Prairie Smoke

 

Everywhere, everywhere,

like the endless embrace

of young lovers,

the prairie smoke

let their drooping lavender buds

swell and spill clouds

threaded with amethyst

yet softer

than a child’s first hair.

From each root

the command is to dance.

Dance as you sit

and pretend you are still ten,

too beautiful and light

to stay on this earth,

yet wildly happy here

with your kind,

the ones who let their hair

be taken by wind,

who throw their arms

around each other,

around you,

the violet spun cloak of your life,

the fragile, brief riot of you.

           Poems from Rock Worn by Water

After All of My Life

 

Such a symphony of wind in trees

and boom of waves, this morning after

thunder, rain. I want to climb

the unfurling birch tree and leap, without thinking.

I want to curl into the cobalt barrel

of the wave and release against these shores.

 

Such a talking to my face, the truth

of what it means to live here, die here

in each other’s company.

Make everything move, make

this old heart and mind shake

this morning after all of my life

I’ve moved through like a mole,

like a wild turkey lost on the highway.

 

This is the magic world I never meant to leave.

The lichen are my first sturdy friends and they are many.

Graceful sticks rest across delicate blue flowers

and the dried black flies flutter somehow gaily too, in the web.

 

My body is a simpler heaviness

on the fire of ancient rock.

My spirit trembles like hidden seeds.

And in the high torn cloud

a dark ring erases itself.

Origins

 

Always we have been

brought forth by the trees

to be strung between bedrock and sky,

shaped for music,

surrendered to birds,

marked, worshipped,

folded back

into the wry forest’s palm.

 

Always we are

for the climb, the strike,

the rot, the break of us,

permitting the breath

the ride earthward.

 

Our shames,

rings

the child traces.

 

Our stripped life,

home to every

lucid blessing.

 

When we understand

what the trees are.

   Listen to Florence        read this poem.

Listen to Florence     read this poem.

The Waves

 

You notice the waves are never still.

The waves change just as your hands do, as needed, as a task arises. Today, in this world we have made,

all the waves must carry us, keep us from drowning in ourselves

even as they bring us back to ourselves, without illusions.

 

We’re going to scatter, we’re going to evaporate.

We’re going to not continue as we are, as we imagine we are.

 

Do you think waves imagine anything?

No, but they haven’t needed to

so far.

 

But now that we are killing water, perhaps they do?

Perhaps they have dreams of a world without us,

without nets and poison and calculator brains.

 

How much do you love the waves?

Would you say, it would be fine if they washed us all away, this moment?Would you drop everything to work to clean the waters?

 

But here is something we could actually do.

Lie down by the sea

or river or lake or stream

until the water in us

begins a small conversation

with the waves

who are waiting.