Peeking in the window,
blanketing our dreams,
It is a welcome harvest moon
whose straight and narrow beams
filter through our window blinds,
bathing us with light,
coming once again
to fulfill its yearly rite—
a calm and soothing presence
that mitigates the night.
Not the blue of a heart before forgetting.
The blue of the sky above Colima Volcano,
no other clouds in it except one puff
of earth’s hot breath becoming visible
in the cool morning air.
Like blue caught in icicles.
Give me that blue.
Once talk at the next table had hushed, I made the observation that it was likely they were listening to our conversation. And though they were both smirking and though their eyes were glistening, they swore they were not eavesdropping. They were just overlistening!
When it is over, said and done, it was a time and there was never enough of it, but now is the only time we have and there is as little of it as there was then, so it is time to live in the now, suspending worry for the time being, as well as regrets. Leave the groceries on the counter and the cats unfed and let the kids gorge on peanut butter and jelly for once and go out the back door into your own world and notice what is around you. What you have been blessed with. First of all, you are alive. Do you realize the miracle of that? The miracle of the evolution of your brain and your sexuality and your heart?. The existence of birdsong, a fingernail, a laugh–the simplest and most varied of things, all grown out of a speck of dust–less than a speck of dust. All of these things, good and bad, such miracles that we let the self-enthused politicians and rulers and directors of our world cause us to overlook. Seize your power. Force attention to that in life that is to be enjoyed. It is what you can do. Events in the world that you cannot change, even though you try? Do not let them change you. Look at the minuscule that you overlook each day. A petal, a beetle, light on a hummingbird’s wings. Their dart and hover. Notice details. That is where the beauty you may be overlooking resides. Take it in and take it with you when you reenter the life you have stepped out of for a brief while. Take it with you and share it with your children. It is the power you have in the world.
They know this river, know it well. Daily, they bring their fruit to sell. We, who find the river strange reach out our bills as we lack change, for what they’ve brought to us from shore. They hand out more and more and more to strangers whom they must find dense to give them such great recompense for what God has amply provided. All their village has derided those who float by in big boats, holding out their ten sol notes that would buy every bunch they carry. They wonder why we do not tarry for our change after we pay. Silent, they watch us float away. The baby held in mother’s arms does not know what nearby harms lurk beneath the water’s cloak— the jaws that snap, the water’s soak. But we know what small guarantee exists in lives of poverty. Rubbed raw, perhaps, by all we have, our generosity is salve.
I no longer have to look away from the sunset to know the birds are flying over. I’ve come to recognize the sound, like water rushing against the banks of a stream, of thousands of wings pumping then gliding then pumping. The ribbon of their combined mass twists for miles like a giant ghost snake in the sky, its molecules dividing, joining, undulating from the green marsh grass into eye blue sky. Birds silhouette against an edge of tangerine cloud that is a scribble of glue in the sky. Below them, the smell of dirt, smoke from the burning mountain, drum beats from the heart of the hazed city. A canoe shaped like a Nile barge bumps against the reeds. Sounds of a new flock flying over whip the air above the night heron who stands on short legs on a post surrounded by low water. The whole mass of birds is blown by the wind forth and back, forth and back. Some separate and circle back to marsh grass where another mass lifts to fly east, away from the setting sun. The scene is ripped by the rapid raucous staccato of two small boys lofting rocks toward the soaring banks of birds, violence feisty in their harsh raised voices. Again and again they throw their stones, a futile gesture, as above them the sun turns angry orange over the purple mountains, then sinks to radiate like something sacred from behind dark clouds. Watching two egrets open the air with pencil points, then vanish into it, I only hear the diving pelican cut the water behind the tall reeds. And, like a sudden wind over my head, a new rush of blackbirds.
A number of people wanted to see photos of the blackbirds taking flight at Lake Chapala, so I spent a few hours going through old boxes of photos and found some which you can see HERE. The picture I used to illustrate above is one I took of starlings, I believe, and not taken at Lake Chapala, although the skies look similar!
This poem was inspired by a misread line in Jan Wilberg’s Red’s Threads blog. What she said was, “Everything is very still here.” How I at first read it forms the last line of my poem, which also fulfills the dVerse Poet’s prompt of “Blue.” In place of one quadrille, the poem is actually composed of two quadrilles, the last line of one rhyming with the first line of the second:
It’s not that I’m lonely. I’ve plenty to do, and yet for some reason, I’m just feeling blue. The thunder has stopped, though the night’s overcast. The stars I saw three nights ago were the last interrupting the dark that surrounds like a shroud.
Here I am still apart from the world’s rowdy crowd. My dogs curled up in slumber, my cats in their bed, all of my company curled in my head. All alone in my house with familiar things near, everything, everything’s still very here.