Antidotes — A Poem

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“Lilac” — C.Birde, 4/17

 

Walk with me

beneath the bud-tipped spruce –

we’ll lift our hands to collect

the crows’ bewildered calls,

still hoarse

with the memory of

recent snow.

We’ll bend to sip sweet rain

from crocuses and watch

the ferns’ fronds slow unfurling.

Inhale, with me, the lilacs’ promise.

While Mourning Cloaks –

clad in lush dark velvet –

flit and glide about us,

we’ll decipher their

orphic patterns.

For a moment,

we’ll remember;

for a moment,

we’ll forget.

 

— C.Birde, 4/17

 

On the Dance Floor — A Dream

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“On the Dance Floor” — C.Birde, 4/17

 

Please — don’t ask me to dance. Don’t persist when, politely, I decline. Don’t approach me on this moonless night, in this quiet, wooded glade, and dismiss my protests, pull me onto the parquet dance floor.

You don’t understand. I don’t wish to be cajoled or encouraged. I have no desire to be shamed. I lack your surety, your confidence. Can you not see, how my left leg gives beneath me? How it cannot bear my weight? Do my hands not speak of desperation? Certainly, my fingers – stiff and rigid as they are – must bite at the tender flesh at your neck and shoulders, clinging, grasping?

But no – you don’t seem to notice. You weave over the dance floor. Your scarlet shoes brush the wooden, geometric patterns with your light step. You are ease of motion, liquid in style and confidence. You are unburdened by my gracelessness, my awkward gait and dragging, enfeebled limb.

And when, discomfited, I try to make light of the situation – of myself and my incompetence; when I call my efforts “flop-footed” — you dismiss my attempts at humor. Gravely, you pull me across the parquet floor.

On this moonless night.

In this wooded glade.

Beneath witness, speechless trees.

 

Awaken — A Poem

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“Awaken” — C.Birde, 4/17

 

Stop,

listen –

don’t insist she

shout for your

attention.

You are one.

Her vast rivers flow

through your constricted veins;

Her mountains comprise

your bones,

grown porous;

Her forests guide

your too-shallow breath;

Those wild and untamed places

that reside in your

diminished

heart,

are hers.

Don’t make her shout —

when her mouth is full

of flowers

and her breath

perfumed,

when her touch is

a caress

of budding green.

Bend your ear to hear

her song issue

from the messenger

throats of birds.

Place your feet in her steps,

against her heart’s

steadying beat.

Cherish and protect her.

Remember yourself.

Revive and awaken.

Do not insist

she shout.

 

— C.Birde, 4/17

 

Hunger — A Dream

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“Hunger” — C.Birde, 4/17

 

It stands, hoofs-deep, in a field of mud. A young black and white pig. Its hide stretched too-tightly over its scrawny frame. It fixes me with a beady eye, and I’m not the least bit surprised when it addresses me – in clear, succinct English. After all, mere moments ago, this very same pig had been a gargantuan earthworm, plowing through the muddy field like a subterranean marlin.

“Are you going to feed me?” the pig demands vexedly. Its voice swells to fill the cavern, gets caught against the shadow-filled ceiling overhead. Thick mud covers its large, flat snout, evidence that it has been rooting through the field in search of food.

But I’m not here to feed the pig – I didn’t even know there was a pig down here. I’ve come to feed the cats.

“Oh, of course. Can’t forget to feed the cats.” The pig hunches its bladed shoulders and snorts sarcastically. “Precious cats,” it mutters.

Skirting the edge of the furrowed and deeply rutted field, I edge toward a shabby green shack where the cat food is stored. The pig’s gaze follows me, his squinty stare vaguely unsettling. Uncertain how he’ll react, I offer to give him some of the cat food.

The pig grunts with indignation. “I suppose cat food is better than no food,” he remarks archly.

I ignore his tone, attribute his crankiness to hunger. After tossing several handfuls of cat food to him, I watch as, snout down in the mud, he devours every bit. Greedily, hungrily, completely.

Chroma — A Poem

 

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“Dandelion — Pre-Wish” — C.Birde, 4/17

 

Spears of forsythia throwing light,

Daffodils’ heraldic shout.

Canaries and warblers

and precious metal finches —

melodic color caught in song.

Bellies and fevers,

jaundice and joy.

Color of yield signs, double lines,

#2 pencils and school buses;

of taxis and Playbills,

raincoats and wellingtons.

Bright topaz and citrine and

slow-trapping amber.

Too-short hectic flash

of sulphurs and swallowtails.

Industrious bees, pollen, and honey.

Primary – and companion –

color of Spring.

Color of teapots and lemons,

beaten eggs, butter, and cake.

Color of zinc paint,

slope-shouldered haystacks,

of sunflowers

and skewwhiff bedrooms.

Bold, pouring sunshine

and pre-wish dandelions.

Dilute color of stars and moons

and soft candlelight;

of delight and wonder.

Yellow.

 

— C.Birde, 4/17

The Plunge — A Dream

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“The Plunge” — C.Birde, 4/17

Climbing, climbing, climbing. One step at a time. Ever upward. The rise and fall of my steps easy over rough ground and patchy turf. Cool air moves passed my lips. I inhale the night, fill my lungs, exhale. Each breath is as smooth and rhythmic as my gait. Still, I climb. Tireless. A modern-day Sisyphus, with no stone to push, yet no end in sight.

Climbing, climbing. Step after step.  Up and up. With nary an aching limb or rapid beat of heart. Grass gives way to patchy snow — a haphazard quilt of green and white. Until the snow’s mantle consumes the slope, uninterrupted. And  when, at last, I reach the top, my step neither slows nor falters — not to consider the path chosen, or exult in quiet isolation at the climb accomplished; not to take in the view of the vast night sky from the peak.

I simply — easily, one foot after another — step off the edge…

…as effortlessly and as resolutely as I had climbed…

…without quickening pulse or gasp of breath…

…and tumble down…

…through endless…

…swallowing…

…dark.

 

— C.Birde, 4/17