Shards The Fishing Ground
Poetry by Night Metaphors
Sheila Dinn Chartres, A Detail
Spring of the Comet
By Sheila Dinn Summer Sense
Poems in this book cannot Early Rites
be reproduced without the author’s permission
Celia, So Small
For a Mooring, Lost
A Mouse’s Thoughts
Above the Storm
Ocean Edge The Fishing Ground
In curls, crimps and scallops A heron when startled will startle back.
the ocean pulls away His launched-from branch breaks,
splashes; leafs crescendo in the hush
to a world stretched and textured, that was his fishing ground.
grey with thought, blue with memories
Airborne he is line, curve, plane
the thrum and churn of the waves – but never angle: less a motion
in rhythm, the arc of time than a state, and you wonder
that wrens must be such constant flap.
But at your feet, immediacy:
shells fragmented, whole, wonderful He is silent soaring: did he bargain
his voice for the wingspan
washed up from the minutae, that makes him ruler over
that quarter-inch jumble of perfection this still water? You intrude.
and shards: you run your fingers
through a thousand lives come and gone.
Night Metaphors Chartres, A Detail
Children in the flush of sleep, This towering majestic place
my gold, sheer face, small cracks
mined in the rivers of creation time. and tiny, yellow
Hair shining in the light from the hall, a root-hold –
bright glints like the bend of a river
far west in the late sun. Life is here.
Cheeks plump with untried life, This old old sacred place
with days like webs stored stones loaded on backs
and spun surely out. or carted by willing arms
a town built around
Breathing in the meter of the universe, for the devoted –
in primal solidarity
with all who are just beginning. Faith is here
This vast empty filled place
arched high overhead
to be the reach of God
to be his vivid glory –
Breath is here.
The height, the awe,
the hush – a breath –
and flowers in the crannies,
Spring of the Comet Summer Sense
Wish upon a comet Burst
in the light dew of equinox honeysuckles!
the breath of star magnolia
And summer will explode
Name it: with a word with your scent and the roses’,
from your ladder of lives,
your stories and truths, hot wild weeds and the smell
the ice that blazed of all things growing, greening.
in dark ages and shines
in our children’s eyes The air is laden,
becomes yours that cloud full of rain.
as the moon rises Open! Greet us!
behind you, Perfect this view:
the shining river,
But the equinox ebbs, green and textured
the comet dims
walls of trees –
And you wish only to stall fill another sense
its leaving, to keep the moon,
spring, mystery, moment – and complete us.
Early Rites Celia, So Small
West wind Curled in the corner,
spring-coming you sniffle at the sting
rocky-blown chinook of popcorn salt on your lip,
the twilight’s cut at the playground Monday.
spills into (perhaps a tiny hurt,
rose and gold. but for tiny
west-coming Well, I would be your world when
potent hints of green, your hurts turn immense –
full of earth hold you, surround you,
and rain and cradle and defend you
the new moon’s
flower breaths I would roar and claim
a stranglehold, summon
the wind! a magic and when that giant
tingles is withered, wasted and wizened
through us I would cup your chin,
look into your wet-dark eyes
Oh, for and brush your cheek to
kites! catch the last tear.
Oh, I would do this
Northing Encumbrances all –
“A kind of northing is what I wish to by choice, by grace.
accomplish … I seek a reduction, a shedding, a
sloughing off.” On my northing,
I pull a sleigh
Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek of odd provisions.
I would be slim, strong,
essential: concise in mind,
lean of body. I would
slough off irrelevancies,
have at hand matters
of importance: names
of trees, nations at war,
I would drink water;
walk through pines,
to the bone.
Ah! but at the bone,
I am mother: life
is stuff and clutter.
Stacks and boxes of baby
clothes, fledgling sketches,
photos (lashes curled
in sleep, scrubbed
first days of school)
to precious to shed.
Tadpole Time For A Mooring, Lost
Two girls, belly-down An old aviator’s trick:
at pond-edge fly into a cove, land and
eyes rapt to below the surface, tie off to three fixed points.
to tadpole possibilities,
ready with net and bucket However strong the wind or tide,
for the flicker of tail, your mooring is secure. Should one tie
the unguarded moment break, you can be tugged, but firm with two.
Two girls, belly-down You are a daughter, fixed by blessings of birth &
and dreaming health to past, present and future. There’s your
for to come up net-full
will be their making: the pride mother, yourself, your child: immortality.
of frog-naming twilights,
the stuff of family legend, At the center of these lifelines, you are
the triumph of that May hour. secure. Yet suddenly, you are not.
One line slips. Now, only two.
You don’t drift into rocks, but
you feel you may. You so
miss that line. Though a
two-way anchor may seem
enough: present, future,
the wind blows, your
craft creaks and aches
and so wants the
old tie back. So
wants to be
Sturdy, all-knowing, His eyes hit the light
brown with summer and squinted,
but for the pale undersides red-rimmed
of hands and feet sleepless for deams
growing growing to the sun of death and questions
to any light of heaven:
how will I know you
(fireflies, how will you find me
the chance to laugh we won’t look like this
sparkles on water). how can I live there
Still wanting winter
moments; a blanket,
the circle of arms
only to emerge
from each brief chrysalis
hungry, thirsty, chest-out
to life, the journey
from larva to free flight
new, every time
Though she still wants
winter moments; a blanket,
your circle of arms,
The world a giant womb
where with love you enclose
children long ago
enclosed in fact,
your tie still as real
as the umbilical.
It’s a comfort to be one,
to know every fiber
and forethought –
and you will step
back or be stepped
from and you will weep
or chuckle at the mystery
of their making, their being. And
you will know
that this womb of a world
can never hold them.
Another Awakening A Mouse’s Thoughts
On Running Into A Lion
Mornings bright with sap-rise
bird song, What am I thinking now, you ask?
To be sure, I’m scared to death!
a tide of unstoppable green: But I still have room to wonder
new hues how I’ll get out of this mess.
staking claim to the old earth. I’m paralyzed with fear, and yet
Pink I’m awed by his golden mane,
his tawny hide and tufty tail,
petals, perfect in bloom and so majestic, so untamed.
I’m scared of him, and yet I wish
showering down, a blessing. that I didn’t have to be,
for the highest of all creatures
Sap song is a sight worth dying to see.
sun song A common mouse, food for a king –
rejoice! I’ve resigned myself to that –
when sudddenly he leaps over me
Son lives to swallow a common rat!
The earth that was cold quickens
The God that was dead awakes
And Man, redeemed, sings Glory
And Man, made whole, cries Glory!
Above The Storm January Sunset
And the night said Howl Rose spreading westly,
the trees caroused goldly, punctuated
lights that shone by first stars
steady orange sputtered and by pines –
through the branches straight lines skyly,
And the lightning said Break with opposing
sky and it did tufts, and three finger-
to vanquish the weak like branches
bleeps of radio towers
and the clouds curled foreground hints
and rained only dry of bare deciduosity
boiling frustration and a half-moon
the flat land blinking madder already high,
and branches bound to trunks
rebelling. And finally showing mountains
rain and valleys
after leaves beseeched, as half-moons do.
pale-side to the sky. And forever tall pines
will put you
in that place, that self,
with life ahead.