Promise of the Elements by Mylo Schaaf

Promise of the Elements

Promise of the Elements

for all who mourn

by Mylo Schaaf

And when you cry,
I will find you.
When you’re breaking or empty,
and you can’t speak,
lean your head back.
Feel my silver fingers
loosed from above,
to wash free your fears.

Or call to me
when I climb on a northern wind,
or when I dive like a seabird, uncaged.
Always I will come by summer’s end,
a cloud of plush,
thick on meadow grass,
to quiet you with a blanket.

Or when someday
the white, gray, and black
shiver and dissolve,
I will make you warm.
I will return with unwalked sand,
with streaming, jubilee sky,
with a ribbon of pelicans
that skim the waves like kites.

May these offerings open you
like a diamond knife,
open again alight.


Mylo Schaaf trained as a journalist, editor, and physician before taking a left turn into poetry. Before everything changed, she was teaching at the University of California, San Francisco, working with students in international, low-resource settings. Then one day, she received a horrific phone call, revealing the loss of her 24-year-old son, a mountaineer/peace-and-conflict scholar/veteran. Poems demanded to be written. They brought healing, as did warm, grassy hills, tree spirits, and arms of sky.

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