Love in Ten Sentences

 

Elizabeth in snow 2015 2

Accepting the challenge from Terry Boswell (fellow blogger), to write a poem about love in ten lines (sentences) in which each line contains four words and uses the word “love.” A few days late, but here it is, nonetheless! Thank you for the challenge, TerryB!

 

Listen now, to love.

Love how it breathes.

Love how it gives,

exchanges love for all

to see, love is

all love wants, all

love knows, as snow

is love, winter love,

birds on love’s new

landscape, love’s fresh feast.

 

Copyright 2015 Suzanne Comer Bell

Opening the Drawer and Knowing, Now, No Poetic Form Can Hold These Feelings

[Headnote for bloggers and FB readers: Thursday’s assignment in WordPress.com’s Poetry 201 course was to write an Ode focusing on the word  “Drawer,” and using the device of apostrophe, in which the speaker in the poem addresses another person or object. I wrote this on Thursday, but felt it was a rambling, tearful mess, so I didn’t post it. Kind of fell off the blog-wagon for a couple of days. However, I have just reread it and believe it is the most beautiful piece I have written to date … I don’t know why, but my spirit sings as if to say, I have touched the stars. Enjoy, and thank you for reading. Suzanne]

 

It is hard to open a drawer on a day when snow lays sodden

upon the land, our deck, our drive, every surface under the sun

laden with the weight of last night’s snow. In each crevasse there is

something wet or messy–boots, gloves, muddy patches under

an eave where the old dog lies, soggy leaves around the edges

of the house and up the tread of wet car tires. Everything feels

sticky, mushy, moist, drippy, and just wet. So, to open a dry,

wooden drawer, dry with brittle memories buried away

in random stacks, is hard. Undesirable. Frightening, almost.

I am afraid, I admit, of this assignment.I am afraid because

today is the day

we remember my mother’s passing,  one year ago, on

February 26, 2014. I would rather stay in the moment of time,

remember how to play with my children on their sleds, come

down the drive in an erratic speedy slide, give a big belly laugh,

and do it again. Again and again, until our fingers and feet are

numb, and finally we slog in and leave a trail of wet garments

by the door, dogs getting wiped down and chunks of snow

pulled from the shaggy hair on the backs of their legs. Oh,

goodness, why did we do this? What a huge mess. Did we remember

to put towels by the door? The wood floor is tracked with muddy

watery prints, even a bit of snow scattered around our stack of

outdoor gear.

 

It’s ok, in fact,

it’s downright fine and hugely grand that we have done this,

and we’ll do it again. After hot chocolate, a little lunch, a shower,

and rest. The adults, that is. The kids’ll take in some TV. Maybe

turn on a CD and lounge on the sofa together. I lose track, as if

snow has fallen in my mental drawer someone accidentally left open

and left by the door … so I drift … and settle … and dream …

 

I am the spoon to stir their hot chocolate, I live in the place

of their dreams, when they were young, and needed a tiny

vessel to place bits of food and learn to eat. I am the spoon that

holds so many memories of their childhoods, my childhood, my

mother’s place in my heart. I am the spoon that will not let me

put it down until I rest with the thought that I am alive today,

in wonder, in delight, in every precious memory of her slight yet

vibrant frame. I stir for you those memories, too, those memories

that will not let us go, and so we must go with them, into them,

and for them. We will begin a new day, holding on to the pleasures

of the past, and we will remake our memories into something

fine, such that we can dine on its remembrance forever, for

that is what we are, simply a remembrance of how things were,

and will be, and are. We have not come very far, but far enough

to realize that this is all we are, all we will ever need. Oh, feed me,

precious spoon of my memories! Feed me as only a mother can

feed her child, resting still with wisdom, resting still with grace.

No one can take this place from me, no one can take her place,

and that is all I will ever need to know. It is not selfish, it is not sad,

it is not ridiculous to say this on a day such as this, for I have seen

the wind, and I know it is mine to hold, as if holding a child forever

in its arms, safe from every harm, safe from my desire to be unsure

… I am sure, I am whole, I am … the lion and the lamb.

I am dreaming, now, and will not let go the thought that this is

truly who we are meant to be … a kind of oneness in the pleasure

of all eternity. I wrestle with her memory wanting to come undone,

but really, this is all we need to hold, just a memory of her memory

living in us, and living still so that when we hold it, it reverberates

with her goodness, stirs our sweet, inner mind,and blesses us,

for all the world to see. For all the world to see.

Losing Its Grip: A Poem about Fingers

snow in the back yard trees

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is usually the limbs of the trees that make us think of fingers, fingers grasping the sky, extending upward, and sending our thoughts to things higher and brighter than old, dark trees in the dead of winter. But it is the snow, today, that captures our mind and, slipping away, calls my husband to say, “It’s losing its grip,” the snow gradually melting and falling in clumps to the forest floor. What we see, from our vantage point in the family room, is a series of powdery trails leaving the silent air in a fanfare all its own, as if to say, “We made it through our day, now you make it through yours.”

Hunh? What does this mean, or what does it mean to me? Well, first I must encounter the silent, slow movement of time, unaccustomed to my mind shining so bright a light upon it. It is first hurrying away, as if to tell me, “Don’t stay here too long. Let the wet winter wind bring a mind to it for you, and let the wind tell you its name.” It is solemn in its insistence that this is the way to go, to know the mind of the wind simply by breathing in and breathing out, breathing and letting the mind of wet weather settle in to your soul. “That is all you have to do to be free, now,” says the Wind. “Simply follow me.”

