Storms and Sassafras
Words & images by KB Ballentine
Rain rinses honeysuckle and pear
from late summer, hunger nudging
my dreams, giving them the voice of scent.
Water lashes, roams the fields,
nibbles edges of the road.
Sight fails, blurs hushed green
as streams wash over stone, slip
over the mountainside, curving
and bending into the ravine.
Drenched cows and sheep plead.
Drizzle shifts to mist, fog.
The Wine Moon sings behind clouds.
A swan nuzzles her cygnets on the bank
while they poke at seeds swollen in mud.
Time scatters starspray, blossoms stripped,
dappling the hedgerows, the river.
They tumble over rock, clinging together,
harvesting pools of light.
Hunger of Wanting
Silence widens, snow pausing
like an archer, breath suspended,
as a stag grazes into the meadow.
Numb, the stars witness all.
In this Moon after Yule twilight,
flakes drift into crevices, downy piles
soft as cat fur as they first cover my feet
then gather faster, stalking the darkness
I peer into shadows for you, hesitate
like a wolf surprising scent, snow
muffling any cries.
The Dark is Light Enough
Adder twisting in its grip,
a barred owl glides above fields
faded and stubbled
with cut stalks, empty husks.
Wings sigh the chill night
as the Storm Moon struggles to its height,
promise of snow in ash-colored clouds.
Wind-chimes echo far away,
a neighborhood dreaming
as ropes of rain slip between fissures of bark,
ice burning into veins of white.
Midwinter’s curse – the core of the forest
Beneath the Layers
The seed of moon buds, blossoms
over deserted cow fields. Hinged teeth rusted,
a gate dangles from a fallen fence row.
Twilight breaks over the horizon,
and a fox – tail out, one forepaw raised –
looks my way. We stare at one another
until a hoot owl ripples the air overhead,
then he slouches away, barely parting
the ryegrass. Painted with bold stars,
night deepens, and I wait for clarity, elucidation –
a lightning bolt to tumble the bluebells
from the woods, the memory of you
from my head. A west breeze whispers my skin.
With all of spring promising, I know you are gone.
The Plough Moon rides faultlines
of the wind, licks the sea with light
as Pisces scales the sky though frost tickles
the cedars. Milky vapor hazes the heath.
A fox, nose lifted, disappears
into the hazelwood, forked arrow
of an adder tonguing the mist.
Crickets grieve under starlight,
and the bay echoes the graves –
gray and hushed, shadowed. Riptide tugs,
sand sloughing the shingle,
clusters of eelgrass swaying, flowing
like a mermaid’s hair drifting,
washing away with the phantom of dawn.