Friday, September 27, 2013

Praying Mantis

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

All day long the mantis is there,
praying atop the tall purple coneflower,
a vestibule to other worlds

Where wise ones answer:

“It’s already been gifted to you,”
And hope we realize this soon enough.

Butterflies come.

Some brilliant and new to air, still
marveling at what has become of them,

Others thin-winged and edge-tattered,
realizing that beauty alone cannot
save a soul.

It’s never over quickly.

When the mantis strikes and takes
a great spangled fritillary into her arms,
folding it against itself so that the underwings
reveal iridescent constellations to the heavens
and the long, soft body is easy to taste,
I must resign myself to this.

I must sit with this, this pain and death
that is an
answer to a prayer,
this sound of tiny mantis mouthparts scissoring
into flesh that yet twitches and I believe
knows the agony of form and spirit.

Yes, I must.

Because this is it. Life.

And it must be looked at and sat with
and listened to long enough to realize
that crickets are chirping and crows cawing
and barred owls asking ‘Who cooks for you?’
and acknowledged that I do this too, every day.

And this is how I remind myself
what it is
to have prayers answered.

This is how I teach my heart gratitude.

©2013-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World" 
Published by Talking Waters Press 

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Blue Lobelia

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

The blue lobelia has arisen
and opened its mouths to
the bumblebees.

These are the days to take
nothing for granted.

That droning cicada might be the last.
That creaking katydid might be the last.

The butterflies are lying, spent, on the ground.
The warblers are starting to sneak away in the night.

The squirrels are frantic.
There is no acorn mast this year.
They wonder how they will ever gather
and open enough walnuts and hickories
to make it through.

Odds are, many of them won’t.
Death frightens.

Maybe I’ll put out corn this winter.

Have I taken the time to search out 
a bird's nest and count the eggs?

Have I sat long enough among 
the tall meadow flowers?

Have I told the fat, rough-bodied toads 
how truly lovely they are?

Have I let at least one mystery 
take hold of me?

What will it be like when the first flurries come?

Will I look back, wondering where I had been all this time?

© 2013-2015/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Plant Songs" (a work in progress)

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