Poetry by Diane Walker

Diane Walker ‘71 is a writer and a self-described contemplative photographer who takes her inspiration from meditation and nature. She majored in English Composition but spent almost 40 years not writing poetry. In 2009 she began producing a daily blog of poems and photographs as a New Year’s Resolution, and though the results have been decidedly mixed, she continues the practice as a spiritual discipline. A former Seattle marketing executive, Walker is now exhibitions director of ECVA.org, and has just completed a degree program in Organizational Dynamics at Antioch’s Center for Creative Change. She is a resident of Bainbridge Island, Washington.

The stage is set
for some new entrance;
the dark descended full.
Back from drinking intermission,
we watch the flames of past desires
toss sparks of possibility
through the lantern’s eye,
into futures yet unknown.
Waiting, breathless,
We grip each other’s hands
in anticipation:
what new act,
startling in its ingenuity
will hurl itself from the balcony of stars
into our hearts?

This thirst
Where once the water flowed –
sweet juice, my veins and yours
drink up –
is now so dry
my potter’s hands
which stroked the clay
and shaped it into bowls and cups
(no ceremony there, no wine;
just tea, or coffee;
water; occasionally soup)
are themselves dry,
skin cracked around the nails and knuckles
(sweet nails, that held his body there
while hot sun baked his veins and mine,
an ache that haunts the faithful still)
these thumbs no longer stroke and smooth
curled edges, cheeks or shoulders,
lips of clay that split and ooze no more
and oh, the veins, dark shadows, cracks like thorns
that split apart the earth
to crumble in my hands, or scrape and burn
the toes that once delighted in this mud
(before it hardened, breaking off;
(fragments of tumor
escaped into her veins,
coasting on the sweet red juice,
surfing on the wine to land unbidden
on the shore of her heart
stopping hers)
breaking mine)

And so I bow and press my hands
to this hard earth and pray.
Salt water pours down cheeks
enough to flood a village
which might raise another child or two
but cannot quench
this thirst I have for you.

She builds the walls
and plants the trees
yet still the bones pile up;
threaten to overwhelm
her carefully crafted shores.
Time spins forward, ever faster,
And the leaves – so bright,
when she chose to plant them –
are falling now, the dead bare branches
mournful echo of the bones below,
the stones, cold graves that mark
the losses, wait for wind and wave
and tide to bring yet more.

Each day she mows the lawn
to keep this tidy edge,
delineating what is hers
(is green, and thriving still)
and what is not, is lurking,
carefully held at bay,
but mounting up until she can’t ignore;
can’t but feel this fragile boundary
dissolving, color leaching out
while gray seeps in.

Come, blessed fog:
roll in, and muffle sound and feeling,
tame the dark and light
until they no longer speak,
no longer tell the tale
of was and is and is to come
but only toll for Now
for Now
for Now.

2 thoughts on “Poetry by Diane Walker

  1. Lovely, especially the imagery. Particularly liked “This thirst.” Thanks for sharing them!

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