Octopus

Lurking
loosely,blobbishly
unrolling,
your enormous
bulbous head
a-lolling,
with a kind of
neckless grace
as you come pouring
down the face
of rocky coves
and coral caves 
that shimmer
with a most enchanting glimmer
through the roof
of pulsing waves–
Gem set in a jewel…

Red or yellow,
white and polka-dots
or maybe cobalt blue:
Loosely committed to your shade,
your shape also defined
sort of
by whatever space you fill…

And yet, in you
a hunter’s will…
And truth be told,
you’re really rather smart and bold:
Gravity’s your bitch
and physics, too,
and even literary art
as suddenly, you’re
outofhere!
with jet-assist,
and last-word mockery
expressed
in ink.

2007

LOBSTERS ON PARADE

Across the abyssal plain,
in waters weighted with the entire ocean
and as utterly black as night can be,
lit only by the thrashing sparking flaring
of creatures bizarre by any notion
of ourselves, the lubberly kind…

Across these heavy deeps
in measured tread of little feet crustacean,
they march, determined in their quest
with thoughts in mind, if there is any thinking,
of dancing fandangos in slow motion
with lady lobsters, fair and fine…

Across the rippling sands
the lobsters march in single-file profusion
parading to their dancing grounds
driven by intent of reproduction
with no digression or confusion
Miles of lobster swains divine…

February 2005

Muse

Under branches reaching
for light of stars
and solitary moons
and wanderers across the sky…

Always
I am here–
another tale unfolding,
a flower held in both our hands
unbudding
to an unexpected bloom…
The light of all these skies
shines–
between our eyes…
Never fear–
I am here.

Seek me,
seeking you–
in campfire shadows…             
in corners of your heart
known
but unexplored…
In imagination’s sparkle
just beyond the circle
of its light, am I, waiting
for your call
your coaxing tones
and love
and ears to know
what I would teach
that no other being knows…
Softly, softly,
gently,
powerful
are we.

Nocturne

This midnight restlessness of mind
that drives me room to room
is once again awake:
when all the world is dark and dreaming
it drives me softly,
something seeking…

A child in the window frame
gazing out on night-times’s day,
held in thrall
by lunar light
that casts the night-lands
soft and fey…

A girl enwrapped in arms,
entranced,
over moths
that dash and dance
about the silent night-light in the hall…
our fascination
for the solitary spot
of misplaced sunlight
shared…
It is our secret,
the moths’ and mine…
Yet tensed against
the sudden gaping door,
harsh light
indignant questions
and I answerless,
will be cast back
aggrieved,
ashamed,
alone
to fade into the heavy dark
that holds no sleep nor magic
nor any ease of mind…

The years of passing childhood,
the girl approaching womanhood
enduring countless days
beneath the caustic eyes
of the ones who criticize,
who daily torment and despise…
The one night’s daring
loud despair
replied to with
two aspirins’ warmest love…
I could not tell them
when they finally came
where the real pain lay…


Now, when I, restless,
rise and roam from room to room,
I know the one who sleeps behind me
neither questions nor condemns
My wanderings are mine, again,
my wonderings
that will come when they will…
and in all the hours of darkness
the nightlight burns as brightly
as any dancing moth could ask.

1975

Night Running

Under a sky
netted with stars
like gems
in the sweeping waves
of holy tresses…

Wind sighs
like divine breath
of the world around
and with it
I also breathe…

Running, running
kinless
under the sky
Moon, the lantern
full as a pearl,
a heart,
the senses
on a night like this…

In such solitude
alone and yet
by all the world embraced
I wonder,
Where in all of it
are you?

2014

Solitude

Wandering–
flickering quietly
a fragment of my soul
in peaceable night,
eternal playground
of gods and planets,
stars and dust and dreams…


Hearkening–
to a thread of tone
a music simple
and profound
and not entirely
unknown…

Wondering–
Shall I follow?
Cast my curiosity
upon the solar winds
tack this way and that
until I come
to find
the instrument,
the player of this theme?


Or–
wander on–
embracing solitude,
and safe?

November 2009

November 2009

I AM NOT WHITE

I am not white… 
Not white, but tones of pink
of gentle shades of tawny
with constellations on my skin
of greater and lesser magnitudes
of brown.

My eyes are blue
or sometimes more like grey.
It’s a mood thing
or a product of surroundings
and ecologies.

