Thanking the Muse

You are a good guest.  Quiet, and you clean up after yourself.  Come again when you can stay longer.  This is your home too.  Thanks for overlooking the clutter.  I admire your calm in all circumstances.

Sometimes I can’t hear you.  Could you speak up, or is it me talking too much and too loudly.  Thank you for the company.  Usually I don’t like anyone looking over my shoulder.

With the sun in my eyes I see you clearly, standing there, not moving, not waving or calling me in.  Just very still and very real.  I will look for you in the garden always but hope to find you, a surprise, sitting upstairs at my unused desk, windows open and words coming in.


Sidereal Time

Dark outside when the alarm goes off, dark inside.  I get up without opening my eyes, navigating by sound through the overnight house.  August rolls by, browning gardens, a glimpse of other seasons around the bend.  Despite the heat, the sun slides northward day by day, bright minutes shrinking.

Invitation to the Muse

If I stand very still beside the open doorway.  If I carry bread crumbs in both hands and sprinkle them at the foot of the meadow.  If I listen for whistling in the dark and wait for a change in shadows’ reach.  If I sit quietly in the upstairs room.  If I get up earlier than the sun and walk outside to meet the morning half way

If I let go, will you come in?

Mallow plants in the meadow, top of the slope leading down to the canal

After dark

Summer squats like a catcher behind home plate, mitt out to receive the sun and toss it back, today, tomorrow.  This deep bench of days.

Bare feet on bricks still warm in the gathering twilight.  Cicadas sing, and an upswell of frogs.  Day called on account of darkness.

Calendar page

Even before I walk outside, July has a completely different feel from June. A feeling of maturing, no longer new. Deepening, ripening. Leaning toward interior harvests.

Mushrooms in the woods yesterday.  Sometimes no more than the domed smooth surface of a cap, still flush with the surface of the trail, pushing crushed pine needles aside.

Today, smokiness in the air.  Wildfires to the south.

Smoke from the Dismal Swamp peat fire, seen over our own Gilmerton Canal

Facing the dark

What I value is the exquisite, the moving.  The well-wrought that erupts into beauty.  The insightful, clear-eyed, compassionate.

You can look even at dark moments, with compassion.  You can put tears on the page — rage, loss, loneliness, sorrow — if you have compassion.  If you don’t, God help you and all of us.  Without compassion only stickleburs and barbed thorns grow on the vines of our poetry.

Sleeping Upstairs

The wind slept early.  Not a sway of chime all night long.  Even with the ceiling fan running on high, the upstairs room collectected  the day’s heat.  Still, I am glad to be up here, glad to wake with open windows.  Sounds enter without a breeze.  Crickets, katydids.  This morning, blue jays.

This must be the wrong pen.  Where is the one with strings of words in it, ready to flow out onto the page?