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K E Cummins Sep 3
I’m trying to recall a poem or a prayer that I recited
while walking through the woods of my hometown.
It occurs to me that I’ll never get it back.
I suppose such things are meant to be transient,
spoken out loud and left to drift,
But I am determined to capture some of it.

So. Here in the woods
Branches droop heavy and black with berries.
I pluck to gather them and make of my hands
two cups from which saltwater spills.
I see a vision of the old and the new,
the here to come and the hereafter,
overlaid on the thick pine stumps.
That which has passed is not yet gone.
Like trees, we grow on the rotten bones of giants.
There is no king of the once and future,
Nay, nor queen. Only the rough tumult
of life that continues, and abates, and continues.

Here on the holly branch the spines sharpen.
The red berries have not ripened from black.
On the thorns I see blackberries still **** and red,
not yet sweet with concentrated sunshine.
I see the skulls of snag trees, the knothole eye sockets
where woodpeckers find their mealy dinners
and feast on the beetles and worms –
which shall in their turn one day feast on me.
So it goes, as it should be, as it will.
My vision shows oak giants long passed,
toppled and timbered an age before my time.
A thousand years hence they shall rise again.
Fear not; the axes of men wreak havoc,
but may only interrupt the flow, not halt it.

Again I stoop to pluck the fruit
And form two cups of my hands
From which juice flows like water.
The ocean licks the sweat from my skin
And I see a vision of the old woods,
the old ways, the elder magick
That will grow from seed tomorrow.
Hew my limbs in history, bury them in timber.
Let the barrow-mounds be a nursery
Where the thornbush harvest grows.
K E Cummins Mar 20
History carves my sinews and hews my spine.
My menhir-body, my storybook of rock,
Speaks of the long fight. See my shoulders
And their scars, their battered stone edges;
They are sturdy footing on which to stand.
A fire-heart warms my earthen hands:
Saplings grow in the loam, seedlings sprout.
Magma-veined, spitting lava, I still rise
And will not fall. Heed my fury,
For I am one small mountain in a range
Stretching from the present to eras past.
Battles come and go; we remain.
Forests on our flanks, bears in our palms,
We will always be wild.
K E Cummins Mar 20
The beloved community,
An antidote to despair.

Dark things cause their opposites,
Because when night falls
We must light fires.
I found kindling in a crevasse
And called it hope.

Some things will always be the same,
So we change, we move, we rise.
We burn.
K E Cummins Mar 19
When you get home,
You will not have to make any decisions
Because no-one will need saving –
At least, those who do will not rely on you,
Because your job will be done.
You have done your part
To try and fill that black hole of need,
And we will not let you spend all of yourself
On an impossible and eternal task –
You are too valuable.
We love you too much.

When you get home,
We will sit you down
Somewhere warm and comfortable
After a long hot shower or a bath,
In clean pajamas
And dry socks,
With a cup of tea
(Or a little something stronger).

If you need to vent, vent.
We will listen without interruption
And not insert ourselves into the narrative.
If you like, we can remember your story,
So that if you want to tell it
(Shout a warning)
Cassandra’s message will amplify
In many voices.

But if you need silence,
To sit, say nothing, and just be,
We can do that too.
I’ll hold you.
You can take off the mask,
Stop pretending not to be scared,
Aghast, bewildered, exhausted,
Shattered –
Because the horror you survived
Is not bearable.
It is insane.
Whatever “crazy” way you deal
Isn’t crazy,
But a rational response to an irrational world.
Let it out. You are not alone.

I don’t need anything.
I don’t need you to be or do anything.
I am simply here with you.
Although I have not seen what you have seen,
I lived through something similar;
We have both borne witness.
So there is no need to apologise.
You owe me nothing –
You owe them still less.

When you get home
You're welcome to sit with me,
Or let me manage the daily tasks
While you seek solitude.
You have done everything and more.
No individual can carry the world –
Atlas is a myth for a reason.
We are family of a sorts,
Bound by more than blood.
Together, we are strong.
Written to a friend on the front lines
K E Cummins Nov 2021
Will you bear witness to what I suffer
Held in the life of a woman
Cross-legged on the sidewalk
Incoherent in my grief and ignored
Will you bear witness?
K E Cummins Oct 2020
Some spark brighter as the days grow darker,
Beautiful torches lit as the world gets ugly.
My friend, you burn too fierce for your own health.
My spitfire comrade, you rant against the system,
You glow like a warm hearth in the rain.

Our doctor darts around lightening the burden.
One kind heart shines like a candle in a window.
The mourners on the hill stand rose-gold in the sunset.
The singers around the massive drum in Kitigan Zibi
Strike the ear as a bonfire strikes the eye.

It gives me hope. My friend, you give me hope.
I will feed it with the glee of a pyromaniac.
Wildfires rage in the dying forests; we rage back,
Sparking bright as the days grow dark.
Quick message of hope and resilience to brighten your day :)
K E Cummins Sep 2020
I am not guilty,
Nor created to be guilty;
Although I am human
You make me wilt.
I do not understand what it is
Keeping me up at night.
Is it the noise of your passing?
Wyrd forged me iron-sinewed,
Worthless, hard, and proud.
Regret nothing - in quick time it passes,
And you cannot shame me
With the guilt you wish I felt.
Why should we allow for chronic victims?
Your tears are warped power,
Merciless and violent in their falling.
Therefore, guilty or not,
I must consider myself absolved.
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