Yang Jia Lian (Lotus of the Sun)

photo by Arne Huckelheim – Own work, CD BY-SA 3.0 via wikimedia

“Yang Jia Lian (Lotus of the Sun)” by Sharon Rauenzahn

A fire burns in you,
A scorching light.
Man must do right.
Woman must speak true.
Your cool hands
Touch the poor,
Steady, sure.
An iron band
Of purest will
Stiffens your spine.
Your spirit shines.
You pour, and pour, and fill
Small rooms with light.
A fire burns in you.
Man must speak true.
Woman must do right.

September 27, 2016

Fingers of God

photo: Comet Hyakutake by Bill Ingalls.jpg wikimedia

“Fingers of God” by Sharon Rauenzahn

Icebound, the comet tail
dips through our atmosphere,
fingers of God stretched down,
trailing across blank sky
like fingers trailed in water,
troubling the water,
moving like spirit
on the face of the waters,
over the darkness of the deep.

Ripples extend beyond imagination,
beyond sight or dream
from those strands of ice,
bringing us mystery,

Like water stirred in a pool
by angel fingers,
making miracles real.

Like a voice made of water,
older than time,

“Do you want to get well?”

May 28, 1997 (rev. 9/26/2016)

Falling Out of Love

Photo: “Roof ladder” by Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho on flickr (crop)

“Falling Out of Love” by Sharon Rauenzahn

There’s no such thing as


out of love.
You have to climb
out, hand over hand,
rung after rung,
never quite sure you
wouldn’t rather

and starve.

May 08, 1992


“A Forest of… Flowers!!!” by The Baba on Flickr

“Invitation” by Sharon Rauenzahn

The garden is green, my love, won’t you ride out with me?
The garden is green, and the cool trees beckon.
Beyond the garden, the cool trees lift heavenward,
dapple the sunlight on moss and stone,
dapple the light on moss and scattered stone,
promise length of days and gentle summer nights.
Beyond the woods, the brook sings gaily,
beyond bright woods, the brook sings free,
singing soft love while the cool trees beckon,
scattering sunlight that clings to my skin.
The garden is green and the woods are green,
are green with love, and the woods are waiting.
The garden is green, and the cool trees beckon.
Won’t you ride out with me?

August 24, 1993

I thought it was a gun


“I thought it was a gun” by Sharon Rauenzahn

for half a moment, i thought it was a gun

what else would the passenger in one car wave
at the driver of another
on a late night california road?

i had to swerve close to reach the rose
they held out to me,
two guys ignoring the light, making fun

but my heart still beats too loud, even as i write
i thought it was a gun
i think i pulled a muscle in my throat

May 23, 1993 (rev. 9/19/2016)

Ebb Tide

“Beach at ebb tide” by Sten Porse via wikimedia

“Ebb Tide” by Sharon Rauenzahn

From half across the world, I hear your name.
I do not shiver now, though once I did.
The others seek to tease me, to extort
a blushing laugh, to find what I have hid.
But I hide nothing, now, except the fear
that where I held your name is now a hole
which none but you could ever help me fill;
I know that you have no such meager goal.
And so I smile, and let them keep their play,
and hear your name, like water, ebb away.

December 27, 1990

Magnificat, 2015

Photo: static.pexels.com/photos/30938/pexels-photo.jpg

“Magnificat, 2015” by Sharon Rauenzahn

before we forgive black people
born black for just that fact
before justice falls, trickles down, settles,
in Reaganomic love,
making the poor unpoor
sending the rich away empty
scattering the proud of heart
there must, there will be, some spotless lamb
the perfect sacrifice

no michael brown, smoking pot, stealing cigarillos
high before noon
blowing off the chance he’s afraid to take
of college, the necessity to make
something more of himself than st louis society
will ever permit

no trayvon martin, hoodie-wearing, suspended from school,
why was he walking at night?
he could have called 911 we say,
said he was being attacked
instead of fighting back,
desperate manhood,
at that crazy wife-beating neighborhood watcher
if he’d stayed in school, he’d be alive now

and did you see the gun
Tamir Rice
dead at 12, beloved son,
was waving around that snow-frosted park?
it looks too real
Ohio is an open carry state but
maybe not for black boys
born black

so keep going back, think of Rodney King,
beaten by cops, high on pcp
or mad as hell
or just drunk, speeding from the law,
winding up in the same rough town
where the first LAPD lady cop
dead in the line of duty
only just fell
cops from a hundred miles around
went to that funeral


no tainted lamb
spots or stripes or one off-color ear
only the perfect sacrifice,
the one we’re waiting for
the one with no prior

Black Jesus maybe,
down from his rude cross
shot jay-walking on the jordan river
or healing a blind man
born blind
unlike the rest of us, who are without excuse

December 29, 2015 (rev. 9/4/2016)

Poetry Dwarfs

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.com

“Poetry Dwarfs” by Sharon Rauenzahn
(Remembering “Lens of the World” by R.A. MacAvoy)

Some days my arms are too damn short.
That must be the reason I can’t get these words,
fluttering like birds in head and gut,
down on paper.  It’s too far, and my pencil snapped.
Damn.  If I could just scratch, could scratch
past the surface of the paper into the real heart wood,
scoring in long lines these thoughts, these words
damn bird words flying tight in squawking circles,
dropping crap everywhere but on the page,
then I’d be a poet.

Can’t you trim the wick?  I can’t see my work,
there’s not enough light down here.
Can’t reach the desk, can’t touch ground either;
Standing on giants’ shoulders doesn’t help.

Damn birds.
Some days my arms are just too short.

August 25, 1993 (rev. 9/7/2016)

The Scent of You is Clinging

“colorwarp2-060207” by Ruth Temple

“The Scent of You is Clinging to This Room” by Sharon Rauenzahn

The scent of you is clinging to this room.
I cannot turn my head to get away
from knowing you have been here.  Every day
it fades a little; cloth left on the loom
fades thus in sunlight.  Soon, so very soon,
you shall be gone, and not be found again
no matter where I turn.  I think the pain
will fade as quickly:  slowness is no boon
for hearts too blind to keep account of time.
Will this fade fast or slow?  I cannot tell:
my brain is addled, trying still to smell
what’s long since faded.  In a warmer clime,
I should have done the washing, and would know:
that you are gone and gone, and will not go.

October 2, 1992