Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Having Been Away, What Next?

She returns.  Reluctant yet eager.   Her eyes  have journeyed to new shades of blue,  ears  have heard a wild bird call, lilting voices,  mouth full of sea and rain, the touch of  beechwood, ancient stone.  Senses activated. Pot stirred.  Veil lifted.  Now what?

Having been away, she has transported across oceans through portals of bending time. The curtain briefly flung aside, brilliant light, open window, begins its slow motion closure.  Now what?

Having been away, heart cracked, body stretched, mind cleared and cluttered all at once, she presses her hands to her head, her throat, her ample belly testing her real presence in space, feeling for where she ends and the rest begins. 

In pieces and part of a whole, having been away, the externals more or less apparent, a noisy hunger inside her growls insistent.  A poem asks for more than a list of particulars. A song needs a point.

Random words and an alphabet of images rain down all around her, falling on her personal drought-scorched path, they spell out F O L L O W  M E.  Having been away, this is a welcome gift.  Coming home again, the homing work begins. 

Having been away, in solitude, and surrounded by the clattering of many needy voices, her own among them, she asks “what now?” Arrives on the threshold of yet another doorway to an interior room with a welcome sign on the table.

As a girl, she was lucky to experience that coming home usually meant soft landing.  Having been away, it’s hard to remember that falling-back-into-trusted-arms-feeling.   But trust she will.  It’s what she does.

Having been away, she seeks true home again.  Order and meaning for her many lists, mental photographs, an elegant geometry, the quiet of a convent.

What now is this:  Having been away there is only the present moment, a slow stirring, eyes, ears, mouth, nose, fingers on fire, her mind a-tingle, a light in the window, the unlocked door.

BLR for the Poplar Grove Muse  9/26/12

Friday, September 14, 2012

There Are People Who Never Leave Your Heart

August 15, 2012

Dear Robert,

This afternoon I was sorting through some books and came across a book you had sent to me, a forgotten treasure. I opened “Courage to Change” and on the inside cover was an inscription from you: To Rebekah, The most courageous girl I know. Always my love, Robert. I don’t know where you are or where to send this postcard, but I’m feeling the need to connect, to conjure our brief time together in Oban and the Isle of Mull all those years ago. Sometimes I look at the snapshots of you standing on the pier in Craignure waving to me as the ferry pulled away & headed to Oban. As your sister, Mary, said to me, You know things, Rebekah. I knew that I would see you again. And I did. And those two days we spent in Oban were some of the most tender and bittersweet of my life. 


September 23, 2012

Dear Robert,

Me again. I sent the last postcard to your sister Mary. I hope it reaches her and I hope it reaches you. When I was in Scotland in May this year, you haunted my every step. I walked the paths we walked, gazed at the bay we sat by and talked for hours, and heard the caw of the crows that always alerted me to your presence. But you weren’t there with your crackling blue eyes and full lips under your neatly trimmed mustache. No one spoke to me in that soft Scottish brogue with the lyrical undertone of Gaelic.

I miss you,



October 30, 2012

Dear Robert,

You appeared to me last night, just like you did years ago when you were having surgery and I knew you had appeared for a reason. This time, I don’t know why you appeared. I hope it’s not a bad sign. I can’t get the music of your sweet voice out of my ear. Can’t close my eyes without feeling your touch. I wish I knew where you were and I suppose I hope you are happy, but I’d rather you’d be happy with me.





Monday, September 3, 2012

Vignettes of a Hot Dry Summer

Vignettes of a Hot Dry Summer

 She likes to sit in the garden in the morning.  Sipping coffee and enjoying what brief coolness might be available then. The hummingbirds come to the garden at this time too.  Seeking traces of moisture in the blooms, they jealously guard their territory.  Chasing intruders away in intricate aerial ballets full of thrusts and parries. They are not willing to share with their brethren, these tiny warriors. As the sun rises higher, she retreats.

He also goes out early each day, but he is tempering his body to accept the heat waves. Frustrated that the rain foretold on his radar doesn’t appear, he doggedly scans the sky for signs.  The heat presses harder and the swooping, buzzing, flitting crowd disperses, the beguiling blossoms abandoned in the sun.  Even in the brittle heat he is content in his garden.

In spring, the committed cardinal pair chatted eagerly about the nest they tucked into the pear tree. In the summer dryness they share harsh chirps, complaining at the scarcity of food for their hatchlings.

The guests seek shelter under the meager umbrella, pulling in legs and arms at awkward angles to capture the shade. Some find relief in the swimming pool. Others withdraw to the artificial coolness of inside, mostly the women.  The men seem to enjoy the challenge of ignoring the heat.

The fist of heat has unclenched today.   Open doors and windows inhale the bird song floating in with the cooler air.  It is an oasis in the eye of the storm, a brief reminder of softer summers. 

The walkways are congested at the farmers market. Everyone arrived early to beat the heat. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Shaded by their umbrellas, this is an easy day for the farmers.  Tomorrow will be another dehydrating day in their fields, acting as midwives to the laboring plants. Sadly, no green beans today, the heat has taken another victim.

Boiling storm clouds churn over our heads. The trees thrash in a frenzy of thirst, while the birds huddle in quiet anticipation. Spirals of wind twirl dusty vegetation.   Finally, rain!  Elation turns to frustration when a sprinkle teases the leaves and the clouds storm off. 

The grass may never awake from its self-induced coma; the burly weeds push it aside while it sleeps. The once vivacious hydrangeas offer one last pale blue cluster of blooms before it draws back into its own coma. The roving mint lies down in submission, too thirsty to continue the quest.

There is noise in the swimming pool! Splashing laughter, an abundance of water, in a place where the heat is finally welcomed.  Goggle faced young ones crow, “watch me” as they cartwheel into a wobbly, underwater handstand.  Noodle wrapped older ones float contentedly on the ripples.  The water soothes that ancient need to return to the sea.

He tries to appease the tomato plants with a soaker hose, but they long for rainwater.  Still, they try for him.  Occasionally presenting a scarlet globe for his delight. Leaving both with a feeling of triumph over sweltering odds.

At night the peepers still pipe but the fireflies don’t have the energy to signal their presents.  She sits at the other end of the day in the cooler moonshine, perhaps with a cocktail to toast the night.   The cardinal family, asleep in the tree, isn’t disturbed by her noises.

 Diana, for the Poplar Grove Muse