In RETREAT by Beth Lee-Herbert1 Comment

the quiet stillness of morning
incense smoke unfurls
my tea is made

the sky is stainless
clear with a knowingness
it doesn’t have
but I do

the pencil on the page
scrapes a whisper

i sit in the same seat
staring at the same sky
as I have the last three years

on the bones of the morning
fleshing out with joyful diligence
my heart’s expanse
that lucid cognizance
the sun’s rays bring to the sky


the morning stumble
put the kettle on
drop to the cushion

dawn fills the cabin
refreshing cool morning air
no morning shower

light fills the valleys
no more so
because I’m here watching

golden warmth slowly edging closer
my heart rising with the sun


middle of the night
as always,
the cat is outside.
the smell wafts in —
she messed with
the temperamental skunk
who lives in the wood pile
suddenly, the horrific scream
of that unknown animal
I’m tempted yet again
to pierce the darkness
with my light
to try and locate
the gleaming eyes
of the screamer.
But I don’t —
just let the hair on my arms
rise in terror at the sound
and fall back into silent slumber.

Northern Flicker
My first spring
Saw him through binoculars
Tapping the dead tree to the west
Found his picture in my book
Confirmed by his loud call

Second spring,
Snow piles melting into small ponds,
I recognized the call
As an omen of spring
At the end of a long winter

The third year
I heard the call
On the exact first day of spring
Imagine that!
Right on time!

Today is the third day of spring —
My fourth—
And this morning the call echoed its familiar message
Wake up crocuses!
Wake up senses!
And as a native now to this land
Like mullein or balsamroot
I was waiting for the call
To drop my tender rootlets into the ground
Uncurl my winter fetal hibernation
Poke fresh green sprouts
Toward the sun
And enter into the world anew

About the Author
Beth Lee-Herbert

Beth Lee-Herbert


Beth is a dharma practitioner based outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. She enjoys stainless skies and the fresh smell of rain, solitude and deep connection, silence and laughter, and every form of dance. Other LEVEKUNST articles by the same author.

Featured image and photo of blue sky by Starbright, USA. Photo of sunrise by 郑 胡, China. Photo of night by Unsplash, England. Photo of springtime by Hannu Jakobsson, Finland.

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    Great poems Beth!

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