I see you superimposed on the landscape, melting in to the shadows of buildings, sidewalks, trunks of trees–
woodfern sweetpepper bush cherry maple oak panicgrass fleabane hornbeam chestnut marsh blue violet–
I float on streams to the river– pickerel perch otter duck– climb paths up forested hills– bear fox rabbit deer–
My Lady of Mannahatta– swallowtail buckeye spring azure monarch–you gather me windwhispering
on hawkwings– full green animate, this island— return me to the timeless before, when land was shared, not owned
Welikia means “my good home” in the Lenape language. The Lenape tribe were the original inhabitants of Manhattan and the surrounding lands. Their main village was where Yonkers is now; they had temporary structures on the island of Mannahatta for use in hunting, fishing, and gathering.
The Welikia Project is an interactive map of New York City, where you can find out about the biodiversity and landscape of the island in 1609, before it was developed by Europeans. The idea that the Dutch “bought” the island was not one shared by the native peoples they then forced to leave the land.
Today, the NaPoWriMo prompt is “to write a poem that recounts a dream or vision, and in which a woman appears who represents or reflects the area in which you live.”
when you leave yourself behind, where do you go?– clouds a shimmering path
blue like a robin’s egg– this liquid sky, darkening into shadow– when you leave yourself behind
does the mirror look back like a lake regarding the sky? where do you go?
do fish see themselves in the stars? do birds ride feathered waves?– clouds a shimmering path
The prompt for NaPoWriMo today was to write a poem that uses repetition. That prompt was made for me. I had been working on and off all week for a poem for Sherry’s prompt at earthweal, to write from that place of holding onto wildness of soul. I thought that today, Earth Day, would be the time to post it.
So I took my ideas and made a cascade, but there were ideas left over, so I did a pantoum too. You can never have too much repetition in my poetry world.
when you leave yourself behind (clouds a shimmering path) where do you go?– windsong the surface
clouds a shimmering path, the lake regarding the sky– windsong the surface displaced by light
the lake regarding the sky– as it hues the reflection displaced by light, does the mirror look back?
as the earth hues reflection, do fish see themselves in the stars? does the mirror look back when birds ride feathered waves?
do fish see themselves in the stars on the remnants of moontides? when birds ride feathered waves, do they flow into calligraphy?
on the remnants of moontides, where do you go? will you flow like calligraphy, leave yourself behind?
You think me a delicacy, braised and grilled with tangy sauce– raw, prepared as sushi– in a salad perhaps, tossed. You think my senses merely serve to aid in my survival– that my existence is secondary to what you deserve– a special meal without rival. And what of my disappearance?
My body is all potential, alien to your bones– my way of life, untranslatable as words or thought alone. I study you, your habits, both curious and sly– resisting my captivity, escaping from your limits– forcing you to abide with me if me you wish to study.
I am my own canvas, I paint colors with light and disguise– my form always in flux, I create patterns of magic, surprise. Once we were one, at home in the sea, the waters of birth– since opened by history, cleaved– now you claim land as your own, along with all creatures of earth– disenchanted inside your vast greed.
When I saw the NaPoWriMo prompt this morning, to write a poem that anthropomorphizes a kind of food, the first thing that came to mind was how I could never eat octopus again after reading Peter Godfrey Smith’s book about them, Other Minds. These paintings are from a previous post where I also used the voice of a cephalopod, though not from the point of view of being eaten.
I promised Muri I would attempt an Ode–just as difficult as I expected. And this one needs work. But the octopus is more than worthy as a subject for one
When you stand beside the ocean resonating with each wave, Shimmering beside the ocean ebbing flowing with each wave, It’s as if you’re moving with it spiraling and uncontained.
When the moon shines in your window and it wakes you with its light, Near full moon shines in your window wakes you up with silver light, Even shadows turn to magic and everything’s all right.
When the birds begin the morning fill the air up with their song, Robin cardinal and blue jay sing the sun up with their song, Even grey days seem to open make you feel like you belong.
If someone should think about you get in touch just say hello, An old friend is thinking of you gets in touch to let you know, All your worries are forgotten all those things that brought you low.
Then your mind distills and empties leaving room for what you’re not, All those thoughts retreat get quiet now there’s room for what you’re not, You can hear life’s heartbeat whisper you give thanks for what you’ve got.
For NaPoWriMo Day 18 where the prompt is to to write your own poem that provides five answers to the same question – without ever specifically identifying the question that is being answered. and Muri’s April Scavenger Hunt where one of the prompts is to write a blues poem.
and could I be mistaken for a bird?– whirled inside an everchanging sky, suspended ocean-bound in waves of air and carried clear, aloft, bestirred– a vast and overwhelming need to fly above the trees, beyond and anywhere
like rainbows cast unanchored toward the ground my thoughts unravel, specters drawn and spare– I try to hold my occult gravity, but find the words, my wings, have disappeared without a sound
…and so it begins with essence—unmeasured, all-seeing, untranslatable, present.
What is really there–here? Everywhere. It gathers nowhere, takes all in. Releases the vast emptiness of center. Unpredictable but never random. Jumping through and crossing over. Falling down down down into the other side of what was never, into the opposite of what is.
Only the light. The compass that points in all directions, overlapping and then merging into pure vibration. A conduit of currents, waves with wings, voices without identifiable form or name. Pinpoints glittering against the darkness, floating on the gasp of final breaths, forever on the verge.
Belonging neither to man nor to god nor to anything in between.
Immersed in song.
This prose poem is a revision of a revision of a revision (no doubt to be continued). The art, on the other hand, was an experiment that exceeded my expectations. And so it goes.
For NaPoWriMo Day 15, on the eve of the full moon, where the prompt is to “write a poem about something you have absolutely no interest in”. To put it plainly,
I have no interest in writing a poem about something I have no interest in
But I’m enjoying reading the rants of my fellow poets on the subject.