“The Phoenix Again” by May Sarton (on “Simply Beginning Again” by Christy)

On the ashes of this nest
Love wove with deathly fire
The phoenix takes its rest
Forgetting all desire.

After the flame, a pause,
After the pain, rebirth.
Obeying nature’s laws
The phoenix goes to earth.

You cannot call it old
You cannot call it young.
No phoenix can be told,
This is the end of the song.

It struggles now alone
Against death and self-doubt,
But underneath the bone
The wings are pushing out.

And one cold starry night
Whatever your belief
The phoenix will take flight
Over the seas of grief

To sing her thrilling song
To stars and waves and sky
For neither old nor young
The phoenix does not die.

~ May Sarton via Poetry (December 1987)


It struggles now alone
Against death and self-doubt,
But underneath the bone
The wings are pushing out.

 

I’ve had this poem saved for quite some time. This concept of death and rebirth, of flying above grief, of returning to ground–burned and naked and alone, of nature’s laws, of beginning again . . . even when you know what inevitably lies ahead. The cycle and natural order of everything. Nothing is permanent, yet everything is cyclical, everything returns again, just not exactly the same as it was in the past. The warm nest of inertia, yet the tingling tickling of wings prickling and pushing out.

It was never a question of if I would return. I knew I would. But who would I be when I came back? Exactly who I am supposed to be, right? I knew from my past extended break that I needed poetry in my life, but I also knew that I couldn’t force it or feel guilted into it. It would happen when it was supposed to happen.

I got some bad news in April 2018 and it was enough to snuff my candle for a while. I tried to keep the poetry coming, and I did until July, but I had lost the spark. My heart just wasn’t in it. So I chose to refocus my energy. And then as I settled into a new normal of sorts, my old mistress Poetry came calling… I told her I was done with her, and she said . . . . well, you know. So here we go again, always we begin again.

And one cold starry night
Whatever your belief
The phoenix will take flight
Over the seas of grief

Here’s to taking flight.
Here’s to simply beginning again.
With love, Christy


“Fledgling” by Blues Traveler from Save His Soul 

The earth
Is far below you
Once its prisoner now do you fly
Once just a fledgling now
Do you fly

 

“Burning the Old Year” by Naomi Shihab Nye

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.

Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers.

Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things I didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.

Naomi Shihab Nye, “Burning the Old Year” from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems (Portland, Oregon: Far Corner Books, 1995). Copyright © 1995 by Naomi Shihab Nye


“I begin again with the smallest numbers…” 

Happy New Year everyone. May your crackles be few, and your losses fewer.

We sadly lost an unborn calf today, and yet, just on Christmas Eve, another cow miraculously welcomed happy and healthy twins. Such is the cycle of life . . . and of death. I am slowly learning to accept both.

Thank you for being here with me. Love, Christy

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you

with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

~ “Thanks” by W.S. Merwin

“Christmas Light” by May Sarton

When everyone had gone
I sat in the library
With the small silent tree,
She and I alone.
How softly she shone!

And for the first time then
For the first time this year,
I felt reborn again,
I knew love’s presence near.

Love distant, love detached
And strangely without weight,
Was with me in the night
When everyone had gone
And the garland of pure light
Stayed on, stayed on.

“Christmas Light” by May Sarton. Text as published in Collected Poems 1930-1993 (W. W. Norton, 1993).

“This Poem Belongs to You” by David Whyte

This poem
belongs to you
and is already finished,

it was begun years ago
and I put it away

knowing it would come
into the world
in its own time.

In fact
you have already read it,
and closing the pages
of the book,

you are now
abandoning the projects
of the day and putting on
your shoes and coat
to take a walk.

It has been long years
since you felt like this.

You have remembered
what I remembered,
when I first began to write.

David Whyte
from The House of Belonging 
©2007 Many Rivers Press

~~~

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, everyone. I look forward to seeing you in the new year when we shall, simply, begin again  . . .  ~Christy  (Happy Birthday, Mom, I miss you every day.)

 

“Our Story” by William Stafford

(taking a digital break for a while … hope to see you all soon. love, christy)


Remind me again—together we
trace our strange journey, find
each other, come on laughing.
Some time we’ll cross where life
ends. We’ll both look back
as far as forever, that first day.
I’ll touch you—a new world then.
Stars will move a different way.
We’ll both end. We’ll both begin.

Remind me again.