Saturday, April 28, 2012

Our Home

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

The memory of experiences I’ve never had
has been passing before my eyes -
unlived lives wanting to be laid
to rest.

It’s not sermons they are looking for,
but cascading tears -

The kind of tears brave enough
to tell stories in empty rooms.

When the rain falls hard and long
against the window pane,
the multitude of coalescing droplets
can confound the ability see what
is on the other side.

Only upon reflection is
there faith.

I look to the wildflowers
smartly gracing the
curvaceous vase
on the old scratched dresser.

I wonder: Why do I keep one
element out,
and escort another in?

It’s the purring cat that reminds
me that being touched
is an act of relationship.

This, our home, must not be
a fortress,

or a cage.

There is a reason the
skin tingles.

© 2012-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World"
Published by Talking Waters Press

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The African Elephant

Photo: (c) Arne Witt/African elephant, Amboseli National Park

There is no recourse but to pause
and gasp, besieged by wonderment,
when you realize this love-challenged world
of ours, still,
is holding space for such
raw and aged magnificence.

I couldn’t have dreamed him,
not even if I were the most gifted
of dreamers –

Dreams are humble enough to know
when they are best left in
in a pillow’s shallow cup.

He’s what makes reality
worth visiting.

And, in this moment,


if Amboseli offered to write
my name in her salty dust,
I might be inclined to stay
for awhile…


A woman remembering
what it really means
to be wild.

A maiden in the bush.

I’ve met elders before;

Their palms are so worn from
story telling with their hands
that their lifelines take up residence
in their eyes.

This one too.

And on his hide,
the intersecting
valleys and ridges
of a thousand parched wrinkles
collect in drapes and folds
at belly and ankle.

In concentric circles they cascade down
the length of his long, thick trunk
to its sensitive tip -
where he explores and reasons
unreasonable things.

These places that generations
of red-billed oxpeckers
have used as perches and swing sets,
gravity employs to record time,

and wisdom earned.

He understands what a day is for.

Perhaps this savannah
wouldn’t be so dry
if we all understood.

Sometimes the vervets climb
into the acacias and tell
his story.

He collects their gossip in the
flap of his ears and lets it
bounce a bit.

Sometimes it comes closer to
the truth that way.

None of them were there
to see.

For them, the horizon lines
have always been a place
of emptiness.

He re-members herds so large
the earth was a bed of rolling,
hoof-thundering clouds.

This is what gave the Maasai their
sense of rhythm and inspired
them to take joyous leaps of faith.

This was before the free ones
were called “game.”
Before there was a price tag on
his tusks.
Before he wondered if his last
breath would be seized by bullets
and saw blades.


This would disappoint
the dung beetles,

he muses.

Still, being loyal to ghosts
is a wearisome task
for the yet-living.

How do I convince an elephant
that we can learn?

Might he be inspired to hope?

If I asked,

Could he tell me where we went wrong?

© 2012-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
Published in "Wild Life: New and Selected Poems" (

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Coming Home to Each Other

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

The blossoms are departing
the white dogwood boughs
as the black vultures
hop, hop the grassy bank,
jockeying for position to take
a bite of the doe
who left her body beside Route 33.

In the midst of it all, a sulfur butterfly
lifts himself into the sun-warmed gusts
on untested wings, saying:

“I had no idea!”

A mystic once told me that we
are all inhabiting different
worlds of simultaneous experience.

I’m pretty sure he was right.

And, I think these inner landscapes
we steward must be rich and varied terrain,

though no less bold and fragile,
no less abundant and endangered,
no less invadable and war torn,
no less sacred and celebrated

than the ground we walk on.

It’s from here, after all, that we source
our way of walking.

I’m getting used to being lost
in these places –
the inner and the outer,
yours and mine.

I’ll readily admit to being mapless.

I have no intention of knowing you completely,
And I’m too great a conundrum to
myself to explain.

I’m convinced this is a good thing:

Mystery is what keeps us longing,
and longing is the power

that calls petals to journey,

vultures to disembark the sky,

and butterflies to risk everything
for a moment of surprise.

How wonderful this dilemma:

We are always in the process of
coming home to each other.

© 2012-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World" 
Published by Talking Waters Press

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Garden Iris

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

In the florescence of the garden iris,
I see your green eyes
when bright and when wearied
by days grown frail in their
failure to keep on making promises
about tomorrow.

You just rest now.

Let what has already bloomed be enough.

Someone will remark on it next spring,
and perhaps the one thereafter.

Love has a way of rising when tears
water the soft mossy earth.

I’ll plant memories for you with my own
body while answering the question,

“What is it the Soul wants to live into?”

Because I learned from you

what a life can be.

© 2012-2014/Jamie K. Reaser
For Wilhelmina 'Billie' Reaser (March 5, 1943 to April 4, 1995)
Published in Sacred Reciprocity: Courting the Beloved in Everyday Life (

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Seed

 Image: Pawel Jonica

If I am the embryo of the seed,
let me call this in which I am planted
my Mother’s womb.

Here I am held.
Here I am nourished.
Here I am the possible human.

My umbilical chord is my root structure –
anchoring me to ancestral knowledge
and into the rich, organic detritus
of eroded lives
and savory fecal matter.

Everything that once was is a resource.


Rain – the joy and grief of the world –
soaks and softens me.
Without it I become hardened, and
have no hope of intimacy with the light.

I must be cracked open to grow.

My limbs are the structures through which
my soul can reach, extending itself,
simultaneously longing to receive
and lamenting the ephemeral nature
of my gifts.

I show up because it’s how I pray.
I unfurl because it’s how I answer prayers.
I grow branches and leaves so that 
we have a place to meet.

I can bear flowers and fruit,
delicate, fragrant, and aphrodisiac sweet,
but not without having known relationship.

This is a place of co-creation.
Only the lonely believe in solitary forces
and the adversarial stance of their 
own mid-day shadow.

So, you see, these seeds of mySelf
that I place in your hands…

These are my way of saying, “I believe in you.”

I’m asking you to do the next planting.

(c) 2012-2018/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World"
Published by Talking Waters Press

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