Poetry of Beate Sigriddaughter


samsara, literally: passing through

I am a wanderer in love.
Ten thousand things and more 
at my feet. Perhaps

I am the tarot card fool imagining 
the precipice is just not relevant.

In the east the sun. I always love 
beginnings, the open sudden 
cliffs, look, a monastery, and 
beyond the juniper the town, below 
slick rock ready for lizards 
and the occasional snake.

From up above the town looks 
safe, its circus of distance still 
humming of a long-haired prince,
a silk rope in one hand, a girl 
in the other. I would love to be 
part of all that flying, a trapeze 
of trembling certainty.

The mountain path is safer, 
with no responsibility beyond 
adoring the untrammeled four 
white petals of a fendlerbush, 
or at night Orion, easy 
to find, but soon sinking away 
for summer. He will be present 
still, but invisible, as so much
of great importance often is.

Even on the mountain, surrounded
by excellence, the trouble 
of the city clamors in my heart 
while blossoms recede and lizards 
zip out of the way into comfort 
with swift splendor. Under the radar

the original question, quite childish,
remains: Why

is there war? This world, with so much
beauty. Why all this dishonor, a dreadful 
burden handed down one generation 
to the next?

I spread my arms with hope as flowers 
reappear, steep with attention and cliffs 
at my feet. This life a sacred loan.
I vow to celebrate.


nirvana, literally blown out, extinguished

No, I don't trust this. I have never
trusted this. Yes, yes, of course I crave 
enlightenment like everybody else. 

On the top of the mountain an angel 
(or a lizard, or a ladybug) explained: 
Nirvana means a withering of all, 
especially those pesky desires, until 
none are left, no yearning, no hunger, no 
anxiety, no greed, no wild love,
just self-effacing consent.

And isn't that like suicide? 
I asked, in order to avoid the pain 
of dying, the inevitable loss
of life? I still want to celebrate 
this charm of samsara,
where animals and trees do what needs
to be done, where in the circus of cities 
we conduct our sweet and bizarre 
rituals of hunger, of yearning. 

But long before I could articulate,
the angel or lizard or ladybug left.

I love you, world. Send more angels.
Help me fight the dull and dangerous 
betrayals. Let me not forget again 
the hungry finches, the wandering 
friends, your juniper green, 
the trembling fever of the wind. 

I am in favor of children leaning,
laughing into their future. Samsara,
my love, I am in favor of life. 


How I wanted to play 
with your beauty, study breathlessly
at your feet, drink your wise stories, 
touch the bursting jewels in your dress, 
blue silk with threads of green and gold 
to lace the magic in place. Your name 
is a braid of freedom, spirit, survival, 
flawless peacock feather dreams, 
mother of pearl, all shiny. Your courage, 
your knowledge, one thousand books 
by heart, ten thousand thoughts 
while conjuring up stories to save 
your life and others after you.

I have heard 
how not forgiving is like drinking 
poison, hoping the unforgiven will 
suffer. This always rattles me. I cannot 
forget the bloodshed that preceded you, 
one virgin used per night. The graves, 
where did he discard the bodies? 
I cannot forget this, not even 
wandering alone in moonlit mountains, 
listening to a thousand and one voices 
of the night wind as it weaves 
above your pleasantries.

Perhaps after a while you no longer 
notice. After all you are one in a million, 
the one held up to all of us—if we 
were only smart and sexy like that, 
spreading our legs on exotic sheets, 
or standing by some strident microphone
for some man's pleasure, lights flashing, 
all manner of music playing to advantage, 
using a most operatic voice.

I bless your incense in farewell, your 
bright innocence, your gullible glory, 
your amazing perfume, branded with 
absolution, impressing the enemy until 
the evil melts and hope is almost mandatory. 
Did you save us all or merely raise the bar?

You cannot be my hero anymore. I think
I will miss you. I cannot imagine the cost 
of making nice with the entitled predator 
like that. I cannot imagine the cost 
of not making nice when the cold 
sword is already drawn. 


Foxes have a lot to say
if you listen. One
keeps reminding me how
down in the canyon 
the river flows 
not because it is loved, 
but because it must. 

The mere thought of river
reminds me of course of
those many years ago, how
your eyes, intense from rapids,
changed for me suddenly,
fierce and soft all at once,
like the first jolt of sunlight
piercing the already shimmering
edge of morning. 

Though the river was 
dangerous and gorgeous, I too
was suddenly
important in your world. 

I was already in love when
that moment flooded me forever 
with significance and hunger
for impossible completion. 

I had always imagined love
would look like that.


I want to sing to you, river.
I want to praise you, mountain.
I want to be charming and
lovely. Sometimes I even want
to be a movie star.

But enough about me,
tell me your story.




I wonder if God 
sent us this way
to learn to 


blaming and
being so afraid


Ran by the river praying
to Kuan Yin, Lady of Mercy.
Children spilled down
the frozen hill on colored
slabs and blue plastic
trash can covers
and I prayed and prayed. 

Let me not lose mercy,
Lady of Mercy, Lady
of Love, in my rage
at seeing women, simple,
like myself, dishonored
for wanting to spill
this glittering power
of love, of devotion,
steady, indestructible
like the sun.

I don't know about
three billion years from now.
Maybe love will explode
or implode, or otherwise
And yet, it will keep filling
universes with fractals
of its splendor.

Yet this very love and will
to be devoted to the soul
of a man or a woman,
to the soul of a child, costs us
our freedom, our beauty,
sometimes our strength.

And as I ran, Kuan Yin
sent me my lover's image
for company, how he looked
some thirty years ago, 
long thick brown hair, now
still just as beautiful, 
the hair a bit shorter, 
peppered with thick silver.

We ran side by side.
Kuan Yin showed me how
we belonged together still,
even as he was now
trapped in heavy chains
of male entitlement.

I kept praying for freedom,
strength, endurance.
I am praying still. 


Though I am a swirl
of energy
I am not an illusion.

And as I am 
not an illusion
I am sacred
just like you are. 

Do not mock me. 

Beate Sigriddaughter is poet laureate of Silver City, New Mexico (Land of Enchantment). Her work has received several Pushcart Prize nominations and poetry awards. In 2018 FutureCycle Press will publish her poetry collection Xanthippe and Her Friends and Červená Barva Press will publish her chapbook Dancing in Santa Fe and Other Poems in 2019. Her website: