April 11

On Falling (Blue Spruce)
by Joanna Klink

Dusk fell every night. Things
fall. Why should I
have been surprised.

Before it was possible
to imagine my life
without it, the winds

arrived, shattering air
and pulling the tree
so far back its roots,

ninety years, ripped
and sprung. I think
as it fell it became

unknowable. Every day
of my life now I cannot
understand. The force

of dual winds lifting
ninety years of stillness
as if it were nothing,

as if it hadn’t held every
crow and fog, emptying
night from its branches.

The needles fell. The pinecones
dropped every hour
on my porch, a constant

irritation. It is enough
that we crave objects,
that we are always

looking for a way
out of pain. What is beyond
task and future sits right

before us, endlessly
worthy. I have planted
a linden, with its delicate

clean angles, on a plot
one tenth the size. Some change
is too great.

Somewhere there is a field,
white and quiet, where a tree
like this one stands,

made entirely of
hovering. Nothing will
hold me up like that again.

…………………………………….

Cornfields

The silky sound
of whirring bicycle spokes
gave us wings to trace the Loire
that afternoon in France.

As we tucked into a picnic,
a passerby called Bonjour, la jeunesse!
Hello, young folks!
We passed horses,
centuries-old churches,
patchwork gardens.
On our return,
the cornfields we rode through
held onto afternoon light
opening a golden dimension
that defied sunset.

Arriving home,
I looked out over the darkened square
from my fourth-floor skylight,
and even while we slept,
something in us still traveled.

-Jenny Crakes

April 10

“Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.”

-from “Up-Hill” by Christina Rossetti

………………………….

Ari’s Chicks

One is now singing
from inside its egg.

She leaves a newly hatched one
in the incubator
to help coax it out.

The others nap
in their food bowl
and tip into the water bowl;
it’s spa day.
Some are picture-book yellow;
others mottled like ducklings
or striped like skunks.

Tragedy of one
that didn’t take in its yolk –
she freezes the small body to show
the students.

From forty eggs,
twenty hatchlings.
Light as a letter,
they can already raise their voices loud enough
to be heard above the class.
There’s something enchanting
about life on this scale –
all clustered
below a carefully suspended heat lamp –
their winter sun.

-Jenny Crakes

April 9

To make a prairie
By Emily Dickinson

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee.
And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.

………………………

Dawn
This morning the plains remember cretaceous seas.
Trees swathed in ice turn to white coral,
fog lingers in a trace of salt.

-Jenny Crakes

April 8

“You have to understand, when it
hurt to love her,
it hurt the way the light hurts
your eyes in the middle
of the night.

But I had to see.”
-Andrea Gibson

…………………

Inipi

Thanks to Henry Quick Bear and friends on the Rosebud Reservation for allowing me to visit this ceremony.

The women entered first,
our knees nearly touching
under the low circle of lodge poles.
At first, I was afraid
I couldn’t breathe.
The closing of the door flaps
made each sensation more immediate:
the dark steam,
clack of rocks and hiss of water,
scent of burning sage,
drumbeats and song.
My fingertips
sought out the melting snow
on the edge of our shelter.
Time slipped away,
and between each round
the men opened the flaps
to welcome the sudden winter sun,
offer prayers for our students and each other.
We learned to bend our heads
and seek cool air
low, against the earth.

-Jenny Crakes

April 7

“i was made heavy
half blade and half silk
difficult to forget but
not easy for the mind to follow”
-Rupi Kaur

…………………………….

Watch Out For The Night Bus

On a night bus from Paris to London,
the Englishman stole the Frenchman’s window seat
after we disembarked at the border.
They stood arguing,
puffed with patriotic pride,
until the ultimatum: “If you don’t move,
this bus will never go to London!”
We Americans were afraid
one might be packing heat,
but instead, the conductor stalked down the aisle,
roared, “Sit down, messieurs!”
and they did.

-Jenny Crakes

April 6

To All the Girls with Heavy Names
By Elizabet Velasquez

Correct them
when they say your name wrong

then

watch their tongue stumble
over it’s own discomfort

as it tries to find its footing
on a land it cannot steal.

…………………………….

Exacting

Have you ever seen
a carpenter cut bread?
It is a mark of pride
to leave a perfectly straight angle
as if you could build a house of slices.

-Jenny Crakes

April 5

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”

-from “Anthem” by Leonard Cohen

……………………………..

Outside Wind Cave

buffalo grazed
a few steps from our bus,
skin patterned like continents
on an old parchment map.

We’d climbed inside the earth,
seen the light of one candle,
heard the Lakota creation story.

After we emerged,
they, solid and weathered,
paid us no more notice
than a tumbleweed.
Kids stretched their arms
out the windows
as we drove slowly by.

-Jenny Crakes

April 4

Wild nights – Wild Nights!(269)
By Emily Dickinson

Wild nights – Wild nights!
Were I with thee
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile – the winds –
To a Heart in port –
Done with the Compass –
Done with the Chart!

Rowing in Eden –
Ah – the Sea!
Might I but moor – tonight –

In thee!

………………….

Storm at Sea

I am in the eye of the storm
piecing a quilt with three colors.
Needles flash lightning
and whitecaps mount
over sky blue and navy waves.
Once it is finished,
the storm will blanket our sleep.

-Jenny Crakes

April 3

“I think of that walk in the valley where
J said, You don’t believe in God? And I said,
No. I believe in this connection we all have
to nature, to each other, to the universe.
And she said, Yeah, God. And how we stood there,
low beasts among the white oaks, Spanish moss,
and spider webs, obsidian shards stuck in our pockets,
woodpecker flurry, and I refused to call it so.”
-from “What It Looks Like To Us and the Words We Use” by Ada Limón

……………………

The Satisfaction of Eating Round Things
Dumpling planets swirling
in the solar system of a soup pot –
each a world
you can sink your teeth into.

-Jenny Crakes

April 2

To Know the Dark
By Wendell Berry

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

………………………………..

Balconies and Lamplight

When we wrapped up a play,
we’d celebrate
until three in the morning,
leaving someone’s dance-filled living room
for fresh, icy air on the balcony.
Walking home, we’d look back to wave
at the hardiest midnight philosophers
amid circles of lamplight.

Today on my balcony
there is snow, blue light
and a quiet wind.

-Jenny Crakes