Ode to my feet

For years I've thought them queer,
hiding them
in steamy boots and sneakers,
but recently, I've begun to like
their well-worked lines, blue
veins, tapered, skinny elegance.
Funny looking, yes, oddly
protuberant, awkwardly angled,
unlike anyone else's,
models for a medieval statue's,
ancient granite feet
on a church facade,
thoroughly unmodern.
Yet, how well they climb steep cliffs,
work my slinky kayak's rudder,
how they tingle, tapping to music
across a wooden floor,
dangling below me
when I sit on high seats,
and turning pink as we wade
the cool mountain pond,
warming, as they carry me
faithfully home to rest.

 

Featured Poet, Women's Voices for Change — In this sandal season, poet Laura Davies Foley speaks of making peace with her feet, and invites us to do the same.

The Offering

These woods
on the edges of a lake
are settling now
to winter darkness.
Whatever was going to die
is gone --
crickets, ferns, swampgrass.
Bare earth fills long spaces of a field.
But look:
a single oak leaf
brown and shining
like a leather purse.
See what it so delicately offers
lying upturned on the path.
See how it reflects in its opened palm
a cup of deep, unending sky.

 

"The Offering" appears in the literary anthology, Across Borders.

It is Time

It is time to gather sticks of wood
so we can cook the sap that we have drawn from the earth.
We will bore holes into the maple trees
collect buckets, stir the froth as it boils.
Then we'll finish it on the stove in the barn.
We will do this together
balancing the heavy iron vat
pouring the hot syrup
tasting the sweetness.
We did it through the pregnancies, the births.
Let's do it once again.
And then we will cultivate the honey bees
and tend to the alfalfa in the fields.
It will be the best of times once more
fourteen loads of fresh hay
and my hair will be long and we will collect raspberries
and make a pie.
The garden will yield a bumper crop of beets and basil
and we will split wood all fall
and stack it
and be ready for the winter
when you will weave a blanket on your loom
with dog hair and horse hair and my hair
and some dyed wool too.
And I will nurse the babies by the fire
and neither of us will grow older
and we will never forget
and nothing will ever die.
We need to gather sticks now
and build a fire quickly
before the season passes on
before the field
where you are sleeping
blossoms.

 

Winner of the Atlanta Review International Poetry Award

Featured Poet on NH State Council on the Arts Website

New Hampshire Poet Showcase
From NH Poet Laureate, Pat Fargnoli:

Featured Poet: Laura Davies Foley, Cornish

Laura Davies Foley received the Grand Prize in Atlanta Review’s 2005 International Poetry Contest.  Her poems have appeared in Inquiring Mind, The Georgetown Review, The Newport Review, in the film Milk of Many Years, and Syringa, and in the anthologies: In the Arms of Words: Poems for Disaster Relief, and The Still Puddle Poets. Her work has been featured on Gratefulness.Org and on Care2.com. She holds graduate degrees in English Literature from Columbia University and is the honorary Poet Laureate of Valley Insight Meditation Community, and of the Insight Prison Sangha, of Berlin, NH. Syringa, Star Meadow Press, is her first collection of poetry. Her second, Mapping the Fourth Dimension, is forthcoming from Harbor Mountain Press. She lives and writes on the wide banks of the Connecticut River, in Cornish, NH.

Read more on New Hampshire State Council on the Arts Website >

Father-in-Law

He has an appointment
with the Gestapo. He,
a Polish Jew, owner
of a brewery, husband, 
father of two.

It is December, 
nineteen-forty-two.

Before he leaves
the house, he leaves
his good wool coat, 
cashmere, new,
for a friend,
though it is Lublin
winter, ice
and cold.

When they meet, 
they strip him
of the brewery, 
shoot him
in the head. 
His coat remains
to warm the friend.

Published in Bloodroot Literary Magazine, 2009
Nominated for Pushcart Prize

"The Sounds Oblivion Makes" wins Harpur Palate's Milton Kessler Memorial Poetry Prize

We're in the barn, 
my job to pour gasoline
into the carburetor
of the old Toyota wagon,
as he cranks the key repeatedly,
and when the can ignites,
burns my lashes, eyebrows--
I drop it, flaming, onto dry hay
and for a panicked interim
we run back and forth,
moan and yelp like animals,
as we fill buckets from the horse trough,
dump water on flames,
fire lapping the barn walls,
cackling with greedy glee,
and my little sister, on a weekend visit,
caught by another kind of oblivion, 
on the lawn watching us, 
pets the purring cat.

 

Syringa: Title Poem

I thought I would see a flutter of feathers,
a streak of blood,
maybe some bones.
The fox in the night would be satisfied,
or the hawk, or the eagle, and I would lean against a tree,
and I would feel the loss, the empty space.
Instead, she greets me from a spot far off on the lake.
She stretches out her broken wing
as if to question my intention,
my coming, my watching.
Her body shines in the copper light.

It is difficult for both of us,
the endless floating in dark water,
the waiting eyes,
the pale, cold sky
and ice.
Every day the clutching branches of ice.

And I have come to love her. It is difficult,
the ice like lace, the glow of her neck
as she arches back upon herself,
the desolation of the sky, and joy,
the wild joy that blossoms toward us in the dark.

The Quiet Listeners

Go into the woods
and tell your story
to the trees.
They are wise
standing in their folds of silence
among white crystals of rock
and dying limbs.
And they have time.
Time for the swaying of leaves,
the floating down,
the dust.
They have time for gathering
and holding the earth about their feet.
Do this.
It is something I have learned.
How they will bend down to you
so softly.
They will bend down to you
and listen.