22 March 2017

A Mirror Story

Brooks, books, trees and paintings on the wall—
Each reflects a story, each reveals soul.
Even these tiny violets I hold
show the face of God.

Break a mirror and be struck
With sevenfold bad luck.

All creation,
like a book or a picture,
is a mirror to us.
Alain de Lille

My blog poems are rough drafts.   
Please respect my copyright. 
© 2017 Susan L. Chast

Looking for the Soul: Part One


Neglect moves in steadily and Time melts.  
You snatch at last minutes as if they could be footholds, 
as if they could save you from undifferentiated matter.  

You have always escaped, you think, with skill, reason, instinct and faith—
rarely all four at once when one or two suffice.  Indeed, you rarely need faith 
because, you say, it sleeps in canonical tomes or dies with those who dare.

You search through libraries and galleries and find that history reflects you— 
you grown indulgent, slothful, tolerant of lies and hatred.
Part of neglect, You are neglect.

You are spark and tinder, too.  Enough to re-ignite care if you desire.
With reason dead and skill dying, instinct and faith must inspire.
If Time melts, nothing remains. Nothing. Find the path and burn.

Go on and buy your supplements, pay your cable bills and rent,
look out upon the homeless from grimy windows, then relent. 
Start divining footholds.  Seconds remain.

Clear a path out from chaos. Use words, color, sound and prayer.
Divine as if your life’s at stake.  Take the daring step you feared 
would lead to your death.  Revive your Soul.  And live.  

For Sumana's prompt Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Mirror
Also see Looking for the Soul: Part Two

(Something is churning about time/history/mirrors of a soul,  
but I'm not sure the words capture it yet.  
Let me know in comments, please.  
Thank you.)

My blog poems are rough drafts.   
Please respect my copyright. 
© 2017 Susan L. Chast

18 March 2017

Looking for the Soul: Part Two

Clay and Breath, Body and Soul—
What we’re told, what we know
Gifts we receive, Gifts we bestow.

We keep looking for ways to know the soul
deeper than reflection, more of a whole.
Begun in clay, and enlivened with God’s breath,
we are balloons afloat, alive and blessed.

The only impression we make at all
is in the looking glass hung in the hall,
but if we move closer to touch our frame
our breath turns to steam and obscures the same.

And if we turn away, Soul comes with us
to fill imagination with presence—
what was invisible is now enhanced
We are all dancers becoming the dance.

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.

© 2017 Susan L. Chast

15 March 2017

The Impeccable Stranger

Solitude, by John B. Heywood.jpg
Solitude, by John B. Heywood (1859?-1865?)

The impeccable stranger is kind, of course,
kind to the nth degree—superhero
kind—without an ulterior motive
such as wanting a friend or even sticking
around to talk or walk when not wanted.

The impeccable stranger desires only
to be a better stranger—one who pays
a debt forward and pours spirit into
a starved and scary city to increase
its peace, safety and chances of justice.

A hermit speaks, of course, hard to befriend,
but one who loves all life until world’s end.

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2017 Susan L. Chast

11 March 2017

What to Hold and What to Let Go

Last Supper, miniature from a Psalter, c.1220-40

for Suzanne                                 

She couldn’t remember that she had affirmed in hours of morning conversing
     that she would finish her novel in March before writing poetry in April.

It was already 5 o’clock P.M. and she was scared she’d forget half her life.
     Illogical, really.  
     If she lost half, she’d probably forget to worry, too.

And I’ve been falling often of late, because it’s hard to be careful while having fun
     talking and walking with my friends. 
     We laugh because we share the same problem.

But I’m eager to know what happens next in her new book, so I’ll remind her.  And
     because we both fall down, we agree to walk slower and pay attention to our path.

She hasn’t fallen since back surgery, but she forgot green paper shamrocks were
     for St. Patrick’s day, and last month she said she never tasted pink candy sweethearts.

But she can tell me Easter stories and how Jesus ate his last Passover meal.
     Once, long ago, she played the role of bread at the last supper,
     begging Christ to Choose Her.

I think she was chosen, but not the way she might have planned.
     And what she forgets might be blocking stories waiting to be told. 
     I’m glad we share these years as we grow old.

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2017 Susan L. Chast

08 March 2017

I Am This Gift

Duchamp - Nude Descending a Staircase.jpg

 Nude Descending a Staircase
Marcel Duchamp  (1912)

Identity shivers with riches, breaks apart
and refocuses having learned what richness is:
River of loving kindness at its core as if
it were a tunnel in the chimera of form,
an intersection of ancestors and the future,
an individual voice held in community,
a rebel constantly questioning, a hermit,
a free-flowing molecule in present matter.

Like a nude descending a staircase, identity
takes all steps at once and one by one--
here, now, there, then—filling the universe
and being filled simultaneously.
Identity drowns in the face of all; 
egoless, it swims ever in free fall.

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2017 Susan L. Chast