How can we learn to sing when we have no voice?

The shifting mirrors contain contradictory and ethereal messages, as if hidden in the center of a missing source of light.  Where are the currents located?  The rays seems to come from an absolute stillness embedded in the fraying edges of circles that no longer move.

Once we were seekers, following the contours of the channels that held rivers and oceans, sailing the shorelines, harvesting in abundance the rewards of departure followed by return.

Now we have only illusions sinking into the periphery of fading dreams, scattered like the ancient remnants of empyrean spirals, the movements of mythical stars, the mysteries of a consciousness that once made its home inside a biological form.

bare silence–
human remains lost,
fossilized

Off prompt for NaPoWriMo Day 29. I wanted to do something for this Redon collage.

The world remains heavy.

Yea, we all could use a little mercy now
I know we don’t deserve it
But we need it anyhow
We hang in the balance
Dangle ‘tween hell and hallowed ground
Every single one of us could use some mercy now
–Mary Gauthier

Also linking to dVerse OLN, hosted by Grace.

Beyond All Knowing

They wished to be passengers on a river of stars,
but the road they followed fell below the horizon,

a road that insisted on following darker paths.
Suddenly they found themselves accompanied by wolves.

The wolves ran through an expanding tunnel–
its walls were spattered with the past,

a past too scattered to contain or understand.
No door appeared within, no window,

no exit from the accumulations of bad intent,
the gods and humans that demanded obedience.

The wolves made no demands, but extended an invitation
to join them as they became transparent—

to join them in sheering the mind’s self-imposed limits.
They wished to be passengers on a river of stars.

A duplex sonnet for NaPoWriMo Day 27.

Haibun for a Reluctant Spring

The day is grey and I am swept along its ways.  Dense, impenetrable, uncertain.

And yet here is the sparrow tree.  It sings out in tangled branches of song, in a chaotic chorus with no melody but infinite cheer.

The path continues with a chill bleakness.  Robins and starlings bathe in puddles of mud.  A sudden startle of dog and wings open, rise.

The wind is relentless.  I regret dressing as if it were spring, as if winter had actually said its final farewell and relinquished its place on the wheel.  My hands dig deeper into my pockets.

Despite the lack of sun, grackles sparkle in the grass.  They watch me—curious?  wary?  amused?—as I stop to take them in.

I have a destination so I turn and travel east.  Blue jays echo my movements in a stop-and-start carousel of cries.  The moist air clings to my face.

emptying my thoughts
to make leeway for feathers–
invisible, light

Frank at dVerse asked for a haibun including the birdsongs of spring. A perfect time to bring out the birdlings.

Also linking to earthweal, where Brendan asks us to consider what serves as a commons for where we live. I would argue that every street in NYC is a commons, but the parks, especially, serve as a place where human and non-human intersect. My haibun is based on several recent walks through Central Park. Birds are everywhere (even in winter). But of course more of them and louder in spring.

welikia

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.”

Gone Straight

The day feels as limber as a body carved in stone, and yet time remains elastic.  A Möbius strip to which I cling, never certain if I’m inside or outside or whether, in fact, I’m located anywhere upon the twist of fate at all. 

Dylan sang it simple, but simplicity in his mind means traveling on a roller coaster through an arcade of hallucinatory smoke and funhouse mirrors blindfolded and bound by myriad inexpressible desires.  “A little confused”? That statement is not only under, but buried so deep beneath layers of denial that the concept of clarity no longer exists.

We are all born too late, really, searching over and over for the lost eternal beginning, the still center, not the unmappable edge we cleave to, against all reason, with the desperation of an addict looking for a permanent fix.

So which way does this finite world turn?  Does the Universe have its own compass, or is it, too, like humanity, lost in space?

plus, minus—neither
more nor less than tomorrow,
yesterday, today

The NaPoWriMo prompt for today is to write a poem in which you describe something with a hard-boiled simile. I’ve also used Muri’s Scavenger Hunt words, limber and elastic.

in tandem 1 and 2 (Earth Day 2022)

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?

As I’ve noted before, I attended the first Earth Day celebration in 1970 in Washington DC. Not too much has changed since then. We can do better.

if I call will you come

1
an enchantment spelled
in the blue whisper of your voice
disembodied in the dim light–
a pretense of sushi and saki–
a stolen hour

2
the stitches accumulate,
suspended from needles
awakening color and fiber
into patterns, images,
ideas, dreams

3
a glittering ocean of blue
starlight afloat
massive celestial waves
unmoored no longer conjoined–
an ancient sentient land

4
how can I remain here,
undecided on the edge,
an intruder seeking
to override forces
I neither recognize nor understand?

5
all tautness,
the bow hovers between
contingencies, conclusions, desires–
I hold my breath
inside the heart’s beating wings

The NaPoWriMo prompt today is to write a poem in which you first recall someone you used to know closely but are no longer in touch with, then a job you used to have but no longer do, and then a piece of art that you saw once and that has stuck with you over time. Finally, close the poem with an unanswerable question. A prompt that seems ready made for a cadralor. The first four stanzas answer the prompt. Stanza 5 is the conclusion required by the cadralor form, the one that illuminates a gleaming thread that runs obliquely through the unrelated stanzas and answers the compelling question: “For what do you yearn?”