Elaine Christensen

1948 -

A Quote by Elaine Christensen on birds, garden, giving, and indolence

IN AUTUMN, I write of days smoldering like embers to ash, grass, stiff, green-weary, waiting for somnolent winter, everywhere, gathered birds stuck in spindly branches and gardens done with giving. . . of air, over-ripe, indolent, like the last great cluster of grapes on the vine, which winds its way across the wall, tendrils turned to wood.

Elaine Christensen (1948 -)

Source: At the Edges, published by the Utah State Poetry Society, 1990

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Elaine Christensen on awareness, birds, dreams, earth, garden, rest, timidity, and words

WAKING In spring I write of earth still half asleep, of matted grass and weeds not yet aware that stretching fingers stir the soil down deep and sift the frozen dreams of roots with air that breathes forgotten scents of blossoming. I write of branches stiff and gnarled with cold, like ancient bones that can't remember spring or how the sun could painlessly unfold each timid, paling leaf. I write of birds returning one by one. They leave their flocks for tempting caterpillars scrawled like words across my garden wall of crumbling rocks. These early signs of spring unthaw my brain from numbing winter rest. I write again.

Elaine Christensen (1948 -)

Source: At the Edges, published by the Utah State Poetry Society, 1990

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Elaine Christensen on garden, gold, happiness, laws, love, motherhood, mountains, neighbors, passion, songs, sons, world, and worship

Last Request Maybe it's because the days are growing shorter, and each one starts and ends in cold, maybe that's why the sun on my back this afternoon is a loving arm--not a lover's, but a son's, the one who seldom comes anymore for love. Maybe it's because the mountain is now etched in white and the foothills, unafraid, blaze copper and gold and the sunflowers beyond my fence eye me, unblinking in their untamed gardens, and the sky, wholly blue, blesses my days with what even my mother-in-law would have to call happiness. Maybe that's why I think of her when the magpies who have squawked all summer from the roof of our tool shed come now reverently to worship beneath the mountain. Maybe that's why the one rosebush nearest the house continues to push tangerine clusters into the world, like my neighbor in her eighties who asks me to paint her fingernails Passionate Plum. There is something each autumn that presses against the wall, that commands me to make a last request: one more lark song, one last rose, petals tipped in yellow, a last look at our purple-leafed maple before it spreads its sequined cape across the grass.

Elaine Christensen (1948 -)

Source: I have learned five things, 1995 winner, Nat’l Fed’n StatePoetry Societies’ manuscript comp

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Elaine Christensen on age, birds, children, darkness, god, ideas, joy, justice, learning, pain, people, sleep, and water

I Have Learned 5 Things 1. The sulfurous flame sunbeams in corners lightning like cracked glass the bulb of an idea your dark eyes all have one source. 2. Pain is truer than people truer than a full plate truer than God 3. Joy is a suitcase packed with everyday things no beaded gowns, no hats no umbrella just pajamas, a toothbrush, sneakers. If it rains stand there soak up every drop like applause. 4. I have learned that I want less: the sound of lake water lapping tadpoles listless in sun-heated shallows wispy grass, knobby reeds greeting me, my name caught in their raspy throats one or two clouds and a bird, maybe, if it doesn't sing. 5. Old age is where you started, a child looking up at the light at jumbled faces at mouths whispering, "there, now, go back to sleep."

Elaine Christensen (1948 -)

Source: I have learned five things, 1995 winner, Nat’l Fed’n StatePoetry Societies’ manuscript comp

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Elaine Christensen on darkness

AND I REMEMBER only this a window box with red geraniums overlooking a cobblestone street our room up a dark narrow staircase and you in that ridiculous tub with Paris all around us the Eiffel Tower, the Seine, Notre Dame always your knees scrunched up by your ears in the bright blue tile tub of our attic cranny above the noisy Rue de Vaugirard framed in red blossoms nothing more

Elaine Christensen (1948 -)

Source: At the Edges, published by the Utah State Poetry Society, 1990

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Elaine Christensen on birds, body, dance, god, and laughter

Inside me there is a dancer. Inside this middle-aged body of a housewife there is a dancer. Don't laugh. I have danced with sunflowers in sandy September fields with fruit trees each spring, blossoms in my hair at the lake's edge in winter where tall grass and thin reeds wobble on pointed toes in the wind and in summer with the sea where anyone can find the dancer inside. Don't laugh. Barefoot, arms outstretched, palms raised to the sky, to the birds, to the clouds, to God, who choreographed it all, I danced. I knew every step and the waves stood up and bowed.

Elaine Christensen (1948 -)

Source: I have learned five things, 1995 winner, Nat’l Fed’n StatePoetry Societies’ manuscript comp

Contributed by: Zaady

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