Dale Harris | 3 poems

In Cynthia's Kitchen 

White bowls, hot beet soup
avocado, tomato.
Eat haiku for lunch.

Talk of winter dreams, new snow
fat birds counting red berries.

Latia ceiling -
each wood piece fit in its place
holds the whole together.

Smell cedar smoke from lost fires.
Burn money or have a cold hearth.

Wind in the garden
tattered prayer flags flap in place
praise this near spring day.

Beneath the mud, seeds wake up
working their way to the sun. 

My pagan child stirs
tears paper dolls from newsprint
chants forgotten prayers.

O Rainbringer, please hear her!
She is a good enough girl.

Amaze! Advice for Walking the Labyrinth

Begin with firm steps. 
Walk out in the fresh morning.
Hope and unseen friends are ahead.
The spiral of placed stone, curled space,
a nautilus of rock. Start!

See the treasure in the middle, an altar. 
Your impatience wants to step across the stones,
take a shortcut to the center. Resist!
This saunter is about more than the prize. 

As you walk around and around, look across the course. 
See where you’ve been as well as where you’re bound. 
Perspective on the path adds to the pleasure.
Just moving, lifting your legs, lifts your heart as well. 

Doubt comes about direction: 
maybe you took a wrong turn?
a dead end lies ahead?
Faith in the Path Maker answers: Continue.

Cast out prayer pebbles you put in your shoe at the start, 
any grit, sand that worked its way in as you journeyed. 
The path doesn’t require suffering, only joy.
Hurting won’t make you holy.

Your medicine bag is heavy with old remedies.
Leave behind yesterday’s spells, charms, salves.
Those ailments are cured.
Be glad to lighten your load.

It may look like you walk alone. Not so! 
Spirit companions are ahead, beside you.
Give thanks to the Unknown Ones who laid out the stones,
plotted the course, leveled the ground. 

Honor those who left sparkling gifts 
stacked at the labyrinth center, 
piles of story stones.
You think you have nothing to add 
but discover that you do. 

Don’t compare your offering to theirs, 
each is accepted, each one welcome.
All belong. 

Venerate each place you step. 
Neither the center nor the end is better than the rest.
No one spot more sacred than another.
Enjoy where you are at this moment.

Your mother’s voice remembered says: 
Don’t stumble, pick up your feet.
But the way is smooth and safe. 

No need to stop or re-trace your steps 
although it is good to pause, savor. 
Notice at your feet are small beauties 
discovered in the moment only.

Here a perfect aspen leaf,  
an acorn, a feather.
A few you put in your pocket.
Leave others for the next pilgrim. 

At the spiral’s end, bow, shout out! 
Acknowledge how far you’ve come.
Decide if you wish to begin again 
and when. 

“Amaze!” will appear in the forthcoming 2017 Beatlick Press 
anthology Value: Essay, Stories and Poems by Woman of a Certain Age

Wake In San Miguel

Wake in San Miguel
to the toll of bells
ringing my body alive
from deepest sleep,
peals of garnet, turquoise,
short, long, bing, bong!

Hear the bells of San Miguel.
What do they say?
Domingo, Sunday, Sunday,
let us pray, pray, pray!

Wake in San Miguel 
on Dia de los Muertos.
The city is a School for Mourners today.
You learn that life is grief,
only love prevails.

Walk past ofrendas, sidewalk altars,
mariachi music, candy skulls, colored balloons. 
Take up armfuls of marigold, amaranth. 
visit the graveyards, 
scatter your flowers. 
Honor those who have gone. 

Santa Muerta, Lady of Last Mercies,
the Dark Lady has them in her care.
This is her festival.
Pray to her as the bells pray,
loud and long, bing and bong!
Pray for your mother, father, children,
all your beloveds.

Pray she guides them 
out of the shadow of evil, into the good light. 
Bring tequila for cheer and warmth,
lilies for beauty, maize for re-birth. 

Hear the bells of San Miguel,
the trill of birds, yap of dogs,
hear the sound of passing cars.
Sing out your life, your praise.

dale_harrisDale Harris has made New Mexico home since 1993 when she and actor/chef husband Scott Sharot settled near Mountainair and opened the popular Hummingbird Café. Their monthly Live Poets Society readings attracted visitors from all over the state. Its success led Dale to organize the Sunflower Festival Poets & Writers Picnic and writers’ workshops at the historic Shaffer Hotel. Dale produced a series of poetry-based theatrical shows in honor of National Poetry Month at the Harwood Art Center, shows that brought poetry to life in an exciting way, enhanced by music, dance, sets, costumes and props. From 2002 to 2007 she edited Central Avenue monthly poetry journal and reading series  and currently is an associate editor for The Malpaís Review poetry quarterly. Dale’s poems have been widely anthologized and she performs her poetry at a variety of venues and arts festivals. Her poetry books The Love of a God and Dream of Dragonfly are available on Amazon.com. Her poetry and music CD’s Cibola Seasons, Once We Were Winged, and Like a Hummingbird are sold online at CD Baby and a number of digital distribution sites. Dale’s art interests include pottery, woodblock prints, and book making. She also sings with the New Mexico Celtic Singers.

Editor’s note. Dale Harris was part of the Book of Cranes art project and has a publishing imprint and website Hummingbird Hollow Press which features her handmade books.


3 thoughts on “Dale Harris | 3 poems

  1. Lovely, Dale. Thank you! I, also, love the maze advice poem. “In Cynthia’s Kitchen” read, for me like desert flowers, reminding me how much we can say with not too many words.


  2. Joyous to learn more about folks in the poetry community-Dale, your beautiful rhythms and images in “San Miguel” sound a bit like Old Walt’s, though, finally, less pedantic and more lyrical. You brought San Miguel back for me–thanks. I admire your work, as you know, but I noticed in the poem about Mexico–and quite fitting for this magical, gentle and tragic nation and for El dia de Los Muertos–your reverence for those who came before. We share that reverence.


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