Of Eden, or: Paradise Lost

Once rampant with color, its fragrance long gone,
the paint has dried into textured lines–
afternoons of melodic stillness now mourned–
decorative traces lost inside frozen time.

The paint has dried into textured lines,
ringed by the noise of questions unasked–
decorative traces lost inside frozen time
bleeding destruction we haven’t yet grasped,

Ringed by the noise of questions unasked
life is tenuous, scattered, emotions removed–
bleeding destruction we haven’t yet grasped,
as over and over we bandage the wounds.

Life is tenuous, scattered, emotions removed,
following roads that only disappear–
over and over we bandage the wounds–
the darkness rises, overwhelming with fear.

Following roads that only disappear,
like the garden once bursting with growth—
the darkness rises, overwhelming with fear–
sky is silent, empty, brittle as bones

We lived in a garden bursting with growth,
afternoons of melodic stillness, now mourned–
sky is silent now, empty, brittle as bones–
once rampant with color, its fragrance long gone.

I love pantoums, but I usually don’t rhyme them, so this proved challenging to me. It still could use some revision, but I need to let it sit for awhile. Punam asked for a pantoum on the theme of abandonment for her W3 prompt this week. I had also been thinking about Sherry’s prompt at earthweal, asking us to write about all the species vanishing around us. And Colleen’s prompt for Tanka Tuesday, a painting by Monet (below), had me thinking about what we’ve lost since Monet painted all his overflowing gardens at Giverny. Will we one day only know such beauty as a digital image?

I also started out with a lot of words from this week’s Random Word Generator, but some of them dropped out during revisions.

keeping time

My message today from the Oracle. I’ve been thinking a lot about time. It gets more confusing every day.

each moment is filled
with more asking

if never comes,
will we find out
where we belong?

in dreams
spirit dances between
language and music–
stars growing wings
inside your heart

The Oracle also seems attuned to the collage book I’ve been working on lately.

five ways of looking at hawk

1
on hawkwings return
me to the timeless before–
climbing windswept paths

2
currents ride
wings that touch both here
and yonder

3
rootpaths follow earth–
wings listen to ancient moons–
blue rivers of night

4
perched in place,
sharply focused, air
paused, waiting

5
stillness of being–
feathers answering the wind–
open, becoming

Brendan supplied some images this week at earthweal to inspire ekphrastic poems. I chose to work with hawk, above.

Bewilderment

I am floating face down in a horizonless body of water.  My eyes are open; I seem to be balanced in the center of a giant labyrinthine sphere.  Like an octopus, or a circular net with ends stretching down, down, beyond all comprehension.  Somehow I can breathe.

All the rootpaths below me are in constant motion.  I dive between, in the unfixed spaces that surround them.  I sense that they are hollow, that they lead somewhere, but I can’t locate the wormhole.  The orb turns, whorling, gathering me into its patterned dance.

I am nowhere in space in time.  I sit thousands of feet above the sea, star-covered, as I swim inside the ocean’s womb.  I don’t understand how to locate myself, how to divide the illusions until they reach zero.  The still point of what is and is not.  There.  Here?  Both.  And…

Merril provided this quote from May Sarton this week for dVerse prosery: “In space in time I sit thousands of feet above the sea” But as she pointed out, my prose is too much like poetry to really be prosery. I had a couple requests to leave the post up anyway, so I decided to put it back up.

sun moon earth

Laura at dVerse provided lists of word-threesomes to choose from to write a sequence of three poems. Sun, moon, earth jumped out at me and the Oracle seemed the right place to go to construct verse using those three words.

1
ask the sun
if dusk feels as full
as the dawn

2
ask the moon
if dark is as deep
as always

3
ask the earth
if between grows roots
with seedsong

embodied

a misted bridge forms
across the water–
our voices dance
as if they were winged

across the water
we float airborne
touching the sky

our voices dance
uncontained
scattering the light

as if we were winged
needing no reason
playing with life itself

For dVerse, where Lisa asks us to play. Also inspired by the photo, above, by Terri Webster Schrandt, provided by Colleen for this week’s Tanka Tuesday. I’ve written another trimeric poem.

