Tag Archives: joy

Postcard

“Postcard”
by Olena Kalytiak Davis

Lately, I am capable only of small things.

Is it enough
to feel the heart swimming?

Jim is fine. Our first
garden is thick with spinach
& white radish. Strangely,
it is summer

but also winter & fall.

In response to your asking:
I fill the hours
then lick them shut.

Today, not a single word, but the birds
quietly nodding
as if someone had suggested
moving on.

What is that perfect thing
some one who once believed in god said?

Please don’t misunderstand:
We still suffer, but we are
happy.

The Dance

For Swap-bot, I joined a project that required writing a sestina.

According to the Academy of American Poets:

“The sestina follows a strict pattern of the repetition of the initial six end-words of the first stanza through the remaining five six-line stanzas, culminating in a three-line envoi. The lines may be of any length, though in its initial incarnation, the sestina followed a syllabic restriction. The form is as follows, where each numeral indicates the stanza position and the letters represent end-words:

ABCDEF
FAEBDC
CFDABE
ECBFAD
DEACFB
BDFECA
(envoi)(tercet) BE. DC. FA.
The envoi, a tercet, must contain two of the repeated words per line.”

So, here is what created itself within me.

The Dance

There I stood, waiting for the express
While pondering ways to renew
my flagging spirit, which struggled to climb
life’s mounting challenges, when I saw you, serene,
your hands moving in the air, a kind of dance —
the glorious joy on your face making you rich.

Gazing around, I noticed the world’s colors were rich.
In each person I sensed the soul’s desire to express,
to enter into the dance.
I felt that I could summon the energy to renew
and make myself serene
like an arbor trellis with those roses that climb.

To reach far, to stretch toward goals that require I climb —
this makes life worthwhile, and I feel rich.
In these moments, my heart beats serene.
I vibrate with life and tremble to express,
to evolve, to embrace impermanence and thus renew
life’s eternal dance.

So, which steps will we choose to dance?
Will it be the hustle, the two-step, the fandango climb?
Or maybe a slow waltz, to allow our breathing to renew
while rhythmically moving to the beat, slow and rich.
Perhaps we will lean in to share a kiss, to express
what tantalizes us as we attempt to appear serene.

We might do this under the silver light of the moon, serene
in the movement of the dance
and the people watching — their murmurs will express
how desire steeps, distills, intensifies, like the climb
of mercury trapped in a glass tube, the red rich
like blood, like the lungs give oxygen to renew.

And after we untwine ourselves, we turn within to renew
the relationship with the One who never leaves, the serene
companion who understands money does not make one rich;
nor does having it guarantee an invitation to the dance
and that life is often one painful, slogging climb
to an illusory summit that cannot contain all we express.

The koan: how to renew attention, surrender to the dance
or rest serene, no longer compelled to grasp or climb,
sitting in life’s rich mystery, waiting on emptiness to express.

–Kathryn Harper

dancers

Excursion

Excursion

Saturday wakes to the scent
of burnt toast wafting through
rattling Venetian-blind palms as
the gonging mission bell cuts
my sleep-hazed mind and
I cross Mercy Street watching

blacktop roses bowing to the
gentle breeze, walk with
lopsided longing toward the kazoo

hum of the Farmer’s Market,
where a blind troubadour sporting
tattoos on her arms courts

seekers and idlers with her
church-bell voice, a
farmer hawks Yukon golds

as if they were treasure.
Beyond these nuggets, past
the fruit waiting patiently as

people nibble nuts, savor honey,
bargain with vendors, the spicy
orange day beckons to me.

–Kathryn Harper