Evening Poetry, November 6

Old Friends

By Freya Manfred

Old friends are a steady spring rain,
or late summer sunshine edging into fall,
or frosted leaves along a snowy path—
a voice for all seasons saying, I know you.
The older I grow, the more I fear I’ll lose my old friends,
as if too many years have scrolled by
since the day we sprang forth, seeking each other.

Old friend, I knew you before we met.
I saw you at the window of my soul—
I heard you in the steady millstone of my heart
grinding grain for our daily bread.
You are sedimentary, rock-solid cousin earth,
where I stand firmly, astonished by your grace and truth.
And gratitude comes to me and says:

“Tell me anything and I will listen.
Ask me anything, and I will answer you.”

You can find this poem in Loon in Late November Water.

Evening Poetry, October 26

The Owl Cries At Night

by Freya Manfred

The owl cries at night,

and I imagine her wide gold eyes

and feathered ears tuned

to the trembling woods and waters,

seeing and hearing what

I will never see or hear:

a red fox with one bloody paw,

a hunch-backed rabbit running,

sand grains grating on the shore,

a brown leaf crackling

under a brown mouse foot.

With so much to learn,

I could stop writing forever,

and still live well.

You can find this poem in Swimming With a Hundred Year Old Turtle.

Evening Poetry, October 22

To A Young Artist

by Freya Manfred

My poems are written by a spirit on a stone,

and there are many tellers, many stories, and many stones,

in honor of our braided paths and solitary ways.

Now, at sunset, I’m called to where water merges with land and sky,

where an eagle drops from a tall pine, dips her beak into darkening waves,

rises with a flapping silver fish, and flies away.

I wish you work that weaves a spell, and love,

and breath–uncounted, irretrievable, sacred breath,

flying from its cage of bones–eagle falling, fish-rising, free.

You can find this poem in Swimming With a Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle.

Evening Poetry, August 30

This Stranger, My Husband

By Freya Manfred

The older we get the stranger my husband becomes, 
and the less certain I am that I know him. 
We used to lie eye to eye, breathing together
in the immensity of each moment. 
Lithe and starry-eyed, we could leap fences 
even with babies on our backs. 

His eyes still dream off 
toward something in the distance I can’t see; 
but now he gazes more zealously, 
and leaps into battle with a more certain voice 
over politics, religion, or art, 
and some old friends won’t come to dinner. 

The molecules of our bodies spiral off into the stars 
on winds of change and chance, 
as we welcome the unknown, the incalculable,
the spirit and heart of everything we named and knew so well— 
and never truly named, or knew,
but only loved, at last.

You can find this poem in Speak, Mother.