Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Driftwood

When you tumbled and fell, hair tossed
in seaweed strands over sandy shell
and beach glass, those slippers tangled,
their golden laces forgotten

the tide came in,
sweep
by cunning sweep
 
to lick your soles, your palm
outstretched, a hopeful fan of fingers
rigid with the effort to drink in joy

Rachel Westfall
December 14, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rat

So I lap the small seeds
from your hand,
that delightful reek
of you a tingle
in my brown speckled
nostrils, whiskers flaring
into a shower,
a tentative shower
of white spun gold

Rachel Westfall
November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Gift basket

Lace winged fairy

A plush smile

This little box of wood
intricate, adorned with
a medieval heart

Chocolates stolen from
a childhood memory
of sweet crackling malt

A spilled rainbow of tissue

Such a plump handful of beads
facets laughing their shock
of cracked blue and green

All entrapped in clever strands
of some light stem
braided Celtic bold

Rachel Westfall
November 29, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Old man

If I could lay my hands
on you, I’d scrub you pink
in a steaming tub of froth
then run my rough tongue
over your spine in steady strokes
with all the love and tenacity
of any mother cat.

Your ears sit closed,
the accumulated wax of decades
shutting me out until
my footsteps fade
with muffled thumps away
down the worn carpeted hall.
 
Rachel Westfall
November 6, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Your bright new high

You’ve found a way
to carve knotwood
into balsam wings,
and there you glide
all grins above the street

even your ragged cuffs
stay clean now, as
your giggle swells
on your bright new high

your eyes graze me and
I wonder what you see
since they throw off
shards of blue and green,
no hint refracted
from my bitter grime

Rachel Westfall
November 1, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

in the year you left

Credit for the inspiration goes to Christopher.

In the year you left

You thought you kept them hidden,
those confused thoughts of yours,
as you tried to walk dignified
out of my life and away
down the street. You tuned out
 
my bitter laugh as I read through
your bluster to see
you so flustered. I knew then
just how well my game had worked,
how clearly I had won
the final prize of my own
dry, empty heart.
 
Come back, I thought,
but the chance for tenderness
had passed, and now
my hand lay still, the chill
creeping slowly across its palm.

Rachel Westfall
October 29, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Just look

I had a little fun with a Halloween word (spectre) as well as a word lifted off my daughter's spelling list (hungry). Here is the result.

Just look
 
Just look at how
a month slid by bare-boned,
slim as a solitary chickadee
beaking rain-swelled remnants
from the miserly cracks
in the feeder.
 
This is no time
for golden shoes, for hair
piled high then tumbling down
in gleaming rivulets, for the
laughter and the dance.
 
These are hungry hours,
their edges worried, frayed
by the anxious, wringing grip
of the grim, anorexic spectre
of tomorrow.
 
Rachel Westfall
October 27, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Essence

(First posted here)

There’s that postcard of you,
the small dancing hairs
on your neck like you had
as a baby, and that bead
of sweat, running
just down below the collar.
I slice my tongue
along its worried edge,
and it tastes like rain.

Rachel Westfall
October 15, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Back at the house

You sit heavy at the kitchen table
shoulders rounded.
A rough cough, nothing to say yet.
I put the steaming mug of tea beside your hand
where it sits untouched until it’s cold as whiskey.
 
I cut down the apple tree, you tell me.
It’s all firewood now.
 
My envy pulls sharp at your wallow of grief,
at the depth of your sorrow
for her errant tangle of mistletoe hair,
her limbs all askew in the field.
 

Rachel Westfall
October 11, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Your ugly truth


You told me of love
and of blind regret as you swung
the axe deep
into my heartwood core
 
stirring clouds of summer dust
 
and moths, rising groggily
blinking away the tattered shreds
of their precious noonday sleep.
 
Only I saw you place
a kiss
on the perfectly honed tip
of the iron blade before
you swung, betraying
your ugly truth
your harsh allegiance
to the ravenous spark
 
of the fire mage.
 
