Poems by Susan Powers Bourne 2017

Susan Powers BourneSUSAN POWERS BOURNE is a practicing poet, artist, editor, author, and herstorian who creates online poetic, artistic, and herstoric content shared and presented each day at her site at http://susanpowersbourne.net.

Starry Dragonfire

Good-bye to ancient cityscapes
lost in today’s burdens.

Good-bye endless foundations,
honeymoon balloons.

Good-bye philosophers asleep
in smoke-filled rooms.

Good-bye to fancy graveyards,
their leaves of grass.

Good-bye native sweethearts
on the sunrise slope.

Good-bye to soldiers who sing
collected war-songs.

Good-bye crescent evenings,
bandy-legged men.

Good-bye Dewey decimals —
just good-bye to you.

Good-bye honey, guilt’s movin’
on, like bygone days.

Mother earth waves good-bye
to Mister Chips et al.

We’ll reread words written well
before our good-byes.

Thus, with sentient emotion,
here is my good-bye —

This poet’s hip-hip-hurrah —
wink-wink, and smile.

Goodbye lovelies: like all good
poet-citizens, write on.

Quiet Reflections

Tomatoes sit on the sill,
waiting to ripen.

Woven linen fabric-folds
reflect red on red

The inner curtain’s top line
underscores grass.

Four evergreens stand full,
as hardwoods leaf.

Cardinals and chickadees
flit from tree to tree.

Ten wild turkeys roosted
in topmost branches.

Two pileated woodpeckers
tapped rectangles.

As usual, crows carry on
in loud conversation.

Mister and missus mallard
arrived on time.

Soon, dabbling ducklings
will dot the pond.

Last year’s great blue heron
has yet to appear.

We hope the bald eagles
have made a nest.

Another elder woman walks
around the circle.

Quietly, we watch seasons
turn — and return.

Old Pics

There are no favored old photographs
only faded, unfocused memories
locked away,
tossed aside.

No one stood or sat still long enough
for any cameras within reach
without turning,
running away.

Not even one group photo remains
of our 1950’s nuclear family
since none
were taken.

Haiku Bliss

She and the Buddha
felt calmer, so they headed
for home — together.

Backyard Ashes

Wood ash is best known,
found in campfires and fireplaces;

the solid remains of fires,
residues of complete combustion;

dark-colored ashes hold
higher concentrates of charcoal.

In addition to common
wood ash, other types of ashes

are cremains, cigar ash,
fly ash, incinerator-bottom ash.

Funeral pyres generate
vibhuti, sacred ash used in rituals.

Volcanic ashes plume
and disperse during an eruption.

Cinereous connotes
anything ash-colored or ash-like.

Baby blankets burn
cinereous in barrel incinerators.

My blinkie flared up
pink before it too turned to ash.

Yes, a child may chant
and offer uncertain sacrifices.

Good-bye, childhood:
ashes, ashes; we all fall down.

New Neighbors

You are so helpful when
you carry my groceries up the stairs.

You are so helpful whe
you wait till I can open my front door.

You are so helpful when
you lend me binoculars so I can see

the ducks swimming
again in the pond

before they fly off
who knows where.

Some Females’ Silences

Ananda’s unbearableness
culminates in her silence.

Fasika’s mystic beauty listens
to the silences of silence.

Aparna sees how Silence speaks,
yet it never works for her.

Elizabeth feels winds of violence,
blown away by winds of silence.

Sweet Melissa’s silence is golden;
but, we ask: against what price?

Marilyn describes manifest Silences:
new days dawning, mothers in prayer.

Kay says in silence you can hear them
cry and whisper, then become speech.

Sylvia observes she breaks the silence
as she finishes sentences, then adds:

in silence all my thoughts are mingled;
in silence, I create an air of suspense.

Amy opens to silence, while Daffodil
simply sits, not having anything to say.

Donna echoes Silences full of rage —
feelings held in, lurking in every room.

Mary wonders if silence can be found
or heard — in a house truly lived in.

Theresa practices peaceful silence; still,
Mystikka knows in silence you’re all alone.

Ernestine stirs the silence, so profound;
Theodora embraces momentous silence.

Sara tells Eleonora that silence broods on
deserts, sets crowns of silence upon art.

Deepa recalls sometimes silence is so loud
and strange, heard across a thousand miles;

sometimes she wishes for at least one voice
which could kill this cold and bitter silence.

Sandra, too, notices silence is broken, with no
hands skilled enough to mend the difference.

Ina Helen notes the greatest power says more
than any word — without saying a single one.

Scarlett, ever a treat, rises upward into earliest
morning silence, hopes to hear sounds of love.

