i despise “bliss”…

and those narcissistic bores,

who search for it

in their perfect career, coffee,

or gluten-free casserole…

 

but then i ask

“what’s with me

again the scowler

so unblissed?”

 

and remember my love

of comforting babies my wish

to become mythic grandfather —

to hold sick ones, the wounded,

the frightened,

enfold them with lullabies

rock them as they fall asleep

into my arms slowly curling

 

Guest Poet: Erin Robertson (2)

(Please note: I am re-posting this page because I originally entered Erin’s last name incorrectly, which set up an incorrect URL for the page. I left up the original page so you can read comments that responders had made to her poems. But this re-post will have the correct URL. Please make your comments on this page. My sincere apologies to Erin.)

I want to introduce you to Erin Robertson.

Erin likes hearing people’s stories, backpacking, writing (especially poetry), getting her hands in the dirt, spending time with children, and listening to music better than most things.  She lives in Louisville, Colorado with her remarkable husband and two sons.  Her work won a First Place in the 2016 Michael Adams Poetry Prize, has been performed as choral works by Ars Nova Singers, and was included in the 2015 Art Inspired by the Land show at the Boulder Public Library.  You can read more of her poetry in the anthology MycoEpithalamia:  Mushroom Wedding Poems, in FUNGI Magazine, and on her website:  erinrobertson.org.

The two poems below show why I am so impressed with her work. I’m sure she would appreciate your comments.

MSO

The raptor lady warned us owls are dim

but I’ve no sense of that here in the canyon,

my back to the rough, cold rock,

craning to see each fluffed

brown-and-cream pineconey feather,

that impossibly prim slim half-moon of hornlike beak,

the quizzical grizzled white stubble shooting out of the inner eye corners,

the oh-so-slow unperturbed motion: parting eye, retracting lid,

until one deep brown orb takes you in for a moment,

languidly;

and there you are,

considering each other,

drawn in by that intelligent chestnut pool,

seen,

magnificently seen

by this very owl

who makes no move to leave,

simply contemplates you in a

caterpillar-y “Who are you?”

silent aloof composed supercilious way.

What grabs me most is the talons:

three more horny beaks curled around the rather small branch,

piercing it, surely,

one other casually held aloft – unnecessary, mere accessory:

the zygodactylous X.

After a silent while the owl stretches,

lifts one leg and reveals the tough leathery pad of foot

(exactly like a falconer’s glove),

then curls talons together

and quietly tucks this fistful of hooks

high into its soft breast,

clutched there like a little Bonaparte

for the rest of our visit.

“Thank you,” I breathe,

to the owl,

to the boys (for not wrestling),

to Alex (for driving the long way willingly),

to the canyon and the tree,

to good weather and absent fire,

to all things seen and unseen that conspired to bring us together,

and back to the owl, for staying close,

for somehow forgiving one more unfinished manuscript:

the Mexican Spotted Owl Activist Guide.

 

Pinus aristata

coming into the presence of bristlecones

always arrests me

I stop short

do a doubletake

survey the signs:

short needles

bunches of five

spangled with pitch

black-red- purple cones

spiked and glistening

check check check check

oh!

I should fall to my knees

lay my head against a trunk

stretch out in the middle of the stand

breathing whatever they desire

picturing my bones weathered and twisted like their ancient striped brown-red- grey

naked polished

burned trunks

a thousand years after all notice of my existence has passed

they may still hold this moment

between us now

Guest Poet: Erin Robertson

(Please note: I made an error which resulted in an incorrect URL when originally posting this page. I am keeping this page up so the first few comments could be read. Please do not make new comments on this page, but instead open Guest Poet: Erin Robertson (2), and make your comments there.)

I want to introduce you to Erin Robertson.

Erin likes hearing people’s stories, backpacking, writing (especially poetry), getting her hands in the dirt, spending time with children, and listening to music better than most things.  She lives in Louisville, Colorado with her remarkable husband and two sons.  Her work won a First Place in the 2016 Michael Adams Poetry Prize, has been performed as choral works by Ars Nova Singers, and was included in the 2015 Art Inspired by the Land show at the Boulder Public Library.  You can read more of her poetry in the anthology MycoEpithalamia:  Mushroom Wedding Poems, in FUNGI Magazine, and on her website:  erinrobertson.org.

The two poems below show why I am so impressed with her work. I’m sure she would appreciate your comments.

MSO

The raptor lady warned us owls are dim

but I’ve no sense of that here in the canyon,

my back to the rough, cold rock,

craning to see each fluffed

brown-and-cream pineconey feather,

that impossibly prim slim half-moon of hornlike beak,

the quizzical grizzled white stubble shooting out of the inner eye corners,

the oh-so-slow unperturbed motion: parting eye, retracting lid,

until one deep brown orb takes you in for a moment,

languidly;

and there you are,

considering each other,

drawn in by that intelligent chestnut pool,

seen,

magnificently seen

by this very owl

who makes no move to leave,

simply contemplates you in a

caterpillar-y “Who are you?”

silent aloof composed supercilious way.

What grabs me most is the talons:

three more horny beaks curled around the rather small branch,

piercing it, surely,

one other casually held aloft – unnecessary, mere accessory:

the zygodactylous X.

After a silent while the owl stretches,

lifts one leg and reveals the tough leathery pad of foot

(exactly like a falconer’s glove),

then curls talons together

and quietly tucks this fistful of hooks

high into its soft breast,

clutched there like a little Bonaparte

for the rest of our visit.

“Thank you,” I breathe,

to the owl,

to the boys (for not wrestling),

to Alex (for driving the long way willingly),

to the canyon and the tree,

to good weather and absent fire,

to all things seen and unseen that conspired to bring us together,

and back to the owl, for staying close,

for somehow forgiving one more unfinished manuscript:

the Mexican Spotted Owl Activist Guide.

 

Pinus aristata

coming into the presence of bristlecones

always arrests me

I stop short

do a doubletake

survey the signs:

short needles

bunches of five

spangled with pitch

black-red- purple cones

spiked and glistening

check check check check

oh!

I should fall to my knees

lay my head against a trunk

stretch out in the middle of the stand

breathing whatever they desire

picturing my bones weathered and twisted like their ancient striped brown-red- grey

naked polished

burned trunks

a thousand years after all notice of my existence has passed

they may still hold this moment

between us now

searching for wisdom

 

mourning doves

call before dawn

over and over

 

what about the horses?

what about writing some

short poems?

 

the wisdom of silence as

horses await sun’s touch

on flanks and faces

 

while i’m already

opening poems

to the cool air

 

therapist’s advice

 

for insomnia

close your eyes

imagine yourself

in a place that delights

 

that night i imagine

hiking in the sierras.

soon discover how early

the sun slips

behind this

granite ridge.

rush to build a rock wall,

build a room of rock

below a rock shelf,

then dig out a depression

to fill with pine needles.

 

wriggle down into it

grip my rifle

against mountain lions,

bears who hunt this slope,

listen for panting

for the rasp of

dry footpads

across granite.

 

try to fall asleep

count bullets

instead of sheep.