Finishing Well

Gina Marselle

Gina Marselle | January 21, 2022

“My face carries all of my memories. Why would I erase them?”
by fashion designer, Diane Von Furstenberg

Mother Earth rotates endlessly
like Time has hours to spare.
The sun’s rays effortlessly shine
as seasons beautify for change.

One year turns to many
as our children grow. Echoes of laughter
race down the hall. Dust settles and ivory paint
fades amber, yet our home is still warm.

Autumn gathers brilliant leaves, as tail-wagging dogs crash through
scattering mountain-high piles into disarray.
Once, we made leaf angels alongside a path lined with ancient cottonwoods.
Bright yellow leaves rained down on us in slow motion–one leaf at a time.

Aging isn’t about growing old, it’s about finishing well–
with joy and little regret.
Embrace all that has
shaped who we are.

Listen. Time beats like heartache and love.
It’s sweet smelling like apple pie.
Then one day, lines etch your face, and you’re finally an enlightened woman
sitting atop the Sandia Mountains sharing aphorisms about growing wise.

Reading of Finishing Well by Gina Marselle

Until the Sun and Stars Meet in Glory

Note: please listen to the poem here: https://soundcloud.com/gina-marselle/glory/s-RBmKOssZVEB

I.

There was a time before I loved horses.
I was so little then,
I probably had a made up name for horse.
By the time I was 7 or 8, that is all I talked about.
Soon, my soul transformed into a horse.
I had a best friend horse, a soulmate before I turned 10.
Santa brought her, and we were inseparable for 16 years. 
Her hoofbeats summoned my dreams,
we galloped into a love not of this earth.
Ancient like the desert sands.
Horses became a mantra for breath.
Then, I only dreamed for 20 some years.

Now, a daughter raised, a son who is 9,
I have this rescue horse that
isn’t a dream, he breathes fire
into my heart.
He’s desert bound with the clear, blue sky as his kingdom. 

II.

This afternoon, I felt most lost to myself.
When I get like this, when my anxiety is about to break me,
I drive to Edgewood. As soon as I pull into the stable, 
I see the horses.
When I close my car door, I can already hear my horse
nickering his greeting. Shaking his head. Trotting in his paddock.
His tail raised high telling everyone that he is an Arabian horse.

The color of midnight. 
His nicker makes his body quiver. His hello is for me—or for carrots.
Today, he gets a giant Honeycrisp apple
and leftover, bruised pears my son didn’t eat during the week.

III.

I try to remember life is lovely. Days are blessings. 
On days that I forget, 
I take a drive to Edgewood.
to find that little girl I use to be.
She was brave, courageous. She had a loud laugh. 
She rode bareback and galloped over the hillsides. 
I don’t ride my rescue horse. 
I don’t have that courage anymore.  
Instead, I dream we are running wild across the desert landscape. 
We are one as we chase the wind, leaving plumes of dust 
in our wake. The sun sits warm on our backs. 
My mother died last September. I have been a little lost. 
My husband moved out last October. 
I became a little more lost. 
COVID-19 never left. I became a little more lost. 
My horse doesn’t understand his job, 
but his therapy keeps my heart beating. 
In my dreams, we gallop until the suns and stars meet in glory. 

IV. 

This says to the world more than any poem, 
that I am before all else a lover of horses.
In my soul, my bloodstream. My very heart beat. 
Fascinating is that a human heart and a horse’s heart 
can begin to synchronize within 35 feet of each other. 
The only thing closer, I think, 
is when the mother is pregnant with her child. 
God knew before I was born, 
that my spirit belonged to the horse. 
My mother loved horses. 
My mother’s mother loved horses. 
I love horses. 
I'm a protector of them. 

V. 

I believe this love will be the last memory of mine,
as my final breath leaves my body. 
I hope that as I enter into the next light, I am granted 
a steed to ride the stars wildly and happily. 
If a shooting star you see, call me Joy as my hands
merge into one with the fire mane of my horse’s light. 
My laugh will be loud. My smile wide. 
I will send light. 
And my loved ones will know joy. 

