Another (new) Beginning

in dream
I’m locked out of my house
locked out of my life as I’ve known it

with no identity and zero the number
that speaks to me of who I am and
who I am not: zero.

Standing alone in the unknown place
I shrug, This is okay. Whoever, whatever
I am, This is okay.

Fledge Day

Lesson for the day:
Don’t take anything for granted.
What’s given may be gone in a fledge

including a nest-full of four phoebes
increasingly crowding each other over
and nearly out of the crumbling nest
and now out of necessity fledged and
gone. There’s joy and vicarious pride
in the successful flight of the baby birds
from the days of their 1/2-inch eggs.
Plenty of room in the nest then
their faithful mother keeping them
warm, seeing them through a thunder-
storm up to today, to now, and into
the forest, the quartet testing their new-
found powers to sail on something they
don’t know is called the wind.

Ephemeridae

I open the door and leave the house,
leave a may-fly dithering at the window.

How has she survived into June,
temperatures down to 30 degrees?

I leave the door open, hoping
she might find her way to whatever

pond or field is home. Such urgency
I understand. The body tells her

the end is near, and she must find
the open door to where the family
of may-flies finally sleeps together.

My First Troll, after publication of The North End

Trying to understand the why
of so much hatred focused on me
as the writer of poems
about the neighborhood where I
grew up. And to have the work
so misconstrued was pain of a kind
and level I’d never known.
I’d seen the subjects of the poems
as living holy lives doing the best
they could with what they had.
May they and she one day
forgive me. I did the best I could
with what I had.

For Souls Waiting in the Vestibule of Heaven in the Time of COVID.–19, 2020

No need any longer to shelter in place
Or to keep the 6-foot space between.

You’re done with that. It’s over now.
Set it down if you haven’t already

And come across the bridge over the divide.
We’re waiting for you, each one of you

Needed to complete the circle of love
As it is now, extending from what

You knew on earth. Call it the moon,
Call it Jupiter, or call it heaven, whatever

Pleases and means eternal life to you
Because that’s what you’ll get––

What you’ve dreamed of and couldn’t
Remember when awakened.

You’re here now. Come across
Without fear. You’re home.

#MeToo: Daphne and Apollo

I was a being of flesh and not of wood,
but that changed in a moment
when I Daphne fled from Apollo’s grasp.

I called to my father, the river god,
Help me, Father! Help me! No sooner
had the plea crossed my lips than

what had been foot became root
of laurel tree, fingers webbed into branches
leafing out to a startled Apollo.

When I Daphne, as fairest maiden, was lost
to him, the laurel became his own tree
whose leaves crowned athletes in games

dedicated to the amorous god whose sighs
and lamentations were hushed by the wind
that blew through the leaves of the laurel tree.

To Bury Or Burn

My newly published third collection of poems, To Bury or Burn, sweeps
across the spectrum of life, leaving in its wake moments of joy and
grief, childhood and motherhood, poets and their poems, and the
company and loss of cats, all of it against the backdrop of the
natural world.

The book is available from Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=to+bury+or+burn+judith+robbins&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss

from the publisher, North Country Press
https://www.northcountrypress.com/to-bury-or-burn.html

from Barnes & Noble
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-bury-or-burn-judith-robbins/1135167314?ean=9781943424535

and from most bookstores.

To Bury or Burn

Judith Robbins’ latest collection of poems, To Bury or Burn, sweeps
across the spectrum of life, leaving in its wake moments of joy and
grief, childhood and motherhood, poets and their poems, and the
company and loss of cats, all of it against the backdrop of the
natural world.

The book is available from Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=to+bury+or+burn+judith+robbins&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss

from the publisher, North Country Press
https://www.northcountrypress.com/to-bury-or-burn.html

from Barnes & Noble
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-bury-or-burn-judith-robbins/1135167314?ean=9781943424535

and from most bookstores.

Dying and Rising in the Kalevala*

While reading in the Kalevala about the swan
of Tuonela, and Lemminkainen’s mother
and what she did, a shout went out from me
toward what or whom I cannot say.

Hacked into pieces by the son of Tuoni,
who threw the eight parts of Lemminkainen
into the river, here came his mother, carrying
a rake of iron forged by Ilmarainen. With it

she raked the reaches of Tuonela’s river until
she recovered all the fragments of her slain son.
Bones fitted, she chanted a magical song
for weaving of veins, for stitching of sinew

and flesh. Still no breath. She sent the prophetic
bee to gather salve from Jumala’s** pots. Rubbed
on his body, it would raise her son from dreams
of evil to life and speech. A mother defying

the story as told by someone else, she would
save her son from powers that bade him ill.
Her name Lempi, her action her identity as
Lemminkainen’s mother whose love prevailed.

* Finnish epic
** God

Station Yourself on the Rock

Purgatory Chasm in Sutton, Mass.—
a geological anomaly—meant
more than that to you and me
(no scientists we at five and seven)
who had come with parents
to picnic a lifetime ago.
Pictures emerge in my mind
of sharp outcroppings of towering rock
intimidating in their seeming leaning
at a cautionary angle that said, Take care,
and we did, climbing that rocky place
named by Puritans as Purgatory
where the soul is cleansed by fire
before coming into the presence of God
enabled to bear the beatific vision
which otherwise it could not, recalling
Moses, hidden in rock and waiting to see
the glory of God pass by, but only
allowed the hindmost parts, as no one
could look on the face of God and live.
As smoke rose up from our charcoal grill—
hot dogs, chips and tonic ready—
we sat at a picnic table and shared
the family meal before God.