false hope

you were never
and are not
and yet then again
that crumbling moment
when the sun subsides
and a farewell fire
clings to the bellies
of the clouds
–you are dappled like that
the glow about the edges
of the end of my day
though I am capsized
it may yet
be this way again–
or dust

© Sarah Whiteley

the winter moods series – first winter

first winter
the chill spills
from rivers
the skies sigh
in green dreams
of honeysuckle

© Sarah Whiteley

This is the first in a series I’m working on that pairs short poems with paintings. The series is called Winter Moods and you can see the companion painting to this piece over at tied to sky.

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.

wanderer’s refrain

in delight
we paint the dark
from night descending
and fold tomorrow
into the tide
wandering feet
forget to dream
of horizons
other than home
and words
beat as moths
against the light
of the breath
from your lips
pull the roads
right out my heart
and startle the stars
down from the sky
the moon forgets to rise
feathers forget to fly
but I –
I recall the shine
of our limitless mind
and the shadow
we cast over time
over space
over these words
of mine

© Sarah Whiteley

cover me in clover
let the sparrows
pass me over
and the calling curlews
cry the dying day
let lilies lie together
with growing grasses gather
to whisper the ways of we
the whys of me
the ties that be
and being, ever are
let my fingers lace the leaves
and my eyes transcribe the sky
between the trees
that tower silent over all
my hair in ivy twining
and I, I lie repining
in the hollow with the wind
among the waving of the rye
dim dance the stars
drawing up the rising moon
in hours ever darkening
as night takes flight upon the air
let the roses drop their petals
and the pansies press their breath
against the hill where mosses
grow to softly pad my rest
shield me in shadows
in the bower only crows know
where the river flows
and wends amidst the reeds
with the summer softly sighing
her song sweet respite plying
let the dew fall chilly gleaming
upon my dreaming breast
call the swallows
to the hollow
and the wrens
to guard my rest
and sing the days of we
the ways of me
the ties that be
and being, ever are

© Sarah Whiteley


delight is fleeting
and softness
too soon hardens
clay beneath
the heat of loss
the road runs constant
on and over between
fancy’s fading fields
keening streams
carry sinners’ dreams
to seas restless
as dormant dreamers
adrift in empty beds
of their own making
night is fleeting
and sorrow ever-waking
sleeping feet
travel dreaming trails
and never find
the bread crumbs
leading home

© Sarah Whiteley