Monday, February 29, 2016

So Many

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

The frogs are so many
you can’t mistake the pond for emptiness.
Each voice, different, like a moment.
And I stop my hurrying, for awhile.
What fortune it is to awaken each morning!
I go to the ponds, anticipating something
miraculous at the edge of what is solid and
what is not. And, it is there, something,
always there to greet the unknown day,
and I wonder if my coming isn’t its story
of something ordinary but worthy of
words. Maybe, I’m lucky and it's praise.

I’m praising them, all of them, so many
of them, now here calling out for what they want.
Look at that! How they know it and say it.
"Come to me! Come to me!" Have any of us
ever been that bold, truly?
Imagine that in your own body! Really
saying what you want and need.

Surely, I will praise them as they float on the pond
and tell it as it is! This day is worthy of their gusto, 
of their intent to say “Yes!” with bravado to the forces
rushing through them. Life! Sometimes I forget 
about it. About what a chance this is. What a chance
to live, and call out for what you really want, 
for what brings you alive. This is my frog voice.

© 2016-2020/Jamie K. Reaser
Published in "Conversations with Mary: Words of Attention and Devotion"

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Loons on a Maine Lake

Photo: (c) Joel Clement

When I was a young girl we went to a cabin
in Maine that belonged to Grandma Boo.
It sat beside a big lake. I don’t remember
its name, but it was summer and I caught
dragonfly larvae – big darners – that left
their thin-shelled bodies behind on the porch
screens and so I escorted them – blue and
green with wings – into the large world on
the palm of my hand.

They chose the sky for company, but return,
sometimes, alighting in memories.

At dusk, misty twilight, the boys  – teen or
maybe twentyish – next door skinny dipped,
diving in from the lip of their dock, swimming
to a pined island midway. I can still hear the
plunge – one, two.  The rawness fascinated
me, awoke something.

So, I started swimming then too, short strokes
around the edges of our dock and catfish came
to me, like a gift, nibbling my toes, swirling
– silky – between my dog-paddling legs. Catfish.
There was something magical about those fish
and I never once wanted to catch them.

But, this story is actually about loons and how
they cried and vanished, appeared some place
else, and vanished again, and how they did
this for hours.

Even as a little girl I knew that I was
seeing my life:

How I would vanish
and how I must learn
to use my voice before
I do.

~ Jamie K. Reaser, Author
Published in "Conversations with Mary: Words of Attention and Devotion"

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Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

It isn’t just the salamander that you save,
on a dark, warm, rainy night, crossing the road,
sure to be crushed into something pale and
mushy, maybe with reminiscent spots or
blotches or stripes, no, there is more in your
wet, finger-puckering hand, there is evidence
of ancient times and awe. A voice reminds you
of things you had forgotten. You don’t fully
understand, but you do.

© 2016-2020/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Wonderment: New and Selected Poems" (a work in progress)

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What Matters

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

Somewhere within you there is a love story
longing to find its way into the world.
It wants the tip of your tongue, or
the tip of your pen,
or your finger tips on the keyboard,
or all of these possibilities.

And, the day will come – maybe it is today –
when you have to let it out. When you
have to tell the world, in your own unfamiliar
voice, that a little something once broke your
heart wide open and left you unmercifully 
stranded in the life you are living now, an 
apprentice to a moment when something caught 
your eye, seized your soul, and never let go.

And, everything matters because of it.

How old were you?
Where were you?
What was the form of your betrothed?

Oh, yes, people will stare and adjust themselves
in their chairs, or shift their weight from one
foot to the other if they are standing.

They might offer an uncomfortable silence as 
advice because love has become a four-letter 
word when spoken in front of an audience.

But, don’t stop.

Life depends on this. This is what matters. This 
terrible melancholy of fate that placed a love story 
within you. Leave the voices of fear behind, drifting 
away across escarpments and surface waters.

Claim this life; this life that you can save. Capture 
the memory of what brought you alive. Then. Then. 
In that moment when you suddenly became a human 
fully inhabiting this place that offers us otherness,
release it into the world: your love story.

I’m going to plead with you, maybe a little, actually 
a lot, because this is what matters.

Once upon a time, a toad gave me a reason to live.
And, I’m standing here now because of it.

Because, I came here to tell you a love story.
A story about how falling in love with the 
other-than-human world enables us to live out 
our humanity.

This is what matters. You are listening.

(c) 2016-2019/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Wonderment: New and Selected Poems"
A work in progress

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Sunday, February 21, 2016


Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

There are choices that long to be made.
Like, being who you are born to be,
Or, living something resembling a life, all the way through.

You have a soul, don’t you?
You have a limited number of days in this body, don’t you?

What good is it to inhabit this place if you don’t
inhabit your life? I’m asking you to save the world.

© 2016-2020/Jamie K. Reaser
Published in "Conversations with Mary"

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Second Snow

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

It wasn’t the first snow of
the season, the second, but
it called for at least as much
reverence, for all the attention
one could give to it.
It started in the night,
greeted the morning, and wanted
the day as its own, and took
it in silence and prettiness. The dark
tree skeletons held it up, turning
themselves into many-winged
angels, revealing their true nature
to those who can utter something
more whimsical and deeply honest
than, “It is snowing!”
On days like this, I want to find my
way back to all the snows I’ve seen,
and all the people who were there
too. There are conversations that
never happened under that thick
white blanket, but there was
laughter too, and that unique familiarity
that snow brings, much the way that the
moon brings familiarity, and the darkness,
and the sun and stars, though somehow we humans
still remain lonely. Often. I want to gift questions
about loneliness into the world; how we came
to abandon the good company of magic and
retreated into the world of rationalized noise. But,
not now. Now, I want to let myself be claimed
by the beauty of the snow – the second snow – because
I’ve already found the answer.

© 2016-2020/Jamie K. Reaser
Published in Conversations with Mary: Words of Attention and Devotion

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Soft Animal

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

The soft animal of my body loves the deep
cup of the nest, but also the edge of the nest,
and the nothingness that is everything on the
other side. I am not built to love one thing or
one way, or limit myself to loving one world.
What is too small must be broken through or
left behind. At times, I’ve needed to do both.
Right now, right now, I just want to sit with
the last moment, the one, the last one, before

I completely let go.

(c) 2016-2020/Jamie K. Reaser 
Published in "Conversations with Mary: Words of Attention and Devotion"

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

In the Woods

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

I take long walks in the woods, usually up and down mountain
slopes. Usually, alone. Alone in that I’m not in the company
of another human. I’m never alone, really. I’ve known this since
I was a little girl in braids. The forest is such good company. It 
can hold you in ways that people can’t, even those who would 
want to. You can be invisible there, yes, but you can also be 
seen. I think this is important, this being witnessed. I think we 
have forgotten about it, witnessing. It is a testament and a salve. 
It used to be initiation. All the while the birds are singing, we 
miss it. On the branches of the trees:

“I see you. See me.”


~ Jamie K. Reaser, Author
Published in Conversations with Mary: Words of Attention and Devotion

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