Metamorphosis and Five Poems
by Ute Carson
"Gadfly 0n Line," January 28th, 2014

If you are LIFE
I shall dress like a sunbeam.
If you are DEATH
I shall grow whispering wings.
If you are JOY
I shall fling a scarlet sash around my shoulders.
If you are PAIN
I shall wear mud boots.
If you are HOPE
I shall light a candle that can't be extinguished.
If you are DESPAIR
I shall don a hat that hides my eyes.
If you are HAPPINESS
I shall become the tingling traveling along my spine.
All these feelings tumble in my kaleidoscope
giving my dancing shoes no rest.

- ~ -
The Divide

Life is risk.
I can stumble even on an uncluttered path.
In a flood I need a lifeboat,
and running from a rockslide
the agility of a mountain goat.
The line between life and death
is as precarious as high wire.
I hope to go to my death
with eyes wide open,
soaring as if I were a glider,
and hovering in the stillness,
taking in heaven and earth
one last time.

- ~ -
Stranger in a Newfound Land

My husband's people are
hardworking, uncomplaining;
carving values, setting limits,
and giving the young
a foundation solid as a rock.

Only if the rock is porous,
has crevices where raindrops gather
then merge into rivulets of hope,
allowing algae and moss to find footing,
and squirrels to bury nuts,
and birds to spy fallen seeds,
only then can an airborne plant
with strange purple blossoms
and spindly emerald-green stalks
take root, survive and flourish.

- ~ -

The higher a child climbs
the greater the need for a safety net.
From tiny feet marks
to large footprints,
from breast to bottle,
preschool tears to college woes,
the parental umbilicus stretches
until one day the cord falls away
and balancing high above, the net ignored,
the child beams a confident smile
to the parents who exhale
with relief and admiration,
-- and a hint of nostalgia.

- ~ -
Great Expectations

For Lucas
Anticipating a birth
is like days before Christmas
when our ears burn with curiosity
and we have owls' eyes, and we can see in the dark.
Now your mother's senses are heightened,
picking up every gurgle,
feeling each kick.
And we wonder
what will you look like?
What kind of person will you be?
Snuggled in your tender womb-place
as in a cozy nutshell,
your feet are firmly planted,
ready to thrust you through the birth canal
into the arms of a welcoming world.

- ~ -
The Secret that Only Babies Know

A duckling forms a permanent bond
with the first object it sees
mother duck
who clucks to it to follow.
A human mother relishes
the sweet nectar of her baby,
its breathing comforts her,
her hands move tenderly
all over its tiny body,
her lullabies are a soothing sleeping potion.

But a baby knows best
the smell of its mother's skin,
her morning smell,
her evening smell,
her summer smell,
her winter smell.
There is no other!

I spool back the years
and inhale my mother's scent
whose fragrance remains
like a tropical flower's after nightfall.
My little hands reach up
as I bury my nose
in her neck
and recall its enchanting aroma
long after I am back in grown-up time.

- ~ -