“Escape” by Linda Whittenberg

Linda Whittenberg


Every once in a while one of the neighbors
comes by, rope in hand, looking for horses
that got out. Predictably, ours go for the hay
in Lisa’s barn.

There are few hazards nearby, so, mostly,
no harm is done, but I did have to replace
a cranky lady’s birdfeeder after Doc
went after the millet.

No halter, no bit, no restraints, unfenced
space to explore, smorgasbord of green delights
to cruise—sometimes we hate to round them up
from enjoying the sweet taste of freedom.

The thing is, we can imagine such freedom 
for ourselves—no bank account to keep filled,
no day-timer, no obligations—only an open gate,
time and space waiting for us.

Who knows, we might go around the world
or at least to Africa or India or take
a coast-to-coast road trip, or go live
on the Cook Islands for a while.

But, I suspect, we’d miss the familiar,
behave like our mule, who,
after he’s shown he can outsmart us if he wants,
enters the open barn door on his own.

from Rattle #45, Fall 2014
Tribute to Poets of Faith


Linda Whittenberg: “I began writing poetry after retirement from Unitarian Universalist parish ministry. I find it has been a natural outlet after years of giving sermons. Now, my practice is to begin each day long before dawn, when, in the quiet, I can reflect and write. Like so many have said, sometimes I don’t know what I think or feel until I write it. The practice of rising early and going directly to my writing desk has produced a large number of poems, enough for the three books I’ve published and for a meditation manual I’m assembling for the Unitarian Universalist Association.” (website)

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