the question

I cannot say to you
that it is deep spring –
that now when I walk
at the outset of night,
the fields are thick
with frog song

I cannot tell you
that those long talks
under the porch light
were the best moments,
and saved me many times
from myself

you are not here
to hear that these
are also the best moments,
living among the worst –

and that “yes”
would be the answer
if you’d ask again
whether I am happy

but you are not here
to ask the question,
and I am petal-deep
in memories

© Sarah Whiteley

On Easter Sunday, I lost a very dear friend to cancer. We lost him quickly, and because of our current situation, I was unable to hug him one more time in farewell. He was truly the kindest, most generous person I’d ever met. He was thoughtful, and compassionate, and gently pushed others towards compassion. I never got the chance to tell him how his presence in my life changed me for the better – saved me even. For years, he would ask me the question “are you happy?” and for years my answers fell somewhere between “well, you know” and “I’m okay” followed by a shrug. This man who genuinely cared whether or not I was happy never had the chance to hear that I was. I am finally in a space where I have room to breathe, where I am safe, where daily I can walk among trees, where I can feel some peace. And a lot of that is due to this one person who cared enough to help me ask myself what it is exactly that would make me happy. So thank you, dear Leo. I am happy. ❤

finch talk

the finches had much
to say today –
about the dampness
of the day,
the amount of seed
remaining on the sill,
the early dark and
the lateness of light

winter prattlings,
cold weather natterings –
so different from
the ardent liltings
they will trade
between the buds
in the spring,
but enjoyable
to ears all the same

© Sarah Whiteley

My apologies for my absence lately. Some large projects have been keeping me rather busy which means that finding time and mental space to write has been difficult to say the least. Unfortunately, reading the blogs I subscribe to has also fallen by the wayside recently. Of course, not having internet at home since before the holidays has complicated the issue. However, that particular problem should (fingers crossed) be rectified this weekend and I will hopefully be able to start catching up on my reading and my writing soon.

My best friend and I have a hiking motto, birthed during our first adventure together through three miles of calf deep mud and down a hundred foot cliff (one of us with only one working hand at the time). That motto is “straight through the middle!” Meaning that sometimes the only way to get to where you are going is to keep moving forward. In news of the major life adventure variety, I am making arrangements to leave Seattle after many, many years and relocate to Colorado in March. The Universe has basically been yelling at me for a while now that It Is Time! So with much nervousness (and much exhilaration), I’m holding myself to that motto.

I will miss my quirky crows, my beloved Cascade Mountains, all those rainy hikes, porch beers with neighbors, and of course my best friend. But there is also so much that I am looking forward to: new hikes, new neighbors, new adventures, and finding new inspiration all around. So if I start writing about changes and leavings and whole families of dust bunnies found while cleaning out closets, you all will know why.

With much love and gratitude,
Sarah

Somebunny’s Shifting Gears

Blue Bunny

I’ve been finding it difficult to juggle writing for the blog vs. writing for a possible new chapbook (hence the rather sporadic posts lately). So I’ve decided to give myself a break this year. For 2015 (or at least for most of it), I’ve decided to use the blog as more of a poet’s journal and actual finished pieces will be few and far between. Instead I’ll share some of the WIPs and little snippets I jot down which eventually become poems. And of course, little watercolor sketches and photos here and there. I think this will take some of the pressure off and I’ll be able to focus a bit more on finished pieces for the chapbook.

Oh yes – and do say hello to Moby over there on the left. Val, who is a lovely artist living in Wales, offered the name as a joke and it sort of stuck. Moby was originally going to be added to the pile of charity donations which will be boxed up and sent off to brighten up some little one’s day, but I felt his limbs might be too easily pulled off (poor Moby) so he’s been left on a friend’s doorstep with the below note. I think he’ll very much enjoy his new home.

Have a beautiful 2015, my friends!

Note

counting cigarettes

winter-moods-series-1sm1

bare feet on the damp boards of the rain-soaked porch

I try counting how many cigarettes are left

not in the packs between us, leaning on the rail

but in moments left to us in this sacred space

where we learned the measure of our lips

and the direct relation of hands to laughter

no use pouring coffee before it’s been made

this now for now, with you will more than do

© Sarah Whiteley

talismans

the leaves have dropped
burnt out finally after
the last conflagration
and the fog drifts in
most mornings now
a shroud for ashen skies
hangs about sometimes
until noon even
days like this call
for extra cups of coffee
with an extra spoon of sugar –
something hot and sweet
to cup chilled hands about
a talisman against graying days
and the sooner dark
thoughts of you
were once my August
in the icy weeks to come
now I have the warmly
snoring bodies of dogs
and extra doses
of coffee the color
of 5 AM in December

© Sarah Whiteley

brighter

it isn’t so much
that the days
are tiring
as it is the light
is struggling
to stay
as earth is urged
to darker arms
and the calm
of slow hibernation
how wondrous it is
that light should find
a fragile respite
in fiery leaves
as if the trees too
would stoke it brighter
for just those few
more days

© Sarah Whiteley

Perhaps a bit early for this, but I’m in an autumn sort of mood lately. The light is shifting and I’m already feeling a shortening in the days.

Normally this time of year, I would announce that Ebbtide is on hold until I’ve made it to the far side of the tax deadlines that hit us at the office in September and October. This year I’ve decided to wait and see. And if I am able to find the time and space to write – to find a quiet moment in which to lose myself a little in beauty – then all the better for me.