Sunday, October 17, 2010

In Innocence

by Jaye Shore-Freyer

How Adam must have felt when he first spied Eve
Down among the rushes testing first the earth
For its strength, dipping then into the edge
Of the water’s quiet seam, marveling at the warm
And rhythmic pond.  Raising one damp finger to her lips,
He watched her sip, sensed the quivering excitement
Of her first live breath, felt the ranging varied charm
Of this green glance.

Her first thoughts stretched gracefully forth
While the long stem of her limber neck swayed
In survey of the mystic mindless rush
of glimmering lights and colors rippling past
the breast of the loon’s slow swim and metered song,
weaving each breath into its own
With a skilled deft voice
like skeins of yarn upon a warp of light. 
She watched a heron beat across the hills
On waves of flight. 

He watched her long before she heard
the sound of his step erupt, ellipt, then hush;
before she found his form flung
In gentle fluid fractures down upon
the canvas of the loon’s lake home
In innocent bewilderment. 

The wind wound its way through the boughs
Of that primeval forest while Eve knelt transfixed
and Adam watched her marvel at the mesh of sound and light.
Her fingers touched lightly in awe.
She bowed her head at the songline’s end
Only to find her slim, slight hands rippling
Round a reed’s long spear.  Her breath stopped.
He stepped.  She watched her hands part and reach
To touch the shimmering reflection of her flowing face.

She must have seen him join her on the surface of the pond,
Watch his hand reach down and rest upon the bare shoulder
Of her unfamiliar frame while she combed the bright
And restless sketch.  For an aging moment strung
Of many lengths of breath an isthmus
Of awareness formed.  She watched
The lips her fingers touched,
The hand that rested on her flesh,
And wondered in that brief
Parenthesis of time
If she was two or one...

Here I wondered what it would be like for Eve to wake up in Eden - with no prior knowledge.  And what Adam must have thought when he saw her - not too far away from the same experience of being awake for the first time.  My Eden when I wrote the poem was the Adirondacks. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


by Jaye Shore~Freyer

In the bend of the river the cold damp marsh
Steams the dawn of middle autumn days.
The first frost cracks beneath our leathered feet
as we pull the seasoned tubers from the earth.
Our hands are warmed as we peel away
the withered fronds, break away the wiry roots
and toss the winter food into baskets on our backs.
We've returned, and we'll return, ever and again,
to the thin towns, the fragile frames, in the breast
of the hills, at the edge of the mountain

[published by the Christian Science Monitor 1985]

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In Dreams, the Summer...

by Jaye Shore~Freyer

Willing I’d be for the careful walk,
for the long blind steps through an untamed night;
willing I’d be for my bare flesh scratched
by the blind brown thorns on their airy branch
or the slithering touch of a tendrilled vine
unfurling cross a narrow, sometimes densely declined path.
Willing I’d be in the moonlight’s weave
through the deep pine stands and the slivers etched
by the silvery birch on the ink dark black
to familiar myself with the stumble and clutch
of your steadying hand through the uncertain steps
and the sound of the hush of our own deep breaths,
the rustle and whoo of the horned owl’s hunt
and the quiet picking of a doe’s cleft feet
would be all that we would hear on the soft
soil path on the way to the lake past midnight.

The miracle of a midnight’s wake
at the edge of a dark expansive space
Is the form that my desire takes:
to swim in this lake with you tonight,
Floated and freed by the clear warm waves
in the wake of a bold Buck Moon
In a quiet ancient space, quivering
on the rim of the lake with our toes wet
and the giddy lust of adolescence rushing through our veins
like spring rain dashing down smooth rocks.

From the peak of our breath before the dive,
the thrill of the cooling waves and the revelling find
of your firm warm flesh to the thought of the smooth
and weightless dance, the slow sure turns
the grasp of the hands, the thrill of the thighs
the brim-breathed kiss illuminated by
this ancient light that reins from these cathedral heights,
raining a simple shimmering.

The Story of the Boulders

by Jaye Shore~Freyer

“The earth gives birth to these boulders,"
Mrs. Wilcox said, “Heaves them out like babies.”
I stared at the boulders in the fence, moss covered,
girth held by gravity in place. Her husband called over,
not looking up from the thicket where he was working,
“Sylvia, Darling, be careful what you tell the children.”
“I always am,” she called back with a sweet compliant note.
“My husband, bless his soul, calls it frost-fracturing,
But then he is a scientist and we are not scientists.
These poor boulders are tossed out into the world
Like lambs in the springtime and have to spend their lives
keeping their place; their biggest excitement
Is being lugged across the field and fit into a fence.
The only way they will ever get back into the earth
is to crumble into it in their old age.”
This seemed to satisfy her and her billowy soft grey curls
blew like a cloud around her face and neck.

When I was the age of the girl in this poem our neighbors would take us along on outings while the husband, an entomologist, would work. We would run around collecting bugs and show them what we managed to find. He taught us to pin them and present them in a scientific manner. His wife was wonderful – and probably the reason we were brought along. She had a whimsical sense of nature and it didn't occur to me then how different she and her husband were. She has peeked out from my memory throughout the years. I crafted this cameo with fondness for her in mind.

The photo at top is taken of a portion of the Tiffany stained glass fountain at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The photo on the left was taken recently in the Bronx River Reservation of a small butterfly resting among the Japanese Knotwood flowers and seeds. Both photograph and alterations by me.