Rachel Westfall
October 10, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The apple tree's lament

Your flame enfolds me with
its acid tongue, its cinnabar breath
a foreign curse hissing
far too late of the recklessness
of heartwood love, of rooted longing
for so fickle a fire-mage
as my one, my own beloved
stone man, my green man,
my dear beloved woodsman.

Rachel Westfall
October 9, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Woodcutter

You swing your axe and cleave me
fresh in two, smooth hardwood grown
in loving increments
with each rough-handled bucket of water,
each late-summer visit
from the rust-brown pruner’s saw. Those days
I longed for you to come, to lay cool hands
on callused bark and climb to sit
in the throne of my limbs, to wear
the crown I wove for you
from fistfuls of cyanide leaves.
I made you apples, divine fruits
their skins waxy-rough, each sweet
yellowed orb my child, my gift,
each gift of sublime splendour.
You swing your axe and cleave me
fresh in two, distracted now
by thoughts of frost, of bringing in the harvest.
 
Rachel Westfall
October 7, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The day you lost my name

I was sleek, limbs fresh
and soft as wax
newly emerged
when you first drew me up
in a long embrace
and spoke
my true name in my ear.
You told me I was real,
grew me lean and strong
to run colt-limbed
across the sand, the wind
stroking long ripples
through my hair.
You say you do not know me
now, you say
you’ve lost my name.
Without your hands,
your breath, your hawk’s whisper
I have no name at all.
 
Rachel Westfall
October 4, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

shoreline

Something froze on the shore
etched in lines
scratched by feet of the passing gulls
cast in red-gold rays
of the sudden dawn startling night’s chill
scuttling back to a huddled place
under rocks, in the cool moist dens
of the red-backed crabs
Something froze
on the shore in the salt-tinged sand
where the wind braided hair
and summer freckles smiled
as we combed
tidal pools to fill our treasure chests
Something froze
and I’ve lost your name
 
Rachel Westfall
October 4, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Goblin dreams

Goblin dreams are green, of course,
and sometimes earthen red.
 
They scatter crude as folly, each
a lively joke, prodded along
its crude night path
with the sharp end of a stick.
 
When goblins wake, they rub their eyes
like you and me, those gruesome eyes
of pebble coal, sockets inflamed and raw
and they recall the depth of dream
as light as moth, antennae searching
with perfectly dissected fuzz,
brutality a daytime waking glimmer
hummed away by goblin thoughts
of wicked sleep to come.
 
Rachel Westfall
September 6, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

As the nights grow longer

As the nights grow longer and the dew
falls heavy, soon resembling frost, we move
inside from the tent at night, but now

I cannot sleep, suffocated by these pressing,
airless walls. The tent’s chill maw

hangs dark and empty in the lonely yard,
chewing memories of shivers and stories

of the summer bedtime ritual, the warming
of the blankets with our own sleek sun-rubbed limbs.

Rachel Westfall
August 23, 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rain

When you march through the mud
in your golden shoes,
then tear them off
smeared, tossed
like spoiled treasure
onto the rich green,
emerald grass
 
When you run, toes splayed
into the river where
speckled fish breeze by
startled into trembling quake
by the rough tremor
as you break the thin membrane
of the sun-warmed,
sun-kissed shallows
 
When you find hidden thorns
in the berry jumble,
pierced thumb sharing blood
with the sweet ripe reds
swelling bees, fuzzy hum
curiously taste
your slow, fresh laughing presence
 
Rachel Westfall
August 8, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

An angry death

Things have been rough
around here, the cats are spitting
fur and venom, each hiss
a punctual curse. Ripples
have run through the shell
of protection, the meniscus
a feeble illusion that we
can truly ever hope
to protect the ones we love.
A shuddering death, a gasp
brought shock into the place,
not silence, but roaring rage
a molten burst, a livid serpent
of searing flame, spilled over
deep magenta, a violent red
determined to erase
the illusory calm.

