Saturday, November 28, 2015

People in Winter

Photo: (c) Barbara Melton

Foxes don’t try to hide what it takes
to live. They see no reason for shame,
and so do their deeds in the bright of
moonlight, sometimes announcing them,
like the vixen did in the meadow two
nights after she took my golden rooster
by the neck.

In winter, there are two thieves:

The fox and the season trying
to steal the fox.

One of them succeeds.
You can’t blame it.

Why do people look upon the angel
in the snow and say they are that?

© 2015-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Conversations with Mary"
To be published by Talking Waters Press in 2016
Many thanks to Barbara Melton for use of the photo

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When Men Sell Their Souls

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

“When men sell their souls,
where do the souls go?”

It’s an important question,
if we want to get them back.

And, we should, you know.
There are good reasons to do it.


I have a deep fondness for hollow
trees, they welcome so much to live
within them: a screech owl whom I
have known personally and, on my
farm, there is an old black locust filled
with thick honeycomb and sweet,
golden honey and so many bees that
the tree hums and vibrates under a
many-lined palm laid gently upon the
vertical-running bark. We keep each 
other secret.

But, hollow people, they don’t let
the lovely things in.


I find myself spending more and more
time with trees.

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

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Those Who Bow Their Heads

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

I too want to keep the company of those
who bow their heads. What is our
purpose if it is not attentiveness
and gratitude? Let us have allegiances
with that which breaks us open and
that which makes us whole.

Have you noticed how the light finds
you, but always gives you over to the
darkness so that you can see what is
really there to see? Listen to the voices
around you, I have begged, how they tell
you about humanity in gestures. Your
humanity, theirs, mine, ours. How much
of it we have neglected out of neglect of
this generous world. I want to comfort
this place with a million utterances of,

“Thank you!”

Let me find other words too, always, and
walk with reciprocity in my step. Always.
If we were having dinner together tonight,
I’d say something simple like:

“There is food on the plate.
Lives have made it so.”

That’s plenty of reason, certainly you
agree, to bow our heads in attentiveness
and in gratitude.

“Thank you!”

“Thank you!”

© 2015-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Conversations with Mary" (a work in progress)
To be published by Talking Waters Press

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Fire Song

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

I have walked among the sage, brushing
it with my palms and wafting into my nostrils
the scent that lingers in the cup of my hands.
You don’t forget this. Not the circumstances,
not the place. Explain this to me.

I’ve never seen a sage grouse dance. I’ve
heard tell that it’s like watching a feathered
dervish making his way between the worlds.
A spiral up. A spiral down. I believe that’s possible.

When I was a little girl, I’d sing a nursery rhyme
to ladybugs. Do you know it?

“Ladybug, ladybug fly away home. Your
house is on fire…”

People thought I did it because I like ladybugs,
and I do. But that wasn’t it.

Have you stopped to wonder why certain plants
will come all the way across the world to ask
you what you love?

That was it.

That moment when a ladybug must stop
everything she is doing to save her home,
to save her children.

Will she?

“Ladybug, ladybug.”

Do you care enough to go home?

If you listen closely, you can hear those weeds
out there singing the same song, the fire crackling.

“The sage?” They ask.

“The sage-grouse?” They ask.

So often, I’ve found answers to adult conversations
in the memories of my childhood.

“What do you care enough about to 
stop everything for?”

“The sage?” They ask.

“The sage-grouse?” They ask.

There have been a lot of fires recently.

“The sage?” They ask.

“The sage-grouse?” They ask.
Large areas going up in smoke.

How many of us remember that this is our home?

How many of us will remember that this is our home?

I love the sagebrush and the sage-grouse. I want 
to dwell on the scent of sage again.  I want to see 
that dance. I want to be close enough for dust 
disturbed by bird feet to settle on my boots and jeans.

I hear the song of the fire.

I want to go home.

© 2015/Jamie K. Reaser
For the participants in the Western Invasive Weed Summit
Boise, Idaho, November 2015

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sufis Whirling

Photo: origin unknown

I like to think about Sufis whirling, wondering
what they see, or if they see at all. Maybe,
there is something beyond seeing.

I think, perhaps, it is knowing. You,
understand, don’t you?

Poets must have one foot in knowing and
the other in what is not knowable. That’s our dance.

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

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Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Angels in My Head

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

I have angels in my head.
They teach me to be a better human
than I would be if left to this rather
awkward task alone.

They say things like:

Here, now!

They give me a chance. They nudge me
into re-membering that there is a difference
between living and existing. Things exist.
I want to do better than that.

Sometimes they quarrel.
Quarreling angels make for interesting
company. Sometimes, there is just so
much good, so much loveliness, so much
wonderment to be experienced that
these angels feel the need to fight
for my attention.

I think this is what it means to be blessed.

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

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