after many tomorrows

A strand of tiny bleached vertebrae hang like pearls
around the crone’s sagging neck
each bone collected from a Montana forest floor.
Stones from Montana rivers line her linen apron pockets,
always cool against her knotted fingers’ skin.
Pieces of shell and feathers twist through her spindly white braid.

She sings songs of redwing blackbirds
and caws into summer’s long-stretched day.
Filaments of time tie her voice
to molecules of still sticky air.

As the crone listens,
a cardinal lands high in a sycamore tree
and lightning bugs begin their dance
reminding her of life’s boons.

A single crow circles,
screaming its beware to all who believe in evil.

Watching its art,
the crone lifts her face,
“Caw! Caw! Caw!”

Back and forth they call,
and the crone laughs, low and deep
settling herself on the banks of Riley Creek
where she knocks on Earth three times for good health
merging her cells with the gloaming.

A row of rodent bones catches her eye;
vertebrae winking white through dark swaying grass.

Brenda Warren 2013

Visit The Sunday Whirl.


42 thoughts on “after many tomorrows

  1. Brenda, just lovely. I was transported there. The “lightning bugs” did it for me. I just love that connection with nature. Soulful and deep. And the use of bone and crone – just those repeating sounds.



  2. ooh, I love this. I can identify with her. Not there yet, but collecting the stones and bones. I like the image of her hands in the apron. I loved it all. Yes, a story poem. A cro(w)ne indeed.


  3. Ooh, I love your ending:

    “merging her cells with the gloaming. (especially this line)

    A row of rodent bones catches her eye;
    vertebrae winking white through dark swaying grass.”


  4. A single crow circles,
    screaming its beware to all who believe in evil.

    Like the line above, this is rich piece, Brenda, with a development, a setting, and character.


  5. I loved reading this…and re-reading it…and getting a fuller image of her with each read. I wish I could paint what I see in my head, you’ve painted it so well with your words.


  6. The woman in your poem reminds me so much of one I met years ago in Theodore Roethke’s poem, “I Knew a Woman,” which begins:

    I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
    When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;
    Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:

    Thank God there are such women as yours and Roethke’s moving among us. They are the glue that keeps this fragile planet from crumbling to pieces!


  7. I imagine her very much at piece. An Earth Mother – someone who the suburban wife goes to when modern medicine fails to produce cures or concrete hopes from the limits of man’s science.
    An Earth Mother – remembering and living life’s boons. Very much like the poem from which the words came from in the sense that your crone lives many lives, perhaps some of them enchanted.

    Thanks always for your word lists, support and encouragement. I’m not sure where ‘Haggard’ will go. Another interesting old crone, eh? Thanks again for your visit.


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