the leaving times

the leaving times

I’m old
not elderly, not yet
though it’s
over the horizon
now visible
marching toward me
precious friends
in trouble—falls
Parkinson’s, frail
bones, cancers
threats of leaving—
embodiment’s way
of clearing space
some days, acceptance
other days, resistance
as though I could
ward off death
this I must
love is love
inhale a breath
and feel it


she sees the world

she sees the world
note from self

she sees the world
as it is—a
splendid shambles
a miraculous mess
that seems poised to
shed humanity over
a few hundred years

what will it look like
in half a millennium?
can kudzu re-green
the planet? will it turn
into a moonscape
like Mars?
and accepts that
she will not know

so celebrates today
and what is known
chill morning air
crow’s hoarse caw
sun-dappled leaves and
her breath in and out
—for now

the good fortune of old age

the good fortune of old age
note to self

now past three-quarters
of a century, you can
claim old—so many
reasons to grouse
stiff hands, thinning hair
name retrieval fades
common nouns wander off

we’re left with the grace
of verbs—their kindly
flow—they speak of
roaming or ambling or
coasting through air—
they mimic inevitable
change—how pupa
reforms into butterfly

we don’t know what’s
coming except that it is—
float on those verbs
allow them to ferry
you away, teach you
to let go—the good
fortune of old age

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—not final versions.


note to self

the colicky infant
yields to the long-braided child
the sulky teen gives way

to the brisk, busy woman
she cedes to a bowed back
and wild egret hair

it’s the way of things
so achingly evident yet
the carnal body squirms

yes, to all of it
there is no other concession

of course, be brave
stand and face the bully
care for the injured wren

but most of all
love one another
then, like Beowulf

we must yield
the leasehold
of our days

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—they may never turn into anything more or they might flower.

Japanese death poems

This post needs a little explanation. I participated in a poetry class over the last six months. Our fearless leader, Jeanne Rana, invited us every two weeks to try traditional poetic forms: pantoum; villanelle; haiku; dekaaz; the “I am” poem; triolet; sentence down the side; Beatitudes; and today, our final meeting, Japanese death poems.

The instruction around Japanese death poems or jisei: these poems traditionally are spoken on the poets’ or warriors’ deathbed. Their final words.

Jeanne gave us only two minutes to write as many as we could—I believe to get us out of our minds and into our hearts. They are not titled. I have a favorite; do you?

the silken thread

now, now

light blossoms

dear world

carry my love

surprise me

I leave
my warmth

trust, trust, trust
what else is there?

breathe light
instead of air

this, too

love the
whole catastrophe

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—they may never turn into anything more or they might flower.

this, too

this, too

note to self

so tired.
tired of infighting and
hatred. tired of lies.
what is this human
aversion to truth?
we’ve slipped
off the diving board.
let’s cherish the bowl
of our fragile home.
wholeness is no longer
possible in the manifested
world. Kintsugi calls.
we can mend ourselves
with rivulets of goodness.
it takes more juice
to frown than smile.
choose gold.
gold lacquer and rice flour,
a delicate harmony.

sit in silence.
parse what is.
right now. all of it. the lush
air at sunup’s first blush.
hawk nabs gopher.
parents beg.
even DNA required.
weeping, they
comfort each other.
this, too.
with a slender brush,
smooth liquid gold
into the seams.

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—they may never turn into anything more or they might flower.

his shadow on the couch

his shadow on the couch

If I look slantwise
there he is, still poised,
my sleek Saluki,
paws crossed
elegant, aloof
unfailingly pleasant…

except for cats
squirrels, deer, and
jack rabbit those
he yearned to chase
and, I believe, to kill

yet, there was nothing
brutal about him
pure instinct
clean, direct,
innocent of motive
even matter of fact

at the beach free
to run amidst brethren
he always displayed
good manners
how did he know at
one hundred feet

the Jack Russell,
the size of a cat,
was not prey?
but he knew dog!
oh, the lift in his gait
those chic long legs
the length of his stride

my writing accomplice
he followed me into
my office took to his bed
yawned and snuggled in
if I look slantwise
his shadow curls there, too

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—they may never turn into anything more or they might flower.

stone in a backpack of boulders

stone in a backpack of boulders

note to self

the backpack load
unbearable unwearable
too heavy
digs ruts in our shoulders
yet we must heft it
and now,
another stone
a huge one

a school we never heard of
filled with young children who
have lost buddies they played tag,
hung upside down on bars
and now are forever gone
they’ll face enduring night frights
stained with crimson—
how will they recover?

when will we ken
the fatal disease of
separation? without
the resonance of interbeing,
how linked we are,
every one of us, no exceptions,
this will happen again
and again and again

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—they may never turn into anything more or they might flower.

eddies and whirlpools – redux

eddiesImagine—we’re floating down a gentle river in inner tubes on a blazing July afternoon. Our butts hang in the cool water, the tube surfaces are warm—growing hotter where the water does not splash on them—and the sun beats down on the exposed parts of our bodies.

Then, abruptly, a whirlpool catches your inner tube, and for a little bit, the tube is spun in place in the river, and you are seemingly separated from the main flow—then the whirlpool disperses, and off the ride goes again.

A while later, an eddy pulls my tube into a bend—a quiet nook in the river—and now I appear to be independent of the main flow. Then the eddy gives way, and the tube rocks a bit until the current grabs it and pulls me back into the main body of the river.

We are always one with the river, but seemingly separated at times. What a delicious metaphor for awareness and embodiment. Awareness is the river—always there, always alive and flowing. The whirlpools and eddies are embodiments—where for a little while, we show up on the planet; we look separate, we may feel separate, but we are never separated—or independent—for one instant from the grand flow that we are.

Then the body dissipates just like the eddy back into that from whence it came, and once again, only one awareness, one river.

Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015
image credit