Treasure — An Image

Close up of a pale yellow beech leaf on a mossy log.
“Treasure” — C.Birde, 11/20

“Look for me,”

her voice was sly

as a curl of leaf,

the shiver of wind,

“in unexpected places —

the hidden,

overlooked, and

small, silent spaces.

You will find me

there.”

— C.Birde, 11/20

Falconer — A Poem

A minimalist pen and ink drawing of birds in flight.
“Flight” — C.Birde, 11/20

Where

has our heart flown?

That beloved self

Departed

from its nest of bones

Snatched away by some

mischief godling

Belled,

jessed,

hooded

lured,

wings clipped

Fed fragmented light

Waiting to be called

home

— C.Birde, 11/20

You — A Poem

Tourne Park's Rattlesnake Meadow, blanketed in fog.
“Misted” — C.Birde, 11/20

The earth wears gilt

Thy sky runs pewter blue

And I…

I think of you

My bones catch the whiff

of Winter and

rattle in their frame

And all my thoughts

my hopes

of future warmth —

like migratory birds —

return always

to you.

— C.Birde, 11/20

Epic — A Dream

Stylized photograph of a Beech Tree, as if it were a drawing.
“Beech Tree” — C.Birde, 11/20

Never mind how we got here… The headlong, hell-bent, hair-raising rush… The RV careening over narrow dirt roads, its windscreen blacked out… He – at the wheel, navigating as if by sonar, by radar; by the tiny icon moving across ten inches of computer screen, charging ever closer to the engulfing sea…

Never mind that we shot past that liminality, metaphorically blindfolded, and landed – not in saltwater embrace, but within a Renaissance palace, within a walled fort on a shadow-clad hill… That somehow, we had traversed the creases of time and space and geography and sped into the deep past… That, with equal surreality, he now guides the invisible, behemoth RV through ornately carved hallways and corridors draped in rich colors, through the two-story central room toward the narrow galley kitchen… That he maneuvers the vehicle deftly past the assembled crowd and strikes not a soul…

Never mind the gentle cascade of enveloping sound… The chanting female voice that reverberates like the sea… A soft, beautiful, lapping, echo… An encircling song…

Never mind that I now occupy a narrow galley kitchen… And slowly, carefully dismantle – with the aid of a man unknown, unfamiliar – a small cube refrigerator… Remove shelving, pull out wire racks, peel back the refrigerator’s rear wall, and ultimately uncover a crude exit…

Never mind that the woman’s melodious voice is suddenly replaced by a man’s… The chieftain; the king speaks, is speaking… Everyone drops to their knees, bows heads to listen… All except the young girl beside, who sings and chatters without interruption… Who plays with a kitten, despite serious looks bent upon her… Despite raised fingers and hisses and hushes… The chieftain’s daughter will do as she pleases…

No. Never mind that. Dismiss it from your mind. All of it.

Slip with me, instead, down the narrow kitchen, past the humbled crowd… Past the submissive collective… Follow me, to the left, beyond this partition wall… Into this hidden, hallway alcove… To the heavy wooden door, here, at the hall’s end… See how the light bends through its many beveled panes of glass? See how the hills and village beyond are gently refracted?

But look again… Look again, to the middle ground – how could anyone miss it? How did I? The tree… An enormous tree, of untold antiquity. Its trunk and main boughs, symmetrical to left and right, while smaller limbs branch off in lively directions. And there… Do you see? Suspended above the tree’s crown, the great amber prism that throbs with light? Are you stunned? Near speechless? As I am? Do you feel the need – the driving, overwhelming, urgent need – to touch the tree? To lay hands upon it? Press palms to its deep-grooved bark until vascular cambium bites flesh?

And did you see her? The woman flaking our right side, here at the door? Or was your gaze, too, pulled beyond her, swept past her, as was mine? Pay her no heed. Disregard her cryptic remarks regarding my desire… I am not Matilda, Melinda, Meridan. I am no tear-scryer.

