Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A time of sadness in Arizona and across the land...

Given the 24/7 news coverage, there has been much said about the tragic events that occurred last Saturday. On a completely normal morning, errands to be run, groceries to be bought, the trivia of everyone's life that all seems to converge on Saturdays, life changed horribly and forever for many people here in Arizona; not only those who were killed or critically injured, but the hundreds of people who either witnessed the terrible scene or are friends and family of those who were struck down.  And then there are many like me, who knew none of those people but feel as though I have suffered a loss. Melancholy and sadness seems pervasive, a heaviness of spirit...so many lives, young and old, ended uselessly.

This poem grew out of these feelings.

Winter's Regret

There are so many ways for a heart to break,
so many ways for flesh to tear from bone.
Winter, so bare and starved for light
sweeps the plain and open field as if warmth
were the enemy, and laughs at loss and pain.

I build a bonfire of memories, my dreams
the kindling that throws shadows on the wall
and falls like ashes on the hearth, no longer able
to hold my portion of hope, a scant serving
of privilege I dare not assume.

Bare branches brush the darkened panes
and remind me to gather twigs of sustenance
as armor against wild things that would steal
fervor, dull vision and leave me neither failure
nor triumph, but sad and hollow days.

Then, as in the familiar silent wreckage of history,
I turn to denial to ignite the spark, the flicker
that draws me limb by limb from my shelter
to emerge in the optimism of spring’s first light,
winter’s wounds veiled with a soft apology.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hopeful...always hopeful!

Happy New Year, my dear friends and family! May this be a year of health and happiness for us all!

As 2010 slipped away, the TV anchors offered us list after list of the best and worst of the past year. And polls...good heavens, the polls! One that I heard on CNN today is that 63% of Americans are hopeful about the coming year, up 12% from last year. I guess that's a good thing, but I wonder about the alternative. Why would one approach a new year with anything but hope? Yes, we can all think of reasons for skepticism and apprehension, but hope is breath...without it one withers and dies.

Hope is always found amidst chaos, which is a normal and inescapable part of life. If nothing challenging, upsetting or disturbing ever happened to us, life would ultimately bore us and our ambition would surely flatline! I know...you'd like to try it for a while just to be sure. Me too! But when 2011 turns out to be much like 2010, it is good to remember that life has given us so many opportunities, so many blessings, that to be less than hopeful seems ungrateful at the very least. Perhaps a good New Year's resolution would be to get out of our own way and make hopefulness our dominant attitude. I hope, therefore I am!

Here's my first poem of the new year. Cheers all!

Hope

sometimes weak as the January sun,
silent as falling snow,
it lodges deep in the gentle wreckage
of turmoil, sleeps until needed
and emerges in the small of my back
to urge me forward
into the chaos.

hope is the thinnest precipice
where I pause for a shuddering breath
before leaping to a distant
and unseen shore, a blurred
thumbprint where others
have landed and left a trail
that I might follow.


it is the sleeping infant,
the winter tree, the riverbed
that waits for rain, it is language,
it is marriage, it is love.
hope is the mute insistence
that the fragile flame
may flicker but will not die.