wild, and hush, and joy

“I walk, all day, across the heaven-verging field.” – Mary Oliver

at times, I have brought you along for company –
you and the pale trillium in that sheltered pleasure
found beneath hemlock and cedar, under second-growth pine

at times, I walked convinced I might hear you clearly
were the cascades not so Spring-ly loud,
or the whiskey jacks such engaging distraction

this morning, you have become the river
and I am grateful for the wetness of January,
for the gleaming mud that slows me down,

and for all these wild and gentle scents unfettered,
here where words like wild, and hush, and joy abound

© Sarah Whiteley

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I go out

I go out, and come back –
to the low voices of everyday
concrete saying stay,
voices that are each time fainter

I go out, and come back –
in sun, in mist, in rain –
and each time the tether
is less, and closer to temporary

each time the river’s shout
grows louder and I am more
cedar and stone, more
singing creek and warbler

I go out, and I am more
simply by being less

© Sarah Whiteley

after Livingston

that August in Livingston,
we meant just me
and the small dog tracing
the bends in the river
into the far edge of afternoon

one of us thinking of rolling
ourselves into the landscape
for keeps just for the peace,
the other enthralled
by sudden bursts of magpies

all these years after,
I never did find the right shade
to fade into and can’t shake
the sense of going the wrong
way against the river now

as if home had quietly
washed itself downstream
and settled on a sandbar –
lopsided and forsaken

© Sarah Whiteley

I felt a river rise within…

I felt a river rise within
perched upon the bridge’s edge
poised upon the moment
and there you stood
while drops of me
slid and dripped
beneath the pre-green
of a sky considering twilight
one breath whole
and the next breath broken
as the chaotic coursings
of wet on your window
you left me on that brink
to plead alone with never
and a rush of rain
descendent

© Sarah Whiteley

I have been having trouble sleeping for weeks,… months actually. This isn’t a reflection of my outward life (I don’t believe it is anyway) as I’m relatively content. But I’ve experienced cycles of insomnia before, and they just seem to come and go without any indication of why. This time I’ve started taking a sleep aid (don’t worry – it’s natural) and while it is beginning to work, one of the side effects is vivid dreams. And oh are they vivid! You might be thinking “well that’s pretty cool!” and it would be except for one little thing. The dreams are achingly, unbearably sad. They aren’t nightmares or anything like that – no dinosaurs chasing me around trying to eat me for dinner. But they are disturbing in their own way. A writerly friend (Hi, Martin!) suggested that I maybe begin to write them down. And here I am just a few moments later and this just poured out as if it had been waiting for me to give it words. So in an effort to purge some of these things and hopefully find a more peaceful rest, I’ll be writing some dream-themed pieces here and there for a time. So if the tone seems a little off from my usual style, this is why.