in an arc of leaf-shade
a butterfly’s dreams
You say I keep my feelings close to my chest. All those years biting my lip, holding my tongue, I found my freedom in a blank page. Even now that it is safe to speak my mind and my heart, I fumble for the right words and when they finally emerge, I wrap each one in a chorion, to save it from attack.
It is the pilgrim soul in me, that wanders the forest paths and the mountain slopes, taking her prompts from Nature to give voice to her thoughts and feelings. How the birds sing my joys and sorrows, how the dragonfly flashes with inspiration’s fire and the loose stones from the crag plummet into the blue echoes of silence. How one ragged foxglove tugs at the sleeve of dawn, begging her to stay.
Come, my love, it is not the beaten track I walk. These days of ink flowing through my veins, my pen confesses what my lips fail to utter.
deep within the willow
the warbler’s song
does the oak in autumn
ponder the sky?
Warm water and cotton wool, lint, gauze and calico. With the same gentleness with which he dressed the gash in my knee, my father answered my questions, one by one.
“Who am I? Why am I me?”
“Why is the oak an oak, the willow a willow?
“You have your place on this earth and you will know all seasons. Little birds will come to sing in the branches of your heart and the sun will fill your veins…”
His words became a mantra for my four year old self and for that, every tree became my friend, a companion on the journey. I would make my apology for stepping on exposed roots and the trees would bend low, whispering secrets of the sky. Grandma and Grandad, fragile and pale, had each succumbed to the tug of the breeze to make way for new buds, like me.
But you said nothing, Dad, about the cold winds that come to take a leaf before its time, almost as if you sensed you would not be here for my blossoming.
at the core of sweetness
the wasp’s song
the white-robed egret takes
the Druid’s staff
Within minutes, my world is in perfect focus. All that has been troubling me fades away as soon as my eye feels the coolness of the scope and adjusts to the light. I notice how my breathing has become calm, how my chest expands and my neck seems to lengthen as I
feel a weight lifted from my shoulders.
How might I stand still on shifting sand? Tucked away, beneath the squall, with what faith might I quill this wing? What it would be to close my eyes and preen deeper into the breast of darkness.
the one-legged Jain
in a godwit’s reflection…
Claire Everett's haiku, tanka and other poems have appeared in American Tanka, Ribbons, Magnapoets, Red Lights, Haiku News, Acorn, Lyrical Passion Poetry e-zine, Simply Haiku, Sketchbook and Bolts of Silk. She is a contributing poet for cyrcle 11 of Haiku Daily (2011). Claire won 2nd and 3rd place in the Think Tanka 2010. She lives with her husband, five children and two beautiful cats in County Durham, England.