365 Degrees

Tom Johnson
Poetry Editor


A Mother's Lament

So many people done turn on me
My boy
Done change my whole life
People turned off
They just don't know
Trouble is made for everyone.

Anybody could get tripped up
Seems like a bad dream
It's no dream, it's real
My boy.

Living in the land of the living dead
Five minutes of sleep in five months
Until one day, he sleeps for the first time
My boy.

I just keep working
Don't want to be there
Over there working at the Beach
When I grow old.

I just keep working
Working to make things
Make things meet for the winter.

Pitter Patter

pitter patter
beats my heart as solemn as the rain
wandering in gallatin valley
finding it hard to keep still

pitter patter
falls the rain softly, softly down
birds gently fluff their wings
moving freely, quietly at will

pitter patter
slowly beats my organ grandly
chasoom, chasooom, chasooom
succulent wildflowers bow in homage
tossing, billowing petals afar

pitter patter
majestically stands the melodious forest
aspens, cedars
an emerald canopy of breathtaking delight

pitter patter

hear the whispers
take heart, today is tomorrow
be still, listen, wait


Gingerly, I kneel
Cupping my hands
Stretching my arms
Gathering in a circle
Scattered, shattered pieces of my Self

Wearily, I open my soul
Welcoming unexpected guests
Three great physicians
Time, Nature and Patience

Brushing liquid forbearance
Connecting fragmented dreams
Burying lifetime of regrets
Sorting, strengthening beliefs

Savoring glorious successes
Molding, fashioning, admiring
Burnished, lifegiving stages
A dazzling patina, my Self

Dancing With a Bear

In the shade of green pastures
Gleeful, whirling winds
Flowing from the four world corners
Giving chiffon caresses to my face

My feet pay homage to earth
Doing a holy, hallelujah dance as
Twilight tiptoes ever so lightly
Swirling her star-kissed cape

Evening lychnis blooming, quivering
As moths perform their mystic rites
A crown of roses for my head
Meadowgrass slippers for my feet

Under hypnotic moonbeams
In the valley of the flowers
Victoriously triumphant
I am dancing with the bear

Beulah Priest White's first book of poetry, Ladies in Hats, appeared in 1989 and was praised for its distinctive voice expressive of the experience of the Southern African-American woman. These four poems are from a collection currently being prepared for publication under the proposed title Blue Horses at Midnight. They were written while Ms. White was on respite leave last summer at Windcall, a retreat center in Montana (the location of "gallatin valley" in the poem "Pitter Patter." Ms. White is executive director of the Five Rivers Community Development Corporation in Georgetown.

© Copyright by POINT, 1999