My blood is red
as bright
as anyone’s. 

My hair has lived through
sun-touched gold
and lightish, dullish brown,
and through fads of colors
unnatural
And come to white and grey
and a touch of aqua 
for the fun of it!

The heart of my heart
pulses
in all the colors there are
of skin, 
of culture,
of self-declaring genders
and identities; 
of rainbows between 
the steel-grey of storms,
the hollow shadows of
ignorance,
the depths and darks of
benightedness.

Like the Sun
I strive
for wholeness of light,
to be all colors
though, like everyone,
I walk in forests’ shades,
swim in ocean’s currents,
squint against squalls
not always of my own making.

Tones change with moving clouds,
like feelings, 
impulses sparked,
concentration,
fascination;
by the fears engendered
by the certainties of others…

I am bowed down
sometimes
by all I do not know
or understand. 

I weary of the uphill climb
from time to time.
I fret for all the folk
who also climb, 
and somehow believe
they know the only way;
by those also who cling
to clumps of grass, 
to thrusting stone,
and somehow believe
they’ve reached the top… 

Still, I want to be
the brightness
of the Sun…

I want to be, meantime,
all the colors that I am. 

I am not white. 

Lament

I’m sorry,
I can’t love you
as maternal love should be…
Out here I stand
beyond the glass,
a wall of distance
between my heart and the world.

Love’s such a quiet subtle thing
so easily drowned out
by need and want
and hungers wailing
from a time,
the time when children
learn to love
by being loved.

I’m sorry
that my missing pieces
make this puzzle
that is love
forever incomplete.
Yet I want to love,
you are so very dear
although my heart is mute and broken.

I know love is something like
the yearning crouched in here…
I wish, I wish, I wish
that I could feel
all that I know is true.
I wish that I could give you
all that you should have from me
without the firewalls
that make my space
a safer place.

I cherish you
as I have always done
I want to know
that this is enough for you to understand
all that you are to me.
I would not have
your heart, your life
be broken, too.

April 2015

Mother and Child

I cannot quite put a finger on it,
nor pin down the feelings in my heart
now I am home from visiting with you…
A deal of history lies there between us
as it has lain, gathered over years
of awkwardness,
uncertainty,
resentment,
guilt,
embarrassment;
over many moments
miscalculated,
misinformed,
misunderstood
that still stand between us…

Now I am older,
with grown children of my own;
You are old
and grasp your cup
with two frail and twisted hands
that once were capable
of wringing out a washcloth nearly dry
or leaving marks on angry cheeks
that faded over days…

Now I do not hold the grudge
that came of fearing you
and your disdain,
your disapproval of everything, it seemed,
I was or wanted.

Now, visiting you in your small rooms
and holding you against me in embrace
that saves you from another fall,
please see that
I hold nothing else against you now;
I hope with all my heart
you know I love you
and that’s all.

2007 by CL Redding

THE DAY BETWEEN

Considering with weary heart and jaded eye
all the stacks and racks and knicks and knacks, 
that loom left over and left undone
from yesterdays and yesterweeks
last month, last season,
even all a lifetime’s matters 
still requiring answers and corrections and response… 

Before this week is out I know
decisions must be made, 
uncertainties confronted and if possible allayed, 
anxieties faced down, potentially delayed;
expectations settled–mine and those of others
poised for disappointment and dismay
or vanishing as imaginings 
never truly dire… 

And then, seen dim like creatures that lurk
as slowly they emerge from dark and murk, 
the tasks, demands, the urgencies,
the next steps of projects still in play, 
consequences of choices and decisions. 
of commitments made to make them go away… 
I know they’re out there, to be dealt with
with whatever wit and skill
and luck that will
in the moment be mine, 
or maybe not…

Today, though, I will walk
the ground between
the promises of yesterday
and insistances of the coming day.
Today I will watch the world shine
apart from my concerns
with its skies and weathers, 
I’ll revel in its flowers,
in its pretty rocks and fallen feathers, 
and I will give no thought to all the rest
or gnaw over what is worst or best…
I will listen for the birds, the wind, 
the music of the spheres, and know
the earth beneath my feet
is not belabored by my cares, 
but shares its energies, its life,
its simple beingness with me,
expecting nothing…

This is the day I gift myself…
This is the day between.