Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Finches in the Morning

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

At the feeders,
in the brisk of morning air,
they come
golden and fluffed
miniatures of the one sun
that everything is waiting for.

Finches cracking the hard shelled seeds
of flowers that radiated their own
kind of celestial joy during a summer
now passed into bittersweet memory.

In the lingering grey of this frigid dawn,
I ask the steam rising from
the kettle:

Do they long for the months
behind and ahead?

Do they count days until they
are once again swaying
like brilliant pendulums on man-tall
flower stalks?

Or, perhaps, they know every moment
as its own kind of happiness:

The look of the black and white stripes.
The width and weight.
The bulbous triangular shape.
The crackle as it breaks.
How far the shards fall and where.
The taste of the tender kernel bits.

The long streak of darkness that flies
so swiftly with equal awareness and intent
from the patient cover of cedar bough.

The air-piercing blades seeking
to grasp the small butter-faced streak
of feathers and flesh

that is now deep in the boxwoods
because it knew precisely
how and when
to change its focus and perch.

And I was there,
at the window,
loving this world,

Making no mistake in judging
the outcome;
each having needs
and a gift of service to
offer through their living,
and dying.

And me, and you?
Could we want anything more?
Could every moment matter this much?

© 2013-2016/Jamie K. Reaser
Published in "Wild Life: New and Selected Poems" (

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Leaves Rising

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

Each winter there’s a moment
in which my lungs are
completely freed
of stale air ~

The daffodils are rising!


This, I think, is what it is
to acknowledge prayers

To fall to ones’ knees.

Just like this.

This is what it is to voluntarily
enlist as the voice of an
encouraging angel
for little, faithful plants who
have been tucked away
in the cold and dark
of the underworld,

Somewhat forgotten.

I reach out and stroke
the green, sleek, blade-like leaves,

So bold against the
dank rot
and grey.

Oh, yes.

I shall push through,

© 2013-2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Plant Songs" (a work in progress)

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Tri-colored Heron

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

I couldn’t catch it,
that moment that just
passed me by.

How I wish I had tried!

But no,

I let the moment go to
indecision and doubts.

What if I were a tri-colored
heron knee-deep in pond
weeds and shallows ~

I would starve!

The wild makes no concessions
for that which does not
believe itself worthy of a fish.

There are musts in life if
one wants to go on living.

But that’s just it,
isn’t it…

the want.

I wonder:

Is that want,
the one that keens
the senses we’ve been

The one ready to grok
 “Now!” deep in the gut
when the heart hungers,

The one that knows
that moments -
like shimmering, swirling,
big-eyed minnows -
must be grabbed
with full-bodied intent…

Is that want the essence
of our Wildness?

Has domestication of the soul
made us feel so uncomfortable
in our own inner landscape
that we have given up the
desire to feed ourselves?

I think you know the answer.


I’m going to the pond.

To fish.

© 2013/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Re-Union: Coming Home to Each Other" (a work in progress)

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Jaguar's Bite

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser
Mayan relief from Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico

The jaguar gripped my hand
in his wet and gnashing mouth.

Wounds are mysterious things;

How they can speak out so long
and loud
after new skin and new stories
tuck them
out of sight…

Sometimes it’s hard to put a
name to the old voice,

Mostly because there are so
many options:

Shame, grief, despair, anger, rage,

But it is a growl that is recognizable –

in the ear of memory,
or the pit of the stomach.

And, in the last breath of an addict,
the jingle of prison cell keys,
the door slamming on bruised and beaten hearts,
the moment that innocence is stolen.

And, in all the Self-betrayals.

In every act of prey turned predator.

Unlike other cats, jaguars kill
with a bite to the head.

When he takes you by the hand,
it’s an invitation to go
to where you have always
had an invitation to go –

Where Light’s canine teeth
the Darkness.

It is here where wounds become
Sacred Wounds.

It is here where artists make vows to beauty,
musicians become composers,
poets transform poems into prayers,
prayers become a way of walking,
and the body begins to understand Love.

It is here where poison becomes Medicine.

Follow this path,
this Path,
though it twists and turns sharply downward,
though it leads to the lair
of everything you have been avoiding…

for a long, long time.

Follow this Path,
though you realize:

You’ve already been here.

This is the cave of your Dreams.

Yes, yes!

All those nightmares were
perfectly inscribed love notes
from the lily-scented Underworld,
always beckoning you to claim the
potential of this place,

Calling on you to honor
your blood –

The red thread embroidering
the edges of the tapestry
in which past, present, and future
are continuously being
woven together
in a circle.

Back to the jaguar:

I have found him to be a trusty guide.

And, odd as it may seem,

Thanked him for the bite.

© 2013-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
Published in 'Wild Life: New and Selected Poems'

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