payment

my knowledge of you
is not free

I pay for it, as one does
with any passage –

in silences,
in glances held

in the avid awareness of you alone
amongst the crowd,

and in relinquishing
the oft-sharp joy light must feel

in falling upon
that most hallowed of curves –

that pale, beloved arch –
the back of your sweet neck

yet, I am paid back a hundredfold
with the charm of knowing

© Sarah Whiteley

boating at night

the boat of course is metaphor
though it is, undeniably, night

and fingers do trail over the side,
but also over stern and bow

it is also true that we do move as water –
that hair cascades and skin ripples

but that again is metaphor,
for which I am unapologetic

and I cannot be at all contrite
for not minding stirring up depths

or were we to drown together
beneath the moon’s regard

in fact, my heart, that may be all
that is certain and indisputable

© Sarah Whiteley

pearl from shadow

there is no finer promise
than the uncertain light
which finds you
from between the blinds
and casts you
in bewitching blue –

a hue into which my hands
are driven to dive –
pulling the pearl
from the shadow

© Sarah Whiteley

no grace in wanting

there is no grace
in true wanting –

it staggers,

and refuses
to be written –

its divinity locked
in the eyes

that yours decline
ever to meet

© Sarah Whiteley

proof

until I saw them for myself,
your feet existed
purely as theory

how jarring now to find them
planted firmly
on the porch

© Sarah Whiteley

last night, the trees

last night, the trees stood up
and proclaimed their poetry
to one another

something in the twilight
inspired them, though not everyone
paused to hear it

but I and the day’s last robin
halted our respective routines
to acknowledge what was clearly
extraordinary

© Sarah Whiteley

assembling the fire

remember afternoon sun cures morning’s
damper specimens

for a bigger blaze, find an ally
to help gather

wet pieces can also be cured
by sharing laughter

but only if you share laughter
long enough

some pieces show more promise
than others

but do not discard dry grasses
as useless

recall that these encourage
a better burn

as with anything in life,
start small

and be wary of smothering,
when adding more

be mindful where you place
the most weight

and if you find that your fire
is faltering,

return to the simple honesty
of grasses

when all finally burns bright
beneath the dark,

sit beside the most kindred mind
you can find,

share the amiable heat of your labor,
and pause

to remark upon the enormousness
of the sky

© Sarah Whiteley