they’ve set traps for the rats…

they’ve set traps for the rats –
one would think who cares?
except that I’ve seen the mother
coax her young in clambering
up the long patience of her tail
to reach the seed in the feeder
long after the evening’s last birds
have flown to their repose

down the street, they’ve shot the coyote,
and are calling it mercy
one might say so what?
except that she tracked the rats
and carried them back with her
into the deep green bulwark
at the densest edge of the park
where her soft-nosed pups wait

they’ve placed a sign around the corner
and one might think it benign –
until the hard hats descend
with their chainsaws and chippers,
to fell and to sunder the cedar
whose rings will mark an age
that far surpasses this city
and glibly name it progress

© Sarah Whiteley

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buttercup

knowing you already have
the company of stones,
and wanting a remembrance
less weighty,
I brought to you
the single beam
of a wild buttercup
plucked from among
its golden brothers,
drifting even now
unfettered in the field

where nearby children
may be heard shrieking
in play with each other
and with the barking dog
under the watchful eyes
of a woman content
that they will be tired
after this brilliant-skied
afternoon frolic

and even nearer,
the cedar the artists
come to paint holds
the newest fledglings close
until early one morning
and quite unexpectedly,
it will dawn on them
that they are the sky-born
and their falling
will become instead
their glorious flying

and down the street,
the runners run
past the park where
I imagine you stopped
to watch the swallows
plummet at dusk,
enthralled by just what
hollow bones can do –
and wandered back home
to with relish write
of growing wings

© Sarah Whiteley

luminosity

lately, I have not been so adept
at creating my own

but have become better at least
in the search for it

in hunting out the straggling streams
ushering along the broken light of winter –

streamfronts and lakesides,
and damp on long-dropped leaves,

and everywhere the subtle, persistent gleam
of cedar beneath the rain –

these have become my candle
against the winter’s dark –

there is peace in found luminosity,
and joy in unveiled light

© Sarah Whiteley

I go out

I go out, and come back –
to the low voices of everyday
concrete saying stay,
voices that are each time fainter

I go out, and come back –
in sun, in mist, in rain –
and each time the tether
is less, and closer to temporary

each time the river’s shout
grows louder and I am more
cedar and stone, more
singing creek and warbler

I go out, and I am more
simply by being less

© Sarah Whiteley