birdsong

we recently lost a friend to cancer, a death that prompted a number of close-to-the-bone poems for me. some so close that I don’t feel like I can share them without causing pain to her family. perhaps this, about a dinner we shared with her husband along the way, might touch on it without going too far…

 

raptor

 

he should get out some, she said, but how?

out of what? into what? knowing as we do

 

that her disease

is consuming their lives together.

 

that she’s at home slowly dying

while we sit here, sharing a meal.

 

we spend the evening speaking of birds

of the intelligence of crows.

 

of how she would watch the eagles

over the lake hunting the ducks.

 

of how she always sided with the ducks

though they rarely survived the attack.

 

of how birdsong at morning

differs profoundly from the songs of evening.

 

of how darkness seems to swoop down

and swallow the final notes.

 

of how in the deepest dark of night

countless birds are said to pass overhead

 

through the highest of heavens,

following the ancient ways north, and then south

 

and then north again. of how this migration

of souls passes completely unseen.

 

of how, in the end, there is so very much

that each of us must ultimately take on faith.

 

 

© 2018 jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

 

 

Wild is

frost

Wild is

(on the last flocks of November)

wild is small sharp sounds
rising through black, bare-limbed trees

wild is the weak
slant-light of morning

wild is uninvited, intrusive
discordant

wild is sudden

wild is imperative, urgent

wild is now and now
and now again

wild is a restlessness
a knowing
a coming together

wild is long fluid lines
spilling across an azure sky

wild is ragged and unstable

wild is perpetually adapting

wild is a fathomless
round eye

wild is feathers and fat,
muscle and hollow bones

wild is the cry of the straggler
desperate to catch up

wild is the cold hard fate
of those left behind

wild is thousands of wings

wild is the flock rising as one
over stubbled fields

wild is the wind

wild is the coming storm

wild is the snow
falling now in silence

to sanctify this precious

darkening world

 

 

© 2016 jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

chilidish things

 I was walking in a bookstore when the phrase, “we always believed that she could fly” came into my mind, loudly.  That night, a poem arose.  The details are from my mother’s memorial….

 

tombstone, child's grave

detail of weathered tombstone, barnett, VT

 

 

chilidish things 

 

we stood in a circle about the grave

some read poems and some

 

chose silence. the funeral director

placed her ashes into the hole

 

while redwing blackbirds sang

in the fields. we always assumed

 

that she could fly, but then we

were only children, eager to cling

 

to childish things

 

 

 

©jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

Spring in the Wasatch

Two untitled pieces from a spring afternoon in the mountains

 

(after dogen…)

 

one day while out

walking, the mountain may turn

and hand you your heart –

here

this is your heart, don’t lose it

near here lies the road

home

 

Image

 

a cloudless blue sky holding the mountain

countless

 

winged fairies

from the cottonwoods

 

dancing, swirling, the profound

wealth

 

of immeasurable

blossoms on the old crab apple

 

all the small birds have returned

bringing a smooth

 

southerly breeze, well being

beyond words

Centennial, Part 3- homeless in america

Image

homeless in america

we imagine we were born

here. if home is where the heart is

then why are we so anxious

to leave? why can we see it only

once we’ve gone?  it’s not about walls

and floors, windows and things. america

is a place of coming to, not from, the land

of the rootless. we roll across this landscape

like dunes stepping along a shore. we

are the forgetting ones, the ones who’ve left

are leaving, will leave- homelessness

the scourge of our age; even the cleanest

among us sleeps under a bridge

of his own imagining.

we are late to this land

if you’re white, you’re not from here

where did you come from, where

will you go? so little time to build anything

of consequence. the land is indifferent

the land can wait us out

the lakes in this valley are shallow and wide

like the valley itself. the swans come here to nest

blowing primordial trumpets. in the fall

the ragged V’s of their white bodies press hard

into high white clouds, their trumpets echoing

across the valley. the young birds need to fly

after months of rest, to rebuild their strength.

the birds remember. soon, they will rise as one

body, will rise white against white clouds

will rise up and over the white snows

of the passes, and be gone. somehow

they have always known precisely

where they belong. and for this

we must surely envy them

©J.A. Fink/Oldbonesnewsnow.com 2013