Marianne’s deepest feeling always shows itself
in silence; and not in silence — but in restraint.

Amanda allows herself to sit in silence, braves
being alone, treats silence as less of an enemy.

Edna finds silence lovelier than three lovely maidens,
as they too long for breath above, not under, ground.

So many women know all the ins and outs of silence;
especially female poets silenced — for far too long.

23 | siblings

birthed in snowy May
one son grows two-yard-sticks tall
bright and taciturn

blizzard baby comes
almost twenty years later
filled with big laughter

. . . . .

23 apr | spb

22 april

earth redresses now
packs away her winter whites
wears only spring-green

. . . . .

haiku © spb


One tall candle flame
burns in a sconce.

A black-gowned figure
bisects the scene:

small head — female? —
short hair, downcast eyes.

Candle-light reflects clear
just on the right cheek.

On the table a wineglass
— or is it a chalice? —

between two dark elbows —
long exaggerated arms.

The right hand shows only
four fingers — no thumb.

The left hand must hide
inside the long left sleeve.

One wonders if the hand
above the glass chalice

pauses in blessing —
or prepares to drop

in another poison pill?
She’s contemplating:

making up her mind,
— waiting for a sign?

Everything is long, lean —
enclosed in angled lines:

praying mantis green,
shades of olive walls.

Shadow-swirls dance —
marling every surface.

There’s one tiny bright
emerald-green triangle

between body-table-arm.
Is that the healing hope?

A similar shade of green
— not quite as brilliant —

covers the lower left corner —
where Mara signed her name.

The lonely circles in this piece
surround the candle flame.

Few other organic forms appear:
in chalice — eyes, lips, and head.

For some, the spleen holds light
— is this what the title reflects?

When demon Mara tempted Buddha
beneath the bodhi tree, he reached


with his right hand — touched dirt —
and said: The earth is my witness.

Yes, earth witnesses us all today
— amidst darkening — and in light.

. . . . .

Ekphrastic poem reflecting
‘Spleen’ by Mara Rucki


Gifts given and received retain their own marks
made upon skin and bone, memory and soul.
Gifts never given, those retrieved soon after,
make void the giving.

Introducing Meaning

At first glance,
the meanings of culture
seem self-evident.

On closer examination,
they can become
quite complex.

We weave new meanings
using timeless symbols
as ways to shift thinking.

The greatest hope is
to escape eternal life, unite
with universal spirit —

above both meaning
and meaninglessness
found among people.

Open doors must speak
much more than just mechanics:
they have to show context.

And since we cannot require
any or all particular doors to open,
we must find appropriate

requirements, overlooked
so often like magnificent treasures
hidden in plain sight.

Blessings of the rising sun,
clean hands, double rainbows:
everything becomes sanctified.

Blake said in between, there are
doors in the ajar, in liminal places
and people — in errors along

margin notes, frayed edges —
where we open to each other,
when we choose to play.

I say: no longer locked behind
closed doors, windows wide open,
we dance the night away.


formulaic notions leave,

fly back to tiny lairs —

wait for foggier days,

before they try again

The Laws of Poetry

contain poems

concrete —

as well as

abstract —

set out

in order —

as if

of essence.

Each poem

is asked

not to judge —

as law demands —

but to engage,

to travel


the other.

An Embarrassment

We saw and heard
angels from on high

calling to those still here
working in the fields.

As soon as we saw them,
they all turned red —

like yesterday’s dawns,
last-night’s bonfires —

or did they simply reflect
their own uncertain flames

rekindled and re-stoked
for journeying, within.

Later, we found scarce
crystal-seeds scattered

everywhere — mixed with
bits of old lace, lichen —

lavender buds, a few fallen
feathers here and there —

angel-mulch left to serve
as fertile ground for growth.

The Cross

A gibbet–

two pieces

of timber,

one upon
the other.

Ancient use: execution. Sign or mark made

with ink or finger, present in some material.

A symbol

of death–

the ensign

of a people,

of patience.

Without the Wind

No cats or children chase leaves —

                                                  caps and berets stay on each head.

Pollen won’t move, ‘cept by bees —

                                                  willows still weep, but cannot sway.

No outdoor chimes can ring now —

                                                  lest small children bring their sticks.

Windswept romances by the sea —

                                                 all end in novels — and in reality.

Solar winds won’t reach the earth —

                                                 so the northern lights disappear.

No dust storms, snow squalls occur —

                                                  curtains stand still, without breeze.

Old sailboats rot inside their slips —

                                                  or become planters, for spring tulips.

