Mountains

Poetry

Written by:

Monica Sharp shares some of her powerful poems conceived in the midst of the pandemic.

Writing poetry has sustained me during some of the most difficult weeks and months since March 2020. All these poems were written in the past year, and broadly address life during the pandemic. How do we cope when the rug is pulled out from under us? Are we accompanied even as we feel alone? What brings us hope? What preserves balance and sanity? Are we in contact with the Divine – and is the Divine in contact with us? How can we continue to seek and incorporate the magic of everyday life, even as we move through terror and uncertainty?

Monica Sharp

Mountains 

When I woke up, the mountains were gone. 

A notch cut into my thumb. 

The weather forecast made no sense. 

All predictions were dumb. 

When I woke up, the mountains were gone. 

Good friends faded away. 

Old flames who had found new loves. 

Aimless clouds at midday. 

When I woke up, the mountains were gone. 

Everything seemed wrong. 

I could not puzzle the answer out. 

It had all gone on too long. 

When I woke up, the mountains were gone. 

The cloud grew inside my head. 

I was tired of all these sad old words. 

I regretted the things I’d said. 

When I woke up, the mountains were gone. 

The earth flat as a floor. 

I yearned to find the patterns. 

I longed to adjust the score. 

When I woke up, the mountains were gone. 

This, my new world now. 

What once before I relied upon 

I would let go somehow. 

When I woke up, the mountains were gone. 

We all struggle to let go. 

What yesterday felt firm and strong. 

Melted like summer snow. 

When I woke up, the mountains were gone. 

A fresh landscape fills my dreams. 

Who can say why they vanished away? 

The prairie now threads with streams.

Basho’s Garden

It’s raining again. 

I didn’t even know. 

From the window I see 

Slow wet sheets 

Washing every surface clean 

Lazy drips insistent tin patter 

Realization flows over me 

(See: “wanted knowing”) 

Dawning of awareness reliably conveyed 

In watery images 

Recalling waves, damp 

Cold fear in the stomach 

(See: “unwanted knowing”) 

Rain falls on roof 

Into the gutters 

Collects and crowds tiny dams of dead leaves 

Finds escape, the guiding chain 

Snaking down links into gravel by the door. 

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.

Basho you always make me cry

Fragile 2020

This Tuscan summer spins a golden dream!

All our streets here are empty, filled with space,

Renewing our erstwhile sense of place:

Sunlight and shadow split down a dark seam.

What once was rough oak now a well-oil beam,

No more witness to the hunt’s breathless chase

Nor to the quarry where ended the race.

History seasoned, not lost. What remains: seen.

Clocks slow, then stop. Hours tick, mutter, and sing.

Past worries seem quaint, replaced by mute fear.

We count dawn’s segments by each bright chime’s ring.

But a trace left of the hurries of last year:

A fluttering whirr, as a dove’s grey wing,

Whispers softly now: you are still here.

Prophets Find Me

Prophets find me 

In every public place

With their long hair 

And slender hands

They eye me and 

Stop

Change direction

Lope toward me

Lone wolf, one howled sotto voce in the Houston airport

I know I’ll never see you again, a stranger blurted at a Seattle signing

Prophets find me

Prophets find me 

In private places

With their low voices

They cast their runes

They catch me 

Hold 

Slow time

Embrace me

Take care your wings don’t bruise, you angel

A weeping mother begged in that island monastery 

We were sent here to help and heal the world, 

He prayed in my ear

Prophets find me

This poem is simply about witnessing the miracle of the annual Perseids meteor shower in August after midnight from the Alps – and what it called to mind.

Perseids

After midnight

The sky surprised us. Clearing away, 

Leaving a vast dark beach

Pocked with stars above.

I rubbed my eyes.

No one thought the clouds would leave 

Just like that.

Yet here I was. Awake and wondering.

The door creaked. 

I cocked my head. 

Don’t wake the kids.

The metallic mountain air in my nose: 

A jolt, a cold mouthful of midnight 

Silver. 

Suddenly

A hot glow streaked above. 

I closed the door carefully,

Cold feet – a good omen?

I tensed for that summer magic,

Tentative, defying prediction, 

I scanned the sky.

I only saw six. 

Each a stick 

Dragged 

Across the celestial sand.

My feet now numb. 

In an invisible cleft 

A lone cowbell slowly tinkled. 

A memory of Claire popped bright in mind,

Born into a quiet world. 

Claire and her lens, unblinking, 

Her muffle turned rich gift

As she looked and looked and looked

For hours and hours on end. 

Seeing what I will never see

Peering beyond sound.


Interesting in reading some more poetry? Tascha Von Uexkull recently offered a poetical exploration of our perception of reality, click here to read.


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