When I think I know how the path unwinds,
know the twists and turns like the back of my mind,
even now, and now and then
the path turns back on itself again.
I cannot trust someone who can just walk away
from an unpicked berry patch without
at least one wistful, backwards glance.
There’s always one more spot, a little farther in,
where the berries sway tauntingly
heavy and purple; wink seductively
from behind leaves and brambles.
I have a gatherer’s soul and, barring
bears and stepped on hornet’s nests,
I am genetically compelled to fill
the bag or box or ball cap.
It’s not greed that drives me,
it’s a deep rooted survival instinct.
It is physically painful to leave an eligible berry
And yet they come, these sport gatherers,
picking just enough to put in their muffins.
No thought for jelly spread lovingly on winter toast.
No plans for how to fit just one more bag of berries
in the freezer.
Laughing and chattering like magpies.
Do they feel the eyes of a thousand years of gatherers
watching them, guiding their hands,
steeling their resolve?
Do they see the primordial link?
The purity of the simple act of picking berries?
I see my hand move and know that my great
grandmother to the nth degree once moved
her hand the same way, once
hefted her heavy basket and thought of how
the spoils would feed her family.
I feel a weight of responsibility to pick,
to store, to preserve.
No, I cannot trust someone who can just walk
away from an unpicked berry patch.
Silence infiltrates music
wraps itself around each note,
framing melodies like negative space in a picture.
Music seduces silence,
awakening the longing
of a soundless soul to dance with eyes closed.
Give me a day with the sun on its brow,
with a breeze ‘round its shoulders.
A day with a rain-washed sky,
blue as your eyes and deep
like pebbles down a well.
A sky where clouds have wandered
off to some fold in the horizon.
Give me a night like a sigh in the dark,
where the sky is as close
as a lover’s caress
and I feel the breath
of a million stars stir my hair.
Then I close my eyes and dream
of the day with the sun on its brow.
There is a point in the bread-making process
when the ragged tags and the sticky strings
of dough coalesce.
A point when the dusty, broken surface heals
and become soft and pliable,
a complete entity imbued with life.
Perhaps I am close to that point
because I often feel ragged;
constrained by strings that have just enough
stretch to make me think I’m going forward.
A little more pummelling and
the dusty cracks in my soul will heal.
I will become serene and know
how to bend instead of break.
A complete entity imbued with life.
Leaves applaud the wind
in sudden outbursts of joy.
Harder to impress,
bough and bole just nod and sway.
But roots slumber on,
unmoved by windy speeches.
And I let it go.
I take it into my soul
Then I let it go.
Thirsty paper swells.
Pigment irrigates the nubby surface,
depositing brilliant silt;
fertile soil on the banks of the Nile.
Gems bloom at the end
of squirrel hair brooms
that swish and sweep the bubbles of colour into trees
and rivers, and cloud speckled skies.
But beware the heavy hands of gravity,
clawing the sparkling rivulets
into muddy puddles
at the bottom of the stillness.
It starts with a spark.
A blinding synapse
that focuses your gaze
through a magnifying glass hovering over
The rest of the world becomes small and insignificant
compared to the sparking tinder.
So still, so quiet
you can hear your own breathe
fanning the flame within.
Flames that grow and sear away
sorrow, lick away tears, and
leap through the darkness.
The tinder is long gone but the years,
banked up in a comforting glow, remain
a warm bed to cradle embers.
You and I,
the spark, the flame, the ember.
I am not a flatlander.
Honest open fields give me vertigo
and a feeling of eyes looking over my shoulder.
Drunken grasshoppers, launch
haphazardly and land on their heads,
lurching towards some kind of freedom.
I want trees, lots of trees
and the communities within
their branches, the worlds beneath
their boughs, and chickadees so close
you can make eye contact.
I want horizons that swell and surprise,
and hint of mysteries and possibilities tangled
in every game trail and sudden stream.
I don’t want to know every nook
and cranny of my landscape.
I want hidden miracles.
Red wine and good conversation make
the years fall away
and sometimes it’s the telling
over of the past that makes the future
cobwebs, sweeping aside
twigs, and kicking stones
can make a path easier;
make the choice of turn
or twist clearer, but
horizons being what they are,
all roads lead to ruin.
But for now there is red wine
and good conversation.