A Taste of the Tail

the hawk sits, frozen
still as the one-eyed owl
that watches over the yard
where the squirrel
flits
busy, burying its nuts in the tall flower pots
for cold-weather snacking
on the deck

the hawk moves slightly
nodding its head
as the squirrel darts
jagged, pressing its nails into the oak’s old bark
and climbing for leafy shelter
in the branches

the hawk flies suddenly
stabs its talons
snaps it beak
hungry, disturbs the limbs with its wings,
littering the squirrel’s playground
in a hail of acorns

the squirrel, who saw it coming,
scurries for deep cover
where the leaves are the thickest
and the branches
twist
to
twine,
leaving only a taste of its bushy tail
behind

the one-eyed owl sits on its deck-rail perch,
observant,
and
grins

~

Words and Photography ©2018 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse.

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Life Moves

life
moves
down a path
strange
yet known
like the soft cheek
untouched
but kissed
or the moon
distant
and understood
in the liquid reflecting pools
of the eyes
seen
unseen
seeing
blind
felt
in the dark
shining
through tears
reaching
probing
always
seeking
strangely
known

life
moves

its
juxtapositions
positioned
sublime

~

Words and Photography ©2018 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse.

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~

 

Danced

danced on the edge of the baker’s knife
the plot thickened
like chocolate ganache
until it crumbled

tension released
in a shower of shavings
over the already frosted
chapter-layered
cake

hands, poised to crack open the book,
positioned the knife
and sliced deeply

then, like cake devoured,
the story
savored,
swallowed,
digested,
and
imbued

baker and patron,
reader and writer,
danced

~

Words and Photography ©2018 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse.

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I Tap

I tap
deep into the rich soil
remembering
who I am

raised from the ground
the first time
and
every time
helped to stand
braced in the storm
held softly in rough hand
taught
patience
and
allowed
to grow

foot on the roots
hand on the stem
I tap
remember
and
grow
again

~

Words and Photography ©2018 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse.

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While Humans Built

while humans built towers
the meaning was in stars
and the petals of flowers

spun on an orb weaver’s thread
sparkling with dew,
tapped in the fertile soil
by the tree’s persistent roots,
tossed by the brute wind
like the dead leaves of autumn

flowing like the cool, clear waters
of the ground-sprung creek

cleansing like the rain
warming like the sun
blanketing like snow stores undone
flying on the wings of birds and butterflies
churning up the earth like worms
standing firm like rock
eroding like sand

and

like the great willow
ever growing toward the sky
still, cascading to the ground
sheltering life
in its tent
of leaves
draped
around

while humans built towers
the beauty was in stars
and the petals of flowers

~

Words and Photography ©2018 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse.

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Trace the Edges

I lie in the grass
like I did as a child
and look up to the sky
trace my fingers along the edges of the clouds drifting by –

a ship with tall sails
cuts through the deep blue

a girl dances
in a billowing skirt

a hippopotamus sticks its head out of the river,
its mouth gaping,
or is it the mouth of a crocodile
lurking under the surface of the Nile

the egrets on the bank don’t look worried
they will grab their meals
and then take flight

there,
the canopy of a forest

there,
the mountain peaks

there,
a strange system of planets
in an alternate universe

there,
the little stone I skipped in the pond yesterday,
it went farther than I thought it could possibly go

like my dreams
of childhood and today,
soaring – these clouds –
stories I long to tell

to be seen by others
as they lie in the grass
and look up to the sky
and trace the edges
of me

~

Words and Photography ©2018 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse.

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Devour

devour the writer

taste the words
savor them on your tongue
chew
swallow
allow them to digest
until their nutrients
absorb into your cells
feeding you

let ink –
the layers of metaphor,
narrative,
plot
and
construct –
dissolve

there, the writer –
stripped bare
to
soul,
will be
inside you

~

Words and Photography ©2018 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse.

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Honey Bees

bees
calmed by smoke
allow the theft
gather the honey
in pots
melt the wax
add the wick
light the candle
it smokes
and
calms
the
bees

~

Words and Photography ©2018 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse.

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Like Children

we play like children
on a landscape of letters
grains of sand
we form into forts
the waves crash over
and scatter our word creations
we build again
remembering the moat, this time
we dig it deep around the palace plot
then add tall-tale spires
and carve out balconies and archways
to give it character
with shovel pens
and paper pails
we build word castles
like children,
digging our bare toes in the warm grains,
leaving our footprints
on the beach,
splashing in the waves,
adding on chapter layers
by the bucket
we play

~

Words and Photography ©2018 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse.

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She Sings

why does she sing?

she turned 91, the old bird

her life’s mate was just caged in the nursing home
he can’t remember why
his once lengthy repertoire has been reduced to a few, sweet notes

her handicapped son still lives at home
needing her patient care
all he could ever do was chirp

the last of her friends died years ago
their songs now silent
she takes her coffee with younger generations
their noisy squawks sometimes give her a headache
but she never complains

she goes on singing, the old bird
and smiles and laughs
and shares a story
or ten

she sings
not because her life’s bird landed on a beautiful branch
in a flawless tree

she sings
because
as a bird in life’s tree
she can

~

for my Granny, who still tells the best stories and is an avid bird-watcher

~

Words and Photography ©2018 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse.

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