Rachel Westfall
July 24, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Magic

The latest obsession in my house is Magic the Gathering. My son and I were at an event recently at our local gaming store, where we got to play and keep some of the new cards that will be coming out later this week. In the final match, I glanced over to my son's table to see how he was doing, and I caught a maniacal gleam in his eye. I could tell by his grin that he'd won again.

The idea of trying to capture the spirit of all this in poetry has been nagging me for a while. I thought I'd try a little haiku, because it's so often a good way to kick-start my writing, and the restrictive form sometimes inspires me to rebel and write a longer piece. But how can I even hope to capture the excitement, the teenage boy hangout, the smells, and the anticipation that go along with a pre-release event? Here's my first attempt.


Summer brings new spells
Dark room, testosterone filled
Bright demonic grin

Friday, July 2, 2010

Beautiful bear poetry (and announcing the prize winners)

Thanks to everyone who submitted poems for the bear poetry challenge! It's so hard choosing who to send a prize to. I wish I could send each of you a bear package.

First, the poems.

From Michael Pealow:

Bountiful berries
We all grow in summer fields
Nom nom nom nom nom!

Haha! Now what else would bears write poetry about?

Michael also wrote this beauty:

On the Origins of Groaler Bears and Pizzleys

Tall, dark, and handsome
Raging case of Spring Fever
And exotic tastes

The polar goddess
In her wintery white robe
Has "Grizzly Fever"

Rob-Bear was definitely on a roll when it came to Bear haiku. Rob-Bear, I knew you'd find your inner poetic bear!

Bear likes challenges,
but eating's more important,
spring, summer, and fall.

Bear in shining fur,
glowing with bright moonlight,
sniffs distant food, wonders.

Bear, back gently
massaged on summer grass,
fragrant, sunny carpet.

Brown bear, sniffing intently.
Fine food in the air.
Nothing else matters for her.

These lovely gems came from Jozien:

Brevity and levity
says the bear lusciously
i caught a glimpse of its black shiny fur

a great big black bear
lumbering in causally
he walked out again

And from Utopian Fragments, a polar bear dream:

forever is gone

the bear was all alone
but the ice snippet
was lonely drifting

Two more food-oriented beauties and a play-poem from S.L. Corsua!

mother grizzly bear
begins her vegan diet
cub thinks: not again

cub hears salmon splash
mother grizzly stops mid-chew
thinking: sorry, grass

mama bear shakes head
while cubs mimic the humans
playful brother-bears

Then there was a spiritual beauty from Catherine Vibert:

Child of my heart
I teach The Way of the Land
Though boundaries tighten

And Kat Mortensen shared her Robert Service-style bear poem with us! This one made me feel sad. Poor old Bucky.

BUCKWHEAT’S LAST GRAB

Strange things happen in the dark of night,
While you’re bundled up in bed.
Keep away from the honey-hive at the height
Of the moon, or you’ll end up dead!

Tall tales told by the campfirelight,
Old grizzlies love to share.
Cubs, wide-eyed shrunk up with fright,
Heed not the chill night air.

One story is their favourite,
Sends shivers up small spines,
‘Bout a Kamloops bear gone missing
Who couldn’t read the signs.

“Stay out!" "Keep off!” The billboards read,
And, “Enter if you dare!",
"No tresspassing!","Beware of Dog!”
Buckwheat could only stare.

The printed word dumbfounded him,
For book-learnin’ he’d spurned.
He might have been more careful,
If reading he had learned.

So on he went into the yard,
Just followin’ his nose,
To that sweet smell of honey,
When up behind him rose…

A figure of great height and bulk,
Wielding a big long stick.
He drew a bead on “Bucky”,
Who thought it was a trick…

Until he saw the gun go off
And he knew he was done.
Then Bucky crumpled in a heap
For he weighed near a ton.

