Writing poetry comes and goes for me. Some days or months I find myself inclined to write many poems. Sometimes I don't write anything except journal entries, which tend to be smatterings of lines or thoughts without any context.
Last week, I spent the afternoon in my yard. It was a spectacular day and I realized that it was the first time in weeks I was simply able to sit outside without forty other things to do. No running around on errands, no yard work at my house or my parents', no chores to do, no appointments for the day. I had bonafide free time, and I chose to spend it writing poetry.
I've been thinking a lot lately about past lives and why I sometimes remember little snippets of things that have no basis in this actual life now. It's an odd sensation, as if I have these faded, worn out memories of places I've never actually been or people I know I've never met. I'm processing all of this for two new book projects. Both are vastly different in scope but touch on some of the same ideas about the purpose of life, guides and guardian angels, and memories. I promise to share more than I can. But for now, here is the poem that found me on that lazy afternoon:
Stillness, that elusive creature all shadowed and shy
sets down beside me for a visit while
the dogs sleep in the afternoon sun.
And I wonder what it would take to touch the quiet,
to feel its slippery scales cool and vibrating
with everything said and unsaid,
all that is lived and not lived,
all that might be regretted for not knowing fully.
If there is a way to slide sideways back into myself,
my lessons yet unlearned, my hopes still unspoken,
perhaps stillness can show me the way
beyond the expected and the mundane,
behind the rules and responsibility,
the steady drumbeat of days
passing by without any notice or remembrance.
Because here in this place where the summer breeze
blows fragrant yellow iris petals upward towards the blue beyond,
I remember that sometime in another life,
I had a sibling who was strong and calm, steadfast and honest.
And I vaguely remember leaning against my older brother
as the evening sun set, finally knowing myself half of a whole,
part of something larger than myself,
inside the stillness of the oncoming night.