ode to everyday things

ode to everyday things

one dawn
I spilt my mug
mocha sloshed
onto my special
ergonomic keyboard—
coffee, milk, chocolate
all leaking in

the dash to save it
mopping fast
stubbed cotton
swabs into corners
relief when
fingers typed
and letters appeared

I smooth my hands
over those keys
stroke my travel mug
—lid now screwed on

oh! the utility of
everyday things—
each object
praiseworthy
a miracle of
functional beauty

2023 ©Amrita Skye Blaine
I’m writing a poem a day. These are drafts—not final versions.

cathedral – a pantoum

The pantoum is a poetic form originating in 15th century Malaysia that uses repetition. It’s a poem of any length composed of four-line stanzas in which the second and fourth lines of each stanza serve as the first and third lines of the next stanza. The final stanza is often two lines from the first stanza.

cathedrala pantoum

my inner sanctuary
the cathedral of words
part statement of intent
part prayer or supplication

the cathedral of words
if I’m still I can find them
part prayer or supplication
pouring from the wordless

if I’m still I can find them
and write myself awake
they pour from the wordless
to convey what is empty

I write myself awake
find what wants revealing
try to convey what is empty
yet is seen on the page

part prayer or supplication
my inner sanctuary

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

laboring for a gift

The Shakers believed that they received their arts as gifts from the spiritual world. Persons who strove to become receptive of songs, dances, paintings, and so forth were said to be “laboring for a gift,” and the works that they created circulated as gifts within the community. Shaker artists were known as “instruments”; we know only a few of their names, for in general it was forbidden that they be known to any but the church elders.

laboring for a gift

these poems, where
do they come from?
they pour through
from the unseen—
startle and surprise
the poet perhaps
more than the reader
that’s the delight
the astonishment
the jolt, the awe

when the poet
shows up every dawn
ready to listen
prepared to receive
the flow increases—
every day? people ask
every day
rhythm, constancy
are required—
that’s the laboring
the gift is
being in service

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

the question

the question

age eleven

dark of the moon
chill air nipped
her bare neck
she lay on
new-mown grass
it’s familiar balm
enveloping her
as she stared at the
black sea of stars
flaming dots of
awakening that
stretched to
the end of time
what made this
intelligent wild
unexpected array?

not where she looked
maybe there were
no answers
which curled her gut
how can a tiny
dot understand
what it lives inside of?
she had to know—
didn’t understand
the search carried her
farther, away—
till an inward
turn and the solitary
walk toward home

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

leavetaking – a pantoum

The pantoum is a poetic form originating in 15th century Malaysia that uses lots of repetition. It’s a poem of any length composed of four-line stanzas in which the second and fourth lines of each stanza serve as the first and third lines of the next stanza. The repeated lines may have subtle changes that shift the meaning. The final stanza is often two lines from the first stanza.

leavetakinga pantoum

eventually, even stars sputter out
gray whales and the tiniest mouse
we all have an allotted span—
what to make of this earthly time?

gray whales and the tiniest mouse
no choice, we all are called home
how to parse this earthly time?
it’s both precious and doesn’t matter

there’s no choice; we all return home
we leave and arrive, leave and arrive
it’s precious and has no meaning
can you celebrate your homecoming?

we arrive and leave, arrive and leave
the schedule is not of our making
can you celebrate your leavetaking?
your return to the deepest home?

we all have an allotted span
eventually, even stars sputter out

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

weave words into light

weave words into light
note from self

this is her task
and her joy—
be still and weave
words into light

open a groove
wipe away
cobwebs, whisk
out the dust

tune the heart—
clearing is key
to weave light
into words

now, wait

urging won’t work
tempt them in
the merest hint
follow that trace

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

the thread

First, a comment about process. I don’t know where these poems come from. What a mystery! I stare at the screen and wait. Usually it’s the middle of the night. If I wait long enough, feel deeply enough, something generally happens. Pondering what I’ve just written, I fiddle. A lot. I refine words, try different line breaks, should it have stanzas? Must I turn it upside down? It’s not lonely work, but it is work alone. Eventually, my body says, “Stop.”

Some poems are a wrestling match, and I return again and again for days. Weeks. Longer. Others show up and I’m satisfied with the form. It says what I intended. Some are strange, and I think, “What is this?”

If you’re a poet, what’s your process? Please share in the comments. I’m curious to know.

the thread

note to self

you were young when
you noticed the end
curious, you picked it up
fine—gossamer, even
tugging might snap it, so you
followed the garnet silk instead—
over under around and through
—then you dropped it

in the myth of
Ariadne and Theseus,
he found his way through
the labyrinth home—
an arduous journey, by
following a slender red thread

diligent, moving with care
you sought the thread’s
end that you’d lost—
a few years passed
finally, there it was!
in lush, native terrain
you picked it up again, faithful
to the path it announced—you too
remembered your way home

this day

this day

this day begins thick-eyed
poems stripped sleep
at midnight, slipped into
bed at two—writing hours
where’d they go?
fruitful with not much on
the page—exercised the
muscle, stretched and feinted
words and phrases deleted
added moved deleted again—
in the morning
a homemade mocha
jumpstarts the engine
thank heavens I don’t have to
explain myself, but if I did
a shrug of the shoulders
this is how it is
expand and pare, expand and
pare until finally, it can rest—
until tomorrow

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.

ravished

ravished

okay, it’s true
I’m ravished by poems.
lines brush me awake at
twelve, one, two
if I resist getting up, they’ve
vanished by dawn.
gone. I’m left bereft

words stalk, draw me
from bed—most every
night now—a phrase
threads through me
like tendrils of dreams,
shakes me and won’t let go
until they find their home

here on the page.
I’ve given up
no more withholding.
words, have your way
confide to my heart
pry me open
play me, your flute

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.

stubborn heart

I posted the same poem twice last night. Sorry!

stubborn heart

note to self

I suffer a stubborn heart
hard wood grows slowly
this hickory didn’t flower
until leaning into old
but it’s nice here
if I overlook aches and
pains, insomnia and such

and take a risk
give myself a chilla
—a challenge—
at this phase in life
just do it
meet that urge
no room for reticence
commit my stubborn heart
think of it as steadfast
abiding and resolute
nourish it with time
respect
courage
I hear my mother’s voice
use your 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.