August 2020

Gaia’s Lament: A Call to Awaken

Page 4

I Spy by Robert S. Pesich (Poem)

a chicken egg dyed white
a beehive high in a pine
and crocodile crosswalks

I spy a fire-truck with a ladder made of letters
a little girl waving the Queen of Spades at her baby brothers

That’s nothing. I spy the letter A shot twelve times
and an ambulance rushing a wretch to the ER

I spy a hummingbird perched on a bulldozer’s blade

Dump-truck. I spy a dump-truck full of stones and clothes

Here’s a trail of baby-teeth inside a bibliotheca

Combat boots full of fingers
a school-bus with black windows
women and children pounding the doors of the Dew Drop Inn

I spy you spying me spying you pushing your baby-stroller from the hospital
the postman working our street
his pockets full of flies

“According to Kavenaugh, Even Wayward Celtics Heard God Singing in the Trees” by Jean Emerson (Poem)

I have seen
the divine light shimmering in the trees
the holy white rain of plum petals
lift on silent breeze

My sacred world is silent

What must it be to hear
God singing in the trees?

Would it be like
the sound of tall grass bending in a soft breeze
that infinite point where light waves
fuse into sound?

Or that vibration just beyond sound
that stirs in the air
after the Great Temple Bell
has spoken to the trees
to the distant hills
to our hearts

That moment when everything
hangs quiet in anticipation?

“Listening” by B.L.P. Simmons (Poem)

Listening begs patience;
it’s too simple, like breathing
or moving through air
from one idea, to another.

It’s navigating convolutions
of that greyness
in which we place such trust,
like sails for our frail boats.

Yet listen we must to our own voice,
the one, the same voice, that roars,
or whispers, stutters or lisps, unsure
in its near silence.

It is that voice of our nature calling out
to be heard, an invitation to the heart’s dance,
to take steps that whirl us into nowhere,
into all.

Listening is breathing,
through an ear.

“The Divine Milieu” by Phil Johnson (Poem)

Penguins walking like Chaplins
parading in tuxes
                                        laughing at war
looking to levitate
                                                 rising to view earth
from compassionate space

move toward loving detachment
      seek the Divine Milieu

               where all elements
             of the universe
                                              touch each other
             by what is most inward
& ultimate in them *

Dream wombats wander
           exhaling leafy eucalyptus

                                traversing continents
     crossing spirit boundaries
                                                         leaving to arrive
where they are

           the world, this palpable world
           we were wont to treat
           with boredom and disrespect

           is in truth a holy place
           and we did not know *

* from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Milieu.

“Study for the Joy of Life” by Antony Oldknow (Poem)

A horse of blue lines prances
in a clearing of zigzag trees,
water in the center of a pond
is an army of fiery blue waves
shivering into flame under a presiding sun.

Trees have hats of brown straw
nodding in their shoulders of branches.
All around hear the crisp labors of eggs,
the scratchings of sharp nails in bark,
see an eye quivering in a black fork
at the bottom of a tree.

Here is a whiplash of arrows of rain,
the crack and brute fall
of a watery icicle in the sun.

Poem first published in Anthem for Rusty Saw and Blue Sky, page 25 Dacotah Territory Chapbook Number 8, Territorial Press, Moorhead, Minnesota, 1975.

“Blackbirds” by Jean Emerson (Poem)

Here we have a dreaming landscape,
Perpendicular and linear
A trail that leads to empty promises,
Serenity and quiet
With grazing sheep.

