The Darker the World Becomes, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

The Darker the World Becomes

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Winter, I am here.

I should be sleeping, like

The bears and bees, and somewhere

The bats.

 

Yet, I am awake.  And there is

Darkness, and there is cold, and there is

The silencing of snow, and yet,

I am here, awake, and as best I can,

A light, and as best I can—descending.

 

The earth has been compressed—

Seeds and all manner of growing things—

Are pressed deep into the cold ground.

 

I am still walking.  And through

Winter’s necessary darkness, I move,

And as I do, striding with my little light,

The darkness spreads, parts, like curtains,

And with every step, the darkness gives way

Illumined and warming towards spring.

 

This isn’t to say darkness is wrong,

This isn’t to say I am savior or enlightened,

It simply means I am awake, it simply means

I have a job to do, it simply means

My soul is in the right place, it simply means

The darker the world becomes

The brighter I will be.

 

 


 

 

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That Stubborn Superhero, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

That Stubborn Superhero

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

Out in nature, which is

To say, in us—it happens

This way:

 

The longest night comes

Filling what little day there is left

With thinly veiled darkness,

That, veil after veil, begins

To cover the day, like

A shawl thrown in slow motion

Over a lamp.

 

After the night has had its run,

It slowly—you’d better believe it—

Shrinks back to a more manageable size,

It contracts as the day exhales,

And with each exhalation, spring,

Moment by seemingly imperceptible

Moment—swells with such joy

It can barely contain itself.

 

And the light begins to coax the darkness

Into slipping away into time and to allow

Itself to grow its slow, wild warmth.

 

We have all gone through darknesses

That seemed to last forever—

At least—I have—when I couldn’t

Believe any light would ever come

Ever, ever, again, and that the abyss

Of not being able to see or hardly move

Would enshroud me forever.

 

If this has ever happened to you,

Or maybe is happening to you

Right now—believe it—spring always

Comes—little by hardly noticeable little

Darkness becomes less and less

And seeds of exhaultation can’t wait

To burst into flowers and tangible light.

 

I am not saying all darkness is bad.

There is a holy darkness, touched

With water and earth, where fireflies

Bedazzle the night, where love-making

Eases us into the sweetest sleep.

 

I am talking about the darkness

That swallows the will and chews it

Practically into nothing.

 

Just as too much light burns,

Too much darkness freezes the soul.

 

So, take my word for it—as someone

Who has been there and is taken there

Against my will every year—the swallowing darkness

Turns and slips away like a receding flood of black ink

Eventually, leaving gardens of survival,

Fragrant with honeysuckle,

And damp with laughter.

 

You’d better believe it,

Or if, like me, sometimes

That is impossible to do–

Pretend to believe it—or even if

That is too hard to do—don’t then–

Because its true regardless:

Never once has the night held captive

The day forever.  Day, that stubborn superhero,

Will break free of night’s weakening grasp,

And soar, ringing through the fields,

Leaving visible hope spreading

Over all the land.

 

tree hope


 

All donations go to medical expenses and groceries.  Thank you for your support. <3



Of All Things Let Go, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Of All Things Let Go

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

morning snow 2

 

It’s possible to imagine snow

As time silently shrouding

Everything.  It’s possible

To think of snow

As the gradual smoothing

Of all the rough edges;

Sometimes you can

See Lady Winter draping shawls

Over the shoulders of the trees,

And, of course, you can see

Snow as burden, as the laying down

Of funeral blankets on flowers,

It is the great quieter of color

And the crumbler of fruit,

It is the world gone still and

More trudging, yes, and sometimes,

Go out and stand, allow

The cold kisses to touch your face;

Lift your arms and let them

Be blessed with that so uncommon

Feeling of being alive, and watch–

The snow falls from the unseeable sky,

Look– the crystal stars form

On your sleeves, each one

Bestowed with infinity—that alone is enough

To fill one with swooning wonder,

Notice too, how your breath

Issues its swirling ghosts

Of all things let go,

How winter absorbs them

Into herself as the prayers

That they are, and treasures them

Until one day, when she turns

Her great skirts and drifts away

Over the houses and hillsides

Leaving all that was let go

For spring to tend and encourage

With warm hands, their rebirth

Into the sun.

 

 


 

All donations go to medical bills and groceries.  Thank you for your kind support. <3


First Snow, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

First Snow

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

The sky says:

Shh—Listen.

 

Hear that?  No?

Good.

 

Close your eyes,

Listen more.

 

Hear that? No?

Good.

 

That silence

Is there

For a reason.

 

Grab a coat,

Step outside,

Open your arms,

Lift your face to the sky.

 

Hear that?

Good.  Feel that?

Good.  That is

The reason, that is–

Such marvelous,

Dazzling stillness;

Such exquisite

Calm, such soothing

Kisses from winter’s

Hushed lips.

 

Breathe in, feel that—

That briskness and quickening.

Good.

