reluctance

seems every corner these days,
yellow reluctance hangs from the trees

but can you maybe see the small promise
in the perchance-forgetfulness
of coming wintry rimes

where we might biding sleep
’til wakened by warmer times

© Sarah Whiteley

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2.26.2015

Tulip 2sc

after a poem by Ono no Komachi

too soon the bloom
has slipped from the stem –
a light lost over the deepening
sill of evening

and back and forth,
the beads are slipped slowly
down the thread while I
wait with the rain

certainty of spring

a slow chain of greening begins beneath –
unseen, sneaking through damp earths

a stealthy pushing aside of rocks
and winter for worm-paths and pale roots
sending tentative inquiries further afield

spring seeks surfaces in the same way
the yellow-beaked robins break the dirt –
in the same manner leaf-buds seek an April sun –

an abiding search for choicer feasts
and a respite from waiting, bare-branched,
until we can say with certainty spring has begun

© Sarah Whiteley

I hope you’ll forgive my absence lately – I’m smack dab in the middle of the spring tax deadlines and it doesn’t leave much space for reading or writing or cloud gathering. Of course the head cold isn’t helping any of that either.

But be well, and I’ll catch up when I can!

Sweet Jenny

oh laddie, why d’ye wander
when the hearthlight’s waitin’ by
and yer Jenny’s at the window
wi’ a bright and hopeful eye

ye’ve a fair and gentle lady
attendin’ to yer care
oh laddie, how ye’ll ken her loss
when yer Jenny isna there

the goats are in the sweet hay
and the geese are in the pen
and Jenny’s waitin’ at the door
’til her laddie’s back again
’til her man comes back again

oh laddie, why d’ye ramble
so far from yer lassie’s side
for ye’ll ne’er find sweeter kisses
nor a more beguilin’ bride

yer feet are set to amblin’
a path ye canna keep
while yer Jenny’s left to pinin’
and wonderin’ where ye sleep

the trees are turned to russet
and the frost lies in the glen
and Jenny’s waitin’ by the door
’til her laddie’s back again
’til her man comes back again

oh Jenny, wait no longer
by window or by door
for yer laddie’s gone to strayin’
and ye’ll ne’er see him more

sweet lassie, tend yer garden
and mind yer baby fair
forget the lad who’s scorned ye
there’s none but sorrow there

the barley’s newly greenin’
and spring lies in the glen
sweet Jenny’s left the dooryard
and she’ll ne’er come back again
she’ll ne’er come back again

© Sarah Whiteley

returning

I have been gone
too long from here
from lulling grasses
rustling keen kisses
at the magnolia’s feet,
white petals bruised
to scent, sharp
and sudden as the flap
of a finch flushed
from beneath the boxwood

the watchful eye
of a sentinel moon
rises low and hangs heavy
between black branches
our absence has grown wide
and horizons have grown hazy
where will I find you again,
if not in crushed petals,
or clinging, freshly unearthed
to thready roots of rue

I bloom nonetheless
though something hesitant
shifts within and grows restless
tired all at once of waiting
for what is yet unreturned

© Sarah Whiteley