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marianne May 2020
It starts a low rumble
sends its deepest ohm
from molten ore    up up
through ice and whirl and water
sleeping soil

more quickly now, spark and stir
jumps root to coil
smells the sky, aches for reach and measure
the other side

scorched, the soft inside of skin
touched by primal flame    up up it shoots
past fear and lists and blinking lights
nerve to neuron
fire to pen

called forth each day
by stillness
named each day, and nurtured
this first fig, this hot flash
eternal is
marianne Feb 2020
I don’t know how to love the questions

that blast in brawling on wild winds lashing

the sirens of warning that road rivers are rising

and goodness is vanquished—

the single certainty of more

and too much as the earth spins

off its axis.

I do know how to be still

and listen in warm morning sunlight

to the wisdom of women who tell me

that hope looks like armies of beings wielding

sunflowers and parsnip, fishtails

and dust mops singing songs of our mothers

claiming our birthright, until hearts

find earth’s drum beat, songs

turn to thunder, until groundswell—

and the many are one.

I know how to hold a long gaze

squint far into the distance

until I can


Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet
"I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."
marianne Dec 2019
The arbutus is brave
sheds itself in long, showy
strips, aflame
leaving the fair frailest
skin exposed, willing
knife’s tip of lovers’ claim
holding earth together, scar tissue
marking life
line, root’s depth
patient power

I remember my infant skin
cut, the drowning, breaking surface
with half a breath remaining, and the hollow
I scratched out and burrowed into
that day, undone

Now, underneath the heat
and itch, the crust
my skin inflamed
the fair frailest part of me
thirsty for that cooling breeze, willing
fellowship with sun and knife
to shed and bump against
a tangled life

How else will roots reach down
and down
to find the source
of ancient power?
marianne Oct 2019
I look out on another fine day
aspen roughhousing with the breeze, flashes
her good morning
sun goddess smiles
Soon I will pull on my boots and gather up
the reddest and ripest, greenest
and tenderest
I will fill bowls with water
bring oats and pine bedding
give thanks for fresh eggs
Like a thousand other mornings,
and like the first

Here in the stillness, where snails slow dance
to orchestras playing a green symphony, I seek counsel
from those who have always been
who have always known—
How then, knowing this?

The wind whispers its wisdom

You have forgotten we are the same,
you are the seed, and carry all you need
inside of you

Seek the bright elemental light
in all things

Sing because you must

Give more than you take

Grow down and rooted,
reach up and outward
in equal measure

Remember you are made up of earth
and sun and ancestors—
not alone, not above
but part of

Not alone, not above
but part of

Befriend loss, for she is always
at your side

Soft-feathered necks arch
bold eyes fixed, the girls murmur
their assent
They remember the great
Read IPCC report here:
marianne Oct 2019
If you ask my grandmothers
they’ll say my father was a jazz man
in a pinstripe suit

When I pull up to the faded
yellow house with the worn smooth
stairs and a screen door
snap, sunflowers stoop
by the apple orchard heavy
with ants’ sweet bliss
where the day buzzes dry
but the nights are getting cooler now
the girls come running
and I hold their softness close,
breathe in the beating promise of rolling
thunder rousing wild rain
on window pane
cold winds rise, leaves will fall
velvet silence settles
foghorns blow
and inside there is music—
the kind to throw my arms
toward heaven and laugh
out loud
and there he is twinkling, fingers trip
happy across pale keys
old bones forgotten
rhythm shivers free
and we sing
we sing till there’s no breath, until my face
irons smooth, my heart
swells true

Autumn changes air to music
and music is
my home
marianne Aug 2019
She pins her hair back
twenty-three and resolute, baby on her hip
and says goodbye forever
Her eyes catch on a single point, somewhere
in the hazy distance and she sets to it
makes a life
gets **** done

There’s no time to consider,
to touch the centre of the windstorm that compels her
it only winds her tighter
and because there’s laundry to do, and she likes things
neat and tidy
she carves herself up into glistening pieces
and leaves them there—
in the hot Paraguayan sun
in the endless cold Prairie snow
when her children disappear with terrible secrets
She skillfully wraps each fluttering fragment
and gives it away, no longer her concern
God will take care of it
lucky *******
and I am left with none,
or one

I’ve only ever had a part of her
the one that read the rules and promised
clean clothes, a roof, full stomach—
her threadbare heart

Maybe she’s tired, like I am now—
my own list in hand
To feel is the most demanding
of tasks
marianne Jun 2019
Her heart is flushed and red and raw, beating wildly
as if her precious life depends on it
Barefaced and undivided, feet planted
or flapping madly on a wing
she feels
Danger! it sounds a warning—
she can feel her skin prickle cold
and knows it to be true
You were made for this, it whispers, your words on paper
are my fire—
blood rushes through each vessel
until her very finger tips are dancing
and she knows it to be true

My heart is smooth and pale and pink, wrapped tightly
in thin plastic cover by unseeing eyes
faraway heart
I hear my cool mind instead, it speaks
in compelling voices
not my own
Yesterday I peeled back a thin layer called shame
with tears and chin trembling—
my heart sputtered and flickered, warm
for a time
my finger tips still numb
I want to unearth my beating heart
I want to feel it on my skin
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