Three babes in the night

Child of innocence,
child of passion,
now love unclothed:
This child endures
your wintry lightning,
alive in my arms.

Cheek cupped in the palm of a hand,
your sweetness all around,
your pine honey scent thickening my sleep,
an hour’s like years.

© Dec ’09 Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

October afternoon

Inside rain’s light,
eyes closed,
held warm by love,
a little lost in reality-sounds —
    the streets’ soft stuttered roar,
    a jet behind clouds,
    a bird,
    a horn,
    the whirring of a saw —
I heard a voice,
your cello’d song.

© Oct ’09 Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

Sweet recovery

Woke this morning after much sleep and was hungry, so made dalia ki kheer, which is Indian cracked wheat pudding.

Dalia ki Kheer (Indian Cracked Wheat Pudding): Ingredients (8 servings): 1+1/2 c cracked wheat (bulgar or tabbouleh wheat), 6 c milk (whole, 2%, 1%, or skim), 6 tbs jaggery (organic Demerara sugar is the closest you will get to this, but you can use any sugar; if you use white sugar, include a little brown sugar to get closer to the expected flavor; honey or molasses will overwhelm), 1/2 tsp cardamom powder (from jar or grind seeds from pods). Method: place cracked wheat in heavy saucepan (for easiest cleanup use non-stick), and put in a third of the milk and all of the cardamom. Cook over very low flame for 15 minutes. The cracked wheat will absorb all the milk and fluff up. Add half the remaining milk, stir, and cook another 20 minutes. This time, there will be some milk not yet absorbed by the wheat. Add the remaining milk and the sugar, stir, turn up heat a very little, and cook for 2 or 3 minutes more. The pudding will seem soupy, but it will thicken as it cools. Pour it into a serving or storage container. Stir in almonds, cashews, and/or raisins at this point, if you like. Traditionally, this pudding is decorated with four almonds in a aquare, and one cashew at the center, on the pudding’s surface, in each individual dish of it. It’s often served in shallow wide-rimmed bowls. It can be eaten at room temp, cold, or reheated (with a little milk to thin it, if it’s too thick to reheat as-is). The texture is like a milk-rice pudding. Store uneaten pudding in refrigerator. Very good for digestion. Gives slow, steady release of energy due to wheat bran, which is a non-soluble fiber. The flavor is delicate and slightly sweet — just sweet enough to balance the wheat’s nuttiness and the cardamom’s elusive scent. Traditionally made with ghee as one ingredient, which I left out for health’s sake. It didn’t seem to need it, but I’ve never had it made with ghee, so what do I know? Anyway, it’s lovely.

windy day

I dreamt of you the way I often do.
I didn’t like the dream so didn’t keep it.
You didn’t write,
but you philosophized
about what’s real for you, not me,
insistent on the you
(we both support that view).
The sky’s been full of wind.
It pushed the rain away,
and dried my tears.
You’re not here.
What jobless nonsense do you offer me
as love,
some words calling in the dark?
Who do you call?
Not me, for sure.
So what’s this jobless attitude
you have towards me
that makes you think a lack of generosity
and lack of love is what I need?
My God, I’ve had enough of that from birth
till now.
I don’t need more.
If pulling back’s goodbye, gird your courage and say it.

The sloop on motor

(a first Dharma 2009 poem?)

the arch of the GWB’s span, the arch of clouds over. north of me, the clouds so low they’re below the tops of the Palisades. south, the bridge has made own weather and the clouds are rolling up a hill of air higher than its towers. the river’s curve to north is lost in dense grey. a sloop, just south of the buoy, has its sails down and is moving on motor. how the cars are stopping for 20 secs at the dead-end overlooking the river, to see the view. normally they immediately turn north to go on the highway north or make a u around the little park on the south to catch the highway south. how the trees — maples, oaks, and wild apples wearing grapevines — are full and rounded. how the bridge is straight and strong. the high stone walls. the river’s on the ebb. the rain’s monsoon-like, even on the slope of this steep hill, the water’s more than ankle deep. how if there were no streets, this would be a wilderness threaded with streams feeding the river. a beautiful man in a purple shirt and running shorts, walking by the river. how I worry that I’m weak and might slip. I wore backless sandals, for the rain. leaning on the stone wall for a while, I decide to go. a rock-dove flies by to land in its cranny in the face of the stone wall below me, south of me. it flew by a few feet from my face. it made a long, long landing. beautiful colors — blues, greys, creams, and a little black — to the undersides of its wings — the curves of the overlapping wingfeathers distinct in the rain, against the soft clouds. how when I got home, the only bit of cloth dry enough to get the rain off my keys was a rain-shadow my left elbow made against my waist. how pneumonia sucks, and rain sings. my hair and skin and spirit are grateful that I walked in the rain. I wanted to to catch the smell of the salt, but the rain was washing the air, so it wasn’t salty.