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Two Poems: Enlightenment, Phrases Strong and Perfect

By Therése Halscheid

Therése Halscheid has been an itinerant writer for more than two decades, living simply on the road as a house-sitter. She writes, “A nomadic lifestyle has allowed me to connect with the Earth and understand more deeply the interconnectedness between nature and human nature.”


Regarding the lotus,

they have their beginnings in dark places

at the very bottom of things, of lakes and of

shallow rivers, growing from the muck up, a frond

navigating itself, fronds


long and green, leaving the muddy riverbed,

its rocky silences.


Think of the stem

when its murky secret becomes its body’s truth,

think of the bud needing air

to open, needing to struggle without saying

and this is considered pure, this


is the white blossom

becoming light itself, on the surface of water.



Phrases Strong and Perfect

Inupiaq Tribe, White Mountain, Alaska


To the Eskimo, glances are actions. And of actions,

they leave a bright trail to read


so that when two crows hit against the glass window

where Linky was, she said, something has happened!


she said nothing comes here without significance, that

even the wind blows as God’s breath


shaking the willows, taking its leaves. She said

what I said, that even dusk talks in long sentences of color.


Everything that shifts, moves, but not only for itself

like the sun dropping a strong phrase of light


on a child, like the child giving a crow call

the same moment as Linky sights the birds.


This is what the cold has taught. How the world is

of words though no one is speaking


how the days went as this day went,

which has nothing to do with time.


“Enlightenment” first appeared in Tiferet. “Phrases Strong and Perfect” first appeared in Cold Mountain Review. Both poems were published in Therése Halscheid, Frozen Latitudes (Winston-Salem, NC: Press 53, 2014). Read more about the author and Frozen Latitudes here.