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

attune to the world

attune to the world
note to self

you’ve been plunked down
on this blue-green globe and
given a miraculous earth suit

it seems sensible, even prudent
to attune to this world, try to
meet its griefs and joys with
curiosity and grace

and when you fail, oh you will—
that’s as inexorable as death—
like the phoenix, allow the burn
then rise in love and awe

—what other work is there?

thank you to Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer for the title phrase

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

tear off the cloak

tear off the cloak
note to self

you put it there yourself
to percolate blunt truth
into acceptable story
it seems rash to live
without it—until you do
and you look back
wondering—why?

it’s leans to bittersweet
turn toward your lot
whether a cascade of
griefs, ailing child, or
lost possibility
we’re given a fistful
for our very own—
we all have something

tear off the cloak that
served as your shield
it didn’t hide much
you only thought it did
live raw—turn your face
to the pinging rain
feel the chill roll
down your cheeks
let grief break you wide
love all of it because
this, this is what you have

2022 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—please understand that many will be rewritten.

the body consort

the body consort
note to self

she’s been with you for
27,990 energetic days—
she’s slouchy about the edges
bent here, broken there
a taken-for-granted friend

you’re beholden to her—
she’s overused, yet ferried
you here—for decades
she was treated like a
beat-up truck rather than
the marvel you now know
her to be—oh! to go back
seven decades and reframe
how you dance together

but no second chances
and no time for regrets
go gentle, most of all in
thought—and remember—
she is your body consort

with thanks to Kay Crista for the title

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.

my father’s closet

(this was my father’s birthday—he would be 108 today)

my father’s closet

I don’t know how
to write about my father
forty-four years gone
he’s still a puzzle
a large, lonely man
who drank too much
and hid it well

but I recall the bouquet
of his walk-in closet
musky and male
suits and sport coats
tidy, shoes polished
till they reflected light
and ties—so many ties
myriad colors, wool and silk
I liked to sit in there
under the jackets and
drink in his spice
it all seemed so foreign

I wanted to know him but
that was not possible
his signature—arctic
wiry hair, his pride
amidst balding friends—
he carried a briefcase
bought plush cars with
skin-soft seats
but what were his thoughts?
his cares?
his dreams?

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.

surrender

surrender
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

capitulates
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.

fault lines

fault lines
note to self

brush by delicate brush
a painstaking excavator
I uncover the skeleton
of what he did—I was
only four years old
that’s faraway past
yet it carved fault lines
in who I might become
cautious instead of creative

every touch leaves signs—
elephants snap limbs
monks arouse hearts
with their clarity
soldiers blast cities to rubble
ants stumble while hefting
a giant crumb—each
singular action shifts
the bones of our world

pick petals from the daisy
it matters, it doesn’t matter
it matters, it doesn’t
both are holy true—
meet the long ago
metabolize and mend
admire fault lines everywhere
trace with care and gold

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.

requiem for the earth

requiem for the earth
note to self

WWII marker at Britain’s
Canterbury Cathedral in
the ruins, granite chiseled
“Father, forgive them for
they know not what they do”
I stood desolate

we full well know
the havoc we wreak on
our beloved earth, our home
the only parachute we have
we want what we want more—
our comforts—convinced the
worst won’t unfurl, yet it’s here
predicted fifty years ago
when there was time
to mend our savage ways
I too am culpable—drive and
cozy near the gas fire

faster, more dire than foreseen—
cat-5 twisters, desperate
flooding, devastating drought
and oh, the fires!
remember how plentiful
skippers, painted ladies
and tiger moths? no
sustaining habitat to feed—
too many of us

how do we create
a requiem for the earth?

I cast my love and warmth—
for the gnarled oak, a century old
its weighty branches pulled toward
ground—the woodpecker’s
flash of red as it drills the bark
the innocent babes born now
on this weeping earth
for my aging body, gravity
calling me home

oh! sing a sacred song
sing it with my whole heart

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.

the ancient ones

the ancient ones

note to self

scientists discovered that
trees respond. that one, there—
does it feel the blaze suck air,
ignite the roots, until it’s
a pillar of raging light,
over 1400 degrees?
is this the tree that only
casts seeds when burned?
a phoenix of desolation?

all I have are questions.

what a transgression—a living
organism, 2000 years old,
is devoured by our careless
inattention. our greed.
where is our gumption,
our brilliance, spent?
what malformed gene
stuffs our head in sand?
we were warned.
we did nothing of merit
and here we are now.

girl, make a difference

comfort the young ones
respond and rescue
the four-leggeds, the
winged things that
we abandoned.
like phoenix rising from ash,
write, paint, engineer,
love this mangled world
with your whole being

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.

predicament of being alive

predicament of being alive

note to self

it isn’t easy on planet earth.
losses carve our hearts
staggering low-back pain
your family business fails
a parent’s sudden demise
empty craters of loss

a monarch flickers by
the mockingbird’s serenade
a dog’s cold nose in greeting
jasmine scents the air
chocolate melts on your tongue
the scent of a baby’s neck
enough joy to keep us here. just.

the predicament is this:
how to welcome paradox:
are you vast enough?
open? willing?
can your heart spread wide?
that is what is asked for
the courage to breathe it all

thank you to Margaret Rooney for the title phrase

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.