Poem up at the Ekphrastic Review

where does the body lie?

a prisoner of gravity,
it remains forever outside of dreams

unfit for the spiritship,
a vessel of startled complexity–
open, unbounded, secret, extreme

Picture

I wrote the original version (much revised) of the above 42 poem at the same time I wrote my haibun, Unattached, which is published on The Ekphrastic Review today, along with Jane’s lyrical poem, Bronze Dreams, and other varied responses to Frida Kahlo’s painting, The Dream.

My collage is once again based on a tarot card, this the the Four of Swords. Kahlo’s paining reminded me very much of the iconic Rider-Waite card, but my own interpretation drifts in between the card and the painting. I could not find out if Kahlo ever studied tarot, but she was friends with many of the Surrealists, who certainly played with its symbolism. The Four of Swords is a card of restoration and healing, just like Frida’s Dream.

I placed a photo of the interior of an Egyptian sarcophagus in the sky. The figure painted there is the sky goddess Nut, who “spreads out her arms protectively to receive the deceased. (s)He is sheltered by her, is adsorbed into her body, and emerges reborn” (Rose-Marie and Rainer Hagen, “Egypt”).

You can read my poem (and Jane’s) here. My thanks once again to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for supporting my work and the interaction between the visual and written arts.

The Daily Question

And what of this life?

The mind sets itself, darkening,
wandering through a self-contained maze.

But here’s the sun, shining on my face–
melting the brittle brumal pathways
that detour spirit.

In the middle of the afternoon, on a clear day, the sun shines between the buildings across the street right into my windows. The other day just as I took a break and lay down on my couch, savoring the warmth, this version of John Denver’s “Sunshine” came on the radio.

Which of course made me think of George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun”.

Gifts. For this week’s earthweal challenge.

31 xian (Seeking Union)

To open,
join opposites.
Receive what is given.
Let the unexpected pathway
unfold.

This poem was first posted in 2018, inspired by Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above, and I Ching 31, which appeared in the envelope collage I did based on a linear print by Joan Mitchell.

I read many interpretations of this hexagram, and tried to distill what I thought was its essential message.

Shelter encloses, but it opens, too.

For earthweal, open link weekend.

visitations

Once again, the Oracle made me work hard. I did not intend this to accompany the image I did for the Kick-About challenge last week, but I think that, strangely, it works. I’m sure the Oracle is acquainted with the vase-goddess who inspired the collage.

do our secrets listen to the night?

starry-eyed ghosts
opening like sails in wild air

lingering at windows
like haunted skyvoices
wordclouds dancing on oceans of dark

Nine of Wands (after Emily Dickinson)

child of my past, you
have not traveled far enough
to forget troubles

that once stood before you—ones
you could not tell from the ones

that had been left be
hind—sometimes to understand
means to leave, and some

times it requires being held
by what you could not keep—you

can never find all
the pieces to the puzzle
at the same time—but

so much remains—release what
is lost–make ways to be found

Sarah at dVerse asked us to have a conversation with a poem we read in the last year that resonated with us. Last week I was listening to some poems being read on Brain Pickings, and one particular Emily Dickinson poem, read by Patti Smith, stayed in my mind. As I listened to it several times, I wrote down the words that jumped out at me, and started to make my own poem with them. I sometimes do this when listening to poetry, and find that the emotional tone influences what I write, even if the subject I write about turns out to be totally different.

Sarah’s prompt made me return to and revise the poem, and I thought it went well with a collage I just finished too, based on the Tarot Nine of Wands. I love all kinds of cards, and the symbolism of Tarot is especially rich for the kinds of imagery I use in my collages. Nine of Wands is a card of resilience.

You can read Emily Dickinson’s poem #600, I Was Once a Child, and hear Patti Smith reading it, at Brain Pickings, here.

Beggar’s Ride

beggars ride s

What lies beyond up?

Shadows, a winding staircase,
a journey without end.

Clouds traveling unwalled–
a fool’s ship, a beggar’s ride,
a castle in the sky.

A reblog of my response to Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above, from 2018.  I wanted to try one of Jane Dougherty’s “42” poems–I love a question to start a poem–so that’s the form I used here. And it’s a good reminder I should try this form again.

stairs s

I had an idea to combine brush paintings of horses with collage, although this wasn’t what I was thinking when I did the horses.  That’s usually what happens to my ideas…they go off on tangents.

horse s

Continuing this week’s Feast of Fools, inspired by the earthweal challenge.

recognizing the night

angels without bodies
heads with wings
gazing with dismay
upon humanity–

where indeed?
did they come from
will they go?
and who knows

who they are
who we are
and why we are
on opposite sides?

who is this?  who
petitions the heavens
surrounded by sky waves
encased in a floating shell

held by cherubs–
the sun waits
uncertain afraid
while multiple madonnas

hover above
the mission grounds–
what is the mission?
of this line drawn

over and under–
who drew it?
who was first
to deny kinship

to question the connection
between we and they–
is it just a matter
of transposing

the words the sounds?
what prayers must Our Lady
carry past the pleading priests?
over the waves

through the clouds
into the night
where the moon waits
patient and wise

For the earthweal challenge A FEAST OF EARTH FOOLS. Once again, I am uncertain if my answer fulfills the question. But I believe the moon, patroness of lunatics, deserves a seat at earth’s table.

Part of this poem came out of something I wrote about an engraving in the Hispanic Museum celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was an unhappy scene I thought–even the angels looked distressed. The sun appeared to be attempting to hide. Only the three visions of the Lady seemed to hold any real spiritual essence. It was titled “Recognizing the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe”–clearly what was needed was to recognize the night.

Talk Like Shakespeare Today

What fools, what fools, what fools these mortals be
what fools to mimic riches glitter fame
what fools to in those masks refinement see
what fools embraceth folly without shame

Where every likeness hath its own deceit
wherein it looketh match to opposite
pretended twin to answer in repeat
the shoe that forceth toes and heel to fit

With voices like to painted artifice
with jaws that stretcheth into polished teeth
with promises that proveth meaningless
duplicity a smile cached underneath

And will the masquerade yet come undone?
I fear the jester killeth us with fun.

The Earthweal challenge this week is titled A FEAST OF EARTH FOOLS. Brendan has asked us to “Mix your human essence with another living entity”, in the spirit of the ancient seasonal celebrations that invite reversals, chaos, and ghosts into the world in order to transform it.

I’ve often written about fools, and decided to repost some of them this week, while considering how to answer Brendan’s invitation. It’s not a bad idea this time of year to consider the folly of humankind.

This poem was written in April 2016 for Shakespeare’s birthday, and Talk Like Shakespeare Day (yes it really exists).