23 May 2017

The Lilies of Childhood


Lily of the valley sweetened childhood, the way
it hid in green under our apple tree—green leaves
that dwarfed it but could not overtake its love scent.

I would pull single stems smoothly from protective
cover and crush their tiny white flowers to line
my pockets where their light could speed the dark school day.

Lilacs would, too, but they didn’t last—neither crushed
nor whole—and they hung proudly in spectator's view
rather than shy away their talents like a twin.

At this end of my life, I buy new lily bulbs
to plant, not realizing those that thrived back then
were ancient souls who grew to encourage me.

I can’t make them grow now, nor could I then.  They must
volunteer, I suppose, after tasting a young
girl’s toes and tickling her nose wherever she goes.

For my prompt 

My blog poems are rough drafts.   
Please respect my copyright. 
© 2017 Susan L. Chast

20 May 2017

After the Fall

Blue: Starry night over the Rhône  by Vincent Van Gogh

Let the bruise—so deep it hasn’t reached its blues—
endlessly ripen.  That way it will remind
of balance, the importance of taking time
to walk and to look before leaping into
the abyss, remind of thought before speaking
or sending out angry words into the night
where we see with clarity what daylight hides.

Here is my question: Is it better to feel
pain or fear?  Assuming it’s better to feel—
fearlessness doesn’t demand numbness, but push—
pushing out despite knowledge and thought brigades.
Fearlessness doesn’t demand deafness, but touch—
touching in and living what fullness will be
when desire to know leaps o’er all obstacle.

My blog poems are rough drafts.   
Please respect my copyright. 
© 2017 Susan L. Chast

17 May 2017

The Music of Rush Hour

Image titled 21201 18

Stuck in the irksome largo called rush hour,
we admire bicyclists’ allegro sprint to home and shower.
They weave across lanes of traffic, barely glance at
red lights and stop signs, but watch for sharps and flats
key to their ride.  We close windows and turn on air,
change the station on the radio and, with great flair,
nestle into our comfort and look for their flaws
grump at their freedom and defiance of laws—

But all the while we envy the daring and strength
it takes to navigate busy byways at length.   
and imagine ourselves instruments fit enough
to ride along, sleek and sweaty and tough.
We say a secret pledge to find our bikes of old,
restore them and ourselves, take heart and grow bold.

My blog poems are rough drafts.   
Please respect my copyright. 
© 2017 Susan L. Chast

10 May 2017

What I Forget to Ask

Mom looks at me sometimes as if she feels
labor and its complexities once more.

Does she?  I was her second, so she knew
what to expect, just not who would come.

Back then, gender remained a mystery
until cards arrived saying “It’s a girl!”

Once, hypnotized into regression, I
heard from the womb “I hope that it’s a girl.”

Even my older brother felt delight
as photos show in fading black and white.

When I was seven, she did it again:
expanded and disappeared and returned.

So tired, so tired, grinning with bundled
baby in her and dad’s protective arms.

When she sees me, do I appear
bundle of love or labor over years? 

For my prompt: 

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Childbirth

My blog poems are rough drafts.   
Please respect my copyright. 
© 2017 Susan L. Chast

07 May 2017

Global Heart Warming and Cooling

Life is like a mountain hike: the pathway
both old and new, the heart that beats and blends
strata of rock, pebbles, flora and flesh.

Life is like a glacial hike: crevasses
turning to craters, cliffs, catastrophe
under our feet, heartbeat frozen between.

We are the mountain, we are the glacier
where ever we walk, city or sea shore
and so I claim the flowers and the weeds.

I woke this morning with joyful spirit:
a well the tweets dropped in with refugees—
Honduran mother and child—deported.

Certainly death awaits them in this new
slaughter of the innocents.  And we are
innkeepers offering not even caves.

We are this mountain.  We walk this glacier.
Hearts with the depth and warmth of this planet
can vanish into solitude and freeze.

Tears stream down my face and I plot
to take the pathway back with my people.
If we cannot, heaven cannot save us.

Life is like a mountain hike: the pathway
both old and new. Our feet walk for the earth.
Our hands create both with and for our God.  

My blog poems are rough drafts.   
Please respect my copyright. 
© 2017 Susan L. Chast

02 May 2017

Sharing a Cup of Curiosity

Tea bowl

I’m glad news media is not implanted yet
It's still relatively out there, in air we breathe,
but not implanted in our brains or arms or rose-
colored glasses.  We still determine what we think
and where we fill the cups of curiosity
we carry.  We’re not robots yet.  We’re free, and have
real push-button authority to open up
rambling gossip-style commentary on what
has not happened.  I’m glad it’s not implanted yet. 

I can write this while listening to You Tube vids
of speakers at the 2017 White House
Correspondents Dinner.  POTUS is not present,
but he is roasted anyway by a brave man—
Hasan Minhaj—a first generation brown-skinned
Indian-American Muslim who reminds us
free speech is the foundation of democracy.
Journalists must ruffle feathers.  And then
a master feather ruffler, Carl Bernstein—

He speaks of  42 years earlier when he was one 
of two journalists who researched and exposed
the scandal known as Watergate—not alternate
facts but the best news possible.  Serious news.
Not-for-profit news.  Risky news. Unsanctioned news.
I’m glad news media is not implanted yet,
not mere entertainment the same everywhere.
Wells where we quench our thirst are not polluted yet,
but we each must remember to bring our own cup.

My blog poems are rough drafts.   
Please respect my copyright. 
© 2017 Susan L. Chast