14 February 2018

For Want of a Word

Antique Valentine 1909 01.jpg
1909 Valentine's card

For want of a word
a chance lost its way
high in the bald hills
left from summer’s fire.

For want of a word
sun-laced summer bleached
us too dry to quench
our consuming passion.

For want of a word
eyes missed eyes, and mouth
never reached the ears
waiting for its kiss.

For want of a word
we let fall our sparks
behind our steps without
caution, without grace.

For want of a word
flames devoured the path,
and gobbled the drops
of our now and then.

For want of a word
we lost our chance and
let the hills burn, not
heeding love’s return.

 For Sumana's prompt 

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Word

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

© 2018 Susan L. Chast

07 February 2018

Walking in Powerful Shoes

Shoe designed for and worn by Prince, circa. 1994.
Shoe designed for and worn by Prince, circa 1994.© The Victoria and Albert Museum, London

~Samantha McDonaldFootwear News, 2/7/2018 

Anticipating a journey to Italy, I feared its bloody history would stream up my legs as soon as as the plane landed and my feet touched the ground.  It didn’t happen.  My shoes had mighty thick soles. But my soul is thin.  Had I walked in the shoes of a gladiator or a crusader, of Mussolini or Hitler—or any of their victims—I might be overwhelmed and broken by violence.  Or not me.
I imagine walking in the shoes of a slave or a refugee when words are more than enough.  What horrors would the shoe unwrap to walk me beyond empathy?   
When I was 7, my Grandmother took a trip to our country’s capital and promised she would bring back George and Martha Washington's boots for my brother and I.  We wondered if they would fit, or if they would be giant boots that we’d be able to fit our whole bodies in.  The suspense lasted for three days.  How disappointing when the boots turned out to be ceramic souvenirs, no more than 5 inches high. In retrospect, we were spared knowing how to be a war General and wifeslave owners who thought owning people and profiting from them was normal.
Still, I wonder about Prince, Michael Jackson, and blues men and women who had heart in their music.  What would be in their shoes?

O to be princes
and for an instant ignite
flames that consume soul!

O to be healers
and in one age break power
that destroys souls!

 For my prompt 

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Shoes

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

© 2018 Susan L. Chast

03 February 2018

X's Cat


As if to make more time for X to heal,
cat up and died.  She wasn’t all that young.
A clot of blood in her hip box rendered
her instantly immobile, and the vet
said nothing could be done to ease her pain.

X said goodbye.  Left cat behind.  At home,
turmoil ensued.  The mouse population
exploded.  X put traps around and sat
with empty lap in her big chair. No cat
eased her as chemo and radiation
ate her disease.  (Cat had been no trouble
and had been worth her weight in gold.)*

But get a new one now?  New name, new smell,
new possibilities?  How to commit
when X’s life is so uncertain?  When
it’s not a new tea kettle, but alive?

As if to make more time for X to heal,
cat up and died.   X wasn’t all that young.
She had no time to make new friends, she thought.
The edges of her soul that thrived with cat
threatened to leave her, but she could see
the little ghostling curling round her feet.

(Omit this line?)*
(Changed the ending on 2/11/2018)

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

© 2018 Susan L. Chast

31 January 2018

Earth in the Middle

for my nephew Mark

Playing peekaboo by Georgios Jakobides (1985)

A huge moon calls through today’s clouds for earth
to play peek-a-boo, pop-goes-the-weasel
or another quick-disappearing game
like monkey-in-the-middle. Such a joker!

Earth doesn’t laugh. She spins on her axis
like a mother with too many children,
while ocean tries to grab the moon
with leaps and tides. It fails always.

Ocean plays night and day, like my cat with
a laser pointer, but does whether or
not moon glow is visible, partner
in flirtation from phases to eclipse.

But this is love, you tell me—not some game.
It’s love that persists, permanence its aim.

The second of two sonnets I wrote this week: The first is HERE.

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

© 2018 Susan L. Chast

28 January 2018

Moon Beams

Jacob's Dream  by William Blake (c. 1805)

Gold moon plumps out and waxes into blue
and super and most bloody while it lifts
and ripples wrinkles on old ones' faces.

Each trough holds broken stars and spent seashells
Each cheek a beach to lounge on after love
Each countenance a changing tide of care.

Pendulum moon force! We wrestle with you
all night and day, you Jacob’s ladder for
humans to ascend and slide down again.

But this night a cloud covers and weakens
your glow, and I catch my singular breath
for a span while you pull and push my soul.

And watching your eclipse, I’m an old crone
at river’s edge, skipping one last stone, alone.

 For my  "Midweek Motif ~ Moon"  which will open Wednesday at Poets United. Wednesday will be a super blue full-moon eclipse.

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

© 2018 Susan L. Chast

24 January 2018

Innocent Offense

Cat with gun mounted on a unicorn 1958343 mouse pad computer mousepad
Mouse Pad by Monkey Pad at Amazon.com

Weighted and smoothed to sensual finish,
guns say “touch me, hold me, use me, love me”
by design.  Extensions of human arms,
they seem advantageous; they are like pets.

Affectionate, hungry and beautiful,
they egg their owners on.  “At least
look at me, please” they say. “Show me to friends.
Put me between you and potential threat.”

“Clean me, load me and aim me at targets.
Practice.  Purrrrr-fect.“  Little cats and big cats—
they own people—ask any cat person
how we wait on them and serve them, or else.

We train our dogs, but cats train us.
Always a little wild, domestic cats
flirt.  Their play is simulated conquest.
A gun is more innocent than a cat.

I can own one without answering its
siren call, keep it out of sight, lock it
in a safe place.  I can ignore it like
a stone in my shoe, like a cat.  Perhaps.

For Sumana's Prompt at Poets United

Forgive me for the cat comparison.   
It came into my head and I couldn't shake it.  
I don't try to live with weapons other than normal household items
which weren't designed for offense and/or defense.

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

© 2018 Susan L. Chast