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Baubo’s Leaven

Mar. 3, 2014
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Listen: everything can be used.

Everything is a path;

even your grief

can curl into the center

where like a shard

of beached glass

worn that way and this

is wave softened at last.

Begin anywhere

and watch it start

to roll, to wash

into something

else, somewhere away

from the static ground

of winter doubt into the chaotic

order of a cloudy March. Only part

of the picture, spring

spreads slowly.

Vanity, selfishness, pride,

consumed by winter-famished

Kali, are the leaven

by which we rise, the tiptoe lightning

of laughter on the edges of fronts,

the thresholds on which, teetering, we see.

Look: here is balm for your tangled

clump of self-sorrow.

Climb my soul-ladder,

this flight of steps

stretching from the bare bottom

of this ridiculous snuffling pig

of our humanity to what is called

heaven. Hung on this laddered cross

between fleet summer grass

and granite stars

we look down, up:

where build our home?

Come: rising

from cavern to heaven,

mounded earthen birds

between soil and sky,

we escape:

unpinioned, we grow wings.

Yeast bubbles in our bones

which lighten, fill

with air. Our throats

inflate with song. We flow

into feathered capes,

sacrifice sorrow; birds of flame,

we are restored in ash-filled nests;

we soar, doves of mourning.

Carving air with wings we learn

to slip qualms, recover stalls,

move from here to there

by naked intention.

Called down to bury her once more,

we forfeit flight but never lose

the leavened feel of space,

the sill of sight, the truth

of unthinkable migrations

height substantiates.



 Kathleen Dale has a special connection to the Demeter/Persephone myth, as her older sister died many years ago, literally overnight, from polio, after which her mother fell into a deep depression. Although her mother never found a way "out," it was the character of Baubo with her gifts of laughter and harp/ladder that rescued Kathleen.

A Pushcart nominee, Kathleen is also the recipient of several prizes and best-in-issue awards for her poems, which have appeared in over thirty journals, including Rattle, Beloit Poetry Journal, Switched-on Gutenberg, Main Street Rag, and Future Cycle Poetry. She was featured poet in the spring, 2013, issue of The Centrifugal Eye at http://centrifugaleye.com/, and was recently included in Poems for Malala (Future Cycle Press), a “Good Works” anthology, proceeds of which go to Malala Yousafzai’s fund for the world-wide education of women.

            Her most recent chapbook, Avatars of Baubo, 2013, was published by Green Fuse Poetic Arts; Rescue Mission, 2011, was published by Antrim House Press; and Ties that Bind was published by Finishing Line Press in 2006. All are available for purchase on her website at http://kathleenanndale.squarespace.com/


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