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Shelley Widhalm

Poetry Samples

The song, Rain

Rain, the song comes on
Years old
I take in a breath, so rhythmic
It goes into notes I wish
I could control
The memories like clouds
Take me back to a summer day
With a swing set.
My feet I wanted to touch
The sun, warmth of time
Bending the links as I lift my heart
Above, too high to think
I could feel time.
Take me down again
Leaving just enough
To scatter into notes
A gentle tug of back then.


Old man, tight

The old man, tight in the corner
With a beer in his hand
Sits at the bar looking at the pretty girls walk in.
His eyes are cold like the ice on the window,
Ready to crack and burst with the sun,
Hungry, like his body,
Clothes loose and slipping
Down to his tattered shoes.
He wants to see
As his eyes stare down into the emptying
Still cool to touch
Pulled out of the front freezer
The girls sit nearby, talk of fun
And listen to his story.
He will have another and another
Until his eyes fill up
And his body bends closer to the mug.

Art gets caught in my thoughts –
When it starts to come out
Like the dribbling of a faucet
It is like digging a hole
In the cold
Ground with a spoon.
I wish it could feel as free
As my dreaming of creating
So simple when I plan to wrap words
Around their scattering
That I think a dandelion puff
Would create beauty
A white floating across a field
Like my writing pad,
Blank before my first puff.



I felt a slip in my step as I walked
On Sixth Street
Heading to a store,
Not for shopping or spending,
Just the notes I would take,
So fast like the slide of a bow
Across a cello’s strings.
Forgetting that underneath
The slips in my drawer,
The pajamas and sachet
And the sweet swell of apple blossoms,
I had a slower tap in what I wish were
Ballet slippers.
I spun up and out with my white
Swirling into a painting –
It could be that –
My head bent away from my toes as I jumped –

I catch myself and twirl there
On Sixth Street
Turning the traffic
Into brush strokes,
Not feeling it in my hand but in
The horns and the shouts and the talk and the steps
Of those others on the sidewalk
That there is music
And art and dancing
Wherever I am.
I can feel it in the lift of my hands.
As I continue a steady walk
To the store
To take notes
To let my wishes carry me along
A breath in my nights
Just like my under things in drawers,
There but hidden.


Geese that dance

What do you believe
When you see geese
Lift up – random marks
Their wings make
Against blue.
Who will lead – a mystery
To me
I can almost hear
They are apart
Until one comes up front
To take up their V
That the others form
A dance conducted
From birdsong
Wing to wing

As they alternate
To let another one become

That great bird –
In the front in the middle –
Can breathe the air first,
The hardest worker bee
Until tiring
In a dance of labor
Whipping across the sky –
Yes, I believe
In the language of
Sent along the turn of