Tag: past

gone to blue

should they ask,

I have gone to blue,
I have gone to green stillnesses,
to the bright-lipped lake
where the reeds still recall

that the wanting is often
greater than ever the having,
and that some days the rift
is only the start
of a different-directioned journey

so should they ask,

I have gone back,
back to the tranquilities,
back to the waters as they were,
and as they may someday be

tell them I have gone to blue

© Sarah Whiteley

down east

it was late November
when I drove toward Maine

I still hear how the wind
tore across the highway,
rattling doors and nearly
blowing that tired red Buick
into the frozen ditch

I had second, third – hell
sixth thoughts on the other
side of the state line,
but I kept right on –

forward was the only
way left even though
the pines all pointed
back the other direction

a body ought to listen
to things like weather
and the wind and when
either one isn’t at your back,

it might be that’s a sign
you should turn right around
and that just maybe somewhere
down around western Mass

a right instead of that left
might not have inflicted the kinds
of change that would alter the slant
of a year’s share of wakeful nights

but winter’s nothing way up there
if not a lesson, and my toes
nearly froze during that storm
when I tried to find my way

five miles on foot up that hill
to somewhere never home
through fourteen inches of snow
in flimsy shoes with branches
dropping shrapnel all around –

a few other things nearly
froze over, trust included,
and it’s a wonder I thawed
out at all and can carry on

as if it was nothing more
than a freak nor’easter moving
through or a turn in the wrong
direction against the wind’s advice
two hundred or so miles back

down east was the only place
I’ve ever had to lie to live
or pick a lock to save my own skin
five degrees below zero –

twenty minutes spent just chipping
at that ice to use a bent hanger –
something I used to think only
worked in the movies but prayed
to God it could be otherwise

in the end hope won out
and I fled west with a new
appreciation for thick soles
and the warnings pine trees
and a good strong wind
might heap at a vagrant’s feet

but these are the things
I don’t speak of

and thank-the-lord don’t often
think of, save now and again
when a freezing wind
rattles at my windows –

some frenzied remnant
fighting to be let back in
and sometimes –
the old familiar ice still
finds a way beneath the sill

© Sarah Whiteley

Know this is outside of my norm, but have been wanting to clean the cobwebs out of this particular closet for a while now. Wrote this years ago and never posted it as it never felt “right” – but have reached the moment when I’ll tweak and peck it at no more. And in return, it will tweak and peck at ME no more!

now

I love this now,
and this one,
and the now I carried
with me then,
when stumbling
upon that field
rampant with sunflowers
so bent upon echoing
the brilliancy of day,
they pressed themselves
flush against the belly
of the yellowing sky

and like photographs
of loved ones,
I tuck my nows
between book pages,
so that some days
when I do not like
a particular now,
an old one might come
tumbling out and ask
to sit and reminisce

© Sarah Whiteley

Just a quick thank you for all the support and positive energy around the release of my chapbook, No Direction But Home. I’ve set up a dedicated page (see Available Books above) which provides both a link to Amazon as well as a link to the Paypal option should you wish to have a signed copy.

breathing

you steal the breeze
and there is nothing stirring left
to remind me what is breathing
and in the dark hours
the desert trembles green
between the sorrows
and the seams
remembering the silence
of trees and the between-times
the brightness of uncaged stars
and of strangers soundless touching
made unstrange in hunger shared
our hands were perfect maps
of the cracks between our feet
and yet I could not find a way
you are the unfound trail
through still tides
and skies unmoving
you are this
and everything besides
what is breathing

© Sarah Whiteley

the little house in August…

the little house nestles
in the yellow grass
ringed round in whirs of songs
of endless summer insects
sits waiting silent in the soughs
quiet in the sweet airs
as they kiss their August songs
against the eaves
around the trees
and all along the stillness
of the white and wondering sills

the little house nestles
in the yellow grass
soft-rimmed in spires
and clamoring climbs
of creamy frothing roses
watches waiting in the hush
the dervish dances
of the dust-winged moths
in the faint radiance
of tumbling summer stars
around the trembling trellis
above the trees
beside the fence
and down the longing traces
of the brown and empty path

the little house nestles
in the yellow grass
watch-guarded by the pines
enshrined in vines
entwined in laurels greener
than the turning arc of spring
who flings her leaves upon the limbs
sits still and mute among the hills
rests soft beneath the dwindling sky
with thoughts of things like wistful wings
whose feathered fingers
brush the eaves
rush up the waiting steps
to sigh entreaties at a door
closed firm upon it all –

the little house nestles
in the yellow grass
sits closed upon the stillness,
and the singing summer sounds
of thrilling trilling insects,
sits closed to dancing moths,
to watching trees and wandering me
who stands in waiting
belating miles away
from the bending yellow grasses
with a pang that even August
will not mend

© Sarah Whiteley

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.