And farmer Orwall rolled his sleeves;
He had some work to do.
The massive bear he had to hide,
‘Else, this dark night he’d rue.

Long gone midnight, moon was high
And Orwall dug down deep,
And rolling the old bear inside
Poor Bucky went to sleep—

Forever with the angels,
In paradise for bears;
Where honey flows from faucets,
Rolls down the marble stairs—

At least that’s what they tell the cubs,
Especially when there’s tears--
Young bears need reassuring;
The big bears calm their fears.

Now farmer Orwall’s up in court,
With charges to be laid.
The law still frowns on shootin’ bears
To stop a midnight raid.

So let that be a lesson
To bears who leave their cave:
Stay in school and learn to read
‘Cause signs your life could save.

Strange things happen in the dark of night,
While you’re bundled up in bed.
Keep away from the honey-hive at the height
Of the moon, or you’ll end up dead!

Kathleen Mortensen © 2007

And now for the prizes! Did I say this was difficult? Oh yeah!

The randomly drawn name from all entrants was Michael Pealow!

The Bear-spirit prize: now this was the hardest to choose. Several of the poems really moved me, so I picked three. The runners up were SL Corsua's vegan bear poems, and Cat Vibert's spiritual piece. SL made me laugh, and Cat made me feel as if I'd walked into something much bigger than I'd bargained for, such as an ancient temple or almost-forgotten rite. Cat and SL, I'd like to send you something, too. Cat, I think I have your contact information. SL, how can I reach you in the mail?

When I read the poems over and over, one author moved me in the way of the bear-spirit more than any other: Rob-Bear! Congratulations, dear Rob-Bear! Your bear in shining fur poem truly gave me goose-bumps (bear-bumps)?

Prize winners, please email me at rachelw at northwestel dot net with your mailing address, and I'll send you a bear gift package.

Congratulations and thanks to all of you! Your poems are wonderful!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bear poetry!

Thanks everyone for the wonderful poems you've entered so far! I'll leave the contest open until midnight tonight. Tomorrow, I'll post a compilation of the poems, and I'll announce the winners.


I have special little bear-gifts for the winners which I picked up at Jade City yesterday, as we made our way up the Cassiar Highway towards home. If you aren't local, and you ever have the chance to travel up this way, I highly recommend the Highway 37 experience! Don't forget to take your camera with you.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One more week-- bear haiku challenge!

We're on the road.... The cubs and I will be back soon, and I'm looking forward to reading your bear poems!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bear haiku challenge! -Prizes!

These beautiful bears greeted us as we travelled down the Atlin Road last week. To paraphrase my fellow blogger Rob-Bear, if elves can have haiku, then why not bears?

Here is my challenge to you: craft a bear haiku, and post it in the comments. Other styles of bear poetry are welcome, too. No rush-- I'll leave the challenge open until July 1.
I'll compile all the bear poetry and send a small bear-gift to two participants: a randomly drawn name, and the author of my very favourite bear poem (the latter being completely subject to my personal taste, and the skill with which you have evoked the bear's spirit for me).
Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

If the dust runs through

If the dust runs through on a lonely wind
and the dance of the down
on the back of your hand weaves a shiver,
the gods are grumbling now,
trembling shake as they wake
disturbed by the mountain’s tale
of a low, slow groaning whisper

If the wind skirts round
through anemic trees, leaves brown
rattle-rattling their dry lament
dissipated as a long-ago kiss,
pale mouth shale and withered
then you’ll see why I’ve gone
why I’ve left you here, tumbled down

Rachel Westfall
June 8, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Elven haiku

Winding through night’s path
silver thread, thin, hung with dew
ancient song's refrain

Rachel Westfall
June 1, 2010

And why should elves not have haiku?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Nightmare

For Christopher

I held you in a locket, my love,
your image perfectly cast
and frozen in time. You thought
you were free to grow,
live and learn, become old.
But I had you there,
borne pendulous, trapped
on a silver thread, a spider’s charm
spun perfectly around my neck.

