undivided

undivided
note to self

we see the ten thousand
things, hear and touch them
sense and smell them
convinced of our autonomy—
how is this dense table not
separate from my pliant body?
how can that person—who
has contrasting views
different skin, language
or belief—how is it
possible we are one?

start here—

you can’t survive minus air
trees give off oxygen
we depend upon—
days with no water and
we die—without sunlight
no harvest fruition
we count on farmers to
sow our sustenance—
interbeing is boundless
lions need gazelle, plants
require pollinators or wind

all born of consciousness
we are one family
undivided

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.

the indifferent warming light

the indifferent warming light
note to self

it’s not personal
oh, you wanted to believe it is
love is simply love
wild and bright, a warming light
impartial and unconcerned
it belongs to no one in particular
it belongs to everyone
you flailed and railed—
two years metabolizing
it’s just not personal

thank you to David Whyte for the phrase “the indifferent warming light.”

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.

retreat hut

retreat hut

note to self

you don’t attend church
that stone-steepled place
your sanctuary is inside
an internal retreat hut
you do attend there
on a regular basis—
not only on Sundays
every single day
many times a day
in fact, you live there
rest in the big field
luminous realm
offer gratitude
remember
breathe
listen
pray
be

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.

frayed and nibbled

frayed and nibbled

note to self

there’s no denying it
if you’ve made it this far
you’re a frayed and nibbled survivor
every one of us—from milkweed
to earthworms to gray whales—
are bruised and battered
welcome to our round blue home
that appears to be its calling card

yet there’s a strange grace here
a living flaming presence
amidst these galling times
it doesn’t take effort to notice
more like giving way
take a breath
go quiet
be alert
attend

thank you to Annie Dillard, from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, for the phrase “frayed and nibbled survivor.”

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.

sanctuary

sanctuary

note to self

this is where
I go to get quiet—
my inner sanctuary
sink deep and listen
if I am still, I can find
the cathedral of words
part statement of intent
part supplication
part prayer
words pouring
from the wordless
to write myself awake

there’s nothing to do
yet still I’m compelled
to convey what cannot
be written or spoken or
painted or sung or
sculpted although
it can be revealed
the ineffable—
transparent
luminous
empty
open

*thank you to Ayaz Angus Landman for the phrase “cathedral of words”

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.

lunch

lunch

a red-tailed hawk
pierces the sky
nabs the goldfinch perched
near our sunseed feeder
my heart lurches at
the violence, so
surprising and sudden
your song ripped
from the air

still-warm meat, now
bits, feed growing eyas
we all have to eat
nourish precious young
I absolve the hawk
pray the little finch has
no huddle of offspring

is it really violence?
the hawk’s native tools
sharp beak, razor talons
there is no choice—use
the means she is given
or die—grim reality
but true

I was only seven
when I noticed we all
eat each other—
life, no longer benign
the dismay, the awe
that’s the way on
our lonely blue planet
at a galaxy’s edge
it only seemed mild
but never was—
child-mind at play

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.

polestar

polestar

note to self

since young, I’ve
heeded it, although I
didn’t know its name
nur—sacred light
it’s inside everything
shimmering radiant
not quite evident yet
wholly there and aware
a generous wealth
the wealth that matters

this manifest world—
a ripe Fuji, juicy and ecstatic
begging to be devoured
that’s fine—crunch it!
quench your hunger
a temporary satisfaction
recognize what it’s made of
remember your polestar
and above all
share the nourishing light

nur is Arabic for divine light. My first teacher, who died twenty years ago, always described it as unmanifest light.

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.

leaving it all

leaving it all

note to self

Here is a villanelle, a French form established in the sixteenth century
that uses meter, rhyme, and a specific pattern of repeated lines.
This, my first attempt ever, is written in pentameter.

sometimes I long to simply take high flight
to leave this crooked world behind, alone
and reach in deep for purest, clearest light

it’s madness here—the mean and righteous fight
they grab and push and nab the richest bone
sometimes I long to simply take high flight

and flee this place at dawn or plushest night
seek peace elsewhere, a place that is unknown
and reach in deep for purest, clearest light

to watch all suffering souls, their dreadful plight
it hurts my heart and makes me feel like stone
sometimes I long to simply take high flight

to soar, and bank, to find the broadest sight
and then unearth the place that’s my true home
and reach in deep for purest, clearest light

how will I find the strength for loft and height
so courage, love, and beauty may atone?
sometimes I long to simply take high flight
and reach in deep for purest, clearest light

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.