love take a stand?

Kneel. I have seen love kneel.  

© 2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Conversations with Mary"
To be published by Talking Waters Press in 2016

Feel free to share

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Dogs Without Leashes

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

Dogs have stories.
People have stories.


I saw her in the morning, on one of those
sites on the internet. I had gone for two
months without a dog. That was enough.
In the afternoon, I drove to the shelter,
an hour and a half, and asked to meet her.

A middle-aged woman went to the back,
to the place of cement and shiny metal, of
kennel rows and forlorn once-they-were-wolves
singing out their deep grief and longings.

I waited.

The door opened. She slunk into the room
on her pink belly. I came to my knees
to greet her.

“Hello, pretty girl.”

She urinated on the floor. I lifted my right hand
to the nape of her neck, and began stroking
her soft fur, black and white, all the while saying
lovely things. She trembled and tried to make
herself smaller than her bones were able to go.

Beneath my fingertips, under her tight skin, rolled
hard round pellets, several, put there by a shotgun blast.
Trapped there. Part of her body.

“May I take her for a walk?”

Outside, she strained to the end of the nylon leash,
wild-eyed, scanning the woods and fields,
planning the direction and speed she would go,
should she break from what tethers her to this world.

Whenever we go hiking, she runs out ahead of
me on the trail – up the mountain or down. Every
so often she’ll stop, and look back, tongue lolling.

“Are you coming?!” 
“Please, let’s keep going!”

“Yes. I’m coming.”
“I’m coming, pretty girl.”

She runs back down the path towards me, smiling,
coming nearly close enough for me to touch her, but
never close enough. There’s a glint in her eye. Her tail
is wagging. She turns, and bolts off again, full speed
ahead, and around the next bend.

I watch her go.

When I went back into the lobby, the woman
behind the counter looked anxious, embarrassed,
perhaps, apologetic.

“We have lots of other dogs,” she said.
“I can bring you several more to meet.”

“No need,” I said, handing her the adoption
form and the fee.

“We understand each other.”

© 2015/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Conversations with Mary"
To be published by Talking Waters Press in 2016

Feel free to share

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Coming Home: Now Available!


"In this collection of new poems, Jamie K. Reaser explores the journey and meaning of coming home. She invites the reader along as welcomed guest, witness, and co-walker. The way is demarcated by the themes that define her work: nature and human nature. Whether the poems were inspired by reflections on birthright, a black dog, or someone poaching wild ginseng, Reaser reminds us that the only way to truly come home is to actively love this world – a learning process for every human."

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