Rachel Westfall
May 14, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Three graces in the morning fields of gold

Step over to Catvibe Creative and check out the image prompt and contest Cat has started over there. You have until this Saturday to craft an entry. Oh, and while you are at it, take a peek in her art store. Her stuff is really pretty fabulous!

Here is the poem I wrote for Cat's image prompt.

The moon’s slow grace runs golden through
the apple fields as though it knows
those amber honey words she’d lapped
in slow and patient strokes from her
sweet lover’s tongue before they slipped
away so fleetingly, and now
each night she haunts the fields in search
of something lost that precious night
of belfire, bower, hair entwined
with ribbons bright, spring blossoms strewn--
her youth, perhaps, or maiden’s charm
spilled carelessly on meadow loam—
yet morning finds her, endlessly
still older, worn, creased paper-thin
feet moss-dew bathed, brow blessed by night,
kissed by the newborn sun

Rachel Westfall
May 12, 2010

Sunday, May 9, 2010

When I invite you out

Inspired by Christopher

When I invite you out,
you shake your head, overwhelmed
by the dusty piles
in the corner of every room,
the heaps of laundry
strung without malice
over hapless random furniture.

The cat stalks through
in his element here
leaving mysterious urine stains,
an abstract sensory design
among the cast-off sheets.

When I invite you out, I hope
to break the cobweb nest
that binds perniciously, corners
rough to navigate, the toilet
drowning a slow SOS
lost in its own heady stink.
You shake your head,
overwhelmed, quite simply
unable to clear the fog.

Rachel Westfall
May 7, 2010

Friday, May 7, 2010

Real estate

I’ve heard that time seems to speed up as you get older. I didn’t expect it to happen so suddenly, and I’m nowhere near halfway to the finish line. Somehow, as everything races by, I keep missing the opportunity to write down a few lines of poetry.

I started a poem about a week ago, a haiku, and I saved it because it felt like it needed more than three lines to reach completion. Upon re-reading, though, I quite like it the way it is, so I'm posting it, just like that.

Real estate

Windows beckon light
through a shroud, a spider’s veil
farmhouse rotting silk

Rachel Westfall
April 29, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

This ragged heart

In response to Christopher's poem which can be found in the comments here on this blog, two posts below:

This ragged heart

This ragged heart wears
a dirty shirt, threads
ground with dust as fine as flour
from the worrying,
worrying fingers
ravelling over this ancient grief.

Spring’s low lifting light
draws a fleeting thought
and those fingers flutter briefly
away just lightly, remembering
the pause of a dove’s
soft landing on sunlit rafters
before the dust comes
settling down, down
over this ragged heart.

Rachel Westfall
April 19, 2010

Refrain

Oh where is she now? Well I’m gone, gone away
to hide from the demons that haunt me
You see, I’m just like a little brown mouse
hunkered down in my secret dark hole.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

As I rode on down the street

A man stood still at the edge of the curb,
head curved down, back quivering.

He gazed out over his rag-tag boots
with their dusty laces, ends so frayed
giggling ripples, a tremor
at the dandelions that pushed
with riotous, orange glory
through the crusted pavement

all along the side of the road.

Cars sped by, and trucks, ten wheels
spitting gravel with the viciousness
of angry serpents, rubber skins
black-treaded, steaming a hiss
with the new-found heat

of spring‘s reborn gold sun.

So he stood, that man in his well-scuffed boots,
face round and red as the second
full moon of autumn, giggling waves
while the delinquent tassled blooms
exhaled their innocently golden breath
pure and sweet as the bees’ first treasure

over the rising grey dust of spring.

Rachel Westfall
April 10, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

One last time

The wind runs through this old rag,
seams worn thin by years of scrubbing
and the rough, coarse wash.
Kissed by sunlight, laundry pins
holding snug to squeaky line,
yet nothing heals the tangled edge
of towelling torn by sorrow.

