Category Archives: poetry

Poetry Corner: Shadow

Insubstantial
illusory
impermanent
no solid self
How frightening –
And so we build something more solid,
cling to it tightly,
But the unconcerned sun
still casts us into shadow

Poetry & photography (c)2017 Michelle M. Welch

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Poetry Corner: Moon and Mesquite

Mesquite tree at the Desert Botanical Garden

I have stood here for some time
stretching branches into the sky –
and every year
when the weather turns cool
you come along and wrap me with these lights,
electric and bristling –
Strange, since you could just look up
and see the light already in the sky

Poetry & photography (c)2017 Michelle M. Welch

 

It’s not really like me to get Christmassy, but I needed a poem for this week and I went browsing through some old photos. Here’s one I took a couple of years ago at Las Noches de las Luminarias, the traditional holiday celebration at the Desert Botanical Garden: 8000 candle-lit luminarias and Christmas lights wrapped around any growing thing they could reach. (Careful if you try this with cactus…)

Poetry Corner: Tiger

Be confident like the tiger,
the teachers say –
strong, wasting no effort with his elegant steps
Meek – the word Rinpoche used

But he can’t mean that
It was just a translation thing,
one of his odd usages,
hunting the English language
for a word that almost meant what he wanted.
No, I’m the one who’s meek,
too timid to take a confident, tiger-like step,
too afraid of mistakes and their consequences,
resigned to being a wallflower, grumpily

But what if meek really is the right word,
(for me if not for the tiger)
in the manner of all those Zen koans
with their inherent contradictions:
timid and confident together,
expanding to encircle the whole of it,
somehow walking anyway, step after step

Poetry & photography (c)2017 Michelle M. Welch

Rinpoche is a title used by certain Tibetan Buddhist teachers – in this case, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who came up with that unusual term meek to describe the traditional Tibetan dignity of the tiger. I was about to take a class on the topic when I wrote this, feeling a little perplexed about what I could possibly get out of the class.

Poetry Corner: Tree at Meteor Crater

They say this hole in the ground
is fifty thousand years old
I say – Who cares?
Tree years are better
and that means
it’s as old as me

Poetry & photography (c)2017 Michelle M. Welch

I’m not sure why the voices of natural things always sound so sassy in my head. When I took the shot, I was just struck by the brilliant green of this tree against the high desert brown surrounding it. The sassy voice came later.