Selected Poems from The Light of Invisible Bodies

by Jeanne Lohmann


Jeanne Lohmann

Properties of Light


A field of light, and my need to say

that it exists.  Each morning I walk here

almost blinded by water the sun shines on,

look down from Strawberry Hill

across the roofs of the dazzling city

emerging out of fog, a haze of light

over and around the houses, giving

everything a quality for which luminous

is the only word.  My need to see such light

holding and sliding off the eucalyptus trunks,

their ragged bark. To be exposed to the wet grasses

shaking and splintering that light, to recognize

nasturtium leaves for the bright green mirrors

they are, the red, orange and yellow fires

inextinguishable, spreading up the hill.


Limestone and granite give back radiance, and we

walkers in this field lift our feet and set out,

moving through our once and only mornings,

afternoons.  Light searches the surfaces of all things,

and what if there were no mirrors in the world, what if

the brass lock on the door did not say no, the windows

did not let the light come through?  What if light

did not find itself renewable?  As my necessity

for these words, mirrors I carry into the sun

of this blazing day, this dance, this carnival

where I am given access to another world,

to the spirits who walk with me

pointing out the properties of light. 


What the Day Gives


Suddenly, sun. Over my shoulder

in the middle of gray November

what I hoped to do comes back,



Across the street the fiery trees

hold onto their leaves,

red and gold in the final months

of this unfinished year,

they offer blazing riddles.


In the frozen fields of my life

there are no shortcuts to spring,

but stories of great birds in migration

carrying small ones on their backs,

predators flying next to warblers

they would, in a different season, eat.


Stunned by the astonishing mix in this uneasy world

that plunges in a single day from despair

to hope and back again, I commend my life

to Ruskin’s most difficult duty of delight,

and to that most beautiful form of courage,

to be happy.

jeanne lohmann


Jeanne Lohmann

Jeanne Lohmann is a Quaker poet who has published over ten volumes of poetry and has been featured in numerous literary magazines and anthologies. A poetry trail named for her is a dedicated part of Hypatia-in-the-Woods Center for Women in the Arts in Shelton, WA. In her nineties, Jeanne lives and writes in Olympia, WA, where she is an active mentor in the poetry community.