Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Song of the Phoenix

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

What can be said about you in truth is unknown,
but still you hearten long-wearied worlds with
the idea that we can rise again from
dear things destroyed.

What form are you?
What color?

I think the story tellers have taken their
liberties with what is visible, while leaving the great
sages to contemplate despair, wonderment, joy
and other unsleepable things that cannot be seen.

What calls out to you to do as you do for
five hundred years at a turn without reward
or even the acrid scent of mercy?

Ashes to ashes, note the most trusted scribes,
till thou return unto the ground;
for out of it wast thou taken:
for dust thou art, and unto dust
shalt thou return,

though they didn’t realize that it was you
at the time of scripture.

Your entombment and decay,
teachings, warnings, reckonings:

we must not diminish the ancestor’s
departing blessedness for the ancestor is the
vessel from which new life emerges.

So must say the toad of the tadpole,
the tree of the seed,

the man of his mother,
the woman of this earth, and

the earth of something wordless.

I’ve never heard spoken of your song,
but recently I learned it

as it glided, breathlessly,
across my own vocal chords
in response to some beckoning
from above.

It seems that I am the Life that
has been left behind.

© 2018/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Truth and Beauty" (a work in progress)

Feel free to share

Monday, May 14, 2018

Tucked In

Art: Mark Collins

Do you remember it, being tucked in? Secure.
Afraid of nothing. Faithful. There was a trust
in something greater, wasn’t there? To be held.
Something so big from something so simple.

At bedtime, did you request it?

“Tuck me in, please.”

“Please, tuck me in.”

So, the barred owl was there in the beech,
tucked in, peering outward to the world
with dark round eyes that I couldn’t quite figure,
but there was something big and meaningful
behind them, maybe something pained, and I
thought about things that I hadn’t been thinking
about, not before the owl:

How sometimes we need to be held tightly,
and for long enough. Long enough is so

How as an adult it can seem so very hard to
get tucked in. Maybe there’s a hug, yes. But,
is it long enough?

How it seems we’ve lost our trust, maybe
our faith in something greater, a caring
something. Caring is so important.

There is a longing I know well.


I think about being tucked in and
wonder: could this be our animal

Do we, all of us, need to know
that we are being held?

And, do we need to trust that it
will be for long enough?

© 2018/Jamie K. Reaser
A book collaboration in progress with artist Mark Collins
"Tucked In" has been accepted into the Birds In Art Exhibition

Feel free to share

Sunday, April 15, 2018


Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

The goldfinches insist that this life is worth living,
and that there’s something yet to be done with this
pained world that is beautiful.

I’ve had my doubts. You?

They choose the loveliest branches, redbud budding.
They sweeten the air with sweet sound. Happy sound.
They flash brilliant yellow as they come, as they go.
They can’t be anything but joy. I’ve noticed.

Are these prayers answered? These emphatic moments
that won’t let us turn away. If so, who sends them?

Here. Here.

You. Here.

Look. Listen. It’s going to be okay.

See? Goldfinches.

A moment ago, there was a goldfinch there.

I saw it.

That was all I needed.

Someone knew.


© 2018/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Truth and Beauty" (a work in progress)

Feel free to share

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Said the Rabbit

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

Out and about,
to find something green,
like we all have been awaiting green.
And, the spring rain, it wants to help,
at least as much of the sun we crave,
it laps at the Earth saying, “Arise!”
And, everywhere there is something
stirring that is remembering, or perhaps
discovering, its relationship with the light.
But this moment is for the rabbit,
the rabbit and me. And, our thoughts.

Maybe they are the same, or similar.

Are we leaping towards something that
is new and expecting us to show
Could it be joyful? Could it be dangerous?

Rumi proposes that lovers meet in
a field. He knows about openness and
vulnerability: what it takes to be seen.

And, the rabbit says:
“We are in a field. Right now. We are in a field.”

And, I think: This is true.

And, the rabbit says:
“It is good to see that you have come
out from the darkness.”

And, I don’t know what to think.

But, I’m suddenly very happy.

© 2018/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Truth and Beauty" (a work in progress)

Feel free to share

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Nature of Reflections

Art: Mark Collins

If I were to reflect on the nature of water,
I’d have to say, “Ducks!”

Think about it.
I know you had a childhood too.


For a time, my best friend was Kristin Mason.
She lived on a farm with chickens and ducks,
and a brown-and-white pony.

We scattered cracked corn.
We collected eggs.
We brushed Nutmeg, the pony.

One night, I got to stay for dinner.
Her mom made duck with orange sauce,
wild rice, and artichokes.

That was the night I decided two things:

1.       I was going to learn to cook.
2.       Someday, I’d live on a farm.

I have a farm. I love to cook.

My sisters and I were clever girls.

Father was directed to get us out of the house.
It was the Saturday before Easter.
He wanted to know where we wanted to go.
We said, “The old farm store.”
He obliged without asking why.
When we walked in, he knew.
The stale air was filled with peeps and quacks.
He wasn’t going to get out of this one.

One box. Three ducklings.


That was about a year before the divorce.

Children are told a story about a
duckling that is big and grey and ugly.

Everyone, even the old farmer, is
mean to it. They make it feel so ashamed.

But, then, one day, the duckling looks into
the river and sees it’s authentic self.

And, it is beautiful.

And, it knows it.

There is a sign on a post by the lake.

“Don’t feed the ducks!”

People tear up bread and throw it to them.
Millions of loaves annually. Seriously.
Some people are religious about it:
every morning or every evening,
out there with the ducks, throwing.

They dabble.
They waddle. Sometimes, fast.
They quack.

But, don’t do it. It’s not good for the ducks.

Why don’t we pay attention to the signs?

They are right there. In front of us.


Where I went to college, there was a pond.
I’d stop there on my way to and from classes,
to visit the ducks. I loved those mallards.

Once a red-tailed hawk came down from a big
beech and landed on a drake. The duck screamed
and thrashed. Students screamed, some running away,
some running toward. Death arrived and fed the
living while we watched.

Emotions are never calculated into predator-prey equations.

But, it was mating season that I remember most.
How cruel the pursuit of a hen could be. There
were always feathers flying, torn from the nape
of the neck. And, near-drownings.

They say not to anthropomorphize. But, I did.

And, I still do.

And, how it makes me feel matters.


These are my reflections.

© 2018/Jamie K. Reaser
A book collaboration in progress with artist Mark Collins

Feel free to share

Monday, March 12, 2018


Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

Thresholds are magnificent things.
A wonderment: neither this, nor that.
Are they a place or a time? What is
the in-between?

There are answers that I don't have,
but there are also knowings that I do.
Like: that my favorite threshold 
is the one that I cross when I stop
being a creature of winter and
start becoming a creature of spring.

(c) 2018/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Wonderment: New and Selected Poems" 
A work in progress.

Feel free to share

Saturday, February 17, 2018

What is Here

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

What lies ahead
cannot be known,
only imagined,
and sometimes
poorly so.

What is here
must be precious
to us or life is wasted,
this one and
all others.

I think you know
this road, but do
you know even
one piece of gravel
that is its making?

If you desire intimacy
with any part of this
world, stop passing
it by.

A presence.
That longing.

The place you
are is a destination.


© 2018/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Truth and Beauty" (a work in progress)

Feel free to share