Along the river bed as I walk, my left
hand leads toward water that receives sky
on its surface. Clouds and blue, wind
shivers the image. Drawn to the lightly
unfocused, I begin to understand:
I prefer the potential uncertainty gives.
River banks slope down as land gives
into the pull of water’s force, sand left
fixed as levels of surrender. They stand
in their geometry until the next storm when sky
will dump a watery flood no dirt can lightly
resist. Sand and water the playground of wind.
What stays, what goes? Weather winds
tangling tendrils around leaf and stem, gives
roots the shivers. Uncaring, it affords little light
to birches or oaks in a winter grip. What’s left
alive will not, however, be decided by the sky.
If Earth can mend its line to sun, the plant will stand.
I like a bridge, the in between, yet understand
it’s a man-made thing, a construct that wind
could eventually dismantle with years of sky
and worms and human neglect. Still, it gives
me pleasure to stand on the planks, my left
hand tracing waves as they move the light.
If allowed abundant water and right light,
aspens would form so thick a stand
I couldn’t pass through. I’d be left
needing an ax, or simply listening as wind
blew leaves into melody that would give
me reason to stay there under the sky.
I want to live in present tense, each sky
revealing my mind to myself, the way light
never grows stale. What I love is given
me the way a tumbling stream understands
there can be no holding back, or how wind
sprays mist onto my skin and I’m left,
surprised, new. Moss gives off chartreuse light,
a glow under a gray sky. What’s left for me to know?
I stand in the answer, my breath a small wind.
By Grace Marie Grafton
Grace Marie Grafton is the author of six collections of poetry, which can be reviewed on Amazon’s site. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a redwood tree outside her kitchen door and a native live oak next to her deck. Nearby are red squirrels, raccoons, salamanders, and (never seen) mountain lions. Other of her nature poems can be found in Canary (online), Peacock Journal (online), Third Wednesday, Poecology and The Common Ground Review. Her book, Whimsy, Reticence and Laud: unruly sonnets, is rooted in her love of nature. She has taught for decades with CA Poets in the Schools, frequently taking her grade school students outdoors for their poetry lessons.
Photo by NejroN.