Rachel Westfall
April 1, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

At the river

Where the river curves low
and slick as a black snake’s back,
holding tight treasured minerals
in its cold, greedy grasp, just there
I imagine I can see the sun
glint for a fraction of a moment
off your amphibious sleek body,
a spy’s body, slipped in here
between the beginning and an old,
forgotten end, my friend

Where the river rumbles low
with the guttural throat
of an angry storm, there,
just there I remember how you
were clasped, held fast
by the icy, greedy fingers
of the mirror-black water,
your hair woven green as if
with ceremonial reeds, while the fish
danced their solemn, scaled dreams
in slow circles down your cheek
down your beloved, your still, soft cheek

Rachel Westfall
March 27, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

As you hunted me

And another Christopher poem; the whole conversation is here.

As you hunted me

There would be snakes, but for the goats
who have eaten the grass, trudging
all dreaded-wool and ankle-bone
over the smooth, soft hill until
each blade is gnawed to the ground.

There would be snakes, if they had
anywhere left to hide, snakes to shelter me
from your pursuit, slivered arrows
pointed sharp at your heels, but instead
there is nobody here
but these silly, useless goats.

Rachel Westfall
March 10, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

This place of goats

And another, from the poetry dual (duo?) with Christopher:

This place of goats

Only a madman would slaughter the goats,
see the wild look in their eyes
and yet still draw knife across hide.
We all know, in this village,
that the feral goats and slick-tongued snakes
are each but fractured visions
of Goddess, each black and red and white
bleating-scaled-slithering-nibbling beast
a fragment of divinity, that one celestial mind
which holds up this age-old hill.

Rachel Westfall
March 11, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

For Petals

Spring’s gold shadows stretch
yet winter still claims its prize
farewell, soft bunny

Miss Petals was the last of our bunnies. I found her yesterday morning, lying behind the guinea pig's cage. She had died in the night, peacefully. I think she was around 6 years old; she had lived with us for 4 years. We will have to wait until the ground thaws before we can make a grave for her.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Siren's song

Another Christopher poem. As promised. The full poetic conversation is here.

Siren's song

I’m so stuck here now.
Dreaming of kissing
your beloved face in
a fishbowl room
while all your raucous friends
look in from the summer yard
and jeer,
Who’ve you got there now, man?
Anyway, where did my shirt go?
I feel so exposed. If only
I hadn’t listened
to your confusing siren’s song.

Rachel Westfall
March 10, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Snapshot

Okay, there are a few more poems coming from conversation with Christopher. If you like, you can read the whole conversation at his place, since there is nothing worse than hearing only one side of the discussion. Meanwhile, I'll post my parts of the conversation here, one by one.

Snapshot

Adventurous tourist
I headed into the tall grass-
bare ankles shrouded
in the full rayon skirt
local decorum required,
camera ready
to capture an image
of the largest bloody spider
I’d ever seen-
when a man called out,

HEY, watch for snakes!

Rachel Westfall
March 9, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

Your warm rose heart

There was a place, once,
where you whispered close, dark things,
mysteries and embroidered words;
and there was a place, once,
where I dreamed I knew
the answers. Now it’s as if
you speak a half-forgotten tongue,
encrypted by ill-use
its poetic rhythm dancing
Mediterranean songs across my ear,
their meaning irrevocably lost.

