the flame tree

bide not, beloved,
tarry not long,
for the sweetgrass is calling
and the light is nigh gone

here in the hollow
where first you kissed me
I will wait, my beloved,
beside the flame tree

I will cut me a branch
as red as my heart
and whittle you home
where we’ll ne’er be apart

“oh!” cries the sparrow
“ah!” calls the crow
the hills will not tell me
where my dearest did go

stay not, my lover,
away from my hand,
for the blackbirds are crying
low o’er the land

they winnow and plummet
away from their rest
their song e’er repeating
is the same in my breast

oh, bide not, beloved,
leave me not by,
alone in the hollow
to wait and to sigh

“oh!” cries the sparrow
“ah!” calls the crow
the stars will not tell me
where my dearest did go

the wind’s in the rushes
the moon’s in the pine
the sweetgrass now whispers
you never were mine

consign me not, dearest,
behind the church gates,
but bury me gently
where for you I did wait

there in the hollow
where first you kissed me
I will wait, my beloved,
beside the flame tree

“oh!” cries the sparrow
“ah!” calls the crow
the flame tree will tell you
where your dearest did go

© Sarah Whiteley

at peace

it’s been a year, my dear,
since I shut the garden gate behind
and shooed the wounded dreams away
to trail mournful after happenstance
and the ungraceful slant of those days

no more than small disturbances now
they rustle upon the edges of my feathers
and along the bending tips of my grass
there are no buzzings of bees here
but life, in cat-soft callings ’round the corner,
beckons of fingers held in absentia
and sings of the raveled strings
the intangible things that keep me tethered here
and bound to breathing

mistake not my thanks for fidelity
for I am adroitly adrift
and drift on I shall as vagabond leaves
those flutterings of a different sort
left me out of sorts and circling then
with all its brass-caged “ifs”
I leave their scattered clamorings behind the gate
I rise, I glide, I shifting sift
like last light’s slow-measured lilting
through branches that waver quavery
in the dreamy greens of settling dusk

a year, dear, and I am softer than the silence
unfolding from the star-tilted skies
and sweeter even than the honeysuckle sliver
of the moon that follows me home
and nests in the corner of my window

© Sarah Whiteley

And wham it came upon me – that urge to write. I think for now the lull has passed.

enjoying the silence

Well, my friends, I would not want you to think I have forgotten you. You are not forgotten at all.

To put it simply, I found myself in a place where I felt I could not write what I was experiencing. I think I just needed to feel for a few moments without attempting to put words to it. I’m not quite back from my impromptu silence, but the good news is I’m beginning to feel the cadence of my poetic self returning to me. Unfortunately, I foresee that more of these silent periods will be unavoidable over the coming months. No worries. It’s not indicative of anything you need to trouble yourselves about. Just a further evolution of self.

In the meantime, I’ve missed you and have plenty of reading to catch up on. I will post again,… just not quite yet.


after stillness

for a second,
and the stillness
of stars waiting
and after stillness,
what then beyond
this arrested breath?
what then after
the suspended beating
from quiet breast?
what remembrance moon?
or trees that grew
beyond these windows?
or flowers passed
on pebbled paths
through sweetly scented
after these walls,
but then
I recall the fall
of kisses
the fondness
of hands that hold
all the promises
and the premise
of tomorrows
so what then?
you lean down
and murmur,
soft-lipped and smiling
for a second,
and the stillness
of stars waiting
and after stillness?

© Sarah Whiteley

morning love

just as morning
slips creepingly into day,
skimmingly we slide,
in pools unfurling,
and in slow glidings,
light the divide
in saffron pinks;
rising we arouse
to the fetching drifts
and softened fells
of tender-skinned crooks
shooing shadows
in pell-mell races
from places
only our fingers
goingly know
until I am arrayed
only in the hymn
of gold-dawning him

© Sarah Whiteley

The Dictionary Fairy

at night while I lie sleeping
tucked quietly in bed
his tiny feet come creeping
as quiet as the dead

he’s a wingéd little being
smaller than a mouse
he sneaks with no one seeing
through the darkened house

his little wings are dusty
like the books he holds
his breath’s a little musty
and reeks of damp and mold

the Dictionary Fairy
creeps across my bed
and whispers rather scary
things into my head

your vocabulary’s awful,
he hisses in my ear
they ought to be unlawful,
those words that you revere

you sound just like a nitwit
when you say “aiight”
nothing but a dimwit
when you say “that’s tight”

“wicked” means bad morals
and isn’t something “cool”
you’re an insult to the laurels
of your most esteeméd school

what’s become of decent grammar?
have we seen its sad demise?
crushed beneath the hammer
of listening to “yous guys”

then the Dictionary Fairy
opening up his tome,
reads words like “ablutionary”
and “heterochromosome”

all night the wee fiend chatters
foul words into my ears
as if it really matters
if high school takes eight years

© Sarah Whiteley