the test

the test
1974

infant son
malformed heart
callous docs
severe surgeries
wailing baby
life, a hard cushion

she was pushed
to notice the good—
so many gratitudes!
hot tub’s warm embrace
hound’s comforting nudge
her little boy’s hug

noting grace became
her way—she learned to
heed life’s finespun
palette—delicate
melding from one
soft hue to another

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

the bud

the bud

before she could talk
her heart a tight bud
not like a rose bullet
refusing to bloom
this needed touch
refuge required
to begin to unfurl

two decades went by
until she left home
found a heart tribe
where she could fit in
under kind care
the heartwork began

fifty years later
her heart’s open flower
she shares her abundance
with those nearby
they all grow a garden
awash in warm blossom
and have made a
brilliant bouquet

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

the light of pure knowing

the light of pure knowing
note from self

her heart is called
by the shoreless light
she can’t feel it
or touch it
or see it
but apprehends
it is prior to all she
can know—she
rests in aplomb
notices how light
underpins and supports—
solace in thick times and
her ground of being
she is made of this light
it pours through and
around her—
it does this for all

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

wail into the abyss

at age thirteen

wail into the abyss

deep in the Colorado
canyon, I let loose a howl
it ricocheted from
wall to wall

kin answered—
six legs between us
coyote sister, reedy
yips declare interest

back and forth
loneliness in
conversation
testing the air

friend? rival?
adversary?
fraud, exposed?
unsure, we took

our solitary paths
but a fragrance
remained between us—
I was outlander, not foe

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.

collateral beauty

collateral beauty

note to self

I look for it everywhere
only way to stay sane
today, it’s apricot aloe vera
the pompous blooms
dot our garden
my friend the squirrel
sleek and springtime fat
keeps me company
dances on the fence
while I write
jasmine! saturating the air
eager children on tiptoe
search books in the
little free library my
husband built
it matches our home
what a playful surprise
it takes daily tending
remove extra books
sometimes it’s stuffed to
overflow
fill empty slots
the neatening grounds me
in collateral beauty
delight erupts
take note
drink it in
let it nourish you

share

thank you Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer 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.

broken and beautiful

broken and beautiful

note to self

oh my God, we are
broken and beautiful
every one of us
admit it or not
“we” includes
bright California poppies
filled with sunshine,
thief in broad daylight,
a knee-shaking kiss,
the rooster shagging
hens in the field,
incessant barking dog

how can it be like this?

how can it not?

our world is
kintsugi, broken—
an earthy bowl
lovingly repaired with
rivers of gold
again
again
and again

thank you Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer for the title.

home!

My family is home, with power on in both locations. Perhaps the worst is over–for us. It’s clear others are still at risk, and I pray for their safety and their animals as well. I am deeply thankful to the firefighters who risk their lives protecting ours and our property.

Remaining wholly in the present made it possible to move through this time without debilitating anxiety. I only suffered those first minutes after the evacuation order came, waking me from uneasy sleep. Then I pulled out my metaphorical toolbox and put it to use.

Concern, of course. Planning, of course. We need the mind to navigate life. Distress is different–it takes an already difficult situation and makes it unbearable. Anxiety of that kind haunted me for decades until this understanding took root: emotional suffering is optional. It is not necessary when we embody where to take our stand, as the pure awareness that we are.

checking the news

Here’s a form of perseverating–I can’t stop the urge to check the news for fire and air quality updates. Even during retreat meetings I’m aware of the pull, which I resist. My phone is turned off during our gatherings.

Of course, when I do check at meal times, it’s frustrating because there is no new news, only rehashing what we already know, although air quality shifts rapidly when wind direction changes.

My job: remain centered here and now, notice when the mind wants to leap into a nonexistent future. There’s no way to know, and “what might happen” isn’t a healthy place for me to spend time.

I’m grateful to be with 170 like-hearted souls, exploring the margins of human understanding and noticing our direct experience.

 

precious hearts

I am enfolded in the embrace of precious hearts now–some old friends, some I’m meeting for the first time. This is day one of my eleventh week-long retreat. Only once have I met a complaining, shut-down soul in this community. She frowned and fussed about the dinner which had been prepared for us with love and patience–including gluten-free choices for those with special dietary needs. I noticed her dedication to her special brand of misery and silently wished her well. I have not seen her since.

These friends have special qualities: curiosity, inclusive kindness, generosity, and open-heartedness; audacity to voice confusion in front of 135 people; willingness to drop beliefs that no longer serve, courage to sit in a state of not knowing. I would trust my life to any one of these folk. They are not related by blood, but they are my closest kin.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2017
the sunset heart photo can be freely shared