© Gina Marselle, January 8, 2022

Note: This poem was inspired by a writing prompt shared by Liza Wolf Frances (https://saturdays-sirens.com/liza-wolff-francis/). We read a poem by Lisa Fay Coutley called: Letter to the Aftermath. We created a word bank to use in a poem we wrote. My word bank from Coutley’s poem was as follows: heart shape, fall, leaves, 73 °, sunny, plumes of white clouds, desert, mountain, chickens, dirt, son, leaves, tomatoes, horse snort, sun and stars, warm air, peaches, bruised pears, apples and dust. To learn more about the poet, visit here: https://lisafaycoutley.com/poems/.  
Self Portrait (Inside Horse’s Eye) with My Rescue Horse, Rafiq | Gina Marselle | Taken 12/30/2020

LOTS OF LOVE OUT

LOTS OF LOVE OUT

Do you need strength in this moment?
Have you forgotten to love self?
To feel loving kindness?
Are you wandering from room to room?
Or sitting numb on your couch?
Are you cleaning the kitchen, again?
The bathroom, again?
Scrubbing boredom away.
Empty hours stack up—minutes turn into days.
Time is endless.
The only excitement is groceries being delivered
and finally, they had in stock a beautiful, organic tomato.

A prayer of thanks.

In the garden, your seeds just begin.
You pull weeds so seeds have room to grow.
The sun shines today.
The dog carries his ball in his mouth,
his tongue out the side panting.
The birds sing,
a Cooper Hawk flies from tree to tree
building nest.

It is the little things

that bring breath
and calm. Lilacs bloom.
You give some to your daughter
so she can place on her nightstand.
You make her blueberry banana muffins with crumble on top,
plain banana muffins for son.
After a shower and clean hair, the night settles.
Your prayers and wishes
for connection settle the soul.
It is not in others, but in self that prayers are answered

in the little things—

all tremendous blessings hidden in sweet
breaths. Inhale, exhale.
Big breaths in. Lots of love out—
sleep brings peace and tomorrow is a new day.

© Gina Marselle, 2020

Red Is the Color of Breath

 

Red is the color of breath.

Splendid since colors named,

endless as time.

It symbolizes everything

about the past, present and future.

It follows extremes.

It sways in the moonlit breeze.

Flits like a feather toward the Rio—

graceful on the current.

Swaying with the evening stars and winter clouds.

Red covers cold air with warmth.

Passion.

Fire.

Love,

always love.

Red holds sacredness,

places it on heart

strings.

Guitar

plays

one,

quiet note at a time—

like Maria sings

to the children

in Sound of Music

high up where snow blankets mountain tops

like ocean whitecaps.

This is no rescue.

No mediation.

Sand is old.

It knows more stories than

our Sandia and Rio combined.

It mixes with blood of life

with Passion of Christ

from dust to dust.

Red is the color of breath.

It flits south hungrily now on the moonlight

like a rabbit baits coyote, as a red tail hawk hunts.

Winter is ending, an unremarkable taciturn,

an endless blackness—

waiting for spring to release winter

to release depressed thoughts—

anything the mind packed.

Now, Red, flits over the mesa

to the peak of the Sandia’s.

Calls out to black bear—

soft and gentle,

an unhurried request

to release spring.

In its journey finding ways to heal,

Red plunges into sun,

as red tail hawk dives for mouse.

Brilliance born

admiration, worship.

Gratitude as Sun

gives breath to morning sky.

There are no answers—

only forgiveness.

Faith.

Hope.

Love,

always love.

Red mediates in this blessed silence honoring

life as Earth wakes. Soon, Red blends

into all colors so others may revere.

©Gina Marselle, 2020

Self portrait of the poet.

 

Sunbeams

Sunbeams break empty
waves undulate into a withered desert
there is one butterfly on a 24 hour adventure
a raven, a rabbit, and a coyote–
all minding their own business
a bee searches for one purple flower
for shade and pollen

the red sun is angry, anxious
heart scorched black   
her resentment explodes into 107 degree days
cacti sweat like silent sentinels

the mountain tries to console her
let her know she is not abandoned
perhaps the universe turned its back upon her
but the stars reach to hold her
she’s not appeased 
alas, her rays

still rise in the East
and set in the West
she reflects,

4.603 billion years is a long time to be alone

© Gina Marselle, 2020

A sunbeam.  

Image by Gina Marselle

April 4, 2020

In a moment of despair, there is always a ray of hope.

Image by Gina Marselle

April 4, 2020