The Turning
 ~ by Jane Yeager

At this time of year my body turns toward beginnings. Even so, my soul prompts me to honor all that has brought me to this moment. I feel the marks of the blessings and trials of being taken to the edge of death and nearly over its threshold. Inner wars, like mine with cancer, engage our bodies: constellate and mingle inner mysteries with outer relationships. Unconsciously, we might hold back from entering the mystery, refusing to step onto that platform where a car or train or bus or dream might sweep us into unknown wonder. “I don’t like this or that,” is the sound of fear bleating for us to be left as we are . . . to become dust under a dying sun. And within that caught breath, stubbornness sends shivers up the spine of doubt, doubling it into terror. That’s when we know we must do the thing we think we cannot do. And suddenly we are more than we thought we were or could be.

The presence of cancer is ever dimmer now and I’m entering the re-fit stage of relationship to my body. The energy will return gradually, I’m sure of that. In the meanwhile, holiday entertaining opens the door to gifting and remembrance, celebration and sorrow. Amid these rituals I am moved to share the poetry of my story. The lines of my poem are like prayers given life by the intonation of sounding words. It is offered in a vulnerable moment to bless and to include all in the journey into which these bones are borne.

I will refit my body this winter. I will honor and cross the desert of my fear; leaving cancer country and opening the door again to a fruitful relationship to the body of life. Now I tend my ancestral roots through the Polish tribal ritual of holiday cooking for friends and family. I must believe in the juices that mark my tongue with the scented taste for adventure even as the turning time breaks me, so to make me whole.


The Turning

Bent by so much sinning

against nature

my back turns now

toward a dark-spreading dawn-

Having sucked dry

the cup of pain

lips tinged with bittern fear

cry out . . .

Hah! What happens when

I try that

or do this?

What happens to me then?

Oh, may I now know

what makes me settle

in the dust,

prodding with rotten stick

the ground

beneath a dying sun?

And though my bones

ache for joy’s touch

they do not bend enough

to break

so they stretch a bit

and move my carcass

so to take

a new adventure on . . .
P. J. Fields (Jane  Yaeger) began sharing  her  poems and paintings  as a toddler. Later  adventures in the  fields of horse training, voice mentoring as well as two dances with cancer and world travels  enrich her work at home and abroad. A full  treatment of  “Turning Time”  and more of her art and writing  lives at