A Field Guide to Getting Lost

sue labyrinth s

After “The Owl” by Arthur Sze

I believed I was lost.
Night was on its way–
the path was purple in the dust
and seemed to have ended.
I had arrived here
without a destination.
I longed for sanctuary,
a resting place.

I saw an owl, perched,
watching me.
I spread my arms,
willing wings to appear
so I too could shelter
on a branch.

But I remained earthbound,
weary and alone.
And when the owl stirred,
a fine dust formed patterns
in the disappearing light.
It was as if a portal had opened.

Constellations
fell from its wings.  I was
surrounded by the cosmos,
spiraled into a glowing darkness
and deposited in a held breath.
All was silent then.  And I felt
safe, like the arms of the universe
held me in a vast sacred space.

Nothing stirred forever–then I sensed
the owl quaver.  And at dawn, waking,
I saw with clarity the world
becoming new, transforming
into a landscape that never existed
before now.  The path was green
and meandered back into itself.

I could not see where
I was going but it felt
familiar, like I had circled
with the seasons, following
the path of the planets dancing
with the sun and moon.

We emerged
reborn
into the
May light.

I’m bringing together a lot of different trains of thought here, so bear with me.

in the middle of now june 2016 grid s

The Kick-About challenge #6 is Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost.  Though I have not read that particular Solnit book,  I have read at least one essay she has written about labyrinths (“Journey to the Center” from The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness), and that’s the first thing that came to mind.

A labyrinth is not a maze–there is only one path in and one path out.  Labyrinths have been found in cultures all over the world, and are often used as forms of ritual or pilgrimage–a way to return to the source, to lose yourself in something larger and as a result find yourself again.

Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above, gave me that feeling too–could not those paths be circuits on a labyrinth, doubling back to the beginning of the journey?

mapping the wind s

Labyrinths have been linked to circles, spirals, and mandalas–all patterns of sacred geometry.  They have been compared to a map of the brain.

Solnit:  “Getting lost was not a matter of geography so much as identity, a passionate desire, even an urgent need, to become no one and anyone, to shake off the shackles that remind you who you are, who others think you are.”

map labyrinth s

 

When you walk a labyrinth you are walking the same path to and from the center, yet the journey in and out are not at all the same.  The seven circuit labyrinth is often layered with rainbows, mirroring the 7 chakras, the 7 notes of the musical scale, the 7 sacred planets, the 7 days of the week. The journey creates a bridge from earth to the cosmos and back again. In a symbolic death, you return to the womb, shedding the things you have acquired but no longer need.  Rebirthing back to the entrance/exit you open yourself to finding new patterns, new ways of being in the world.

chakra painted labyrinth s

Lost can mean adrift, forgotten, missing, but also captivated or consumed.  Lost can be hopeless or bewildered but it can also be rapt, immersed.

Solnit: “…to be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery.”

owl moon s

This poem is another instance where I spread out the lines of someone else’s poem and filled in the empty spaces with my own thoughts.  You can read Arthur Sze’s original poem here.

 

Who drinks your tears, who has your wings, who hears your story?
Rebecca Solnit, “The Faraway Nearby”

go make people s

 

sustenance

drawing-constellations-s

sustenance magnetic s

For Colleen’s #tanka tuesday, using a quote supplied by Merril Smith, below, as inspiration.

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.”― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

crazy quilt

I’ve been in a creative funk the past few days, so I consulted the Oracle for some help with my shadorma sequence. And once again, I’m recycling some old art.

what lingers
within the workings
of a life
time    dancing
home by remembering the
rhythms of the stars

roots seeding
trees that grow between
deep earthlight
beholding
to the cycles stitched full through
what shines from the heart

 

 

 

the circle game part 2

circle game 2bs

Times Square is empty, like the weather—grey now, the colors drained like the empty subway cars, residing hidden in tenements, written in the isolation of morning coffee.  The Sunday newspaper remains undelivered (again) as even that thread of connection frays into feral cats in dark corners and the shadows of crows haunting the hometown I never knew.

All of this is imaginary, of course—flora and fauna are absent from this enclosed space, except as chimera, impoverished by the boredom of my own company, the same jeans and shirt waiting to be worn like the trackless days.  No Significant Other to keep me in, and an invisible barrier blocking me from leaving.  Outside my window a graffiti of exclamation points greets me each day behind the passing cars and on clear evenings I say “Goodnight Moon”, remembering bedtimes with small bodies close and sleepy and warm.

