23 May 2018

To Life

File:Honoring Mother Earth by Josefina Claudia Marti¦ünez Alarzo¦ün.jpg
 Honoring Mother Earth by Josefina Claudia Martinez Alarzon
of Santa Maria Atzompa, Oaxaca, Mexico

   Our messy inchoate time on the earth
in carnal form, each of us beginning
to plant our feet before our day is done.
   Your dark and light moves swiftly, little more
than blinking eyes, but if we are lucky
we’ve time enough to learn to love your soul.
   This life—whose soul we carry and contain—
compels us to join and to multiply
if only to create the arts of praise.
   Your life, what are the means to extend you?
To love you when caress and awe are done?
To leave a trace of endless gratitude?
   Dear life!  Seething within moving and still
containers, sleeping within seeds and stems
of large and small, you are our beating hearts.

For Sumana's prompt 

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ A Tribute Poem

 My blog poems are rough drafts. 
Please respect my copyright. 

© 2018 Susan L. Chast

18 May 2018

Age Rushes Us

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather's house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow. . . .
~ Lydia Maria Child


Journeys we take repeatedly from home
to parents should leave ruts in roads travelled,
but we find them in hearts and minds instead.

There they speed up or slow down on approach
depending on what we anticipate—
pleasure or pain—until age rushes us.

We grow old, but they grow older, and hard
as it is to see them decline, we watch
to love and watch to learn, aware we’re next.

Mortality has had its way with us.
What now can we govern? What controls us?
What kindness have we earned? Where is it from?

Unconditional love exists if we
can leave our ruts and give wholeheartedly.

 My blog poems are rough drafts. 
Please respect my copyright. 

© 2018 Susan L. Chast

16 May 2018

Becoming Happiness

“. . . do not think that the person who is trying to console you
lives effortlessly among the simple, quiet words that sometimes
make you feel better. His life is full of troubles and sadness
and falls far short of them.  But if it were any different
he could never have found the words that he did.” 
― Rainer Maria RilkeLetters to a Young Poet

Intention hasn’t grown
happiness for me—not
like seeds grow into annuals
nor clouds to rain.

But between solitudes,
between pity and fear,
between deluge and drought,
there lies a happy place.

Rising like an island
in peripheral vision,
it’s not there when sought.

But it invites us in
through faces along the way,
through songs, through sidewalk trees
and through meadow flowers.

And I welcome it like
fresh air and community,
like red rose buds opening
without a whimper, whispering.

For my prompt: Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Happiness

My blog poems are rough drafts. 
Please respect my copyright. 

© 2018 Susan L. Chast

11 May 2018

Preparing to Seize the Day

File:Universal view of the Moon, Earth, Sun and the Milky Way Galaxy.png
View from Earth with the Moon, the Sun and the Milky Way Galaxy aligned.
Pablo Carlos Budassi

To dream, you’d have to sleep much more
than down and up in two hours—
not enough for rem-time, not enough to balance 
the fifteen-hour days that follow. 

Remember when you fell asleep
at twilight and woke up at dawn? 
Childhood and saving electric, they said,
the bills coming faster than they could pay.

But think of the lesson it could have been
(you who think you are smart but miss the point).
Nature’s time, little flower: Let your eyes close
when the sun is out of sight and sleep until it rises.  

Close like day lily petals. There will be more 
of you to open up each time the sun and moon rotate 
around our spinning planet in delicately-timed 
authenticity. A magnificent design.

Imagine moving with it, repairing the tears 
in your dear soul, the rips in your petals, 
the lapses in your sensuality.  What then, 
little flower, might you do when you awake?  

Remember dew drops?  Robins and worms?  
Greys and pinks in the cloud-lined daybreak? And dreams?  
You fear them, but remember how you woke and laughed 
or sobbed, and how sweet the day rose ahead of you.

My blog poems are rough drafts. 
Please respect my copyright. 

© 2018 Susan L. Chast

10 May 2018

Becoming a Weather Vane

Does happiness cushion your heart
as sadness fills and tragedy  
cracks it?  To ache, tear up and smile 
simultaneouslywith soul 
steadyis marvelous strength in
a life too often wracked with pain.

This must be how a home withstands
storms, how maple and dogwood trees
experience changing weather.
Last time it rained, I stood arm in 
arm with a white pine to feel drops
pelt skin, to drink with my fingers.

My blog poems are rough drafts. 
Please respect my copyright. 

© 2018 Susan L. Chast

09 May 2018

Beyond Shrink-Wrap and Faucets


Shrink-wrapped chicken flesh sits on shelves, but who
remembers how to raise hens for their meat?
Faucets dispense fresh cold and hot water,
but who knows how to haul it in buckets?

And from where?  We close our eyes and put our hands
on them, hoping food and water will tell 
us how and where.  Will they who we abused help us?
Survival skills are sparse away from farms.

And our parents’ parents’ stories seem like
tall tales.  We’ll have to shorten them, now that
Flint shows us lasting pollution, now that 
science and government have both failed us. 

Time we sing praises to water without
waiting for more reasons to weep.  Time we
learned to save it without looking for whom
to blame.  Time we showed up to save ourselves.

And as we walk toward the fields, let's greet
those who might still welcome us—trees and plants
and folks native here and those who—like us—
are still their guests.  We have only this chance.

For Sumana's

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Water

My blog poems are rough drafts. 
Please respect my copyright. 

© 2018 Susan L. Chast