if I could freshen the day…

if I could freshen the day
like flowers kept
in the ironstone pitcher –

trim away the wilt,
snip the calloused ends,
gather up the fallen curls
of color from the floor

if I could invite the breeze
to brighten the gray
garland of winter hours –

I might better stand the sting
of lingering February
and find the light
amidst the hardened snow

© Sarah Whiteley

My newest chapbook Wandering Wonderful is now available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press.

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a birthday poem

in the blue light
of an icy February dawn,
everything is crisp
everything has edges
that crumble and crunch

and the wide mouth
of the wind shows its teeth
as it comes surging
around the corner
of my 43rd year

once every year
we meet in some manner,
this time it is with
cold-bitten fingers,
head down against the wind

though here and there
a few power lines
may be leaning low,
you may be certain
we will meet this way again

© Sarah Whiteley

Snow on Sunday night and two inches of ice on the roads in my neighborhood. Tomorrow I turn 43 and I can’t remember the last time I had snow on my birthday. It’s not such a common thing in Seattle, and so usually I have to go in search of it up into the mountains and foothills if I want some of the white stuff. This year, I can just step outside my door.

My newest chapbook Wandering Wonderful is now available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press.

the heat’s gone out

for the sixth time since November,
the heat’s gone out – the radiator sits silent

there is no weight of heavy snows here
to bear down upon roofs or wool-shod shoulders,

yet the dark leans in against the windows,
its own weight overwhelming the small hours

for once, Time in its grand arc is on our side –
as are the dogs exuding contentment,

as is the glass of whiskey on the pale marble
table by the deep-seated chair

either the radiator will rattle tomorrow,
or it will remain cool in dormancy –

but in the morning, I will seek the green tips
of emerging hyacinth – gift and promise both

© Sarah Whiteley

hiking near the Pacific Crest Trail

thirty-two water crossings
and just shy of ten miles

later, I might discover
a jealousy of this stone

but for now I am here and
its perspective is mine –

yes, it is possible to be
both cold and cradled

for exhilaration to rise
from old bones and leaf mold

I am more I, more in
while I am without

it is life that kisses me
through creek-wet feet

© Sarah Whiteley

the uninvited

for once my crows
(my noisome watchers)
ignore the shrill complaints
of a wheeling gull
and crouch instead
on snow-tipped branches,
giving way to the whims
of a relentless wind

I’d invite them in
(my boot-blacked friends)
but they’d tease the dogs,
pluck my bright beads
from the lighted tree
and delightedly unwind
every blessed color
in the overflow of yarn

instead I stay ensconced
in dog-warmed blankets
and startlingly bright socks
and watch them accusingly
hunched in what I imagine
is a crowish glare
willing the chill of winter
through my windows

© Sarah Whiteley

The poor crows! It’s bright and beautiful outside at the moment, but it snowed overnight and there’s a very insistent wind out there with a decidedly arctic chill to it. I was swamped by all 5 of Coyote’s family this morning on my walk and I was sure to give them plenty of treats. I think Freyja was a little offended when the father across the street said “look at the birds!” to his little daughter instead of the usual “look at the doggie in the pretty sweater!”

Today is the perfect sort of day for hot chocolate and my largest knitting project on my lap. From where I sit, I can see the crows coming and going, stopping outside my window to see where the rest of their treats are.

quick update

img_2964_maple-2

My nailbeds are a lovely blueish purple right now. The building has steam radiators which are controlled from the boiler room with a timer, the timing of which is still apparently being worked out. The dogs are curled up in the bed and Angus has taken to sleeping in a ball with his tail over his nose – very fox-like – in order to keep warm.

I’m about to pull on socks and shoes and my coat before I head down the hill to the library and return Denise Levertov’s collected works. I haven’t finished it, but it’s due soon and I’ve added it to my Amazon wishlist in case some lovely family member needs an idea for a birthday present next year.

I discovered recently that she actually transplated herself to Seattle at some point in her life and is buried in the cemetery where I often take long, peaceful walks. A couple weeks ago, I made it a mission to find her headstone and managed it quite quickly as it has a very distinctive sculpture on top of it. She’s not far at all from Princess Angeline’s (Chief Seattle’s daughter) resting place and she’s very close indeed to my favorite tree in the cemetery – a massive copper beech with the most wonderful purple-y russet leaves.

I’ve begun to do some temp office work while I figure out what I want to do and where I want to go. The uncertainty is a bit stressful as there are other forces at play which will determine what happens in the next 6 months. But change is stressful and I knew that would be the case. We’ll make it through.

The crows have missed their daily treats – I usually leave before they’re awake and get home after dark. On Friday, Coyote happened to spy me while I was waiting for my morning bus. He rushed over, stood at my feet, and scolded me for my absence. Unfortunately I didn’t have anything in my pockets to offer him, so he went away disappointed. But not before attracting the attention of the other people waiting on the arrival of a bus. Yeah – crazy crow lady reputation justified.

I’ve been squeezing in time to write and do my little watercolor sketches, though I prefer daylight for the latter so I’m afraid painting will be a weekend endeavor for now.

Off to the library! And then home to a hot, hot shower to thaw feet and fingers.

Be well!

tufted titmouse