wind follows wind

wind follows wind,
as would the grasses
were they not rooted –
relegated to whispering
wayfarers’ songs

this evening I carry
that elsewhere urge –
a glow of foot,
the rise of thigh –
the sort of sky to set
wings to trembling

© Sarah Whiteley

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avalanche lilies

“Beware, O wanderer, the road is walking too.”
― Jim Harrison

the trick is to rise up
with the mountain,

and not to bring it
down beneath your feet

not all who wander
will understand this

and for this reason,
I tell no one the way

and keep the starred
avalanche lilies

for my own selfish
roaming self

© Sarah Whiteley

roundabouts nowhere

the question, always the same,
and the answer is that there are
so many blessed nowheres

she says she’ll have to find me
when I finally get that car,
when I finally succumb to go

she knows that I can write about birds
for only so long before I myself fly –
after so many years feeling
stuck and prayerless

the answer isn’t to find me
or to seek anything anywhere –
but if you begin to look for me,
try roundabouts nowhere

© Sarah Whiteley

[nothing with you has been enough]

nothing with you has been enough

at 2 AM, to an audience of bricks,
I can be honest with my heart

and if I sit here long enough,
a prayer might stumble in –

something akin to what
moths find in porch-light –

I have been to-ing and fro-ing
with the consequences

but in the end, it comes to this:
we might love each other,
if only I’d forget to run

© Sarah Whiteley

A little poem and what I have been up to…

somewhere between heart and home,
the iron in blood sees itself
also in stone, in earth beneath feet

we are as bound to landscape
as are tendons to muscle
as tied to hearth as we are to wander

© Sarah Whiteley

Things have been quiet on the blog-front, I know. I sailed right on past the 9-year anniversary of this blog without taking time out to acknowledge it. But I have been feverishly working on piecing together a full-length manuscript for submission. November saw me buckling down with the goal of writing 60 new drafts of poems (yes, 60!). I didn’t quite make it, but made it as far as 50, which is a huge achievement for me.

I’ll be spending the next couple of months honing these poems, polishing them, probably hating parts of them, and loving them all to pieces. But now that the big push is done with for the moment, I’m hoping to revisit posting to the blog a bit more. It’s always been a great tool to keep me writing!

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

the traveler, starting young

rails-768427_1280

I never was in so much trouble
as that time I vanished down the tracks,
losing sight of the afternoon,
small shoes balanced on the ties,
walking into evening between the rails

even at that age I could name goldenrod
and dog rose, Queen Anne’s lace and sumac –
could pick out moths from butterflies –
but had not yet discovered the word
for that unrelenting itch to wander

but mother knew the word and four miles later,
I was spanked all the harder
for the future loss of her daughter
who would disappear along the tracks
to find solace down some dusty road

© Sarah Whiteley