 

There are

A million reasons,

So many reasons,

Each one crystalline

And delicate, yet

Powerful enough

To quiet the world—

If only for a moment—

If only long enough

For you

 

To feel and to listen

To love’s softening,

To winter’s patient

Blanketing.

 

That silence is there

Not to threaten,

But to assure you

You are alive.

 

As you go back

Inside, to the noise

Of notifications

And important things to do—

You are invited,

You are allowed,

You are known.

 

You are part

Of the wisdom of the sky

That says: shh.

 

first snow buddha

 

 


 

 

All donations go to medical bills and groceries.  Thank you for your support. <3


Stations, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Stations

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

“Have a good one,”

the teller said,

and I wondered

as I carried my bags

to the car:

“Which one?  One what?

Why limit yourself

to only one?”

 

The autumn train

is pulling away from the station

leaving trails of red

and gold in her wake.

 

Having missed my stop

owing to worry

and a pull to end

my own life, I roam

the Philadelphia streets

looking for someone

to tell me there will be other

ways to get through

the winter stations,

there will be friends

at the end of the line

holding signs and flowers,

there will be an end

to the tears,

 

and spring will be there

waiting to the do the rest—

waiting to welcome

a good one home.

 

 


 

 

 





The Center of Your Soul, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

The Center of Your Soul

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

You needn’t worry summer is stepping back;

You needn’t do the same; inside

Spirit has been gathering

Embers of the sun and the harvest moon

And placed them in the hearth of your soul;

As winter’s shift trundles over

The hillside and drapes itself

Over eaves and shutters, the space

Around the chimneys remains

Warm and where winter birds roost

To shake the frost from their wings;

Summer will always be there surrounded

By springtime in the center

Of who you are—there will always be warmth—

Now work—pretend you didn’t hear what I just said—

Go–collect the kindling of your desires,

Rake the dry leaves of your disappointments

And heap them together with whatever

Things you didn’t do this summer

And set them on fire; there is wood

A plenty in the forest of your worries—

It is there for a reason—you are

Not harming anyone or anything

When you illume the soul—winter silences

Autumn’s dazzling carnival, autumn

Diminishes summer’s return, and spring—

That fragrant season of dew-dappled light

Lives forever by the force of your own will

Coupled with mercy from heaven

In the center of your soul.

 

 

 

 





 


The Next Neighborhood Over, by Radiance Angelina Petro

The Next Neighborhood Over

By

Radiance Angelina Petro


Trying to follow the sound

Of the cicadas is what it’s like

Trying to follow the sound

Of god.

 

Cicadas throw their voices

And you can think one

Is right up in that tree over there,

When, in fact, it is actually

In a tree in the next neighborhood over.

 

Trying to trace the sound

Of god one finds oneself

Tracing figures in the air,

Or wishes on the shore.

 

 

Listening to the sound

Of god is much easier

Than asking the source

Of that sound questions.

 

When the cicada stops singing

And falls unseen

From its branch high up

In the tree, the silence

Signals us that change is here—

 

We realize waiting for answers

Is foolish and a waste–

Autumn is coming.

 

So we had better be prepared.

 

When we notice

There is no singing in the trees,

When we realize we have forgotten

Entirely about the sound—

We know winter is here.

 

And if we don’t do something

Outlandish and daring

In order to try making the sound

Ourselves,

Our ears will freeze over with regret,

Our hearts will harden from lack of use.

And our dreams—the ones

We used to use as compasses

To follow the sound

Of god, will be carried away, like

The shell of a cicada,

Like the shell of a sound,

Like the shell of a god

That used to play

Hide and seek with us

From the next neighborhood over.



 

 




Thank you for supporting my transition.  Radiance <3

Continue reading


Light-Hearted

Light-Hearted
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

Snow descends slowly and soft, like
So many hours and days; drifting
And banking up against houses
And closed garage doors.

And the silence with which it falls,
Lulls us into thinking it will last forever.

You go to sleep and the roads are clear.
You wake and they’ve turned into scrolls
Unfurling in a dazzling emptiness
And a blinding story you cannot make heads
Or tails of, and there’s no way
To even compose a coherent life or a song upon
Such vast, frozen pages.

So why rise at all? Why not
Sink back into bed? Why get on
All that gear and clear off the cars
And shovel the drive when there’s no place to go?

Truly I haven’t a clue, except winter casts
A spell that draws us out of our warm
And familiar lives and into another world,
Another planet called Wonder or Hush.
There is white magic in the steadiness,
In the hypnotic piling up of flat, geometric
Prisms—each one different, infinitesimally small—light—
Hearted and easily dissolved into the ground.

And when we wake to the brilliance
Of such an elaborate, albeit cold opportunity,
One in which we can freely choose to participate, or not;
One in which we bring our own warmth
And sense of adventure, and we step out of our safe space
And into the holy silence, all geared up and as prepared as we can be,
And we trudge in the knee-high drifts until we find a place
Or until a place finds us, and we feel compelled to fall
And make an angel out of our lives; out of the one, geometric,
Light—hearted life of who we really are.

 

 


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