Ahh… The door swings, opens… The tree extends a long, uncoiling limb… Holds, in the cup of its twiggy branches, a cut crystal sphere… Amber… Radiant… Roughly the size of a toddler’s head…  Withdraws the same, in enticing fashion, when I reach to touch it…

Are you still here? Do you yet stand beside me, shoulder to my shoulder, toes also curled over the threshold’s edge, two stories up the palace’s stone walls?  Does the tree fill your vision, as well? Do you see, as it questions me, as it drops the mussel shells into my open palms, each ridged, pearly concavity inscribed with a query? Do you hear my responses, or do I answer within the frame of my own mind as the great tree confirms my beliefs?

Never mind. Never mind. Raise your hands, as I do… Palms before heart, outward facing, thumbs touching… Lift the hands, up, up, before the face, then out and down in circular motion…  Draw palms to naval, thumbs reconnected… Lift the hands up again before the heart. Bless the tree. Bless all its offspring. Bless all that it shelters.

Bless us all.

— C.Birde, 11/20

Cast Off — A Poem

The dried husk of a Japanese Lantern flower.
“Japanese Lanterns” — C.Birde, 11/20

Let go.

Cast off all

that no longer serves

but once served well

and now confines,

constrains the growth

of beating heart,

of wing and song.

Begone.

Exceed those strictures;

self-defined exuviae

at last outgrown.

Slip

restrictive shackles and,

through the atmosphere,

a s c e n d.

— C.Birde, 11/20

Inverted Blue — A Dream

Blue sphere.
“Blue” — C.Birde, 11/20

Beneath the archway entrance to “Suite Seven”, we meet – she & I.

Guide, in royal purple robes that sweep the bisque-pink floor.

Follow Her through open airy room, up shallow steps, outdoors,

where the galleried stone patio – in artful feat of craftsmanship –

floats above a rippling valley of plush & foliaged green.

She never speaks; smiles & leads to He who wears the cobalt blue

of heaven & instructs me in Inversion.

“Hands here; feet here;

hips & tailbone high;

relax the head & neck.”

Ah…warmth of sun-soaked slates beneath my palms, my soles;

spacious planes of earth & sky agreeably reversed.

Together, He & She delineate my form, glide shrewd hands along

elongated muscles, stacked bones; correct awkward tilts & angles,

structure & position, until all is in alignment, agreement.

She steps back, recedes, Her hands two secrets folded deep within

flared purple sleeves.

He remains, moves His flattened palms in slip-skin circular motion,

between my shoulder blades; base of neck; kneads trapezius;

works flesh & muscle like soft clay; fashions, in their place, a shallow,

gently rimmed concavity.

Utterly painless.

Utter somatic re-shaping, re-formation.

He places there, in that space, the sphere – large, heavy as a bowling ball

& as smoothly polished; blue as His robes;

places that unanticipated & arcane globe in the new-formed bodily basin

of upper back, where it rests – veritable onus, orbicular albatross –

against the occipital ridge at the nape of my neck.

“Don’t move, don’t move…”

His words resound like hollow wind in ocean cave.

“Maintain the Inversion.

Do not lose the ball.

Do not let it roll free

to crush your hands,

your skull.”

The sphere, so deeply blue, so heavy & slipping…slipping & shifting…

shifting & sliding…inching ever forward over & toward my right ear.

Each time, they catch it – He & She.

With pointed re-instruction, He returns it, places it in its corporeal nest.

Again & again & again

Cannot endure. Was not built for this. Cannot maintain this shape.

Feel the cry forming, deep within – release me release me release me…

Let it

fall.

— C.Birde, 11/20

Stories Told — An Image

Close up of the veins of a Norway Maple leaf.
“Norway Maple” — C.Birde, 10/20

“Each leaf

tells the story of the tree,”

she said,

“each feather,

the story of the bird.

With each word you speak

& path you choose,

you cast your own story

out into the world…”

A rustle stirred in her

green-sprouted heart.

She smiled, bent close, & whispered:

“But always & ever,

the choosing

is yours.”

— C.Birde, 10/20