Snap Dragon Ladies

IMG_1978In New Orleans, in the Garden District, where the warm air lay on your shoulders like a cat, lived the widow Madam Gardner. Her house was a pale pink color with great white pillars. A black iron fence surrounded the velvet lawns, ancient twisting oaks lined the boulevard, dappling the house in the late afternoon sun.

Madam was a sweet tempered woman, yet not afraid to speak up for justice, always offering a kind word to all she encountered and she had the greenest thumb in the parish.

Her garden was a source of envy for many. Even Madeleine Riboult, Madams oldest and dearest friend went as far as to hint, “One might think Madam’s garden to be enchanted if one didn’t know better.” Little did she know how close to the truth were her suspicions. Continue reading

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Little Black Hen

IMG_1794You might think chickens are creatures that go around pecking at the ground, looking for bugs and now and again laying an egg, as though it were a surprise to her and to you. They fluff their feathers, squawk for unknown reasons, jump at shadows that appear out of nowhere and run screaming with indignation if you happen to turn on the hose to water the lavender while they are busy scratching up a nest beneath the fragrant plant. Listen, you can be standing near one as though you were made out of stone, not a muscle moving, and all of a sudden you wiggle your baby finger and Miss Hen will stretch her neck, eyes popping out, wings flapping and screech like a woman who just stepped on a snake. You feel sorry for the chicken, you really do. On the other hand, if you don’t know any better, you might look down on her with a touch of superiority. I used to, before I knew how sophisticated and complex they really are. You won’t find them getting out rose painted teacups for mid-morning snack, but they definitely know who they are. Continue reading

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A New Day

img124A new day,

one that’s never been used before!

I will grab it by the tail

and wrestle it to the ground.

Or I might softly listen,

while looking with brown eyes,

uncovering mysteries

beneath pine trees.

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The Lake Dance

The Great Lake, rolling ice-chunks
In white-capped little curls
Morning creeping meekly
A beach strewn with tiny pearls

Her night of  joy now over
Though echoes still remain
Of a party like no other
Where all things took the blame

Peeking out through rattling glass
The wind beat to come on in
I saw a thing of  unleashed joy
A dancing, crashing din

White stallions rose up on high
Their manes and tails unfurled
Mouths open to screeching pitch
Then back in the lake they hurled

The wind, no timid thing
It pushed and howled and blew
With teeth a sharp as razor blades
She bit and gnawed and chewed

The lake, herself, cast off her poise
She shimmied, rumbaed and sang
She heaved her breast and threw her hips
Her song like cymbals rang

I heard lions, with mangy roars
And drums that held no beat
I saw mermaids riding bareback
On horses with no feet
The night spit ice, with fury and fun

It held nothing quiet or calm
It clamped the moon in a great headlock
Till all the light and was gone
The party was had all through the night

A riotous, clashing fray
Now morning has come, with a hung over light
And the wild things have gone to pray

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COME BE MY LOVER

img018It’s not that I don’t need you
It’s just I have found myself
I have filled up all the wanting
With pearls of my own wealth

The gift of love I give you
Is not the love of youth
It is fire mixed with wisdom
And passion mixed with truth

Come and be my lover
Neath the sheets of diamond skies
Let your kisses linger
Till the sun begins to rise

Dance with me in moonlight
While the wheat fields wave in time
We’ll listen to the night birds
And drink the sacred wine

I can’t pledge or promise
I havre no tie that binds
Just be mine forever
We’ll walk the road that winds

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BIRTHDAY BLESSING

img059May you have
Mysterious surprises
Rose streaked sunrises
Friendly encounters
Wind swept strolls
Snowfalls from heaven
With tiny little secrets

May you have
Fragrant coffee
Behind old glass windows
Phone calls from loved ones
On a cold winter day

Evenings with bare branches
Silhouetted against pink skies
And stunning red wine in the moonlight

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CROSSROADS

IMG_0947I’m at a crossroads
after all those miles
I find my heart breaking
beneath false smiles

I pray for a sign
that is right and true
but silence the answer
when the storm is through

bring back my babies
when they needed my touch
when holding and rocking
could answer so much

bring back my confidence
in having meals on time
and show me where our lives go
and all I thought was mine