Rachel Westfall
March 7, 2010

in response to Christopher

Friday, February 26, 2010

Chickadee child

Born, she was, like a chickadee,
in a bed of moss spun through
with strings of tinsel,
salvaged thread by thread
from a discarded tree
in the last long twisted
throes of winter. A blessing,

a charm, her mother wove
around her, spell by spell,
to ward away the pernicious grime
and lecherous looks
of this ill-fated world. The child

grew long and lean and brown,
running faster than the boys,
their feet clumsy, stomping over
the mud-packed ground, until
one sweet-talked a kiss from her
behind the largest tree
where none could see. She ran,

again, with the skill of a deer,
but she couldn’t run
quite fast enough
to escape this sordid town.
So here she is, to this very day,
dreams caught snug-tight
in cobwebs build of dust,
grime-streaked children
of her own bound meticulously,
one by one, with charming spells,

and though you’ll never learn
their names, please know
How each and every sun kissed child,
lays his, her head each shadowless night
upon a down-soft pillow, a chickadee’s bed
so carefully spun with gold.

Rachel Westfall
February 26, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

love letter to haiku

If you could say just five words to me,
what would they be? Would you remind me fondly of
the chickadee’s lazy morning song?

In seven words, just seven, would you tell me how
in deep forgotten glades
wind traces its secrets in skeletal leaves?

With five words left to you, a slow exhale
would you spell the mountain’s sacred path in stone,
to help me find the way?

Rachel Westfall
February 13, 2010

Saturday, February 6, 2010

hiding-place

Secret
dark place
safe in the back
behind
the old woolens
between dusty boxes
under coats hanging ill-used
smelling faintly
of long-time-ago walks
dried leaves
mothballs
here
you won’t find me, nobody
will find
me
at all

Rachel Westfall
February 6, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Image prompt with contest @Cat's blog

There is an image prompt at Cat's place. If you coment, she'll put your name in a draw, and you could win one of her glorious prints. Go on. I know you want to.

secret breath of night
held in winter's icy grasp
exhale, distant spring

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sanctuary

Cards unfold, their message
lost
in the return

Nellie in her farmhouse
kneading bread, flour
to her elbows, white folds
smooth with yeast
the letter
tucked safe in the elastic waist
of her skirt-
envelope red, words yet unread
until tonight
when she’d have
a moment of sanctuary
away from the
in-and-out
door-slamming
chatter-boxing
of the young ones,
a flame-lit
kerosene-lit moment

Their message lost,
return to sender


Rachel Westfall
January 25, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The dive

Slick hold of fear
Fear’s cold breath
Breathe a hand-span
Hands span an arrow
An arrow drawn swift
Swiftly into the water
Water’s quick grasp
Grasped in fear
Fear’s cold breath
Breath’s dying slide
Slide into the water

Rachel Westfall
January 25, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tidbit of haiku

Soaring summer sky
Flames have swallowed starlit night
Speckled bird’s delight

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A story

The pirate is bitter and sharp.
She has learned
to keep her worries close,
another layer of skin,
a tough pomelo’s rind.
Without tears
she holds her sister’s hand and the girl bleeds
and cries out, then silently
fights the high fear of infection.
This is how it is
with pirates.
The boat sways and rocks, her path
predictable as a wide-sea storm, sails swollen
with air and rain
and the flag
the jolly flag
is tucked
away
out of sight.

Rachel Westfall
January 13, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Out my window

Every morning, I get to watch the progression of winter from birth through to death. I can't show you. Let me just tell you about it, ok?

Out my window

Nothing holds your light
like the sun on winter’s breath
dyeing ruddy hills
impossible shades
drawn from imaginary palettes
streaked over moon-white canvas
refreshed by the ice witch’s
nightly cough
bitter moisture
clinging
tenaciously
to each sparkling twig

Rachel Westfall
January 6, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010

Just a love poem

I would hold you, quite silently
until the moon whispers,
enough
and calls me through the forest’s
lonely night,
black leaves hanging still
as windless laundry strung across
a desolate creaky line.

I would hold you, so fiercely,
crack your bones
as the shout of birds rises
around us, deafening
whirling slippery
as a dust-devil slinking boldly
over summer’s hot-baked clay.

I would hold you, just as lightly
as a flower holds its petals
until one day
I glance down at my empty hands
and discover too late,
oh too late--
you are gone.

Rachel Westfall
January 1, 2010