A Tree in Winter

Getty Images vandervelden

My hope is
Different now,
Changed, evolved.
Once a verdant green
Of fresh, newborn spring.
Now evolved into this chilly thing–
Brown, dried husks,
A few barely clinging
To a tree in late autumn.
Seems something, someone
Sucked the hope out,
Fed on it as if it were life’s blood,
And I am left drained, a leftover hull
Of what once was. But I go on
As if all is the same and nothing
Is gone. A tree in winter,
Hoping enough green
Is left to grow, to live in spring.

The Passing of Summer

 The wind and rain stopped by last night,
 Had a few minor temper tantrums outside
 As I stood watching from the door.
 They slapped the trees limbs around a bit
 And kicked at bits of loose trash in the street.
 Nothing more violent than that.
  
 No pushing down trees.
 No pummeling hail.
 Rather calm for a storm.
 Yet it killed the heat of summer,
 Murdering it without a hint of passion
 And ushering in a cold windy day 
 To begin the fall to winter.
  
 At dawn,
 I stand here,
 Warming myself 
 With this cup of coffee,
 Mourning a summer
 That passed without passion.
   

Red Heart Cedar

This red heart cedar stump,
With its dark crevasses
And holes where bugs had homes,
Was sanded smooth.
A urethane finish added for shine
And protection.
The rings are visible still,
Rings that count the years
Until the tree fell in a storm,
Twisted from the earth
By tornadic winds.

Thus, I found it
In the yard.
Took the chain saw to the tree,
Cut it into chunks,
Along with the others that fell
That day while the dog and I
Sought shelter from the storm.

Now I sand and chisel away.
Routing out some hearts concave,
Bowls to be used for filling
At some future date,
Now standing empty.
Sanding some hearts level,
Tables to be used for holding things,
Yet these are empty too.

All this red heart cedar,
Once stood filled with life,
Now stands empty.

Shadows

In the shadows of the mountains

Where beasts have fled,

Leaving behind cloven hoof prints

In the inky muck of the forest floor

Beside the pristine waters of a rushing stream

Near the fading timberline here,

The scent of decaying pine bark and musk

On a faint icy breeze

Weaves all into the forest primordial.

Nothing human can be found

In a fear filled chest.

A Dream of the Wolf

 A whipped dog,
 Head down,
 Eyes, lowered,
 Ears back,
 Haunches drawn
 Dreams the wolf--
 Sharp weapons of tooth and claw,
 Armor of hide and fur,
 Heart of a free, wild warrior.
  
 A dream of the lone wolf,
 Who may find comfort
 Here or there 
 For a season.
 Then moves onward alone
 Before what will come 
 As the whipped dog knows,
 Always, always does. 

For You

 

Words drift
Settle, pile up
In drifts and banks
Over the rocks
In my mind.

I walk through
This blizzard of words,
Watch them settling
On my shoulders,
For a moment, perfect
As exquisitely delicate lace
Before disappearing,
Melting into the wool of my coat,
Gone, lost to me forever.

But not you,
Never be lost to me.

When I’ve had nothing else,
Words were always there,
Trusted and true,
Counted on, relied upon,
Supplying all I needed,
When there was nothing and no one.

But for you,
To always have you,
I’d watch them all–
Drifts, banks, flakes
Melt, dripping away
Into spring
And you.

After Eruption

Rend the earth again
Tear, rip through miles of rock and soil
Till the swollen, rounded,
core lies exposed
Bubbling, glowing,
Sputtering out
Reaching tendrils of itself.
Note the flow,
Time the pulses of heat,
Beating with undulating life seen and unseen.
Then watch the viscous liquid cool,
Solidifying against the pain
Of each cold breath you expel
Stilling the beat of life.

The transformation to cold, hard stone
Within the earth’s crust
As thus,
A mother’s heart,
Torn open once too often,
Stops.