Monthly Archives: December 2016

The Longest Night

Buffy Silverman hosts Poetry Friday this week. Join the Poetry Friday bloggers at Buffy’s Blog, where we post links to our book reviews, original poems, and other poetic delights.

After a long season of traveling, I’m home and happy to be back to Poetry Friday.

Wednesday was the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. Even though the poem I’m sharing today is set in autumn, its meditative quality reminds me of how brief, chilly winter days feel here in Maryland.

This poem is by one of our annual daily poem project participants, my friend Patricia Jakovich VanAmburg. It is from her chapbook, WATCHING FOR BIRDS, and is shared with Patricia’s permission.


By Patricia Jakovich VanAmburg

In autumn, the
one-legged cardinal
totters at my feeder
a new  yogi
dangling mysteries like
his lost leg
what happens inside
the shell — the tomb
how stars are born
and die
the ways we grasp
for substance.
from task to task and
the objects of our desire —
bridging the poles:
the difference between
eternity and nothing —
the sameness of
poet and bird.

Weighing things:
my father on two legs
one of them artificial
my father on one leg
his stump reaching
to ground or
my father’s eyes
after dialysis and
my mother falling —
tripping through
overfull rooms and
the empty house — the
weight on my shoulder,
as I pause by the window
watching for birds.

Read more about Patricia Jakovich VanAmburg’s work at poet Ann Bracken’s website.

Laura here: Have you ever been visited by an animal that you feel is a messenger from someone you have lost? My grandmother sometimes sends me spiders. One once startled me when it sat on a framed picture of me and my grandmother together. It took brief residence right over her heart. This is the magic unexpected, the mystery of nature at work in our lives. I love the way that Patricia surprises the reader by sharing such a moment in this poem.

Sending you all light and warmth over the winter holidays.