Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
What if, instead of dying flowers, perfume
smelled like mountaintops, like granite
and fir-filtered wind? Breezes lift our feet
from the rock and fragrance-scented air
buoys us up over golden rows of mountains.
You laugh like a child taking his first step
out onto the taut surface of water
and instead of sinking, we skate
on that tensile surface that quivers
like my heart when you reach
the long pin freathers of your wings
and wrap them all light and tickle
and remember around me.
Mary Stebbins Taitt
first poem on Ipad,
Friday, April 16, 2010
"THE SNIPE HUNT" by Mary Stebbins Taitt (click image to view larger.)
Winged as a curlew, long-beaked as a woodcock,
sleep whistles and dives through the shattered night.
Searching, I scrabble through dark swamps
reeking of marsh gas and fœtid with the smells
of rotting fish. My song bursts with yearning,
alternating chipping, burbling and fluting sounds,
like a sparrow held under water. My pleading
tastes of the raw shrimp and crayfish I wave
in a mesh bag. Snipe bait. Muddy ooze seeps
cold through the knees and hem of my nightgown,
black muck and slime cling to my fingers and toes.
Burdocks, stick tights and beggars ticks
burrow in my hair. I carry a snare for the snipe
of sleep, but when the bird swoops by and I reach
to snag it, my fingers pass, ethereal, through
a taunting fantasia of feathers, fog and clouds
of unborn sleep that drifts past, damp, intangible
and utterly unattainable. Snipe dreams tumble by,
hauntingly near but always beyond reach.
They refuse to descend into my wake-parched eyes.
I strain toward the gibbering voices of dream
phantoms. They talk in tongues, whisper
and twitter in mysterious dream-coded languages
and their aurora-colored feathers flutter
around my bed, falling like the warm snow of dreams
but never touching my face. Long snipe beaks
tear the night in strips, shredding it into confettis
of longing. The snipe of sleep will be neither captured
nor kept. It cannot be domesticated. Elusive, beyond wild,
it ranges over the incalculable waters of night. It turns
bedrooms into swamplands and sanity
into shrieking lunacy.
Mary Stebbins Taitt
A snipe hunt is a wild-goose chase or fool's errand. The term originated from a practical joke where experienced campers convinced inexperienced campers to capture a “snipe,” variously described as a bird or animal. The novice campers were given absurd methods of catching the snipe, such as running through the woods carrying a bag while making odd noises (snipe calls). Real snipes, shorebirds with long bills, are so difficult to catch for even experienced hunters that the word "sniper" originally meant someone skilled enough to shoot a snipe.
Perhaps if I could capture the snipe of sleep alive (and release it in the morning), I could finally rest. But if, sniper like, I shoot it, sleep will never come.
100417-1203-4b(12), 100416-2249-3g(10), 100411-1838-2b(3), 8/16/2007 4:37 PM
This and the previous version at the Rolandale Silk Creek Retreat House in the Hiker Kitty Room. NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Month)
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Tree Dreams in February
Under the ground, a dark and perpetual night, almost as void
of life as deep space, presses cold teeth against the dreaming trees,
but the trees sink further into their roots and listen all the way up
the long fibers of their empty veins to owls rustling in their nests,
to small movements inside the eggs, to the first cracking
that heralds these winter babies, these messengers of spring.
Lost in their roots, sunk in depths of the frozen earth, trees dream
of sweet sunshine, of snow melting, of the slow unfurling of leaves
and flowers, of fledgling owls stretching their wings and launching
into the great pale blue of treacherous air. The trees remember
summer nights, owls lifting silently from their branches, occluding
the moon and stars, or hooting to one another from high above
the branches where the little diurnal birds rest in their nests.
The trees dream the smell of summer wind and the wet caresses
of rain. As they weave into their dreams the smells
of their own flowers, the tastes of their own nectar,
the touch of the bees’ pollen-laden feet and gentle tongues,
the taste of frozen earth loses its pungent bitterness.
Mary Stebbins Taitt, 1st, a poem for the unity web exercise.
Deep in the frozen earth, trees dream
of sweet sunshine, snow melting, of the slow unfurling of leaves
and flowers. Underground, a dark and perpetual night, as empty
of life as deep space, presses its cold teeth against the dreaming trees,
but the trees sink deeper into their roots and dream of summer nights,
of owl flight and the resting diurnal birds tucked in nests in the trees’
safe branches. They remember being awake, they remember the smell
of wind and breezes and the wet caresses of rain. As they weave
into their dreams the smells of their own flowers, the taste
of their own nectar, the touch of the bees’ pollen-laden feet
and gentle tongues, the taste of frozen earth loses its bitterness.