Soundscape

Of course I always notice the birds.

I’m waiting for the robins to begin my morning–the cardinal, the flicker, the mockingbird.  Then I will be certain spring has arrived.  But the crows are back, as opinionated as always, and the crowds of blue jays and sparrows never left.  A mourning dove croons from a nearby roof outside my kitchen window as the sun rises.

I habitually tune out the sirens, garbage trucks, helicopters, low-flying planes, motorcycles, cars and buses, construction—all the normal background noise of city living.

But the air itself has gotten louder lately.  Sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night I can barely hear myself think over its whisper-hum.  My head is completely emptied of dreams; I am conscious only of my body in bed, surrounded by a constant movement murmuring in my ears.

Daylight does not mute the stormy sounds that show up suddenly and randomly, demanding attention, interrupting thought.  The nonstop intersection of voices, layered in a language I don’t understand, drowns out all other discourse.

It reminds me of the ocean–unbroken, all-encompassing, alive.  A presence much larger than my own.  To be inside of it is perhaps all the translation, the guidance, that is necessary.

on the street dogs bark–
the sky darkens—lights turn on–
I breathe in, then out

I’m a little late with Sherry’s prompt from last week at earthweal of Soundscapes–I’m squeezing it in at the last minute for the weekend open link. I’ve also used some of this week’s random word generator oracle words, which you can find here.

All art is from the archives.

extended

Even though paint, tint and grey do not exist in the Oracle tiles, those were words that I kept seeing this morning. After I figured out how to make them, the rest of the words fell into place.

When I was looking for art, I came across the above drawing, misfiled among some old collages. It seemed just right, and I went looking for the right folder, which contains a series of landscapes I did inspired by some landscapes I had seen by Georg Baselitz, which had black lines and spare use of color. The one above is colored pencil on an ink marker drawing I did as one of my original black and white ideas. That uncolored drawing is below.

Later on I painted the landscape without black lines, in gouache (the top landscape). I thought this sequence, backwards, contained the feeling in the Oracle’s words today.

the black-tinted shadow
of sleep
paints an ache
swimming through the whisper
of stilled sunlight

a grey language lies
beneath the early sky

as a raw mist plays
with the bare bones of time
you say less and less

WORLD LEADERS DECLARE AN END TO WAR

Armies To Be Disbanded, All Weapons Destroyed

Yesterday the earth’s nations signed an agreement to end armed conflict between any and all of its peoples.  There was dancing in the streets as all over the world people joined hands in unity and sang about love trains and peace trains and harmony echoing through the land and into every human heart.

Handmade signs spoke in multiple languages waving above the crowds:  “People Have The Power!”, “I Ain’t Marchin’ Anymore”, “War Is Not The Answer”, “We Are All Human”, “Nothing Funny Bout Peace!”, “Study War No More”, “Get Together”, “We CAN Change the World!”, and the simple and ubiquitous “Imagine”.

The assembly spoke in a single voice as the papers were signed:  Amen.

Selma’s W3 Prompt this week was to “Write a ‘prose poem’ in the form of a news article you wish would come out tomorrow”. Yoko Ono took out ads in the NY Times on John’s birthday for a number of years promoting an end to war, and a few years ago when I was doing my “headline haiku” series on altered pages from the newspaper I used some of them for my art. So it seemed a natural subject to choose for my news story.

…with thanks for words of inspiration to Martha and the Vandellas, The O’Jays, Cat Stevens, Nanci Griffith, Patti Smith, Phil Ochs, Marvin Gaye, Anti-Flag, Nick Lowe, Pete Seeger, The Youngbloods, Crosby Stills and Nash, and John Lennon