Waiting in the Rain

I am standing in the rain,

Just standing here, looking into the grey air,

Getting wet.

.

The country is raining down all that is worst in our nature

As if these things had always been with us,

In threatening clouds above us,

Waiting for some thundering rage to let loose.

.

Soaked to the bone,

I pray for forgiveness for not looking up into

that coiled storm we knew must break.

It is not too late to build sandbag dams,

Or perhaps I’ll stand in the rain

Until I am swept away.

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Poetry Race for the Center for New Americans!

This year I am joining the race to raise funds for the Center for New Americans in Northampton. This year we have new students from Ukraine and other countries around the world.

From our director:

Why it matters – Every ESOL program in our region has a waitlist for classes.   Every community-based program offering low cost asylum application assistance has a waitlist.  The media reports that worldwide, migration is at historic levels.  We see the impacts of that in our community. We have a very hard time turning prospective students and clients away, especially when we know there are few alternatives, and that the services we offer — English classes, immigration legal services — are the entry point to all other resources. We have challenged ourselves to create additional classes, hire additional staff, purchase additional devices.  All of this stretches our program to capacity, and it all requires funding. That is why this annual Poem-a-thon matters so much.

To pledge, please go to cnam.org

To make the challenge harder for myself, I am working on a series of linked narrative poems. Whew!

1. I won’t be posting them on my blog as usual. That makes later publication difficult.

2. They will all be first or second drafts, not final.

3. If you’d like to read them, I can send you some or all via email or snail mail in early December. Just let me know.

4. A public reading by the poets will be held the beginning of December.

Blessings, Alice

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Roisin’s Telling 2

The wind’s coming in the cracks now.

The wind’s shifted as it does.

 I am skinned with it. 

This is when Peg ‘d gather me up with a laugh and tell me to stop the complaining. 

She was the worst weaver in the county and her blanket couldn’t keep out a cool whiff. 

But her full body was warm with comfort and her arms held my breasts 

until the heat consumed us both 

and afterwards we slept. 

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The Coming Cold

Roisin’s Telling 1

The time now is The Coming Cold.

The sun will lower again tomorrow 

and again tomorrow and the next.

Life up in the mountain croft is restless, I can feel it.

.

The paths down will soon be black and

the cows will must lead the way down.

The lads will follow them down to the pens,

No work needed as the dumb animals will slowly 

follow each other down, 

Save for the dumbest of all who will wander off 

and be found by a boy and brought on back.

.

Food and warmth for the Winter

for the cattle and the lads.

I am stuck here by the fire

in a house of burning peat.

Watching with wonder, again and again,

as the women prepare loaves and fish

for the Welcome home meal.

.

My spine is twisted as a spindle 

My hands the claws of an old hungry crow.

Only my brain is sharp

and my eyes as a young girl’s.

I see the young girls twirling their hair, kneading the dough, spinning for cloth, 

longing for their lads as the lads long for them.

.

I can hear the loud murmurs of the women within,

and I begin to hear the lowing of cows from a distance.

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Another Autumn Poem

The sun blasts orange through the trees,

A last grasp to cling to the day. It’s rays tear

Through the branches, reaching out to us,

Pleading for us not to let it slip below the hill.

We watch unmoved, or perhaps a little sad.

We too will slip below, but not yet.

We watch, curious to see what we can learn

From the beauty of that last grasp.

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A Heavy Rain

I am standing in the rain,

Just standing here, looking into the grey air,

Getting wet.

The sky is raining down all that is worst in our nature

As if these things had always been with us,

In threatening clouds above us,

Waiting for some thundering rage to let loose.

Soaked to the bone,

I pray for forgiveness for not looking up into

that coiled storm we knew must break.

It is not too late to build sandbag dams,

Or perhaps I’ll stand in the rain

Until I am swept away.

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Hallow E’en 2021

Who’s that knocking, knocking at our door?

Their cloths are tattered, their eyes too big;

They smell of dregs and speak in tongues.

Like trolls, they sleep under bridges,

Demanding a token from each passerby.

Cover your ears, they have a banshee wail,

loud devil music, and cry long into the night.

Like Hungry Ghosts, they feed on crumbs.

Go lock the cupboard, we can’t feed them all.

They creep alone at night in silent deserts,

Springing up where you least expect them.

One might marry your niece;

Our blood and their blood might mingle 

destroying us all.

….

Knocking, knocking, knocking.

….

Who is that knocking, knocking at our door?

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Wife

White birch bark is curling on one of the south windowsills.

It is a silvery grey, actually, with black smudges.

My wife collects these wide silver strips from the forest floor,

Gathers them gently and places them on windowsills.

She wanders in the wood with our black dog,

pausing to assemble tiny people from twigs and moss,  acorn caps and

bits of Play Dough from her pocket.

The little people are all different yet clearly know one another.

She carefully arranges them in knotholes, peeking from under roots, on forks of branches.

A most alert hiker may catch a glimpse of one.

She comes home with yet more birch bark to curl in the sun.

Tonight she says, “It’s almost winter. They will soon need little houses.”

She gathers the birch from all the windowsills and sits back to examine the silvery bark.

She stands the curls up, lies them down, puts one on top of the other.

She draws tiny windows with Magic Marker.

She smiles. “A little work and these will do nicely.”

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Spring Tanka

Spring Tanka

The first seeds planted

Settle in a cold wet ground

A bit too early in spring.

   The seeds and the gardener

   Place bets against another frost.

….

The first seeds planted

Settle in a cold wet ground

A bit too early in spring

  The seeds and the gardener

   Are dusted with cool faint rain.

….

The first seeds planted

Settle in a cold wet ground

A bit too early in spring

  Jewelweed and gardener

  Both species of impatiens.

….

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Autumn Haiku

autumn cold –

watching a coup

slowly melt

Posted in haiku, Political | Tagged | 1 Comment