No more shopping lists, lost notes,

                                                 or faded photographs cross our paths.

Flags cannot ripple, only hang limp —

                                                 political pride, parades take a big hit.

Of course, ascensions must cease —

                                                no whirlwinds anywhere to lift us up.

Yet no one feels pushed, pulled along–

                                                as one cannot lean into what’s not there.

DA: Dodoitsu Acrostic

Done with counting our words,

done with sounding syllables —

it all resonates inside,

surprising the mind.

Cinnamon Sparkles

Cinnamon may hide in the cupboard
or sit in its own special container —
on the sideboard with salt and pepper.

My mother showed me how to sprinkle
powdered cinnamon on electric coils —
create bursts of fragrant sparkling stars.

Later in my life, March became the month
for chewing a cinnamon stick each day —
to cleanse and refresh the body’s systems.

Then, hand-made cinnamon necklaces —
colorful ceramic beads strung with short,
mitre-cut pieces of rolled cinnamon bark.

Some people only know cinnamon buns —
or cinnamon toast, all mixed up with sugar:
this seems a sad taste of unreality to me.

Yes, we need remember cinnamon comes
from trees — cultivated in the Seychelles —
in Madagascar — in China, India, Viet Nam.

Cinnamon has long offered its unique value
around the world. Indeed, cinnamon sparkles
may have been my mother’s best gift to me.


The web, the link,
the blink, the wink.

Yarn that wends through labyrinths;
thin thread that may mend every hole.

Numberless invisible nadis, physical
nerve endings in every foot and hand.

Railroads, highways, natural riverways;
backs and spines of mountainous ranges.

Languages written in stone and on wood,
words in tongues known — and unknown.

All alphabets finally running together —
with each letter as it was originally formed.

Sacred world texts written and unwritten —
so many over-redacted beyond recognition.

The routes that birds and bees follow over
lands and seas; hummingbirds from Mexico.

Everything that has moved across the faces
of earth — all that is beyond and deep within.

Nothing escapes connection: those little tiny
lines that attach, detach, and reattach us all.


Spring green

saunters in, slow.

Winter-grey, mud-brown — gone!

Hibernating colors returns,

at last.

Arise from Shadows

Arise from the shadow
of sweet notes, now
turned sour.

Arise from the shadow
of past instruments
alone, unplayed.

Arise from the shadow
of so many strings
still, unstrung.

Arise from the shadow
of a child’s lessons
all left, undone.

Enured on Earth

And when seasons turn again,
you also learn how you (may)
have to turn inward or outward
to sense selfhood like hardwood.
Listen to songbirds — or not —
to understand fuller silence,
language of soundless sounds
and wavelengths of sights unseen.
Let the seasons wash through earth:
it elicits subtle limbic response.
Work to feel sap ebb and flow
and know — all Terra’s seasons
reverberate when and wherever
they will, welcomed or unwelcome.

. . . . .

after Erin Moure’s line:
“And you have to listen to language
and let it work and reverberate.”

Shades of Shalimar

Only Nana could shell
peas fast enough.

Only Nana could jell
her fruit just right.

Only Nana could fell
with one word.

Only Nana could quell
folk with one look.

Only Nana could spell
seven-letter words.

Only Nana could swell
with Canadian Club.

Only Nana could dispel
visitors from away.

Only Nana could dwell
on the hill alone.

Only Nana could foretell
the end of her fast.

Only Nana could leave
without a farewell.

. . . . .

Powers: Nana’s maiden name


erased, effaced:
overwritten, later —
imposed on, earlier;
in other words,
multi-layered records
created, recycled —
new traces of old
appear – layered
over time.


looking right and left —

dotted swiss, geraniums:

swirling white and green

Building Beauty

Just because it’s old,
doesn’t make it beautiful.

Just because it’s beautiful,
doesn’t make it old.

Beauty can be as ageless,
as endless — as us.

Vintage blue-glass bottles,
bluebirds in the grass.

Light-blue notes echoing
in empty structures.

Untold ancient strictures,
built up, torn down.

Everything thrusts peace
at us, as we rebuild.

Mercy takes flight

cutting our ribbons

we flew like kites through night skies

shedding fragrant tears

Mantra Mystery

A hint: Gate is pronounced

like “gah-tay” —

Gate Gate Para Gate Parasam

Gate Bodhi Svaha.

“Going, going, going on beyond —

always becoming.”

A marvelous thought: movement

toward awakening,

an unfolding process of one who

may not have arrived,

who may not be an end, but itself.

Gates with the long ā’s

are also like that: opening us up.

how April fooled us

with a foot or two of snow

still the spring birds sing