This is the 27th poem in Valley of Blue Hope: Poems Before and After Diagnosis of Cancer. https://www.createspace.com/4598960 My Holy Week poem, “Christmas Cactus” appeared in in the Fall 2011/Spring 2912 issue of Assisi.
You know the light is right
when in the window facing west
the Christmas cactus drops a spent bloom
in wet April at Holy Week’s advent.
Hours shut in darkness, the ancient plant
flowers twice a year, thriving in dryness
and morning chill at Christ’s birth
and now at his death. I stoop before
the profusion of color in our valley window
for the spent blossom, a lovely promise
someday we’ll find ourselves the right darkness
and light to thirst, flourish and die
on a Good Friday in our blue valley home.
Blue Valley Island Home
This is the 24th poem in Valley of Blue Hope: Poems Before and After Diagnosis of Cancer. https://www.createspace.com/4598960
In this poem, I realize that you’ve got to love the place where you will die and pass from this earth. I acknowledge a sense of rootlessness–that I, like my immigrant grandparents and even my second-generation parents, will not return to the place of my birth. The poems express my love as a sojourner for the Montana mountains, valleys and streams where I live my life, even after being diagnosed with a blood disorder, in gratitude and fullness.
Blue Valley Island Home
I live in this valley like an old islander.
The blue hills are my ocean horizon.
I see in clouds roiling island gods, Lono
in the short cloud, Lono in the long cloud,
Kamapuaa the pig god, Hauwahine
the mo’o lizard goddess of the Kawainui.
In daylight, Lake Helena becomes the big waters
of the royal fishpond I once rafted and the mo’o
protected. At night, driving west along the lake,
the lights of Helena reflect the lights of Honolulu
seen from a landing airliner. I must do this,
paganize my Montana landscape before I die.
Here I will be buried, or scattered, where
waters do not lap the shore, but stream
down blue mountainsides, here in my
blue valley home.
This is the 23rd poem in Valley of Blue Hope: Poems Before and After Diagnosis of Cancer. https://www.createspace.com/4598960
Wherever I am, Hawaii, where I was born and raised, is never far from me. The islands are, after all, the place I write about—where I breathe and move and have my being.
Blessed by the soft, curled petals,
the fluted yellow throat, the proud pistil‘s
red-tipped stigma pollen-dusted defies
the valley’s blue cold, seeking the sun.
Ungainly branches lopped last summer
bloom profusely a tropical warmth,
my morning window.
This is the 22nd poem in Valley of Blue Hope: Poems Before and After Diagnosis of Cancer. https://www.createspace.com/4598960
In those days when I wielded my fly rod on a Montana stream every chance I had, I would often come across an amazing brown bird. It would not fly away as I splashed forward in my waders, but would disappear under water. I wondered what it was, and what it was doing under the rushing water. I learned that the bird was a water ouzel, a word that I immediately fell in love with, or American dipper.
Most fly through air and feed aloft
or on solid ground. I fly through water
and catch bugs before they’re winged.
I don’t bob for algae, but plunge below
and face the future of water and waste
with nictitating lids. Sated, I rest on boulders
teasing oil onto my feathers and whistle
and trill my quizzical songs of hope.