Monday, February 26, 2018

Putting Pain to Paper

The black rotting gaping cavity
That yawned open in my heart
Spewed its venom through my veins
Filled my blood with dark pain

Aching in my fingertips
Blurring my brain's attempt to make peace
Leaving me a shell of what I was
Racking me with anger, tears, fear, clutching, grasping, gasping, sobbing

Swirling like a witches brew
Poisoning my breath
Withering my spirit

It took me
It broke me
I lost me

I feel it flowing out of me
Through the tip of my pen
My soul starts to tingle back to life
I hear you laughing
I put you everywhere you belong
Healing the raw open sores
That blighted the places where I loved you

It escapes through my tears
Trickles from my eyes, black and sour
It flows from my every footfall as I determinedly crunch through
the February snow

Your words, your faith in me
Your smile
Replaces the pain

The memories wash over me
Rinsing, cleansing, mending
I use them to plug the holes
Recirculate them to reinforce my strength

Pushing out the black
Inviting in the light

The world is so much worse
Without you here
But I know you can't come back
So I'll keep sending the pain out
And letting the good in

For you.

Swallowed

All is white
Muffling blanketing coating of white snow
Monochrome unchanging steely white sky
Imperceptible yet deafening silence
White noise
White house, white door, windows draped
In curtains of solid
White

My muted footsteps crunch across the white
My white breath puffs in front of me
White crystals form on my eyebrows
The chill of the air nips at my white cheeks

I feel it before I see it
A magnetic sucking, drawing all towards it
A glimmer of dark on the ivory landscape
Sound breaks through the static
A growl - a starved stomach, a wounded animal

My face turns away, determined, looking homeward
Traitor feet, though, step toward
The black mirage
Its energy crackles with angry darkness
Which bubbles in my chest

I move forward through the snow, closer now to it
An angry gaping mouth
A dark slash, a knife wound on alabaster skin
It's swallowing the white world

Huge chunks of white snow, like floes from icebergs
Topple inside
The white house's foundation crumbles at the edge
White cinder blocks crash into the deep

The black hole groans
Evilly satisfied
Devouring the clean, silent day
Growing larger and more powerful the more it absorbs

Examining its edge, I see two white boots
Toes perched on the precipice
Attach to legs, a torso
My heart
My eyes, alive with terror

Arms flailing
The white ground beneath me vanishing
And I am swallowed, too

January 16 2018

The world is too bright today
Sunshine blinds me
Glittering snow burns my cheeks
Laughter pierces; my eardrums vibrate painfully
Smiles warp into sharp-toothed advances

Soft fur under my hand is steel wool
The pillow under my head the jaws of life
Every bite of food
Leaves the metallic iron aftertaste
Of blood

The things that once meant something
Are fools errands, just filling time

Jokes rise into the air and freeze
Falling to the ground and shattering
Like breath on an arctic winter morning

My heart once beat with joy
Now every thump a dull ache
Squeezing, throbbing, breaking

You left, and you took the good with you
All I'm left with is artificial fluorescent light:
Harsh
Blinding
Abrasive

The world is too bright today

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Forest Bathing

Dark green spindles, from long stark branches
Towering trees in soldier-straight formation
They reach out their arms to one another
Block the sun
A shadow falls heavily across the plantation floor
Barren, carpeted in the soft orange of years past

Life cannot thrive here
Or so I think

"Breathe deeply," she says
"Close your eyes and listen."
I hear silence
But then...

The rustle from above - an unseen bird fluttering from branch to branch
And the wind sliding through those tight boughs
And the creaks of gently yielding pines

"Now let's walk - go more slowly than you've ever walked before;
Look for movement"
Once again, I see nothing
Quiet emptiness, still and sterile
Until...

