The Berry Bush

Stoic, she relinquishes her treasures.

Fingers swish, palms purple with the richness

of the gift. She whispers soft

but I am occupied; berries bounce in a plastic

pail to the rhythm of songbirds.

 

The old-timers say

that the harvest is only heavy every

seven years. This is the one in seven-

fat orbs dazzle the eye

and my pail overflows quick,

tongue stained and smug.

 

I strip the branches easiest to reach, careful to

pry into intimate places, seek

her secrets with greedy grasp. I slow. Here, not all are

perfectly ripe. My fingers must pull with

respect, leave the immature for a later picking.

 

The pails are piling purple. Content, I

step back, prepare to sail home

with cargo hold brimming. I stretch,

look up. More. And more, and more hang. I hear it

indistinct, this lesson. On tiptoe, the blessings are harder to

harvest, require more of my complacency.

 

Patience prickles. Fingers falter, accidental purple showers

to the earth. Joints creak, muscles strain,

and here is the true miracle,  saved for last. Fullness scrapes the dirt

plump and glad. The  equation comes

clear, and I laugh aloud with the unexpected joy of it –

 

for when do blessings not hang in clusters,

ripe and ready to pick? And how is great glory not

gained with a stretch of stained hands toward heaven?

Which good and surprising delights

were not made the sweeter by bowing of the head

and bending of the knee?

 

I hear her now.

Her syllables ring loud in the silence.

And I, who teach for a living,

am schooled by the berry bush.

 

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Like Candy

taffy

He pours his voice like taffy.

Creamy folds undulate, smooth to silk in her

hungry ears. But when he pulls his words, stretches

the truth out of shape she, generously buttered, finds there is

nothing she can hold on to. Communication – hardened

and brittle –

shatters in the stillness; she is left with only her bitter

memories of how easily those empty calories

used to go down.

The Art of Communication

paintbrush

 

Nature’s brush, with frosty bristles

Daubs a crust to coat the thistles,

Elevates from plain to glory,

Tells a tale, redemption’s story.

A Nod to Punctuation

poppy seedhead

 

She’ll pick him an asterisk

or a comma or two; full

stops, ideas tied off in

neat packages, have always

eluded his dialogue,

circumvented an outcome.

.

Her dreams have become dangling

participles, unfinished

pages with Schubert’s flavour,

unable to hold hyphen’s

place – waiting, always waiting,

a watched pot that never boils.

.

Phrases, nuances, shadings

of meaning get bogged down, dragged

through the spittle of run-on

sentences; she slams the door

on the argument, her shoes

leaving angry editing

marks on the stairs. Period.

 

Let Nature Speak

keyboardfrog.jpg

 

Let Nature speak –

in syllables untypable,

nuances not uttered in

words so much as living

letters which etch life into the

living. Let Nature

write –  phrases

one breeze-breadth

long, one sunset soliloquy

wide, one pollen-laced

paragraph high.

She prints her poem

onto recycled papyrus,

onto hearts grown green –

who will read it to our

children? Who will

translate her manuscript

without editing out her soul?

The Road Not Taken

wateryroad.jpg

I wish this was

water under the bridge –

instead,

your choices are a constant drip,

a flood of tears,

a deluge

forcing me to back-track,

take a detour,

set up pylons

where a simple drain should suffice.

We’ve been down this one before.

Perhaps

next time,

we could try

the road not taken?