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MESSAGE TO THE UNIVERSE

IMG_0239I want to play and sing and dance
I want to be excited at the beginning of each day
And gratefully satisfied at the end
I want to find mystery and otherworldliness in my observations
Communicate with the wind
the trees, the lake, things under my feet and above my head
I want to drop all pretense, becoming my wild Godly self
When the night storms unleash over the seas
I want to ride the crest of the waves

When the forest creatures mourn
I want to shed tears against their fur
When spring flowers bloom
I want  to wear their fragrance on my skin
When the eagle flies, I want to ride his back
As he dips and swirls on the crystal morning breeze

This is my prayer to the universe

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HUNGER

IMG_0049

The coyote was hungry. It had been a long winter. The snow had fallen, sometimes in soft blankets, other times in angry swirls. It had been mad to cover the earth. It had been pulled down from heaven and lay like diamonds, like cold ice queens, like angels with silver wings. But the snow had not known that it had covered up all the food, the food of creatures that had relied upon the earth’s abundance throughout the summer and autumn. Now, all was beautiful, all was bleak. One day Mother Coyote said to Father Coyote, “You are the wild call of my heart. You have given me the song of my child and yet we are hungry. I know you feel the need, the ancient call of survival. I will give up my need but, Dearest, not the need of our pup.” The coyote looked across the frozen field. Maybe, a desperate, white rabbit, looking for food for his family, will stumble and sacrifice, for us. Is it a game? Is it life? It doesn’t matter when it’s food one needs. So Father Coyote stood in the cold, the ice wind blowing his silver, brown fur. He sniffed, his eyes looking upward. He smelled something. It was life, blood coursing through another father’s veins. Father Coyote stood as though all things had ceased. “I must try.” He pounced through the snow, first smelling, then seeing Father Rabbit, as well, Father Rabbit seeing Father Coyote. Life was the only heartbeat. The snow swirled; the rabbit was gone. Father Coyote’s back haunches eased. His chest softened. His despair was great. He moved to go, but something held him. Later, in the warmth of his cave, he pondered. Was it a knowing, a silent voice, a gift of providence? But, there as the wind blew it’s message, uncovering the frozen body of a turkey, Father Coyote know his family was safe.

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EATING SOLO

IMG_5269I relish a savory meal as well as anyone, preferring it to be eaten at dusk, still a whisper of light but fading while giving birth to the moon, rising up with new and distant life. You can have any combination of settings to make a memorable meal; rain, heat, companions, solitaire communion, rough carved table, dainty Parisian two-top, a blanket under the stars.  And as I said, the food must be savory, keeping in mind, just being hot does not equate cuisine. My father had once said, “Even when you find yourself eating alone, respect yourself and use a napkin.” I never forgot that. Pouring out a bowlful of Cheerio’s will not satisfy the spirit, ever. Eating and dining are two different things. I’ve tried both. Eating leaves me feeling like I did something quick, but I don’t remember what, while I’m still searching for something essential. Having a traveling husband, I find myself eating alone often. Sometimes it is a bowl of popcorn, but it is the best popcorn I can make. I reach for the blue antique bowl, the color never to be made again, a robin’s egg blue only a little deeper, I rub it with garlic, pop the corn on the stove, butter and salt it, pick a rose patterned napkin, a glass of white wine and sit in the window, watching the moon rise. My usual solo dinners are simple but nurishing and always beautiful. I think beautiful is a spice. I have hard boiled an egg, cutting it lengthwise, spreading a little mustard in the yolk, adding fresh dill, salt and pepper, with roasted baby potatoes on the side, simple but delicious. If I’ve had a hard day and I know it’s me and Brian Williams for dinner, I will pick up a small chicken, organic, of course, rub it with butter or oil, liberally salt and pepper it, tucking herbs under the skin-sage, oregano, thyme or sometimes a little lavender, which I will put with minced garlic. I throw in whatever vegetables I have, turn the oven to hot, really hot, crust the skin, cover the bird and finish it slow. It always makes me feel like something good happened to me.

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