Fins and Feathers

shall we travel together?
not back, but ahead
yet, look back
regretting neither float nor flight
that led fin and feather
to this place
look back and consider
we collected nothing
but memory
for all things pass
except love
even the shells we collected on the beach
filling our mesh bags
cracked and crumbled
we shook and sprinkled the remnants
through the gaps
over the chicken feed
the hens laid prolifically
we ate all the eggs
collecting nothing
but memory
”How long does a kiss stick to a cheek?” he asked.
”Forever, silly,” I answered.
even the cheek will fade to dust
as will our fins and feathers
only love will linger
now, let’s swim and soar, crossing
rivers deep and canyons wide
sojourners
just passing
carrying memories in gossamer packages
spun by the living motions
of our fins and feathers
in float and flight
the love that lingers
bound forever to us, tight

~

Words and Photography ©2019 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse.

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Life Answered

Life answered in the simplest ways, abundant

the velvety richness of the chocolate bundt cake
garnished with hand-whipped cream
and raspberries
baked for a great aunt’s birthday
by a daughter
watching a daughter, she knows as mom,
care for her grandmother
who is fighting to be able
to eat chocolate bundt cake together next year
and the year after

Life answered…

in the soft petals of flowers
in the persistent rubs of a loving cat
in the weight of feet of snow removed
with the orange-scooped shovel
by the strapping son, too soon a man
in the margins edged with ink and lace
in the intoxicating rhythm of the hang drums
ringing from the mountainside
in songs shared, life’s playlist, revealing
inside, by the fire, glass of wine and book in hand
pleasures so simple
even Henry Miller could not complain
in NCAA basketball games won, or lost
it doesn’t matter to me
provided my youngest is cheering with me
in co-conspiratorial conversations
with the writer-son who love/hates writing
and gets it done
in the shared laughs over entirely inappropriate things
yes. please.
and the voice who says, “you’re not alone”

in the velvety richness of chocolate bundt cake shared

Life answered…

abundantly

~

Words and Photography ©2019 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse.

Journey (revision)

the world extends its frozen branches to you
adorned
with the decadence
of greedy, icy-jeweled, cruel hearts
your wandering self shivers

you hold out a lonely hand
to feel something
but the frigid limbs burn
branding exposed skin with red-marked scars
you’re numb with bitten touch

you open your hungry mouth
to taste
but the frozen berries stick
you strip them off your tongue
your words come out stained with blood

you brush against this plant, trying to flee
leaves crackle
in mocking laughter
but you, instead, remember love’s warm fires
you sigh homesick desires

you gaze in troubled wonder
to see anything
but the ice reflects the winter sun
blinding your eyes in dazzling sparkle
you squint and tears fall

you inhale, longing for life’s fragrance
and smell nothing
the flowers are all hiding in buds
leaving your nostrils dripping
you sneeze the cold of rejection

you turn and journey home
steps quicken
weary traveler, you know the way
come near, sparks awaken all your senses
at home’s hearth, rekindle your soul’s flame

~

You can read the original version of Journey here.

Words and Photography ©2017 & 2019 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse.

A Sensual Deposit

there’s a place the pollen falls
when the rest of life has scattered
whirled away
by strong, spring breezes
in miniature vortexes
seeking bull’s-eye releases
among distant flower beds

there’s a place the pollen falls
this sperm—stuck to the honey bee’s
strong legs—
is carried
to soft, blushing petals
open wide
and waiting

there’s a place the pollen falls
filling empty spaces
when winged lover
devours the nectar
and—by Nature’s lush design—
makes sensual deposit
that leaves gametes
inside

~

Words and Photography ©2019 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse.

This Tree

I’ve hiked this trail before
winding through a wooded wonderland
in awe
today,
air sweet with the detritus
dampened
by spring’s morning mists,
I breathe
lost in a tree-born revere
my soul plays in the canopy
my toe, earth bound,
snags the arching twist
of an exposed root
hiding under last fall’s rotting leaves
I stumble, startled
catch myself against a tree
its rough bark—a finger hold—
steadies me
I rest my back against this strong friend
yes, this one
whose rude root
tripped me
I trace the root back to this tree
Guilty!
Old Confidant!
this friend
responds with shaking laughter
as the wind rattles
bare limbs
just stretching from
winter’s rest
this tree chuckles
and
breathes me

~

Words and Photography ©2019 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse.

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A Little…

a little lost
a little hurt
a little crushed by life
I am
a little…
hope a little
laugh a little

thrive

~

Selfie from the edge.
#nofilter

~

Words and Photography ©2019 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry , healing, & free verse.

Beyond the Wall

scars untouched
like stars unseen
in the neglected wastelands
exist
where no cultured eye sees
pain persists
beyond the wall

see no evil
hear no evil
speak no evil
touch no unclean thing
hide
behind the wall
of
ignorance
bigotry
greed
and
pride

there thrive
fattened
off the fattened meats
hoarded

while the wall is boarded

hunger exists
pure
real
aching
a chorus in the wilderness
of empty-belly pleas
that reverberate off a civilized wall
unheard

scars untouched
radiate pain
through the midnight wasteland
the loveliest stars
by industrial giants’
smog-clouded,
wall-protected
eyes
unseen

~

Words and Photography ©2019 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry,  free verse, & human rights.

The Watch

steadfast watch from the writer’s tower
time ticks
too fast
toward its endgame bomb
boom
no life escapes that room
boom
then doom
or nothing
or a room
boom

the living colors
of the clock
face
outward
but
the clock does its ticking
inside
the weathering
withering
heat
beats

you have yours
I have mine
watches, I mean

time ticks for everyone
boom

still, ticking
mine
in beats profound
gifts
wrapped in crimson ribbons
rhythms
flow
from a faithful tower
full
the watch
watches
the pen
records the beats
in words
profound
found
only by one quick on the uptick
of time

the writer
watches
watches
tick
in aging towers
boom

~

Words and Photography ©2019 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse.

Rain

rain hits the piano keys
forms melodies
wrung from storms
to the untrained ear
random
but
like woodland-creature footfalls on fresh snow
patterned
by the pulse of life
moving
fleeing
preying
playing
notes of the living
bittersweet, sometimes sweet, sonatas

the dissonant chords
and
consonant chords
dance
in harmonically progressive orbits
that create cloudy tempests

the wind wrings the clouds
and rain falls
striking the piano keys of life

~

Words and Photography ©2019 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry , healing, & free verse.

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Whispers

whispers in the willow
through tender branches
crackling
inside ice-sheet wrappings
felt
a promise…
these frigid hours will pass
soon Nature will sigh
her warm spring breaths
that tender branches grasp

~

Words and Photography ©2018 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry , healing,free verse.

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