Tag Archives: poetry by Sarah Dunster

The Trees in River Country by Sarah Dunster

Maple leaves on grass by Rosendahl

The trees in river country know the wind,
and how to bend  in winter blasts. They hold
snow and take the water. They change color—
as the leaves of maples turn, so too
a sister to her brother.

There are deep roots in a certain field, grown up
on our name past—fed by ashes of Cedar.
What wounds we’ve had will bear true grain,
but you and I will not be felled
by spade or tractor chain.

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To read another LONNOL Month poem by Sarah Dunster, go here.

Spooky by Sarah Dunster

blue eye art

You watched her pass, the woman you
were with while you learned Poetry.
Black hair—she smiled with such grey eyes—
you watched  her pass without goodbyes,
and these hills blind me, golden; fierce
with bristling grass, smoking in the sun:
a cloud kicked up, an offering
to sanctify our suffering.

She lay down for a minute
to allow that one to come. Only
think, while holding him, a child
once held in warmth and now, exiled:
blue eyes, all. And hair like lightning.
That’s us, our full cheeks swelling,
full eyes dripping with questions still,
bellies and hearts and arms to fill.

That’s us. Black hair—she smiled with such
grey eyes. You watched her pass without
heart-ill goodbyes, at least in words.
And summer passed, and autumn turned
to place her in the pines, in heaps
of needles, sharp with what you felt
but did not say. We found her there:
ponderosas, pitch-dark like her hair.

We sang you out one icy night,
with half-shy notes of grief you would
have quickly silenced. We stood there
by your bed and sang the trio, though
you were joking when you asked; how
truly black she was beside you—
Tongue lolling, and that spooky eye
watching even as we said goodbye.

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Sarah Dunster picSarah Dunster is wife to one, mother to seven, and an author of fiction and poetry. Her
poems have appeared on the online LDS poetry blog Wilderness Interface Zone as well as in
Victorian Violet Press, Segullah Magazine, Dialogue: Journal of Mormon Thought, Psaltery
& Lyre and Sunstone Magazine. She has published two novels with Cedar Fort under their
Bonneville Books imprint: the award winning historical fiction novel Lightning Tree, and Mile
21, which is a contemporary fiction/romance novel. When she is not writing Sarah can often
be found cleaning, cooking vegetarian or international meals, holding small people in her lap,
driving kids to soccer and piano lessons, singing in local musical productions with her family
or taking long walks after dark, especially in thunderstorms.

God Filled the Earth with Tigers by Sarah Dunster

From a photo by J. Patrick Fischer3 via Wikimedia Commons Images

God filled the earth with tigers;
men and beasts warring for blood.
He painted them with warning
signs—what scarlet spots! In God
we do not doubt. God filled the

earth with tigers.

The Father blessed his daughters
in the order of His good
Son, that we might all know good
and evil. And still we choose
sore fruit. God filled the earth with

tigers.

The spirit’s rushing waters
cannot stop Missouri silt
from covering the sins of
generations. What are we,
crouching here? God filled the earth

with tigers.

And you. Somehow there were no
stripes to warn. I fell, a thorn,
and you rid your hide of
pain. But, Love, certain death waits,
biding in the long, slow bleed–

God filled the earth with tigers.

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To read more of Sarah’s work on WIZ, go here, here, here, and here.

Image from a photo by J. Patrick Fischer via Wikimedia Commons Images.

In the Night by Sarah Dunster

Snowy ground2 by Kim Hansen via Wikimedia Commons Images

We slumber heavy in the night
so long as hills are bare and white,
and what is real, is pressing. What
can you do but answer. What can
you do but take my jaw in hand
and answer. And what can I, but

know you while night visions press us, hot
in our down blanket. What cannot
be spoken we will speak with night
still resting on us—your air
on me, and my warm shoulder bare
to you—real, real as day is light

until we wake in morning’s cold,
when mountains, rimming in the gold
of cresting sun, can no more be
deferred. What can we do but rise.

That I could stop you with my gaze
as you work your task of leaving me.

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Sarah Dunster is wife to one, mother to seven, and an author of fiction and poetry. Her poems have appeared on Wilderness Interface Zone as well as in Victorian Violet Press, Segullah Magazine, Dialogue: Journal of Mormon Thought, and Sunstone Magazine. Her novel Lightning Tree was released by Cedar fort in April of 2012. When she is not writing, Sarah can often be found cleaning, cooking vegetarian meals, holding small people in her lap, or taking long, risky walks after dark, especially in thunderstorms.

Tangled Women by Sarah Dunster

grapevine tendril by _sjg_

Mother always dreamed of our perfection,
daughters who escaped her careless jumble
with cool minds and clear heads. A strong woman

was (she first thought) in lines of a chi garden
with stones laid straight and raking gravel—
tines in furrows, dug for our perfection.

Then battling with star thistles and watermelons
sprung up from seeds of wars in a tough tumble
of coiling vine, she became the sort of woman

who taught her daughters the raw mysticism
of broken earth while the sting of new soil
stirred us. She demonstrated the perfection

of bulbs thrown, of planting in a pattern
of scatter. With closed eyes, she tossed her handful
in hope that we would all grow to be women

of choice. What renaissance–the perfection
of rebellion in us tangled women.

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For more by Sarah, go here and here.

While Digging Out the Garden by Sarah Dunster

You, but not you.

The earth braces itself against
my first spade full—ground softened by
my salt—unearthing roots  like fingers
spread to sky, claiming a blessing
or, at least, an answer.

You are earth. You. But not
you—we never buried you, and
I never saw your face in death.

I’m alive, yet not alive.

I walk through shadowed valleys and
I find the Tree—not fruited, but felled;
a blackened trunk, with spring sprung up
in a hundred nubile branches—

Me. And you.

The garden must be dug. My young
plants wait on the sill, stretching leggy
stems to reach the light. I turn the
earth. What lies beneath? My spade-tip
scrapes the iron mantle, while I
hang on the wooden handle.

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To read Sarah’s bio and other Spring Poetry Runoff entries, go here and here.

*Competition entry*

Woinshet by Sarah Dunster

Woinshet

Bud of the vine, you came to me.
They named you Woinshet.
Let me see your hand; it is a sweet
soft shadow on mine. You brown ibex, leaping;
your dark eyes will laugh and roll to the side
when a stranger passes,
and your small throat is beating.
A coil, a doodle on my fingertip,
a card of silken fibers standing out on your crown.
You dart away with a quick high skip.
My yearning, and my hand that almost touches–
so close; an inch away, with the promise
of velvet, and the smell of fertile lands
that never lost their families–
They knew your throaty laugh.
Your toes–ten little nubbles–
dug in. You balanced twenty
sticks of firewood on your hip.

Now mine, you run on pavement.
You wear your hair with yellow candy
that clicks with every skip.
You take your weight in water;
water for the vine, my bud. My daughter.

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Sarah Dunster is the  mother of six children, age eight and under. They are adorable, and they bring light to her life, but writing is what keeps her sane.  Poetry has always been the essential way that Sarah connects to her own emotions through writing. In addition to poetry and fiction, Sarah’s hobbies and interests include (but are not limited to), singing, skiing, guitar, piano, environmentalism, psychology, and Toblerone.

For other poems Sarah has published on WIZ, search on her name in the search bar at the bottom of the navigation column on the left-hand side of the screen.

Photo: Emily Dunster, Sarah’s sister, took the above portrait photo of Sarah’s daughter Woinshet to accompany this poem.  Definitely click into the picture for a larger view.