Beside the Lake Paris, June 2013

A flush of amity and light, this arrival
Lush banks of time meet a summer pause
To feel age blossom between us
Is to marvel at our storied selves

You, lithe and dancerly, a body healed
In slow movements of laughter and love
Mind a river coursing through terrain
With a ribbon’s grace, an owl’s astral stare

I, not quite home yet rooted
To change like the sycamore: this spine
Formed by wind and water source,
Imagination is an earthly sense, drenched in places

Two roses nurtured by the same sun
Our petaled difference a breath of beauty
Washed clean each morning, as if birthed by rain
Growth a balance between soil and sky

Friend, in the harsh seasons of longing
Find resilience: a clarity of voice
Friend, in the sweet shelter of belonging
Honor tenderness: a practice of surrender


Dawn comes slowly in this desert city
Brittle sun, pale sky ringed by hills
To know this place is to know
The rumbling belly of the dragon
Its elemental surges, its made worlds
We have not seen such an appetite –
Such digestive heat – for centuries
Now to devour ground for concrete,
Sky for steel, seems commonplace,
Like the honking of horns
Morning when golden loaves steam fresh
In hungry hands, when Hui women
Shield coal-dark hair from God
Thin lips parting to high cheekbones
Peeking out from masked edges of self
When busses and taxis swim blue-green
Against an ocean of onyx luxury
I find my way to this resting place:
Gold and glass monument
You shelter sentient suffering, even as
Empires swirl around you, draw you in.
Down valley, great imperfect remnants
Of another empire, now passed,
Rises spine-like: rammed earth from concrete born
This ancient wall, a thousand years the wiser,
Imposes nothing but memory now
This slow creature surfaces, wordless
Pockmarked and scarred, but surviving nonetheless
Beneath the towers of “International Village”
And “Intelligence Mansions”
This insatiable thrusting upward, toward heaven
To name greed is to know greed, though
And I cannot begrudge the tectonics of power
That are my foundation – this ground beneath my feet
But what of calming this gnaw to consume,
What of the callused calm of sustenance
It would do us all good
Still, the creatures of our past
Underground beings, serpent spirits, gods of place
Remain vested in this knowing:
We are as fragile and resilient as bitter herbs
Rooted on this mountainside, subject to change
-Sienna Craig, October 2012

Eyes Up For Betsy Woods (1952-2013)

What happens when we look up?
When eyes and hands conjoin
To guide this unruly creature – this life –
Toward clarity and grace
Vision begins with a way of seeing
Courage in a glance, taking in the field
To sense periphery is no small thing
And to anticipate – as in a bud unfurling,
As in a fence to clear – is not equivalent
To losing your center,
Not when poise brings you home

Eyes up, girl child
Ride nimbly through this world

I remember sun soaked rails, calloused hands,
The smell of salt and legs that learned
The muscled ways of work; we were schooled by her
Sweat and dust a currency
In these transactions of the spirit
Where balance lived like innocence:
Found, lost, found again
This choreography of human and horse
No less a dance of power and humility than any teaching
Wisdom blooms as honeysuckled change,
Sweet and fleeting

Eyes up, girl child
Ride nimbly through this world

Discipline has its own beauty
Resilience an alchemy of taut rein, light touch
When all we know distills to breath and stride
And we are creatures of flight
Where in this wondrous moment
Does the teacher come to rest?
I see her still, watching us, her silent gaze
The greatest gift, for in it was her confidence
A mother protects; a mentor embodies
What it means to flourish within
The rhythm of our animal selves

Eyes up, girl child
Live nimbly in this world

– Sienna Craig
June 1, 2013
Norwich, Vermont

KYE (Birth)

Bare threshold of this life
Pass over, pass through

Our body, this vessel,
begins and ends anew.
In these mountains of our soul
we are willed into being, elemental:
Earth, water, fire, wind, space.
(Sa, lung, chu, mé, nam kha)
Gifted presence, this human form
Made of mother’s blood, father’s bone,
And that hidden inner spring.
This laboring night
Breathe into the hearth-bound
Burnishing of time.
Outside, an owl calls.
Come morning, the whole village will know:
A woman’s spent silence
A child’s crystal cry.

Bare threshold of this life
Pass over, pass through

– Sienna Craig