Sheep grown complacent
ignore the sudden thunder
Low flying SR71 Blackbirds

“Mama’s Bedroom During an Earlier War” by Kathie Isaac-Luke (Poem)

In this room a spindle bed
with a white chenille coverlet,
facing a brick fireplace, the mantel
covered with prayer cards.
Two windows veiled with sheer
lace curtains letting the light
filter in to make an iridescence
of the green painted walls.
A chest of drawers on which were
stacked stamps and pens and letters,
letters from undisclosed locations,
letters with black marks drawn through
some of the passages, letters in which
remained only questions about family
or domestic concerns.
An oak dresser on which rested
a crystal perfume bottle, a mirror,
brush and comb, a box of Coty’s
face powder, patterned with orange
and white powder puffs, that I reached
for to catch the fragrance of Mama
after she had walked down the gravel
path to the road on her way to a job
where she did her part. A bedside table
with a lamp and a picture of my father
whom I had not yet seen, who would
come home wounded from a war
that he endured in silence, scarcely
one generation removed
from the war to end all wars
which evolved into one continuous war,
war so commonplace that it is
accepted as part of the landscape.

Published in Chrysalides. Dragonfly Press, 2010

“Missing in Action” by Grace Cavalieri (Poem)

When you came home from
The war the grass had turned
Brown, the children were grown,
The sand was drenched with blood.
You screamed at night through
Barbed wire and old missions flown
From the carrier, friends dropping
From the sky like sick flies.
Washington Command Center
Did not tell you what the site would be
Until ready for launch. Yet
You were sent out with precision
The same time, 1 o’clock each night
For the waiting flak.
You signed a statement of secrecy –
Just a formal constraint, routine policy –
And now you are home. You build the
Fence around the house, and plant the
Garden that you dreamed of.
By day you build, make art, creating all that
Never existed before, so that you can live
A divine collaboration with life. But it is
Always the same war, over and over.
At night you still fly. Into the dark,
You are flying at night, waking in terror,
Mission never accomplished, like
A rocket still soaring, soaring out of control,
Flying out of my sight.

“White Crosses” by Mary Lou Taylor (Prose Poem)

The bridge over the River Kwai is not the graceful swing of slats I had imagined, so insubstantial it could hardly bear a tank’s weight.  Instead, an ugly steel span, rebuilt after its wartime detonation by William Holden, that unorthodox soldier we all cheered for in the film.  I did ask our guide whether or not the bridge had once been blown up; it had.  High hedges along the shoreline hide a graveyard filled with white crosses, markers of Brit bodies, Aussies, Dutch, the few Yanks— worked until they could no longer hold a pick, building the Burma Road with dirt and blood.  The huts they slept in still there, cots pushed together tight, smelled of pus and feces, smelled of gangrenous, suppurating wounds, reeked of sweat and unwashed bodies.  Fifty years later the stench, fainter now, remains.

A thread of silver winds through the jungle nearby, snakes through Kanchanaburi, a collection of tin houses and barns where merchants peddle rubies and emeralds to foreign buyers, while the jewels of grieving families lie buried in the quiet cemetery near its riverbank.

Published in Bringing Home the Moon. Aldrich Press, 2015

“Black Feather” by Calder Lowe (Poem)

Not four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie,
but rather thousands, falling from the sky
in Arkansas. Drum fish decomposing
in adjacent waterways. All gone.
And now her. A flash of a solar eclipse.
A glimmer of light extinguished.
Our niece who days before celebrated
a swarm of flies ringing the air with oscillating
haloes along the windswept dunes. Gone.

She has become our newest astronaut circling
Heaven with her baby brother from another
family incarnation, poisoned by the Agent Orange
his dad inhaled in Nam. Two years of radiation
and chemo battering his frail body.
Holes in the ozone layer, holes in the heart
as large and gaping as the cavernous surface
at Ground Zero.

Out there, sailing on updrafts of the spirit’s current,
she joins the throngs of all who have gone before
while the bones of those remaining, shrink, all
but disappear, as the spaces between cartilage
yield invisible nets that glisten in the sun,
ready to catch those departed with a wink,
a blink, a nod, a strand of kelp in the shape of a dragon,
makeshift necklaces of shells, ribbons of yellow, pink,
signaling fierce loss, fiercer love. Prayers wending
their way on upturned palms, incense, breath,
the wing of a fly, a filament of iridescent fish scale,
a solitary black feather.