Here in the place of my youth (2)

Here in the place of my youth
My muscles unknot
Joints easing spine lengthening brow unfolding like a lotus
Years running off me like rainwater –
Brain quicksilver and fertile
Adult teeth dormant, actors waiting in the wings
Feet flashing and chubby legs pumping
Lungs full of bright air
As I run, joyous,
From one kingdom to another
Here the queen
There the jester
Another, the destrier with silken mane and flared nostrils
    who goes, noble, to defeat or victory
Leaping forward and on until the dusk,
That quiet shepherd of my days,
Herds me gently towards home
Under streetlights waking one by one
Along cooling pavement
Past cars, ticking and settling as they shed the day’s exertions
Slower now, feet dragging
Limbs weighted with the beginning of weariness
Watching the blinking dance of fireflies
Smelling the grassy, cooling earth
Hearing other screen doors slam behind their charges
Then quickly, propelled by the warning whine of mosquitos,
I slip through the door and pull it shut
And arrive, a stranger
    with the scent of the wild world still on me
Into this pocket of yellow lamplight
And laughter
And the warm smell of dinner curling
Like a halo
About my head.

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell


Here in the place of my youth (1)

Here in the place of my youth
My roots draw deep
And the earth is dark, and moist, and nourishing
Here I am most myself
Most connected with a lost past
Here I feel my strength
Rising in me like courage
Like joy
Here the wind brings a secret knowledge
And sunlight, instead of burning
Is brilliant hot wine
Warming as wassail
Bracing like brandy
Here, time is an unfinished story
Slowly unfolding its measured loops
Revealing only parts of the whole

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

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 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 8: Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Empty spaces inside
Where love once lived
Empty spaces in the walls
Where once there were jewels,
Pried out and plundered
By the grasping hands of colonialism
I queue with crowds
To walk past and through
Hearing their careless chatter,
The click of cell phone cameras,
The snapping of bubble gum
But time lies heavy in these places
A sense of self pervades them
And above us, I hear
The clap and flutter of birds’ wings
In the empty cavities of the ceiling
And this sound brings me
An understanding
A glimmer of imagination
Of what once must have been.
Instead of today’s hot, pressed flatness
Once there was music
And the gurgling of water
A cool breeze from the river
And the perfumes of courtiers
I imagine a cool, green space
Filled with sacred silence
And with beauty
And the resonant flight of birds
A place defiant in the face of time
And the alteration that time brings
To all things.

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Poetry Month, Day 4: Coventry


Time’s immortal flesh laid bare
In smoking ruins and tattered rock
Layered beneath the current moment, hints of sounds
Echoing a past destroyed
Echoes on stone, on wood, and iron
Echoes in smoke once sacred, now profane
Echoes of music, devotions, measured footsteps
Echoes of the tears of centuries
        blood of craftsmen
        dreams of proud men
Burnt to rubble.
Yet those telltales whisper on
And find their kin in my soul,
And in the sound of sun-blessed children’s laughter playing among the ruins.

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

Before the bombing

After the Blitz

Coventry’s “old” St. Michael’s cathedral now

In Pictures, Coventry Cathedral’s Stained Glass