Thursday, April 30, 2009


This grace, this tender beauty
is just an illusion cast from feathers
I thieved hungrily from a fallen swan.

I'd fly straight to the sun in my robber’s mask
but for the ominously softening wax
holding my air-bound pristine white appendages on.

Instead, I go north,
I go north, to the cooler air
chasing the slip-stream trail of the proudly honking birds.

Look up next morning
and you may see their sweet formation
then me, a crude mimic clad all black and white
flapping coarsely after.

Rachel Westfall
April 30, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Image prompt: trumpeter swans

For fun, and because they deserve to be celebrated... I have hugely enjoyed hearing their cheerful honks every day for the past couple of weeks. Whoever thought the sky would fill with trumpeter swans? If the swans inspire you to write something, please use the comments section to share your creation! Everything is welcome: silly or wonderful, descriptive or abstract.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Long days

You see

a boy-child, thin as smoke and ash
slamming his green plastic bucket
over a red-shelled crab, arthropod
legs scrambling madly for a sandy foothold.

You hear

a girl shout, pushing the door shut,
crisp white paint peeling
with a sharp crack just as the sun-god
reached his lanky foot inside,
stretching across the dusty wood floor.
He shrieks in pain at the shock
as she laughs, piercing, fingers in mouth
suffocating hysteria.


teacher sliding the rolled blind down
over the long window, casting the room
into squinting darkness in a last-ditch attempt
to shut out the distracting peals of laughter
stealing their way in from the day outside.

I spend

every moment of spare time
searching for lost slivers of the sun.
Long days are coming, yes they are
and I would slip them all into a jam jar,
label and stow them on a high kitchen shelf
until they hatch.

Rachel Westfall
April 27, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The empty garden

Neighbours, our thoughts
are interwoven
our paths separate
then converging
in conversation over
imaginary fences
so, can you imagine
my shock
at finding your place
gutted one morning
words swept away
months and months
of steady building
torn down and trucked off
when I wasn’t looking
gone to wherever
these things go to die

-for all the deleted blogs

Rachel Westfall
April 26, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pulsatilla (Prairie Crocus)

For Jozien, for bringing the delightful news that the crocuses have reappeared.

For Faith, who gifted Jozien with some crocuses of her own.

For Cat, creator of the lovely and mysterious Cro-ku tradition.

And for Ursula, for whom life begins with the purple spots each spring.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The absence

The mourning cat
pads across the bed
where you once lay,
where your body
has dug its indelible
groove into the tired
spongy mattress.

She turns full circle,
raising moth-clouds
of dust, lowering
nose into tail atop
the patchwork quilt;
just another sunlit nap.

Rachel Westfall
April 22, 2009

(Yet another response to Christopher. What would I do without you to inspire me?)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Whatever can it be?

Out in the woods of Mendenhall
the forest creatures dwell
in structures built of twine and logs
their slender axes fell.

But when the winter wind does howl
and snow comes billowing down
how would the air stay warm inside
without true walls around?

A home without a hearth is truly
not a home at all.
Is this strange architecture then
a roomless hollow hall?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lost words

The questions unasked
stand vacant of possibility
like sullen and scuff-shoed
young players never picked
for any team.

Words never spoken,
all those letters unsent:
they all go somewhere to die.

Blind, you feel your way through
your crossroads and I, looking on,
I stomp down my gnawing impatience,
itching to know

what will become of us if you speak,
or if you don’t.

Rachel Westfall
April 20, 2009

(Happily springboarding off the poem Christopher left in the comments of my image poem from yesterday...)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Response to the earth

I would be yours,
but for the wind’s sweet lies,

dripping rubies
tongued eloquently
as the passionate words
of the cantaor:

From your mouth
comes kisses to strip away
all sorrows

Rachel Westfall
April 17, 2009

With gratitude to Will Kirkland for his translation work in Gypsy Cante, where the idea for the cantaor's words came from.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I would consume you,
the wind teased, running
a seductive tongue
of hair whipped
into a rope spiral
across a freckled cheek.
I would press you to grit,
erode you pitted
until each tiny flake
spins down, ever down
into the open maw
of the whining,
burbling stream.

And then the earth stood,
tall as a mountain man
pressing the wind gently,
persuasively aside.
No, he whispered,
his voice a gravelled path.
This one is curved flesh
and ivory bone; this one
is sun-kissed skin, warm
hollows, sweet deep navel,
jutting knees and elbows.
This one is mine.

Rachel Westfall
April 14, 2008

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Tapestry of Spring

A Tapestry of Spring, Catherine Vibert's glorious audio-visual poetry anthology, is now online. Please head over and check it out. You'll hear Catherine's words, as well as poems by Amritorupa Kanjilal, Karen Nowviskie, Joaquin Carvel, Aniket Thakkar, K. Lawson Gilbert, Steve Elsaesser, Sarah Hina, and me. Thank you for creating and illustrating this beautiful anthology, Catherine!

Monday, April 13, 2009

A glorious day

One degree Celsius, and you couldn't find a better day! Oh, come with me!
Together, we will fly at the speed of Dog Build a village from the sweat of the sky and the bones of the land
Darken our winter-weary skin
And leave our mark for all to see.

(Oh, boots! Such glorious boots!)