But the lines have been drawn, and as Joni reminds me, the seasons still go round and round.  We’re always captive on the carousel of time.

tomorrow
blue skies
growing new wings

circle game 2 close up s

The NaPoWriMo prompt today was “to fill out, in five minutes or less, the following “Almanac Questionnaire.” Then, use your responses as to basis for a poem.”  You can see the questionnaire here.

 

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Murmuration Ghazal (After “Murmuration” by Sarah Kotchian)

murmuration a

Each script pulses as air on thousand wings–
again seen and written in sky cloud wings

Waves of dark starlings shape great turns,
exhale in wonder as distance disappears on wings

We say “scientists”, but we too fly in awe and delight–
can we track and keep our shape without wings?

But others catch the shifts in murmuration as dark–
we watch as neighbors turn so each can safeguard against wings

Flock of bird script maintains starling shape,
appears as never before in waves, then turns on wings

Sometimes the sky keeps one thin light track–
it is written on pulses–seven shifts seen again again again again again again again—wings

murmuration s

Cave Canem posted a prompt in their Week Four Literary Balms that I’ve been thinking about for awhile:

Prompt #11
Take your favorite poem and use it as a word bank to create a new work. It can be a response to the poem, it can be a remix of the poem, it can be made into a prose poem or have couplets, as long as ALL the words are used.
–Contributed by Cave Canem fellow Teri Ellen Cross Davis.

murmuration close up a

This morning I read a poem by Sarah Kotchian in Persimmon Tree that resonated, and I made a list of all the words it contained and then started to write.  The ghazal form seemed to work best–I used some of the words more than once, but all and only the words in a poem.  Just making the list was a revelation, to see the kinds of words she didn’t use, as well as the ones she did.  I highly recommend this as an exercise with a poem or poet you like.

painted starling close up s

Some new and old art, with a poem off prompt for NaPoWriMo Day 24.

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this world and the next

this world s

not the sea
of memory—not
the rising
moon sun star–
not the release of endings
or calculations

that forecast
the turning tides—not
the rhythm
that over
takes the heartbeat—not the
speculations of

dividing
time—not certainty–
only the path
to the far
horizon–vast, unbordered–
on the other side

 

When I saw Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above, I wanted to try to capture it with an idea I’ve been thinking about for awhile.  Of course the time required turned out to be way beyond a week, so once again I’m posting an in-process stitching project.

this world close up s

unexpectations

unexpectations front s

all is dis
order, from concept
to whim—in
side random
patterns I hide the stitches,
untamed by surprise

unexpectations back s

For the dVerse theme of order, hosted by Laura, and Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, where the words are idea and fancy.  I used shadorma, a form I often turn to when I’m not feeling focused.

unexpectations close up s

The art is a work in progress, which illustrates well the way I operate in general.  I liked the scraps of handmade paper I had accumulated, and spent a long time arranging and rearranging them.  I wanted to do some stitching, because I find it soothing, so I just started making running stitch circles.  I have no idea where or when it will finally end.  But when I’m feeling anxious, it’s a good place to go.

Another Thirteen Days

apolcalyptic crow 2s

1
Crow sits
in the back
of my mind,

2
insistent call
searching
for the source.

3
Crow exists as a continuation–
night overlapping with day.

printed geese 2s

4
Dark shapes,
constant motion.
Behind my eyes,
constant motion.

5
I do not know which to prefer,
black branches
or the hint of green,
the waiting
or the surprise.

6
Wings cross the sky
of my isolation,
weaving through wind
rattling the glass,
suspended
between my longing
and the possibility of flight.

There's a crow flying # if I flew

7
Am I rising or setting?
Can light return
me to my rhythms,
or will only darkness come
to fulfill my desires?

8
I send messages
by breathing,
by listening
through the silences
of birds.

9
I mark the edges
with the songs
of memory.

crow #1s

10
The sky reflects
on the questions
that weave my solitude
with songs.

11
I walk the landscapes
of the unseen,
holding the fear
of endings
in the shadows
of glittering eyes.

spiral crows 2s

12
The sun rises above the roof.
Crow calls me to attention.

13
The days remain
undivided,
uncalendared.
Like the blackbird,
unknown.

13 blackbirds s

The NaPoWriMo Day 14 prompt asks for a poem that “deals with the poems, poets, and other people who inspired you to write poems” .  I return often to Wallace Stevens’ poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”.  Every time it opens new doors.  And Joni…

I have done numerous poems and works of art involving crows, and a selection of the art appears amidst the stanzas above.

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this is the place s