Melt the hearth and melt the soul;
melt the winter harvest bowl.
Melt the fire from within;
melt her psyche streaming in.
Melt the still and wild air—
wake the hunter's hungry bear.
Let sleeping dreams lie and
this storm will drift on by.
Yes, sometimes life and loss collide
then slumber till we’re woke inside.
He rose and ate; she yawned,
careful not to spill the dawn.
But shaken by his visions,
of future loss, decisions—
A tiger crouched low in the grass,
it waits to hunt, but comes to pass.
Collections of me,
Reflections you see—
Yes, I know her.
She came at dawn,
Gentle and strong—
Quietly, I hold her.
Mama's resting safely now,
Humbled by her chores.
Daddy's eyes fall upward,
He's swimming with the stars.
Sleeping Lady lies alone,
Lost inside a mountain home.
The man I loved, gone, cast aside—
Through anxious storms, his time I bide.
A quiet vigil, silent, strong,
Still she stays, her days are long.
Sometimes bitter, painful, steep—
I cry for him, myself to sleep.
Then dreams let slip a distant sound,
As clouded thoughts part, tears splash down.
Her starry sighs enrage the night—
And empty days fuel raven's flight.
Susitna woman, sculpted pride,
In mourning, still, Cook Inlet bride.
Solid, pure she knows the cost—
Adrift at sea, I grieve his loss.
Mountain mistress, soft and stern,
Rests while my horizons burn.
Crimson, pink, and hazy blue—
Sleeping Lady born anew.
Winter's cruel and crystalline
With wind shears bitter, bold.
A glowing sunshine warms, and then
It sheds, en masse, the snow.
Spring waltzes through.
Summer rages, too.
Fall again sets in now;
She leaves her carpet lie.
My wing-ed friends mock daylight’s end—
They laugh, it snows, I cry.
I smiled at the sun today,
But when it frowned my world reigned gray.
Quantum matters, wanton skies,
Yes, even Mother Nature cries.
This life’s a splendid, soulful craze,
A brilliant, blended, splintered maze—
Of choices etched in opal fountains,
Emerald, tree laced, chocolate mountains. . .
Some counsel now, my darling doves,
Defend your hearts with golden gloves.
And smile at the sun today,
But if it frowns just fly away!
Lonesome feather, bitter wind,
chance our meeting at life’s end.
Brief she tilled that tender ground;
lonesome feather, lay her down.
Hold my hand, little man, walk these fields with me.
Lift your eyes to the skies; show me what you see.
Lost in thought, I place you in the pocket of my heart,
And in this warmth, I play with you. We run, we stop, we start.
The day is ordinary—striking, fresh and new.
I feel the sun, the wind, the air, and hear your laughter, too.
“Mama!” you cry out to me, “Come see this . . . hurry, quick!”
But moments just fly by us; life lessons are so swift.
The day begins again for me as if I’ve never breathed.
We toss our sticks into a stream, the time has come to leave.
I carry you, now on my back, your feet can walk no more.
Mama knew it couldn’t last. She's happy for the chore.
So go on gentle reader, and take your child’s hand.
Let them lead you far away into youth’s sweet heart-land.
THIRTY MILES FROM HEAVEN*
Thirty miles from heaven, I rest upon a road.
It’s long and dark and narrow, and my thoughts want to erode.
Which way am I headed? How far have I come?
Will I lead or follow? Should I turn and run?
Thirty miles from heaven, memories reappear,
Dancing in the limelight, skirting doubt and fear.
Here! I am so small again with all my days ahead,
Smiling up at Mama as she tucks me into bed.
There! I am a woman, taking on the world
With all the strength and innocence of oyster and of pearl.
At last! I am a mother with my heart and soul in tow;
He’s splashing in the water now, but soon we’ll have to go.
Thirty miles from heaven, I rested on a road,
And watched the life I’m making journey on its own.
HEAR HER PAIN*
Hear her pain, it falls like rain,
wet dew against soft skin.
Reach inside, she’s still alive,
though sorrow has swept in.
As her world stops and turns
to wave a last goodbye,
The birds in God’s great evergreens
bow their heads and cry.
A test of fate, a test of will,
a test comes every night.
Can she see the flowers bloom?
And should she even try?
The trees loom tall above it all
while dark waits idly by.
Listening, leaves glistening,
her tears take to the sky.
Joy and pain, they fall like rain,
wet dew against soft skin.
She wakes up feeling hopeful,
another day streams in.
Her love was strong, but oh, how wrong
it all began to seem.
He woke one morn' from wanting her
and shelved their long-held dream.
He laughs, she cries, his alibis
are worth their weight in gold.
If only he still loved her,
but lust has taken hold—
And while she waits, his mind escapes
from her endearing touch.
He walks now with another,
a vain and shallow crutch.
She laughs, he cries, her hollow sighs
are signs he's on his own.
He made his choice, she's moving on,
their seeds have all been sown.
APRIL O' FIVE*
It was too late for Sister—
her day of death had come.
(By handing her a bottle
though it could have been a gun).
It forced her to a somber shore,
in silent shades of red.
And quietly, it found a door,
then moved inside her head.
It called her to a distant place,
and left us here in awe.
Kneeling at the water's edge,
crying out to God:
Why, a life so promising?
Why, a life so young?
Christ! What were you thinking,
when you chose her for your own?
Yes, it's too late for Sister—
and still others share her fate.
Your families mourn a timeless loss,
death's anniversary date.
B are l y br e a th i n g!
GASPING + SEIZING
Ma ma's ca llin g
Sull en mo ment s
LYING - LONELY
Ch il d re n p ro m ise
N ev er O nl y!
P.S. I LOVE YOU
Desert lady, splashing fun,
Shadowed days of mountain sun.
Painted canyons, Joshua trees—
Whispered secrets on the breeze.
Tumbleweed and green-green grass,
Rumors swirling from her past.
Springs of palm, and winter too,
Calm our hurried attitude.
Strips of shops and retro homes,
Tales of Hollywood, old bones.
Couples swaying in the bars—
Charcoaled nights and chiseled stars.
Now a plane, its nose points north,
I grab my coat with cold remorse.
Its wings take flight; I heave a sigh—
And call to her, ol’ girl goodbye.
Then as our jet cuts through the sky,
We dream the dream of days gone by.
ODE TO A FLEETING THOUGHT
I stole a moment, it slipped my mind,
then wondered off with Father Time.
To the land of socks, that mismatched lot—
Oh to ride the rails with a fleeting thought!
RHYMES ARE FUN
Rhymes are fun, but overdone, the publishers will preach.
Mother’s looking for a book to soothe her little peach!
Words to knead while children read as twisters twirl her tongue.
Mother says that rhymes are best when served fresh and well done!
THE MOOSE AND'A MOUSE
There once was a moose and'a mouse
who made an igloo snow house.
They set up in Nome,
and called it their home.
Yes, there once was a moose and'a mouse.
Oh, the pair were a sight to behold,
(and the bears thought them much, much too bold).
But the birds and bees aloft in the trees
aimed for love stories oft’ to be told.
SILLY, SILLY MAMA
Boy grows up and Mama grows old.
Boy grows old, but Mama still scolds.
Silly, silly Mama! That ain't the plan.
Boy's no boy; he's a full-grown man.
*Thanks to Alaska Women Speak for publishing asterisked poems and photography, 2020-23.