Monday, January 26, 2015

Anticipation of Snow

Of course the night is dark,
no moon, no stars. Even
the darkness holds its breath, or
Is it only me?  The sharp, electric air
presses down on the silent black pavement
I follow home. Inside,
of course there is a violin
retracing the vexing etude intervals,
the brightness of many lamps, fading supper smells.
Outside, the power of something so much larger
hovers, promising tomorrow
will once again reveal us small, and snug,
celebrating our loss of power,
and snow.

Mary for The Poplar Grove Muse

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ferguson, Cleveland, New York City

Headlines, breaking news
multimedia coverage of too much
unnecessary suffering
at the hands of gun wielding authorities
notorious for dealing out
different strokes to different folks
as mood or mandate
or fear dictates
and racism trumps the high ideals
of Officer Friendly
and runs roughshod and unapologetic
over basic human rights

Forget equality and respect
at the hands of the blue-suited man
endorsed by racist faces staring back
at so many ordinary people
from bathroom mirrors
and store windows
shattered and scattered
on concrete and asphalt
like a thousand million shards
of hopes and dreams
bleeding dry the famed mountain
where Martin Luther King proclaimed
“I have a dream!”

Forget dignity and worth
if his skin is brown like mother earth
or black as midnight
like the lies the jury swallowed
hook, line, and shine them shoes
lick them boots
get the fuck off the street
forget the cigars from the local store
the handful of untaxed roll-your-owns
the child behind the pellet gun

“Bow down, damn you, bow down!”
cries the uniformed brother
anachronistic player
of the coned hat society
endorsed by racist politicians
posturing pseudo sympathies
while turning deaf ears to  cries
of mothers and fathers
of preachers and teachers
of young people boldly holding signs
crossing lines of color, class, and comfort
to reclaim civilization
for their generation

And when angry passions ignite
and  fight and flight
short circuit clear thinking
and nothing-to-lose
vandalizes, loots, burns and destroys
peaceful solutions seem light years away
like the end of all war, hunger, and hate
out of touch
with anything real
or attainable

And then the marches begin
the hundreds of thousands
maybe the millions
of people of all colors
and ages and class
take to the streets
the bridges, the sidewalks
in cities and towns
all over the globe
lift up strong voices and say
“We are one!”
pick up bloodied shards
of hopes and dreams
and piece them together
with love thy neighbor
and we shall overcome
someday soon
please someday soon
and hoist them high
for peace and justice
and equal rights for all
right here, right now
wherever, whatever
whoever we are

Headlines, breaking news
multimedia coverage
of the good, the bad
the ugly and sad
members of this human race
we take our place
we stand our ground
for peace or not
the whole world round

(for Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and  Eric Garner)
Christmas Day 2014

Glenda for the Poplar Grove Muse

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Embracing Life

Embracing Life

Today, this day, I can embrace 
every abundance 
large and small
thanks to the things
I've shed.

Like leaves falling one at a time
from an autumn tree, 
I have walked through 
this life shedding,
as each season desired,
what no longer made sense
for me to carry.

My burdens growing lighter 
with each passing year.
Why carry hurts 
and if-onlies?

Who needs 
 to strap bitterness
to her back and carry it around
until she is crushed 
from the weight of it?

Not the me, 
 I am in this moment.
I no longer keep walking 
into the same wall,
receiving the same wounds. 

I no longer loop around and around
until I'm dizzy from
getting nowhere.

I can walk with my back straight,
my neck craned to get a glimpse
of what adventure is around
the next corner.

Rebekah for the Poplar Grove Muse

Monday, January 5, 2015



Grief, is such hard work.  It empties us out and what rushes back inside is cold and dark and it clings like frost on a window.  The task of pushing the darkness out is daunting. Sometimes it feels never-ending.

Grief comes to us for many reasons, usually for some manner of loss. The loss of a loved one is especially hard.

In January I am reminded of my own loss and the work of grieving.  I think of those whose grief is fresh and the hard work they have before of them.  

Much like dawn seeps in to brighten the blackness of night, know that the light returns.


January, sets perched like a crow on the cusp of the year just passed, and the new one. The hope of spring is just a flicker. Not a bright enough light to push back the darkness, the cold.

I hunker down, wishing it away, thinking it would be nice to sleep, like the bears, until it passes. But life must be lived in January. It can’t be wished away or rushed through. January insists on taking its days, deserving them like every other month. Slowly it counts through the days, its first, its teens, its final day.

January is the month of my birth, but I am not its favorite child. It does not gift me with a lighter heart or a restful night. It questions the need for celebration in its shadows, preferring its own quiet reflection.

On one January day, our daughter, born in the happy month of April, was swallowed by the darkness. In a heartbeat we learned to count January’s long days in a new cadence.

On the twelfth day of January the call came; a truck, a red light, come to the hospital.

On the twenty-sixth day of January we heard; too much damage, let her go, tell her goodbye.

On the Twenty-seventh day of January, she died.

On the thirtieth day of January we buried her, in the indifferent January ground.

On the thirty-first day of January we began learning how to live without her light in our lives.

On every day, of every month that followed we learned those lessons. The hardest ones come in January and they are particularly brutal. Like a teacher’s ruler smacking on knuckles they demand attention, they demand review.

January is the month the wounds reopen. Exposed to the frigid air they are examined, poked and prodded. Fresh blood is pushed through them to cleanse the putrefaction but they are still tender. Wanting nothing more than to heal in the quietness.

I will be happy when January is spent, when it will begrudgingly give the count over to February. In subtle tones the cadence will change. The other kinder months will follow in their turns. These months will let me find the quiet, the peace and sometimes the joy of living. I can treasure the smile of a granddaughter, relish the warm hug of a loved one, and find the beauty in a flower or the enthrallment of a good book. January's grasp is weakening. Returning to its place in line.

May you find brightness in your life this year.

Diana, for the Poplar Grove Muse