Selected Poems of Peggy Tahir

SFTS Secretary’s Note: The life of the SFTS Lodge has been enriched by many musicians and poets. Here is a sampling from the work of one of our poets, Peggy Tahir. In upcoming SFTS Journal entries, we’ll post some more of Peggy’s poems, as well as selections from some other Lodge poets. We will also be posting, as time goes on, selected minutes of Lodge meetings both recent and from the distant past.

EASTER SUNDAY LEMON CURD

I bring the bag of meyer lemons home.
Nearing Easter, nearing revelations
I decided on angel food. The stones
In the yard gleamed. A quiet summation

Of ingredients: check cupboards and fridge.
A robin sings on the back fence. I leave
To buy eggs and pastry flour. The bridge
Across the river is raised; small boats weave

Through the channel toward the turning basin.
I break eggs using the three-bowl method.
After the whipping and folding, no sins
Emerge. The yolks, the grated zest, the melted

Butter. I stir as the finch sings, and brings
To the maple its twigs and fluff and string.

2002


TILOPA REVISITED

Thought is not a knot.
Imagine nothing if you dare.
Analysis is limited.
Forget the meditative state.
Reflection is an empty mirror.
It’s natural to be.
Don’t abandon, don’t adopt.

2002


BUTOH

What would happen
if you stepped on a snake?
Everything could start at that moment.

Move slowly like ghosts in a dream.
Climb in and out of your skin.
In the background:
flute and chimes
Irregular as sky.

That snake
might have been a stick,
or a shadow.

The dancers move through
atomic mists, each gesture
precise and uncalculated.

What is that load you carry?
Hauling from place to place
ashes of the dead.

Faces white, bodies streaked with soot
Travel blind
become the serpent
the stick or shadow,
Chained to invisible burdens.

The dancers lurch forward
to the front of the stage in a rush,
Their faces the burned flesh of ancestors.

2000


THANKSGIVING 1999

My mind is full of menus.
I read your poems, longing for the un-exotic.
The soup Babette prepared was clear,

A consomme to begin, nothing to clutter the palate.
Birds light on the clothes line.
Wind chimes of shell clatter in the afternoon.

I eat corn chips and think of spicy pumpkin soup.
In the next poem, a radio is playing.
There are at least nine versions of spring.

I could make the lime creme fraiche ahead.
Pepitas are easy enough to find.

A bird eats a snail on the .

I’ll soak wood-chips in wine to flavor the turkey,
Smoke it slowly on the barbeque.
Next a series of dreams:

Drunken dreams, driving dreams,
Running-to-the-sea-shirtless dreams.
A maple glaze for the ham.

There are many birds being named.
Detailed flight patterns.
Numerous clouds.

I’m hoping it won’t rain, not that it matters.
The fire is in the kettle.
Carmelized onion tart a sweet side dish.

You turn toward the ocean, looking for insight
On the low road. Maybe kindness.
And for dessert, clafouti.

1999


From ROSEPETALS FROM MURSHID’S GRAVE

Put stinging nettles in your tea.
This is how the world feels.
Drink and drink
until you are thin and green
and people cannot tell
whether you are human, beast, or wrathful deity.
If you are happy they will wonder
what kind of drug you took.
Offer them some of this tea.

1983


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