Monthly Archives: July 2015


By Nyssa Shaw-Smith Gendelman

By Nyssa Shaw-Smith Gendelman

I love it when the crows talk to me:

They know the comings and goings along the road,
why the blue jays are shrieking
and the sparrows have grown quiet in the bush.

Crows tell of the hawk’s shadow skimming the treetops
the silent owl on the hunt,
the bat looping the lawn.

They know the house wren’s hysterics
mean the house cat is slinking
through the grass, they know

there’s a bear feasting in the black cherry,
a dead snake on the road
and the turkey vultures are circling.

Crows—all eyes and ears and voice,
And they know that I am good
for old crusts of bread and gossip.



Amazing how the tiniest thorn
can distract you–
that pulse point of pain
on the index finger
a sharp reminder
each time you pick up the pen,
the spoon, the book
of the briefest encounter
with a wineberry bush,
your hand snaking
into the undergrowth
to pluck the plumb berry.
And now you’ve dug
into the pad of your finger
with an old pin,
exposing the culprit
and teasing it out of the flesh.
You marvel how
such a sliver could cause
such aggravation,
till it lies
ridiculously insignificant
on the palm of your hand.



The orb of light crests the ridge,
I stand facing her at the high point of the meadow,
my back to the full sinking moon,
and my heart leaps as always.

Planting the souls of my feet on damp earth
I stretch up, drawing in that healing energy,
letting go of the knotted muscles, the clenched jaw,
calming my agitated heart and restless head.

The amphitheater fills with birdsong,
setting the tone for my morning spiritual.
Feathery grasses burnished with dew
echo the colors of the sun’s rays.

I breathe cool air full of green and swaying life.
A flock of cedar waxwings flit across the blue dome,
A rufous-sided towhee shrills a benediction.
I listen and bask and absorb and hum with the earth.

My body sways, finding its center
acknowledge the power within
and fueling it with the sacred moment:
this is my choir, my cathedral, my communion.

I pick a small posy of wildflowers.
The scent of dried yarrow and lady’s bedstraw
will be the memory incense
to conjure up this temple moment.