There is movement from the corner of my eye
And then a bright white clown-like face is peering inquisitively
At our slow-moving group
A nuthatch watching these padding, plodding, lady sloths

A yellowed leaf, not long for this shrub
Twirls dervishly in the a breeze I cannot feel
Frantic among the quiet understory
And an insect zooms through the air, just above me
Bound for the next tree

I crane my neck backwards
And see those orderly soldiers swaying together
Concert-goers, shoulder to shoulder
Gliding back and forth to an old favourite
The stir of September wind

At this speed
(Which feels like going backwards it's so slow
To my frantic and frenzied feet)
Even the quietest of nature comes alive
With sound, movement, sights and smells
And I see for the first time
The thrumming, humming jungle, packed with life
Where I thought there were only pine trees

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Tree Cathedral

Footsteps absorbed by packed dirt trail
A lone pewee issues a plaintive cry
A light breeze ruffles leaves of maple
Otherwise the forest is quiet

We sink deeper into a valley
And the hills rise up higher on either side
As our muffled for footfall propels us forward
The sunlight is muted and dappled on the forest floor

Enjoying the sights passing by my boots
     Splayed sarsaparilla
     Shiny mayflower
     Yellowing cohosh
I suddenly feel compelled to look up

In the world is awash in emerald green
Where July sunshine hits richly chlorophylled leaves
Green ignites
Firefly green, fireworks green, phosphorescent green
My footsteps slow

I crane my neck back in awe
How did these trees get so tall?
They CN Tower over my humble head

And what do they know? 
What have they seen?
And how come they're talking to me?
I stand, reverent
Unable to pinpoint the feeling, other than
I am part of this.
          and
I am very small.

Then our path winds up… up… up
The trees fall back slightly from heights of giants
Their bark once more in reach of my searching hand
Cool to the touch even in summer's heat

When we pass through the sacred spot again 
On our way back out into blistering unfiltered summer sun
I nod my respects to the cathedral's green
To its towering statues
And look forward to my next worship

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Februapril

Sunlight streams through winter-smudged windows
Cold blue sky and puffy clouds
Over yards of white snow, coarse like sugar
It could be any February day

Then a fly
Catches my eye
Clinging to the window screen
Circling hesitantly, one tentative footfall after another
Peering in at me from outside

Curious, I ease open the front door
And as February air gusts in
I instinctively hunch my shoulders against impending cold
But instead, warm spring washes over me

Almost simultaneously, I'm racing through my house;
Frantically pumping bicycle tires;
Searching for helmets and sunglasses buried under so many toques and scarves;
As if at any moment a blizzard could crash through
And take it all away

And then I'm soaring
Bathing in the moist, warm, scented day
Pedaling faster and faster
As if not to miss a single square foot of spring

Whizzing over a bridge
I hear the rush of meltwater crashing through a riverbed
Tree branches heavy with buds rustle over the stream
Murmuring polite hellos to one another after months of silence

I speed past a farm field
That blinks green where snow is rapidly slinking away
I breathe deeply
And smell the damp, sweet, earthen scents of life

Where ice still stubbornly coats trails
I ease off my summer ride
And step gingerly through April-deep mud
My footfalls stirring the slumber of insects
Who spiral lazily upward, then down again

I reach my arms wide
Tilt my face to the sun

It's eerie, though welcome
And it won't stay
But awoken from my own torpor of winter dormancy
Today I will fly a little too

...

Temperatures fall
Muddy footsteps immortalize, frozen in time
Snowflakes swirl from steel gray skies
The ground dusted once more in white

And I wait...

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Snowy Owl

"This isn't quite right...", she thinks
Though the carpet of pristine snow and
Sharp blue skies of mid-day
Convince her otherwise
For a moment

A scurrying movement across the landscape
Two hundred feet away
Catches her yellow eye
And she tilts her ear instinctively to follow the noise

Field mouse
Her stomach grumbles for lemming and goose

The landscape, stubbled with remains of golden cornstalks poking through the snow
Is criss-crossed with paths
That machines rumble across regularly
Their roar, at first, reminiscent of tundra winds
Peering faces from within bring her south again

Across the field, she spots another hunched white figure
Atop a telephone pole
Two pairs of cat-like eyes lock
And it is understood that each will remain staunchly in their corner

Food is scarce
Warm winds blow in cool rain
Peering faces follow her every move
"... this isn't quite right..."

Her giant white wings beat dramatically in takeoff
Then she glides noiselessly over the frozen corn
Toward the mouse
Whose fate is already decided by the great northern huntress

Snowy Owl - photo by Kristyn Ferguson :)