footprints

(and in the meantime – imagine a photograph of bird footprints…I’m working on it)

I feel thoughts circling
words waiting to be touched
the birds waiting to land
who have always been with me
just out of sight
only approaching from the side
when I’m looking ahead
or looking back
or when I’m still
eyes closed, mind open, listening
then they come

black birds of the imagination
bones bleached white in memory
feathers full of dreams
songs and claws and tails and wings

they strut and hop across the page
leaving spiky footprints, unbound symbols
runes of divine connection

or gently, they lower one wing
to deceive, or to start over
brushing the page clean

sometimes, they are so sure of their song
they stab with their beak
straight through, and pin it to the page

all I can ever do
is trace a line from the edge of one footprint to the next
and trust in the story
they want told

©clairegriffin2017

the scent of silver

a band of pale grey wraps around my wrist
a band that moves and glows with life
shimmering, twisting, sliding down
against the bones of my hand

when turned between fingers and thumb
the metal warms, the light brightens
and I shift sideways
and all is light and warm
and time is younger
and skin is softer

the band of silver sings
and I am filled with the scent
of winter frost on southern thyme
and summer-dry grass beside the lake
and your hair freshly washed
and raspberries crushed between your fingers

 

daily prompt – describe the scent of silver – from Sarah Selecky https://www.storyisastateofmind.com/

I love these prompts, although I’m never organised enough
to work on them daily as is intended.
They trigger all sorts of associations and memories and ideas
that are unexpected, and usually welcome.

©clairegriffin2017

a wooden box in the winter sun

a small wooden box sits beside me on the table
crafted from three types of wood – plum, matai and kauri
glowing red and golden brown in the winter sun

the top fits snugly
and needs firm but gentle pressure
if I am to lift the lid

I almost never do

I cradle it in one hand, lay the other across the top
eyes closed, body memory recalling texture and movement
remembering what it was like to touch one small live warm soul

its been two years now

at first, I immersed myself in your image, walked past photos of you every day
until slowly, I moved beyond the raw pain, the sadness
I no longer reached out as if my touch could wake you

but a week ago I stopped, felt the tightness preceding tears
felt compelled to touch the frame
that has held its four wooden arms around you

and I thought – this is the time
this is the time to write of you, to write to you
my little heart, my elegant soul, my brave boy

long-legged, big-eared, golden-nosed
one wide band of black glossy hair from head to tail
proud-chested, regal, handsome tabby face

in your younger days you would go in to battle
with any who dared cross your boundaries
until the end, when you were content to watch from the window

you were nervous of people you didn’t know
it took you years to stay in the same room with strangers
until the end, when any lap was a warm haven

you loved to lie full length in the sun
you loved sleeping on the bed
until the end, when stretching and jumping was an effort

your bright eyes, pale greeny-gold
would gaze into mine, like two souls connected
until the end, when you were blinded by age

until those last three days
when, over and over again,
you were shaken by the hand of some cruel god

you fell and trembled, lost all control and woke wet and bewildered
and each time, all I could do was cry and hold you
clean you and let you bury your head in my arms

you deserved to go easy

the last thing I could do was help you avoid
the hand that sought to wrench you from my side
was to help you slip away, peaceful

and sitting there, as the vet left the room for potions of sweet sleep
you lifted your head and looked toward the sunlit window
you were seeing something . . .

 

red and golden wood now shelters you
and yesterday I lifted the lid
and touched the air above you with the tip of one finger

I felt a pulse – of my heart, of yours?

and passing your photo, I closed my eyes and kissed the frame
tears rose and fell, and it was slowly that I wiped them away

nineteen years you walked this earth
and now a small wooden box sits on the table
who would think the memories of so many years
could live within its walls

 

for Thomas, and all those who understand the connection between human and animal

©clairegriffin2017

night-quiet

unable to sleep
I sit by the window
looking out into darkness
into my knowledge
of what lies beyond the glass
my eyes see nothing
but the soft black mounds of hills
given shape by the merest light
of moon and star
filtered through cloud

and there is stillness and quiet
the night-quiet when the wind has calmed
and tree ferns hang their fronds down
relaxing their leafy arms into the dark
while the birds sleep in the trees
there are creatures about
snails edging across the driveway
cats patrolling their borderlands
and a moth that stumbles across this page
on its way towards the torchlight
that lights my pen

 

©clairegriffin2017

green

img_5321

your footsteps play
on the skin of the land
as on a drum
I feel the ground vibrate

you are coming

you will lie beneath me
and I will drop
sun-ripened fruits
into your mouth

you will stand still in my arms
as the wind blows around us
I move so slowly
this is how we dance

you will hear me singing to you
while you sleep
I speak so quietly
you can only hear me in your dreams

I am strong and grounded
the one you seek
my roots run deep
my tribe is many

you are a bright brief burst of life
and I am older than your generations
you are constantly astounded
my hair is green
and yet you love me

©clairegriffin2017