On Learning

In the young years ‘tween sleep and solace played
A gardened world of noticed and of known
To puzzle out in textures and in clay
Sublime dependence, laughter-to have grown

Still whetted by the wetness of this wave
Unearthed cosmic keen delight, limits shorn
And skinned again like knees-behold, behave
Imagination flowers into form

Year to year bleeds traveled visions, trod
Upon the bridge of conversation spent
Commitment comes to rest in homespun awe
Lends joy to this encounter, resplendent

Yet purpose is a chasm near as wide
As difference and suffered subsistence
To be borne out and yet at home reside
To live the tension poised, with diligence

The currency of revelation
Stretches infinite minds in bound directions

– Sienna Craig (1999)

Desmond Tutu

He is a small man, really
Crooked leg like a tree
Propping up his immutable self
Purple is his color
Kingly beneath his collar

But this is not a sovereign of might
Nor even of mystery nor fear
This small man looms large as miracles
Hands stretched upward with flying fingers
An eagle in his bent body

Truth and reconciliation, they say
No better man exists
Soil sentiment and earth wise
Knowing the power of stories
For such power transformed, made whole

Is transcendence
And we are our memories

-Sienna Craig (2000)

Sequoia National Park, June 20, 2000

If we listen carefully when morning
Bows long with shadows of remember
We can hear mist rising from the meadow
Plumed air dance, watched closely
By no one, and ant tracks
As elemental highway – riveting
Petals are blood and pigment
Spilling loveliness like laughter
Onto this ground
Lucid, for all its lost memories
Life tracks smoothed by wind
And other caresses
Sap trickles, binds this wellspring
More rain than tears
Knowing sweetness in those rivulets
Between a ridge of bark and new air –
That inverse of exhale
Too sacred to see

-Sienna Craig (2000)

Larjung, Mustang, Nepal August 11, 2000

Moon three days from full
Night obscured by its brightness
Despite some clouds
The awkward cry of a rooster –
Cock crow to a new day
Always arriving here
Where river widens its course
Belly full and brimming with summer

A cow bell, a radio hum,
Fingers licking plates clean
Before evening rest
Parched faces of tomorrow
Not yet come
This routine adaptation
To the task of living —
Herein lies memory
All that sutures birth to death

Heavy, those tempestuous clouds
Pregnant with rain
Knowing nothing
In their gray-blue wisdom
Of the green they make
Theirs is only to gather
To tumble and fall
Not without effort

To empty like moon
And again become

-Sienna Craig (2000)