Listen: everything can be used.
Everything is a path;
even your grief
can curl into the center
where like a shard
of beached glass
worn that way and this
is wave softened at last.
and watch it start
to roll, to wash
else, somewhere away
from the static ground
of winter doubt into the chaotic
order of a cloudy March. Only part
of the picture, spring
Vanity, selfishness, pride,
consumed by winter-famished
Kali, are the leaven
by which we rise, the tiptoe lightning
of laughter on the edges of fronts,
the thresholds on which, teetering, we see.
Look: here is balm for your tangled
clump of self-sorrow.
Climb my soul-ladder,
this flight of steps
stretching from the bare bottom
of this ridiculous snuffling pig
of our humanity to what is called
heaven. Hung on this laddered cross
between fleet summer grass
and granite stars
we look down, up:
where build our home?
from cavern to heaven,
mounded earthen birds
between soil and sky,
unpinioned, we grow wings.
Yeast bubbles in our bones
which lighten, fill
with air. Our throats
inflate with song. We flow
into feathered capes,
sacrifice sorrow; birds of flame,
we are restored in ash-filled nests;
we soar, doves of mourning.
Carving air with wings we learn
to slip qualms, recover stalls,
move from here to there
by naked intention.
Called down to bury her once more,
we forfeit flight but never lose
the leavened feel of space,
the sill of sight, the truth
of unthinkable migrations
Kathleen Dale has a special connection to the Demeter/Persephone myth, as her older sister died many years ago, literally overnight, from polio, after which her mother fell into a deep depression. Although her mother never found a way "out," it was the character of Baubo with her gifts of laughter and harp/ladder that rescued Kathleen.
A Pushcart nominee, Kathleen is also the recipient of several prizes and best-in-issue awards for her poems, which have appeared in over thirty journals, including Rattle, Beloit Poetry Journal, Switched-on Gutenberg, Main Street Rag, and Future Cycle Poetry. She was featured poet in the spring, 2013, issue of The Centrifugal Eye at http://centrifugaleye.com/, and was recently included in Poems for Malala (Future Cycle Press), a “Good Works” anthology, proceeds of which go to Malala Yousafzai’s fund for the world-wide education of women.
Her most recent chapbook, Avatars of Baubo, 2013, was published by Green Fuse Poetic Arts; Rescue Mission, 2011, was published by Antrim House Press; and Ties that Bind was published by Finishing Line Press in 2006. All are available for purchase on her website at http://kathleenanndale.squarespace.com/