Poetry Month, Day 30: Evening


On a cool, sweet evening
Watching the darkness fall around the woods
Watching the mist rise to meet it
I can imagine what my ancestors must have felt
At the end of the day
Hearing their horses chomping and stomping
Or the soft, lambent call
Of the breeze, dying
Amongst the branches.
As I watch the shadows condense,
A dark, wild mystery grows
Sheltered or hiding
Beneath the spreading boughs
Ready to crouch
To spring
To spread across the land,
Hills and dells and dusky silence
Covered in the deep tide of the dark
Shifting into sleep
Beneath the waking stars

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell


Poetry Month, Day 29: Concubine



She sits by the cool fountain
And waits
Waiting for luck, for fate
For her purpose to become clear
She entered this house as a child
Winsome of manner and with dark hair and eyes
Like the night, they said,
Like the moon in shadow.
She learned many things
Many arts and graces
All to one end
One destiny
To attract, to hold, to bring into being a dream
However, the years have passed
And the dream is still a mystery.
She has been expertly packaged
Scented, oiled and polished
Adorned with beautiful garments
And priceless jewels
For an interlude that never occurs
So she waits
Her hours, days, and years
Marked off by the soft murmur of pigeons
Whose wings have been clipped
Prisoner as she is prisoner
She is fallow
She is waiting
She is empty
Of all but purpose and training.
She would hope, but she does not think that would help
Besides, she does not understand how.
She was taught to dance, to converse, to play an instrument and sing
She was taught many secret skills
She was never taught that
Hope is its own reward;
Hope is not her purpose.
Hope is not her destiny.
She must become.

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

Poetry Month, Day 28: Earthquake


Apparently today
Around noon
The earth shook.
I was out walking the dog
Or working in the garden
Or simply being dense
And completely failed to notice
That the stable ground beneath me
Broke free,
Swung for a moment,
And danced like a clogger at a Thursday evening social.
I had to be told by neighbors
Who recounted
How hard the glasses rattled
How they clutched at the stove for balance
How the house trembled.
I passed through it
Of the remaking of the world around me
Our old globe shifting her skin
Like an arthritic dog settling in his blankets.
I wonder, when the tremor was over,
Did she sigh in the same way –
Sigh and then relax again into stillness?
Or is she still poised for another shift
Not quite comfortable yet
Not quite ready for sleep
I have noted before
How I seem to stand aside at most events
Sometimes not feeling the same emotions as everyone else
Sometimes just watching the nuances
And I’m usually the one, as the outsider, telling the story
Painting pictures of my observations.
In this case, I’m the one
Without a story
Because somehow,
I failed to have the experience
My peers were having.
For me, today was just
A normal day.

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

Poetry Month, Day 26: Interstices


How many times have I filled in the blanks
Supplied the responses
Created the conversations
That I needed to have with people
When I lacked the courage
Or will
Or opportunity
To have that conversation properly?
And how many decisions have I made,
Based on impressions formed
In the vacuum
Of my own fears?
How much of my life’s “solid” framework
Is built on shifting suppositions and guesses?

Poetry Month, Day 25: Joy


There is joy
in the smell of warm earth
and the feel of it underfoot

There is comfort
in the press of hot sun
on my downturned head and working shoulders

There is redemption
in turning the soil
in pots that held only death

There is benediction
in the caress of cool breeze
lifting my hair from my neck

There is victory
in reclaiming a garden
neglected and forgotten during the death of my marriage

Now there will be life
Now there will be beauty
Now there will be joy


Poetry Month, Day 24: Let


Please don’t sit across the table
And say that
You “could never let
Your husband do to you
What my ex did to me”
As though it were a thing I had approved
–As though the murder victim
The murderer
To select the knife.
I was not complicit in anything
Except trying to make my marriage work.
Trying to meet him halfway.
Trying to see him through a difficult time,
Hoping it was a phase that would pass.
When I found out the price
Of complaisance,
I left.
(Can you approve of me now?
But I didn’t do it for you, or for any outside observer.)
Your choices might not be the same as mine
In a particular situation –
But that does not mean
That mine were wrong
Or that I
Through some lack of will
Or of vision
Or of self-respect.
I don’t need or want your contempt
In its mask of concern.
Keep it for yourself
For the day you realize
You’ve let something happen
To you.

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

Poetry Month, Day 23: Tool/Weapon


It occurs to me that I
Am afraid to hope,
Lest I get hurt.
When did I learn to fear hope?
When did hope become a knife
Too sharp for me to touch,
Too dangerous for me to trust?
When did I decide
I was too inept
Too stupid
Not worthy
Of hope?
I always thought of hope as a gift
But now I see it as a tool
That can also be used as a weapon.

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell