Grateful

Last night I saw this rose blooming by my doorstep.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

I had been feeling pretty bleak about the holiday. My life is not what it was a year ago. But when I saw that rose, I paused for a second. That rose must be pretty damn determined to bloom because it’s been downright cold the past couple of nights. It made me think about my attitude.

Yes, one part of my life sucks. But there are so many other aspects that really don’t. I have my kids and my store, my new home and my pets (especially Derby of the magical purr). I have my family and more friends than I really deserve. And I am grateful. For each and every one of these things, I am heartfelt, on my knees grateful.

Sometimes, when things are tough, we forget there are always things to be grateful for. And sometimes if you start counting the small things you have, you realize there are some pretty big things to be grateful for also. And if there aren’t at the moment, then concentrate on the beauty of those small things. Remember, rose bushes start out as tiny seeds.

Happy thanksgiving.

Poem: A Hard Left

Make no mistake. It’s not going to be easy to come back from where we are. “Hard” has more than one meaning.

A Hard Left

By Michelle Garren Flye

Safe footing may take a while.

We’ve hovered so long over the abyss

Trembled with fear, mile after mile

Lips stuttering our tremulous wish

Oh, safety, security, sanity, please

Return to us in our daily life

We know you embody the keys

To free us from all this strife

Now we understand how hell feels

Evil creeping in through marble halls

Peril lingers here, flames lick our heels

Darkness still beckons with wanton calls

We’ve landed just this side of hell

We’ve still got such a long way to go

And our journey may not go well

But at least the direction we now know

Stand still a second before taking a step

Gain your balance, then make a hard left.

The winds of change. Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem: Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

By Michelle Garren Flye

Merry Christmas we cry,

Admiring our tree,

Wishing we could fly

But there’s nowhere left to flee.

The soft glow of white light

Illuminates our night’s work:

Vision of loveliness to our sight

While we ignore what’s in the mirk.

It’s the last of 2020,

The year everything went berserk.

We know that our fates

Rest on whatever comes next,

On untested dates

That still may be hexed.

Maybe, just maybe, our lives will get better?

Maybe we’ll get past this year that was cursed?

Whatever lies in wait is just round the corner—

No time to waste, we plunge in headfirst!

Never mind, doesn’t matter; this year’s a goner.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poems: For RBG, For Courage and Sing!

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last night affected me more than I thought it would. She was one of those rare people that you know you’re just lucky to share this planet with. I think for a lot of women, she was a monolith of courage and wisdom that should never be knocked down. But death finally managed it. Of course I wrote a poem for her.

For RBG, For Courage

By Michelle Garren Flye

Do not think she went gently
Her fight fought
Perhaps she knew we are ready
To live as we ought
And when the night crept up
She looked at it straight
Her body frail as a china cup
And knowing she was late
The strong spirit that kept her here
Knew what was in store
Her heart beat ceased to thrum
Beneath the collar she wore
But legacy cannot be lost like crumb
We know the energy spent
We will carry on in her wake
For RBG, for courage, we women
Will follow the path she staked.

It occurred to me that RBG spent her entire life living courageously. She was a lion among women. I live in an area of the country where some women still follow their man’s lead, completely and subjectively. What the man wants, the woman provides and she’s lucky to do so. It’s these women I often write for, not women like RBG. It took me a long time to get to the point I’m at now. It’s always possible to find your voice, no matter how old you are. Find it now and…

Sing!

By Michelle Garren Flye

If I’d just kept quiet or spoken

Only butterflies and moths and pretty things

We would still be whole, unbroken

But I spat out the dragonflies with glass wings

And you couldn’t face I had awoken

So now we face each other across the springs

Without affection or even a token

Of what used to be before I chose to sing.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem: No Edges

No Edges

By Michelle Garren Flye

I decided to be edgy much too late

Soft living makes soft edges

And those are just curves

Rounded spaces don’t agree

With razor sharpness

Anyway

So I’ll just go on preserving

Circular surroundings

(Circles have no end, no beginning

They mean forever

And a day

But that’s too long for anyone sane)

And leave the sharp spears

To the young people

Those who can still afford

To poke holes

Where they don’t belong.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

poem: hope

hope

by michelle garren flye

just when all is lost and

the warriors are all gone

leaving dust and bones

swirling at my feet

“look here” you whisper

and I turn to find a rainbow

arching over ruins

as if growing from death

it sparkles like magic

made from diamond tears

wept by poets for politicians

abandoned in the quagmire

it’s a gentle misdirection

and I a willing participant

in your ongoing seduction

of whispered promises

I surrender to your will

surely nothing can be needed

when hope springs from death

and arcs over destruction

surely this is a sign—

the one we’ve waited for

that life will be better soon

that there’s always hope

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem: Rain and Shine (for Chris)

Rain and Shine

By Michelle Garren Flye

When did it rain?

I never heard thunder

Or wind or raindrops.

When did they fall?

It must have happened

Behind the scenes

While we were busy

Doing something else.

Something important.

Raising kids, living life,

Paying bills…surviving.

I didn’t know it rained.

Just like so many other

Things have happened

In the background.

It’s funny how you start:

Focused on each other,

Certain nothing will change.

But then it does.

Work and family and life

All change you.

And rain falls unnoticed

Until you see the puddles,

And then you notice the wet

And open an umbrella.

Only then do I see

A gardenia has bloomed.

Sometime in the night

It burst from the bud

In pure and splendid beauty.

Would it have bloomed

If the rain hadn’t come?

If we’d watched all day

In the sun, would it appear?

I don’t even know if it matters.

Drops of rain cling to the petals,

Magnifiying a single ray of sun.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

So many wonderful things, so much hope (and a poem)

Nature has faith in spring. Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

I’m seeing so many wonderful things happening in my little town during this COVID-19 outbreak, I can’t help but be hopeful. Yes, the downtown is a bit of a ghost town (as it should be), but friends and strangers are reaching out in whatever ways they can to help support the businesses that are suffering, including my little bookstore.

I’m seeing teachers reaching out to students, helping them adjust to distance learning and trying to reassure them. Schools are sending lunches out to children in the community. Everyone in the education community is doing their best to help kids accept the “new normal” that might be with us for quite a while.

No, none of this is okay. But with a little faith, it will be, and you can find faith in unexpected places.

Finding Faith

By Michelle Garren Flye

Faith grows in unexpected places

You find it in the darkest spaces

And on the homeliest faces

And sometimes in bright daylight

Even out in plain sight

Or in the laughter of pure delight

It can be found in the smile of a child

Or growing free in the wild

Or possibly among the papers you filed

Just watch and you’ll see

How easy it can be

You’ll find your faith eventually.