a birthday poem

in the blue light
of an icy February dawn,
everything is crisp
everything has edges
that crumble and crunch

and the wide mouth
of the wind shows its teeth
as it comes surging
around the corner
of my 43rd year

once every year
we meet in some manner,
this time it is with
cold-bitten fingers,
head down against the wind

though here and there
a few power lines
may be leaning low,
you may be certain
we will meet this way again

© Sarah Whiteley

Snow on Sunday night and two inches of ice on the roads in my neighborhood. Tomorrow I turn 43 and I can’t remember the last time I had snow on my birthday. It’s not such a common thing in Seattle, and so usually I have to go in search of it up into the mountains and foothills if I want some of the white stuff. This year, I can just step outside my door.

My newest chapbook Wandering Wonderful is now available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press.

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the restitution for winter

the restitution for winter is this –

the modest wink of a wood violet,
a bit of bright among
the passing season’s debris

© Sarah Whiteley

I suspect that this is a snippet I will eventually expand upon. But for now, I think a nice little reminder that there is hope amidst the cold is fitting. Keep safe out there!

My newest chapbook Wandering Wonderful is now available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press.

the winter wait – excerpt from Wandering Wonderful

for everyone but the birds,
winter is about waiting

they must wonder why it is
we’ve seemingly stalled

piled on days of cold and rain
have made us slow and passive

and we miss seeing that
what is gray is also glistening

© Sarah Whiteley

Wandering Wonderful is available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press. For information on mail ordering (vs online ordering), details are provided under my Available Books page.

how could I be lonely?

alone, how could I be lonely?
in January, the mountain sleeps
but also will wake to shake
loose its winter mantle

it is easier out here
to cease to believe in edges,
to deny the demarcations
that offer others comfort

it is easier to acknowledge
strength in this stillness,
and the abundance found
in the affirmation of alone

alone, how could I be lonely?
I walk, I walk, I walk through
messages dropped in the snow
by the watchful, wintry trees

© Sarah Whiteley

the heat’s gone out

for the sixth time since November,
the heat’s gone out – the radiator sits silent

there is no weight of heavy snows here
to bear down upon roofs or wool-shod shoulders,

yet the dark leans in against the windows,
its own weight overwhelming the small hours

for once, Time in its grand arc is on our side –
as are the dogs exuding contentment,

as is the glass of whiskey on the pale marble
table by the deep-seated chair

either the radiator will rattle tomorrow,
or it will remain cool in dormancy –

but in the morning, I will seek the green tips
of emerging hyacinth – gift and promise both

© Sarah Whiteley

luminosity

lately, I have not been so adept
at creating my own

but have become better at least
in the search for it

in hunting out the straggling streams
ushering along the broken light of winter –

streamfronts and lakesides,
and damp on long-dropped leaves,

and everywhere the subtle, persistent gleam
of cedar beneath the rain –

these have become my candle
against the winter’s dark –

there is peace in found luminosity,
and joy in unveiled light

© Sarah Whiteley

hiking near the Pacific Crest Trail

thirty-two water crossings
and just shy of ten miles

later, I might discover
a jealousy of this stone

but for now I am here and
its perspective is mine –

yes, it is possible to be
both cold and cradled

for exhilaration to rise
from old bones and leaf mold

I am more I, more in
while I am without

it is life that kisses me
through creek-wet feet

© Sarah Whiteley