Poetry- Marcy Clarke

SUET, SUNFLOWERS AND HAY

Winter is at our gate
and a dozen crows, like trespassing bandits,
raid our slumbering garden

The sun is a hard shadow bleaching bony limbs,
casting dull silhouettes on a sea of rustling leaves

and corduroy trousers, tucked in boots,
scatter crushed memories
filling the sky with gray notes whispering snow from the hills

Homesteaders, roots deep in the last century,
have already hung suet, like wind chimes, on knobby branches,
spread sunflower seeds for winter visitors

and put up hay for the horse
found wandering on the Old Blue Ridge highway
three years back

We pitched in and raised a barn on well mannered acres,
a cozy hostel smiling under mountain weather
and farm kids, spoiling a creaky mare with carrots

First storm, we tuck beneath our own quilts,
dogs and cats scattered on mats before the hearth,
thankful that tattered bay now sleeps in straw

END OF DAY

I wait at the edge of the stone wall
built before we were born,
listen to the birds settling
in oak and maple

and the owls,
leaving their lofty evergreen perches
to begin their hymns at sunset

The wind breathes,
rustling leaves and tall grass whispering against mortar

and still, I wait,
quiet beneath the rising moon,
the lonely sigh of a tugboat on the river fades
and the last trolley rumbles down the hill

scattering echoed footsteps laughing on cobbles,
flooding the silence with light
and we walk back to the cottage together

SHARING SECRETS

A woman, bundled in flannel,
unveils her pottery on a roadside stand

ribbons of peach and sea glazed hues
pose beneath a cool autumn sun,
squatty hand-thrown physiques whispering a lost art

I fall in love with two azure pots
and a chubby terracotta blushed pitcher

Cradling my three treasures, memories sigh in the wind,
as if I cupped the last clay artefacts on earth
and this woman’s hands sculpted them for you

MUSINGS OF A LOST PATH

We trace the footpath from our home,
across the meadow,
to the creek meandering an edge of woods

Drifting on soft breezes, songs whisper there,
lazy shuffles of water playing over cobbles
and stretching across its shallow drink,
bridging field to forest

We picnicked there in summer’s shade,
tiptoed the icy wash dancing below our knees

and in autumn,
gathered russet and gold beneath branches
to press between waxed paper

One threadbare winter we uncovered an evergreen
withering beneath giants
and dragged it home to dress in treasures and dreams

You grew up on that footpath,
rode bicycles to the creek and built low-slung tree houses
in a tousled oak,
wallowed in wildflowers with the dogs,
rescued baby birds

and once, from a distance,
in the hush of twilight,
we stood silent watching a doe teach her young
to cross our creek,
like we did you, so many years ago

A PRIVATE CEREMONY

Pale moonlight traces our journey
over crushed shell paths winding through sea oats,

footprints sketch gritty memories in the sand
and salt water laps our toes

Your ashes slumber
in the ebb and flow of teardrops drifting beyond the horizon
and on hidden shoals and coral souvenirs
playing along shorelines you colored on maps

We set adrift a bouquet of bluebells
and your silhouettes gather the scent of lost gardens
on holy water crooning beneath our silence

Whispered benedictions
slip a translucent moon behind clouds of psalms
and the surf buries our lament in autumn’s breath

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