sabbatical

It seems like every day I read a new article about the need for a sabbatical from technology and the fast pace of the world. Those slow pandemic days are fading fast.

Some people talk about a secular Sabbath, some want to revive the religious one. Some people propose not only ditching technology for 24 hours each week, but creating new shared rituals and places for community during those times. Some talk about just taking a day to go and sit with the trees, to experience the world at their pace. I wonder how many of us could actually slow down and withdraw from our devices enough to actually spend a day that way.

And all of these ideas are a hard sell in a capitalist world.

the water reflects
the world through the trees dappled
sky moving over
rocks and feet planted
like hushed reeds waiting to sing
the songs of quiet movement
and transforming light

This drawing is part of my attempt to try different things in my art journal. Many artists write on their pages as well as draw. The image is based on an advertisement photo–I removed the models and the product (I can’t remember now what it was) and wrote spontaneously about the landscape. Whatever they were selling, I wasn’t buying. But I always notice trees.

let life move
while you rest outside
and listen

For earthweal, Interdependence Day.

shadowsong

that song that your words called
into my mind, that song is like
a lost world, just images
in fragments, suspended like
a raincloud without rain,
a weight that refuses
 to dissipate–I can almost
feel the memory but it won’t
land, it keeps circling
through the things that aren’t
quite there–like a bird
call I can’t locate, disembodied
wings hovering invisible
inside my head

I realized immediately that I had seen Lotte Reiniger’s work before when I clicked on the link from the Kick-About prompt. It did not surprise me to hear her say, “I could cut out silhouettes almost as soon as I could manage to hold a pair of scissors.” Her work is, yes, “astonishing”.

Fairytale silhouettes by Lotte Reiniger - Beauty will save ...

Me? I never had that dexterity, not even when young. I also don’t work in film, which was Reiniger’s medium. So how to respond to this prompt?

I was going to work with simple bird silhouettes, but was unhappy with the ones I made myself. Once again, I had constructed a 3-D collage environment with cardboard pieces inside a paper bag. I decided to use photos of bird silhouettes, and hang them from strings at the top so they would move.

I used circles to enclose the bird forms so I could put different photos on each side–the images would change when the dangling circles turned.

Using the ceiling fan to create more movement, I began to take photos.

You can read more about Lotte Reiniger here, and see her extensive filmography here,

Dreaming is Free (Reprise)

I recently took the collage above out of the storage room and hung it in my new apartment. It’s based on a painting, Freedom, by Ilya Repin, that Jane Dougherty used back when she was doing writing prompts, and that both she and Merril have returned to numerous times. I liked it so much I did two collages based on it.

1024px-ilya_repin-what_freedom

I didn’t start out with this idea at all, but as soon as the Oracle pointed to ferocious dancing in the wordlist the entire poem began to reference Repin’s painting. It’s a wonderful painting, full of beautiful messages.

I’m quite sure she isn’t finished sending me back to it either.

dance-of-fate-s

laughter’s breath
kisses like star-sky

here is a rhythm
to embrace

ask the ocean
for the secrets of sailing
airborn

surrounded by voices
that dazzle open magic
windows of ferocious dancing
into a universe
without time

You can see the original posts for each of my above collages here and here.

shadorma/liala

the landscape
pauses, quiescent–
waiting on
the edge of
movement—no time passes here–
framed in memories

Colleen’s #TankaTuesday prompt this week was an interesting one–

  • First, choose your favorite syllabic poetry form. Write your poem.
  • Next, give your poem some different characteristics to make it something different. You can change the syllable count, rhyme scheme (add or get rid of it), anything you want to create a new form. Write this poem.
  • Give your new syllabic poetry form a name.

I chose shadorma. How to change it? I had noticed before that all the lines had odd numbers of syllables, so I added one syllable to each line, to make them all even.

landscape pauses,
quiescent, waiting on
movement’s edge—no
time passes here–
a stilled photograph of silence–
time framed in memories

Thinking of a name was difficult. Shadorma seems to be totally made up, although several people noted the similarity to the word shadow. So I decided to pick a name with a beginning from light. I ended up with Liala, because I like the sound of it and the repetition of the a ending. It’s evidently a girls’ name but I could find no meaning for it.

There is a subtle difference between the odd and even syllabled poems, but I’m not sure which one I like best.

The photos are cropped versions of panoramas composed by my older daughter from photos she took in the mountains of Arizona where my father requested that we spread his ashes. My mother did not make any request except to be cremated, but we managed to find the very same place to spread her ashes years later after her death.

eating the heart out

The streets are quiet,
eerie, the walls blank.
I remain inside.

My windows are noisy
with things I can’t see.
I rarely reply to them
because the response flies
away on the wind,
storm tossed and clouded,
darkened by rain
and the fading light.

What would I say
to the ghosts
of the children?–
the ones not
on the playground not
on the streets no
longer living
in an apartment, a house,
a country, a land–
the ones no one can
find anywhere?

How to say the word
death
and to also shield them
from its consequences.
How to explain
why and how
we have come to be

living in this uncertain
tangle of lies
ignorance violence–
a place full
of humans unable
to even acknowledge
or to bridge
the rising waters.

The ones who
would rather drown
than make amends.

Sherry at earthweal has reminded us of all the grief consuming the world, and asks us to write about it. I wrote a version of this poem first in the midst of New York’s early pandemic. I’ve revised it a bit, but the ghosts of the children have not gone away.

raw night

The moon in her current path shines across my bed at about 2 am. She makes sure I acknowledge her gift.

And of course the moon and the Oracle are old friends…

beneath the shadow
of my dream
language sleeps
in a forest of wind

the moon sings me
into its lightship
soaring on mad tongues
without a whisper of why

(con)verged

the tear
in the chronology
gets larger and frays
into an edgeless rift–
it weighs nothing
this breathing out
this feather
that has lost its wing

we follow the circle
around the burning bush
the light too intense
to hold our gaze—
who is this transparent
being that takes hands
 and pulls them into patterns
made whole by what lies

beyond envisioning–
we blur like dervishes
tangled in life’s netting
until our falling and rising
are indistinguishable
until the center is outside
any definition of ourselves
until the hidden reveals

the opening in our eyes–
every nerve becomes
a soundless song
a complete chord
that pauses in nexus–
source proof reason
meaningless irreversible
stilled

For earthweal A Midsummer Night’s Dreamtime.

and linking to dVerse OLN hosted by Bjorn

Ocular

I am still waiting for clarity–
sometimes I think about
the things I can’t see
and I wonder how
to place them inside my mind–

Out of the dark and still
I am dreaming of colors
liquid currents of sound
moving in all directions
between the gaps–

Do our visions swim
cataracted with refractions–
flooding the invisible
barriers of the portals
into our eyes?

As I told Phil, this week’s Kick-About prompt, fundus photography, was made for my watercolor mandalas. First, photographing the inner eye naturally makes for roundness, and the liquid state calls for watercolor to represent it.

I did 4 watercolors and embroidered on 2 of them. If I exaggerated the colors a bit, well, my eye often does the same.