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Waiting to be loved is such a long and lonely road.
When our tracks turn to dust, we forget how we ever got this far.
The new sun is slowly gaining strength, bringing an end to illusions.
In the waste-water of their wreckage, we find joy.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter Haiku with an invitation to contribute

Haiku is always fun to create with the kids! Here are a few of our creations, with an invitation to add your own in the comments section. I need a good laugh today, so silliness is most definitely welcome! :)

Bunnies on the lawn
leaving chocolate plops around
for the kids to find

Spring is burgeoning
snowdrops raise their lovely heads
somewhere south of here

Music of the birds
wakes me up before the dawn
no more sleeping in!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

In the loving hands of nature

Thank you Christopher. Apparently it's my turn to put a different twist on your idea.

It’s all one big joke for the ravens,
me skidding across the new ice on my naked ass
butt-sliding to the middle where cracks
form ominously around me. You sit in the truck
laughing. One too many beers
makes anything funny, even a guy
trying to take a shit on the riverbank
and losing his footing. I toss my beer can
at those pesky black birds,
and they spin ‘round me cackling
with wings so shiny you’d think they stole
their perfect feathers right out of the hands
of god, pleased as any petty thief.

Rachel Westfall
April 8, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Buy me happiness

Oh the power to make a rainbow,
to draw cheer into a sullen room,
Beatnik, mother called it.
Black blinds, black music
incense smoke and hash.

Like a collection of happiness, those prisms were,
nondescript stones of glass with such talent
in that Saturnian age, when joy was scarce
and treasured beyond gold.

Over the years, they fell like sisters
given one by one into marriage
with brutish, rough-handed men.

One was woven into a dreamcatcher, twisted
from willow and twine, a gift of peace
from an impoverished mother
to a newborn child.

Some were smashed in an unwanted move
to a place of anger and self-deprivation.
Where was the hope,
where was the beauty in that?

Others were chipped by a depressive musician
who never wanted to be a father,
hiding his unhappy face
as he mopped the bath’s condensation
from the windows
in a battle he’d never win.

Today two, only two remain
from that glorious collection
of suncatchers, and they hang
in the kitchen now
older now, wiser, but still richly infused
with the talent to send their speckled cheer
across the wall.

Cheer that is tinged with remorse.

Rachel Westfall
April 7, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

All fall down

Check out Catherine Vibert's spring poetry challenge, and if you are poetically inclined, send her some words if you haven't already. The prompts she has given us are Promise and/or Rites of Spring, with elements of Irony, Doubt or Hidden Meaning. That's quite a list of bedfellows!

Here is a sneak preview of my submission, with a reminder to myself to check Catherine's place on Friday to see the goodies she has collected.

All fall down

Send me a daffodil, sweet friend of mine,
and the breath of storm-tossed ocean shore
to remind me that spring is now burgeoning
as I lie in the death-throes of winter.

My body, the land wears a garment of ice
though it shudders and cracks, frayed and soiled
the soft cradling blanket of snow’s nearly gone
from my limbs, thrown so naked in winter.

The sweat, glistening beads like a necklace of pearl
forms across my hot rosy-flushed brow
I toss in the throes of a feverish state
a furnace, denial of winter.

Oh come swift as night, dear friend of mine
bearing posies and rain, nectar dew
the buds on the trees, they are bursting like boils
and my ice splits in mockery of winter.

Rachel Westfall
April 5, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A warning

Keep away

keep that soft coat, tight sinew, wet nose away
from the tang of metal

intriguing though it is,
oddity in this once familiar place
breaking through well-
worn paths

through like pale spring sun
spikes piercing between
winter spruce

smelling not of fear
but of strangeness

strangely inviting

Back away

this mystery is best left

now would be a good time to carve a new way
through ice-snow deep-snow remnants

through knotted willows, along the blunt ridge

safe hidden routes

Rachel Westfall
March 22, 2008

Brought forward because it just felt right today, and I need to ease the panic that accompanies chronic sleep deprivation. Maybe now I can write.
Here is the original picture I had with the poem.
And one of Mike's ads which actually fits the poem even better.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Lustful pots

At the back of the shop in old Chinatown
under dusty parades of wicker baskets, behind
a mountain of sneezing cookware
sit the urns, painted white
cobalt and ochre
glazed to a perfect sheen
refracting long-remembered light
and filled inside with painted koi
golden, caught frozen in a wave of motion
so lifelike a cat would sit on the rim
and dip her paw in tenaciously
then slip back, startled to touch air
not water, foiled again by the slippery tease
of the painter’s brush, needing
just a moment to regain her poise

Rachel Westfall
April 2, 2009

Thank you Karen for the inspiration.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April's gift

The flirtatious brush of spring’s pale sun on your cheek

The kiss of the young wind, hair tousled laughingly

The sway of hips, ducks rolling with the fresh new flow of the river

Hidden churnings, burnings of permafrost’s shift

Small ones, crawling ones stretching, stroking the open land

The warm grip of the knotty pines, roots holding firm, holding firm their sandy lover

A secret embrace, the furtive scent of an unmade bed

Delight’s deep, throaty laugh

Rachel Westfall
April 1, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Learning it my own way

It’s taking too long, this tiptoeing over glass.
Shall I grab your arm and yank you
out of harm’s way?

You scream and roar, suddenly heavy, limp
on crumpled knees, demanding to be put
right back where you were.

What's it like parenting a child who isn't autistic? Is it the same? Both my kids are like this, though they seem to mellow out a bit as they get older. The younger one still rages and roars, especially at her big brother when he insists on helping her out. I think she is teaching him patience. He would probably be a very different person right now, if it wasn't for his little sister.