But I don’t want to. I want to simply sit here and keep typing, to lose track of time and let the mind settle its own way. But, “isn’t that the same thing as breathing, as thinking, as feeling with your fingers and setting down in type the words that come from the soul?” I don’t know, I only know I am folding up a feeling of delight each time I set in type these words as they flow, like snow falling, capturing the wind of my soul, and simply settling into me, settling all thoughts of freedom or not-freedom and all thoughts of feeling and of loss. It is found! It is found, the here and the now. It is found in me, and I am in it, like being lost in the wind, a letter folded and unfolded in time, enveloped in wind and told not to stay here too long—

It is the beginning of all time, the time beginning to begin again in you. Let it in.

Fog: An Elegy on Time

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The day begins with dust,

smoke rising in the sky, and so,

I must ask myself, what are you doing

with these thoughts, these answers

that seem so unmistakably yours?

What are you doing with your time,

because that is what this is, is it not?

You are seeing what most people

would consider an exorbitant waste,

a space of time that has no bounds,

and you are seeing in it

the peaceableness of all things,

the peace of knowing that

all things are well

in this fog of remembrance,

this fog of hope, for that is truly what it is,

a fog of hopefulness that is lasting

for days on end. And we are simply in it,

        alive, and so bright

with future hope. I know that this true,

because I see you over there, wondering

what you will do with your time,

and what I will do with mine.

The Great Tree: A Story to Heal the World

Fairchild Oak tree, Ormond Beach, Fla. 2The Fairchild Oak, Ormond Beach, Fla., by Andrew Armstrong, courtesy fineartamerica.com

Once upon a time
a child came to earth.
His father was the Sun,
and his mother was the Moon.
And he loved the earth as himself.
Though he was a boy, destined
to be a man like his father,
he came in the spirit of his mother.
And he loved the earth very much,
but he could not save it.

He tried
being a businessman,
with all the busy men,
but he could not save the earth.

He tried
being a farmer and a vinegrower,
with all the earth-breaking men,
but he could not save the earth.

He tried
being a teacher and a keeper of the law,
with all the law-abiding men,
but he could not save the earth.

So he went to the women,
and he sat near their center of work,
the bowls, brooms, and cries of hard labor,
and he cried. He cried and
he cried, and he cried.
He cried near the women kneading dough.
He cried near the laundresses washing clothes.
He cried near the women keeping houses
clean for the men and the children,
but he could not save the earth.

Just beyond the women and children,
he found a raw place in the earth
where it was sore from so much work,
and he lay upon the wound,
and he cried.

The noise of his wailing was too much
for the men. It disturbed their work.

The noise of his wailing
made the women scoff
and the children laugh,
but the animals came to him.
They licked his tears and tried to lick
his wounds, but they could not.
The animals stayed beside him anyway.

The man had cried so long
he poured out his very heart in his tears,
until finally he dried up and just blew away.
The ragged blanket that had covered him
eventually blew away, too, until there was nothing
left but a dark spot on the earth, where all
his tears had spilled.
And finally that, too, was gone.
And then the earth went to sleep,
or so it seemed,
for no one knew what was happening
down deep.

Now we know,
never a tear is wasted,
and never a tear is lost.

One day a little girl came crying.
She was poor, alone, and afraid.
She lay upon the ground where the man
had cried, and her tears awoke the earth.
Suddenly a great movement started beneath her,
and the earth opened up in small cracks.
The heads of tiny plants began to emerge,
then leaves and stems and tall, sturdy stalks.
More plants emerged,
and flowers bloomed.
The girl began to laugh. She laughed
and she laughed and she laughed,
loving and playing in the flowers. They tickled her
and tended her, as she stroked and admired
their beauty.

Soon the people came.

Already, some had come—
the young farmers and businessmen and lawyers
had slipped away from their work years before,
and set up small camps behind the crying man.
Some of the young women, too,
had escaped their fate of work. To lie beside
the crying man was better than grinding away,
they believed.
And so the poor child’s arrival was no surprise.

But the garden was.
And the great tree that emerged
in the midst of it all
was a shelter of strength
no one could have ever seen coming,
unless they had seen all the tears
the man had poured into the earth.
It was a river of love.

As the people gathered,
they shared their stories,
they sang their songs,
and by telling and listening with utmost care,
in the end,
everyone of them had seen it all.
“Stay in the river of love,” they sang,
though no one knew
exactly who gave them the song.

And they are coming still,
telling and listening …
singing and welcoming
anyone to tell their stories
about the great tree. . .

The branches gave buds to sweeten the air.
The leaves gave shade to cool the earth.
They painted the sky with the colors of light,
And the tree was bare and bright.

Even when the dry leaves fell,
the strong body of the trunk reminded the people,
the tree and everything around it is all right.
Even in deep darkness, it is always full of light.

“It grows in the river of love,” they sang,
“it grows in the river of love.”

Thank you for listening to my story, and
blessings to you, as you listen
to the tellings of the story
of the great tree inside you.

Copyright 2015 Suzanne Comer Bell

Animal Assignment

There comes a time when

we must let the animal inside us

out, let her run against all odds,

and let her find her happiness simply running, simply free

to be who she is, a pleasant thought, a pleasant reminder that

we are all free in this moment of love, as an animal

sheds its skin and lets you in, lets you be the caribou

or bison or wolf or carrion, even–

it doesn’t matter which you are craving, but you will

find she is waiting, with baited breath, to find you, and

allow you to enter in. Do not keep her waiting. She is

the dark night, the darkness that surrounds everyone

who is waiting for the soul to be satisfied. And she will

be satisfied.

Trust

from the photograph of a child’s hand holding onto an adult’s hand

To think, if the big hand were

Resting in the little hand, like an

Undulating clock turned backwards,

So that time itself were turned in on itself,

Thinking would be feeling, feeling believing, and . . . we would forever trust.