Lady Banks

I paused this morning
to smell the roses, Lady Banks
growing in garlands
of white and a pale yellow,
the latter, a shade closest to
morning sunlight.

With their delicate tendrils
languidly splayed
over a willing, yet
infirm cedar fence,
they called to me,
the way they’ve been
calling to me every morning.

Passing them on my walk,
I call back, not now, later,
much like a wayward parishioner
rushes by their pastor
on a Sunday morning
on their way to something busier
and consumingly more important
than praying.

And I wonder
who was Lady Banks
to have such an outpour
named for her?
Wife of Sir Joseph Banks
is all that is written.

A conjuring places her
perambulating her Victorian grounds,
the tiny stem of this rose twirling between
her fingertips,
thoughtful matron of her estate.
Or draped in her best expedition finery,
side-saddled over a wise pachyderm
who ambles her through the quite wild places
of India.

Nonetheless, I cup their clustered offering
into my lined hands.
closing my eyes, inhaling, allowing
the sense of smell to precede.
Breathing their fragrance is
as if to breathe the Madonna
directly into your heart.

Filling the well so generously,
so abundantly, so it may once again
shine it’s light out into the world.
Transmutation with one sip of a rose.

copyright 2015, Jennifer Brinn

5:30 a.m.

This morning wakes with melancholy.
Her hair teased across the sky,
pink, grays, blue hues,
in strands and tufts.

The moon smirks behind us
and hummingbirds shoot
like stars
through our middle world.

The drum circle of crickets yields
to the first sirens of crows,
and the last owl plays its bass note

Gazing out over
the curve and dip
of ridgeline, seeking the silhouettes
of early hunting coyotes
dotting the open hills
before her fire continues to rise.

And I sit, with the mystic song of coffee
rising up like incense.
Captured in the clear, cool, sweetness of air.
Simply bewitched,
as a trail of sparrows flutters by.

copyright 2013, jennifer brinn

The Sermon

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

On King’s Mountain stands
a house of worship. Within it,
each humbled footstep makes the cool earth sigh…
not a gasp, just a breath,
as if a small child were walking
barefoot down the concave of its otherwise
barreled back.

The muted spangle of sunlight tendrils
down around and seemingly through
matter itself.
Effulgent air is grace embodied
fanning the tiniest ballet of particles.

It is here, where storied redwoods
stand in reverenced walls of sanctuary,
or have fallen into gnarled, patinated, pews.
A cathedral obedient
to only a faultline.
Flying buttresses of bay laurels
lean in to support these aged ones.

In this place,
sitting, praying, gazing,
humming and considering
are all welcome.
Squiring jays and mourning doves
herald commencement of the sermon.

Repressed within the needled ground,
submerged below sorrel and ferns,
are muffled calls which harken back
the perversion of a fool’s fortune a century
or more ago.

Before the fools,were the Ohlone, ‘the western people’,
gentle stewards before this land was
tied up
in parcels.
they were guided by planets, seasons and
transmuted stardust,
intuiting what the land could bear,
leaving sacrament, at its altar.

Indigenous yielding to the conquest
of exploration,
defeated to new settlers who built
their own place of worhsip
atop the immediate,
so available, abundant sanctuary

Blight, from plundering men
with oxen and saws, the groan of mud,
trudge, work songs, dynamite,
whiskey, and whips on work animals
are all hushed deeply
within the consuming breast of earth.

Hushed, as does a mother who simply
cannot bear to hear that her own child has died.
But not silenced,
for the anguish, heartbreak,
is deafening.

Saplings who sprouted, broadening their stance
to revered
long before any lord, prophet, or  prince,
whose stately halos stretched out to
75 feet had fallen to a thunderous death.
Shaking Earth to her very maternal core.
And all she could do, all she could do was strive,
upward and onward.

And now with each present step
on this forest floor, awareness lights awe
in meditation of forgiveness.
Land which persevered, in face of betrayal and molestation.
Revivals of new growth
abound over the oxen trails. And vestiges of Fairy Rings
honor the fallen.

copyright: Jennifer Brinn 2013