For All the Secret Dancers

“They flew up one spring day
just as the oaks were beginning to bloom,
green and yellow warblers, filling the tree
with music and bright darting movements.
The mother and girl stood outside
and marveled at the sight—–
the mother’s hand steadying her shoulder,
the child swayed backwards, closed her eyes,
opened her mouth, and swallowed the tree
like a spoonful of honey.
She tasted the sweet tasseling blossoms of oak,
felt the flickering wings,
the sway of the branches—-swallowed it whole,
then opened her eyes, and breathed it out again.

But the tree had infiltrated her body
like iron in earth or smoke in wind,
like salt in water she became infused
with its quickening brightness.
She grew old listening to music,
she opened her mouth, and let it run in
until it came out her feet and fingertips,
the flickering motions of color and song,
as bright as jewels.

You can see her in the garden bending over the beds;
suddenly she lifts her face and smiles
as if she is drinking up the sunlight;
she sways above the bean-rows and marigolds,
weaving webs of light with long hands;
or in the morning when she sets the kettle on the stove,
turning in her shuffling slippers,
she lifts the shawl above her head,
and does again the dance of wings and branches.”
———-Virginia Haiden

Photo by Barbara Mattio

Ms. Haiden is a poet and mother of four and grandmother of two. She is a rock hound, gardens, enjoys cooking and jewelry design.

Photo by Barbara Mattio