Tell me, child of the skylands, how to balance on the glittering surface of time—
awakening the stillness, transforming the silence into answered prayer.
The snow leopard is found only in the mountains of Central Asia. Expanding populations in this harsh habitat compete for the same food sources. Although they are one of the least aggressive big cats, snow leopards kill livestock and are trapped in retaliation. They are also killed by poachers for their pelts and bones, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Only 5000-7000 remain in the wild.
Traditional cultures of their habitats consider the snow leopard to be a shapeshifter, a mountain spirit that serves as a guide between worlds. In Tibet they are sacred, existing as vessels to remove the sins of past lives. Anyone who kills one of these creatures is forced to take on the burden of those sins as their own.
They have huge paws and tails, which help them to balance on the snow in the rugged terrain of the mountains.
For earthweal, where Sherry has asked us to consider the earth’s dwindling populations of big cats.
a prisoner of gravity, it remains forever outside of dreams
unfit for the spiritship, a vessel of startled complexity– open, unbounded, secret, extreme
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 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”.
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