Remembering 2022

This house has
time–
it wanted mountains,
morning songs, shadows,
happy screams.

We are all sailing
another grey sky,
clinging to tattered
margins.  Move, expand–
you can hear the universe–

Sing.  Ask the wind
if the moon cried
when the universe was young.

Laura at dVerse asked us to take the first lines of the first poems we published each month in 2022 and make a new poem. Three of mine were haibuns, so I used the first line of the haiku part. I’ve also included art from some of those posts. If it sounds Oracle-like, several of the poems were from that source. She always bleeds into the rest of my writing as well.

embraced

I decided to do something a little different with Jane’s Random Word List this week–I cut out all the words and combined them with a few from my own collage box oracle on a painted postcard, as I like to do (but haven’t done often enough lately). The image was inspired by Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday prompt, the photo by her friend, Terri Webster Schrandt, below.

gentle
vagabond friend–
the countryside extends
great distances—opens
time to welcome
you home

My Dream About Dogs

The dogs were here first.
You think you own them, but no–
they lead, you follow.

Other dogs, other
people, entangled within
a rocky landscape.

It’s always winter.
You must work hard, struggle
to get anywhere.

Where is it?  You no
longer even think you know–
the pull of the leash.

You’re cold and you need to feel–
breath shortens—leaves misty trail.

Ingrid at dVerse asked us to write a poem inspired by a dream, and Sarah’s W3 prompt asked for a poem of 14 lines or less about dreams.

I remembered these sketches I did of a dog–I think it was from a photo Nina sent me of one of her dogs, but I’m not totally certain–and found them in an old sketchbook from the early 1980s. The collage is from one of Jane’s prompts I did in 2016.

I often dream of dogs–I’ve lived with them, but never owned one. Clearly they have a secure place in my mind.

wingspirit

“Away, come away:
Empty your heart of its mortal dream.”
–W.B. Yeats

I circled around with the Oracle this morning, rearranging the words, paring them down, but ending up with the same message I began with. When looking for images, I thought right away of the birdlings, and these collages I did for one of Jane’s Yeats prompts way back in 2017 seemed to fit perfectly, along with the quote from Yeats.

I’m trying very hard to ignore how our government is selling its soul for the trappings of power. How long until we listen to the universe, and remember who we should be?

to belong to blue
open sky music
into wingspirit

full of soundlight
listen together
with the universe

as every voice
remembers its song
and soars

clarity

what I keep secret
is written on my body
underneath my skin–

what I choose to feel
shows up hidden, as tattoos
blood-inked inside veins

that hostage my heart,
a pounding prison of fear–
frozen, silent, still–

no magic portal
arrives to illuminate
who I am and why–

only the moon sees, the stars–
reflecting me back, alive

For W3 prompt #36, where Muri has asked for a 14 line poem on the subject of poverty.

Between Silences

1
When I was young I painted a woman.
I called her Our Lady of Manhattan
just an ordinary dark-haired mortal, her hand raised
in blessing.  What was she blessing?

2
Motherhood is the basic means by which life continues.
Birth is messy.  Life is messy.
What child is this?  Blood, the darkness before light.
Hold the light.  Hold the shadow too.

3
The sun dies and is reborn inside its own ashes–
I stand on the edge inside the mirror that reflects both ways.
The narrative enters, fills me with all that I will never comprehend–
bones brimmed into silence, mind beset by stars.

4
The shelter of trees, the shield of a raptor’s wing–
the cover of the night sky, the protection of the moon–
it won’t be long before all we have lost will be forgotten,
visiting us only in strange incoherent dreams.

5
They were merely stories superimposed on infinity–
currents traveling through veins beneath transparent skin.
How can you reproduce the alchemy of angels?—
In the beginning, the blood of roses—ever after, the crown of thorns.

My poem Between Silences, a response to the above painting Hymn to the Virgin, by Theodoros Poulakis, was published at The Ekphrastic Review on Friday. I have been thinking about that painting, which I did in the late 1970s, and I went to the storage room to look for it.

I was amazed at how many paintings from that time that I thought were lost were packed away in garbage bags and in boxes. I brought Our Lady back to photo and hang in my office, as she did so many residences ago. One of my projects for 2023 is to go though all that old art and photo it too. Besides the paintings there are about 15 portfolios which I think contain mostly collages, but who knows? I often look at things I did only 5 years ago and have no memory of doing them at all.

My thanks once again to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for her continued support of my work and the interaction of visual art and words.

the turning of the year

I visited the Oracle the last two Saturdays as well, but just printed them out and put them aside. After I printed out today’s message I looked at the other two, and was surprised (although I shouldn’t have been) that they overlapped and repeated themselves.

Because of the word “fiddle”, which always reminds me of Chagall, I looked for the collage I had done long ago for one of Jane’s prompts with a Chagall painting. Although it doesn’t have a fiddle, it has the moon, and fits well with the day, New Year’s Eve.

Here’s the moon yesterday, afternoon over Central Park, and at night out my window.

It’s always a good time make some art with the birdlings.

12/17 the secret between if and why 

behold deeply
listen

the spirit of the wind
follows
a riverpath of everafter

be
who you are inside
always

the ancient wild world
covered
with birdsong and treelight

12/24 windswept

amid oceans
of life born from this
universe–
sailing skies
of color–remembering
how always just is

12/31 the turning of the year

beneath dream fiddles whisper
the cries of shadows–
a blue language of faraway
moonships, swimming through watermusic
that we can almost recall

sing with the wind
and be who you are

all before us

The Oracle made me work a bit today. She did make me think of this little book I’ve been making from a catalog I received in the mail. You can make poetry from anything, even blurbs written to sell you things.

if we
listened as if
we could remember the
voices of angels in
side trees of stars–
what then?

would we
hear the heart of
the universe open
our breath, awakening
the foolchild to
being?

I’m going to be taking a bit of a break until the end of the year as I have piles of things I need to attend to. I’ll try to visit the Oracle as usual though.

December 8, 1980

the flames are warm–
we hold hands
against wrath

what is the context of
the naked soul?
is it pure love?

who invented hate?

Britta at W3 asked for a poem with a date for a title, responding to her poem “the theory of everything”. I composed a shovel poem from this line: warm hands, wrath of soul, love, hate,

My illustration is a Japanese Bunraku puppet representing a demon, but I was also inspired by another of Brendan’s Ekphrastic photos at earthweal, below.

Imagine if someone would just give us some truth…could we all shine on?

Forty-two years. Who do we think we are?

also linking to dVerse OLN hosted by Bjorn