Poems by Anne Whitehouse

“A Dog’s Life”
            By Anne Whitehouse

Come down to the lake with me.
Real winter is here at last,
ice crystals and freezing fogs,
the sun so bright it hurts my eyes.

Veils of mist like gossamer silk
drift over snow that blows over ice
where our dogs chase after each other,
making the most of what they have,
be it a stick or a snowbank.

            By Anne Whitehouse

A parade of goats clambered down the path,
bells clanging. Between two cliffs
jutting out to sea was a green valley
with a gray road like a fallen ribbon
surrounded by palm groves
and little houses like white sugar cubes
sprinkled down the slope.

The ocean crashed against the cliffs,
frothing white on dark blue, and puffy
white clouds massed on the horizon
beyond the shadowy shapes of distant islands.
The air smelled of sweet juniper, as I bit
into the soft flesh of a ripe fig and
basked in the warm October sun.

“Earthly Paradise”
By Anne Whitehouse

“…in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again.”
Shakespeare, The Tempest, III, ii, 140-3.

A waterfall for every day of the year
and the water so clean I could drink
from everywhere I saw it flowing.
Mountains and ravines, a tangle
of vegetation, blue and green.

Night and day the surf beat
against the rocky shores,
and the forest was full of sounds—
leaves rustling and the sweet song
of the mountain nightingale,
an elusive bird nesting
in the hollow trunks of trees.

In the lowlands, near the river,
grapefruit hung from the trees
like golden suns,
and a young woman,
her skirt hiked above her knees,
bare-breasted, stood in the shallow river
where it ran over rocks,
washing her clothes.

It could have been a scene
from a pastoral idyll of long ago
that perhaps never existed,
a dream of someone’s life.

Into that life came a storm
that took everything away.
The woman I’d seen placidly washing
her clothes in a green dream
lost the blue house on the hillside
built by her husband—
all they had worked and strived for
washed away in the mudslide
after the hurricane,
when two months of rain
fell in a single day.

“Tides of the Body”
By Anne Whitehouse

Breath, shape-changer,
the organs gently swaying in their fascial hammocks
like the flora and fauna of an undersea world—
the yellow of the small intestine,
deep coral of the liver, green bile duct,
pancreas the color of the ocean floor.
Blood circulating through arterial rivers
in an endless loop.

Gently I placed my fingers
over the openings of my ears.
The sound of my breath inside my throat
was like the echo in a seashell,
ever-present, softly audible.
I tuned out the world for a moment
so I could listen.

“Protest Poem”
By Anne Whitehouse
In memory of Katie Lee (1919-2017)

I only had a decade in Glen Canyon,
from my first visit to when they destroyed it.
In that blissful time when I was a river runner,
I swam in its potholes and waterfalls
and explored its hundred side canyons, each one unique.
The rapids and the breezes blowing over them
spoke to me like dear companions.
When I was with them, I never felt alone.

When they drowned that place, they drowned my whole guts.
I will never forgive the bastards. May they rot in hell.
My human race betrayed me, greedy fools
with the mania to destroy all the sanctuaries.
I don’t care if we’re all blotted out.
I’d rather be a coyote.

- Anne Whitehouse’s poetry and fiction have appeared in two Bibliotekos anthologies: Being Human: Call of the Wild and Pain and Memory: Reflections on the Strength of the Human Spirit in Suffering. She is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Meteor Shower (Dos Madres Press), as well as a novel, Fall Love.

Copyright©2020 by Anne Whitehouse. All Rights Reserved