early snow – excerpt from Wandering Wonderful

an early snow this year

icy and hard, it woke me –
hissing and insistent
through the crack in the sill

the dogs both dig deeper
into my side, settle once more,
and sigh – little heart-furnaces

© Sarah Whiteley

The weather this year has been hard on the dogs and little Angus especially is feeling his age lately. But it’s amazing what comfort a dog can bring into a life – and I am blessed to have both of them for as long as I may.

My newest chapbook Wandering Wonderful is now available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press. Pre-orders through March 22nd will have an opportunity to win a canvas print of the cover art. Click for details!

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wildness is a necessity

when, as now, the city leans too close –
all cloying constructs, relentless cement

send to me a comfort of simple pine,
send to me an endurance of wind-bent cedar,

give to me the remoteness of ridgelines
and a full solace of placid tarns

what Muir meant made blazingly clear
with each leaden municipal minute

wildness is a necessity

© Sarah Whiteley

writing home

apple-blossoms_1670

the small-birds have finally
found the window feeder
and the dogs are enthralled
with their sudden proximity

we are well, though feeling
the spring in our bones –
that gentle eruption debuts
a new brand of restlessness

the boards of the porch have been
too damp for comfortable reading,
and coffee for now is confined
beneath the mossy awning

but sweet and peppery
the season’s trees tease
the beginnings of green –
one promise kept, at least,
among so many hundreds dropped

these are days of small news,
buds of flowery hearsay – not much
here to report except the hummingbirds
are damp-winged and bright
among the new leaves of the maple

© Sarah Whiteley

do not disregard the stars

in standing with our small funerals
the susurrus of our losses
soughing about our feet
do not disregard the stars
nor the soft shine of upturned leaf
they are as much an affirmation
of the loves that travel with us
as are the scars that are left
when we set them free
let there be some comfort
that the passing constellations
shine as brightly when they die
as they did when we only imagined
them to be alive

– for Ludwig, who left us to join his friend this morning –

© Sarah Whiteley

sweeping up

so many of the places
where we were are gone
as if an unseen hand
were sweeping up
after us after closing
after the late shadows
have pushed the last shreds
of day into quiet evening
even then there were crickets
and smells of coffee shops
and wisteria that dripped its
scent like soft voices
calling after us after we passed
newspapers and shared quips
and lazy meandering walks
counting mosses and lilacs
and cats slinking from porch steps
our last spot – the one
we most called ours –
will be gone within the year
and chairs, tables, cups,
and flowered cloths will be pulled
from our little corner
where none but our comfort breathed
walking by in late afternoon,
the hollow sound of an empty cup
as it hits the table
echoes in blooms within
birthing sudden ripplings
in what so often now lies still
so that the pinch makes me pause
we may not recover,
but we do walk on

© Sarah Whiteley

after stillness

for a second,
sleep,
and the stillness
of stars waiting
and after stillness,
waning
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
spring?
after these walls,
what?
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,
sleep,
and the stillness
of stars waiting
and after stillness?
all

© Sarah Whiteley

I liked the aloneness
of those days
my thoughts had room
to stretch
and test the edges
of the paper
without the wired
trenches
that criss-cross
shared spaces
ideas could breathe
through windows wide
breezes shimmering
along the clean edges
of solitude
a quiet corner
misses the comfort
of our companionship
in spite of the mud-dashed
traps between
but for now
my hand would prefer
the peace of apart
and the aloneness
of words

© Sarah Whiteley