Earth Night: Three Cheritas

Blue Creek WaterfallI. Primary Pleasures

Earth Day

Missing the show and forgetting to eat
we make our own show

And instead feed our senses
with the texture of water and trees
and the scent of each other’s stories

 

II. Conversations

The resistance begins—

“I am not ready,”
you tell your pulsing magenta heart.

“My door is too narrow
and I don’t want this,” you lie.
Yet the cracking continues unabated.

III. Night Falls

Earth Night cracks open.

Feet in the cold creek
falling down the canyon

Night falls, walls fall
warm hearts follow the creek
falling through each other’s twisted canyons

-Ryan Van Lenning

A cherita is a poetic form that I learn about from from poet Annie R. Ray. Cherita [pronounced CHAIR-rita] means ‘story’ in Malay and was created by poet ai li in 1997 in memory of her grandparents. It arises out of the English-language haiku and tanka traditions, but allows for a micro-narrative and is slightly more flexible in form and style. It consists of a one-line stanza, then a two-line stanza, and ends with a three-line stanza.

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The Down and Up of It

descentBetween the building up
and tearing down
there’s a canyon thin
as laurel leaf
wide as Turtle Island

I used to flail in the gorge
nearly drowning in dark waters
cracking my pretty head on rocks
collecting bruises like bees gather pollen

Then I learned to leap across
or build a skinny bridge–
a fast but dishonest way

So I relinquished shortcuts
and learned the down and up of it
and joined the ancient apprenticeship
of descent and ascent

hopping boulders like some
drunken wizard of the mountain
jackrabbit of all shades, master of sun

I’ve lost track of how many times
a day I carry water between
my letting go and claiming–
thirsty in equal measures

But sit here satiated on lichened stone
walking between the horizons
of all my risings and settings

The puddle’s muddy,
and sometimes the muddle’s puddy,
but the surface is a mirror
that doesn’t lie, reflecting

a sun that’s ripe for plucking
like an unlikely winter plum
drifting like a scent in the wind
and a moon that’s always sliding out
from between her prison bars
ever flowing her unfolding