IMAGINE A TREE

Melissa Shaw-Smith

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Multi-chambered
fortress, tree house, throne
toe holder, ship’s mast
staircase to the heavens
galleon of the woods above
tentacle crawling roots below
battle scarred silver hide
xylem and phloem
carrying fingerprints
of centuries, absorbing
earth and air, detritus
one fleeting moment of many
flickering image—
ghost at the back of an eyelid—
the chestnut mare
scratching her rump
against a beech sapling
green with fast flowing growth
on a June evening
in a cloud of golden gnats
and her tail swishing
from side to side
the memory ingrained
in a low-slung limb
a moss saddled horse.

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EARTH SLUMBER

I don’t often visit cold places so it is interesting to read of winter at Melissa’s incredible blog.

Melissa Shaw-Smith

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I climbed the steep gully,
A cathedral of blue
Winter sky above me,
The sound of the hidden
Stream rilling and gurgling in my ears.

My footsteps criss-crossed
The busy pathways
Of mink and weasel—
Soft divets scooped
Where they belly slid
Down the banks,
Tracks suddenly disappearing
Into a perfect O of snow.

I paused to catch my breath
And listen to the sparse oak leaves,
Rattling ineffectually
At the wonderful clear silence.
How gratifying to be
In such a pure and simple landscape.

I could feel the earth slumbering
Under her coverlet of snow,
And see her graceful, full curved hip
Thrown carelessly across the valley.
Her languid, dimpled arm
Draped over the ridge,
Head resting, forehead kissing
The bank of the stream
As though peering through
Marbled ice at the
Rivulet of bubbles
Slipping along below.
And there before me
Her wide smooth rump
Thrust skyward
For…

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HEALING

Love this poem from Melissa. Go check out her sensitive poems and mesmerising photography.

Melissa Shaw-Smith

DSCF7174Like a fishing heron
I will stand on one leg
And wait
For the healing to begin.

It starts deep inside
The silent knitting together
Of cells and tissues
Into an intricate suspension bridge
Spanning the wound

Slowly
The restorative mind fixes its beam
On the hotspot
Tapping the reserves
Of sunlight and music
Channeling the resources
Of tea and compassion
The balm of small feats mustered

It is a balancing act
A resolution
To keep the self-pity genie
Stoppered in its bottle

Regeneration
A humbling of the spirit
A discovery that strength and patience
Are one and the same.

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Winter Sounds 1

I wanted to share this poem focusing on ‘sound’ for all those poets visiting this space who want more examples of how to use it well. I visit Melissa Shaw-Smith’s blog regularly to catch up with her profound poetry and photography. Thanks so much for permission to reblog. I encourage you to visit her blog and read and view her work.

Melissa Shaw-Smith

IMG_8222I close my eyes and listen
To the impeccable silence of a January day.
Only it isn’t silence,
Just absence of human noise—
Except for that one small propeller plane
Droning across the blue sky.
The breath-fogging air is filled with bright pockets of sound.
In front of me the rapid flutter of chickadee wings,
Followed by a shrill chirp announcing safe arrival in the spirea bush.
Behind me a hairy woodpecker’s rhythmic rapping
Up and down the trunk of the maple,
Probing for insect larvae stunned into stillness by the cold.
Above, one long keening call from a red-tailed hawk,
A triplet of croaks from a raven,
Their swirling flight paths intersecting over my head.
In my right ear, a squirrel rasping the shell off a black walnut,
In my left, the wind riffling through a cluster of persistent oak leaves.
And let’s not forget the cat,
Mewing around…

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