By Shari Green
The Weight of Giants
There’s a little dying in every day—
the ending of moments
closing doors, closing hearts,
fading memories and dreams—
and with each death comes mourning,
a great sorrow
or the melancholy ache that wrings out passion
drop by drop.
Some days we pluck bright joys from the air
to soften our losses, like sour-sweet apples
collected in lengthening shadows
on crisp evenings.
Other days—storm-ravished dreadful days—
the ending-closing-fading rips through us, breaking spirits
In the forest, a two-hundred-year-old Cedar lies dead,
toppled by wind that now,
manifesting as a gentle breeze, transforms
Big-Leaf Maples into fair-skinned maidens
waving a thousand paper fans
to cool my skin.
And there beneath the prone trunk, Lady Ferns
crushed when the giant thundered to earth
peek out from beneath the weight, reaching
elegant fingers toward the sun.
There’s a little dying in every day
but there is living, too—
a carrying on that is all at once fragile
and resilient, damaged
and perfect—and I hope
when giants crash headlong into my life
I will scrabble through darkness and find resolve
to reach for light, courage
to push my broken heart back into the world
and say grow,
you’re not finished yet.
I step outside
to a world refreshed with dew.
Silver threads newly-woven
by a master’s hand
stretch between porch rails,
and it seems if you could find
a bow delicate enough
they would make the most lovely music.
In the yard
and the branches of an apple tree
bend low to offer their wealth.
There’s a chill in the air
yet the lucid blue sky gives promise
of afternoon warmth.
all shall be well
and all shall be well
and I’m not afraid
of the coming winter.
The Smell of Hope
Hope is built from dry grass and twigs,
fed with salvaged wood,
brightening dark places.
When it fades, I grab,
It drifts away like smoke.
Next morning I wake with the smell of it
tangled in my hair,
woven among the threads
of my sweater.
It clings as I stroll through the market
perusing fresh breads,
testing the firmness
Strangers lift their chins,
Their steps lighten
as they pass.
Who knew hope was contagious?
It’s carried on the breeze
from my soul to yours,
I pitch my tent on a circle of dirt
in the forest,
string up my need and offer it
to the wind.
I can’t light a fire—
not for want of kindling or skill
but because of drought.
The forest, so deceptive in its lush wardrobe—
salal, huckleberry, fern
cushioning the earth amidst maple and fir
hiding the truth that a single spark
can fell many giants.
How near am I to going up in flame?
How desperate for rain?
These dry bones stumble through days
strapping on flesh of tasks and duties
fashioning skin from illusions
only to have it peel off and scatter
I’ve stopped now—
stopped trying to cover my brokenness
stopped draping my skeleton in verdant cloak.
What does it matter if others see my nakedness?
If they turn away
it is no loss to me.
But if they look on it with love
perhaps they will take better care
I pitch my tent and string up my need
dry bones waiting
Moss creeps across the forest floor—
swallowing up the fallen dead
and wrapping itself
around those that remain,
enveloping their barren arms
and hanging there
like so much loose skin.
But up, way up, green needles touch the sky—
crowning the battle-worn trunks
and declaring them
held fast by ancient roots
and standing there
like faithful sentries.
Shari Green lives on Vancouver Island, BC, in a small town sandwiched between the rainforest and the sea. Her middle grade novel in verse, “Root Beer Candy and other Miracles,” will be published by Pajama Press in Fall 2016. Visit her online at www.sharigreen.com.