The Song of Love 1 and 2

1 Here

a handless glove, a stone
visage.  A blue orb
planted with life.  Dust
seeds blown by
cosmic winds.

Look backward to see
the future.  Ruins
of visions.  Monumental
doors to nowhere.
The detritus of humanity.
Is this all
that we wish
to leave behind?

Canto d amore - Song of love - Giorgio De Chirico - 1914

The Kick-About prompt for this week is de Chirico’s enigmatic painting “The Song of Love”, above. The collage I did evolved from a lot of other ideas, merging with Merril’s quadrille prompt at dVerse to use the word seed, and Brendan’s prompt at earthweal to write Songs of the Earth Shaman.

2  A Meditation or Maybe a Prayer

for those who ask and those
who don’t answer.  For those
who always make way and those
who have never been found.
For what we know and refuse
to acknowledge.  For what
stands in the center of what
we think we believe.  For what
remains when faith has fallen
apart.  For the times that we
begin again and the times
that seem to have no ending.
For what we hold against
others and what we keep
to ourselves.  For the impossible
and the improbable and all
the borders we draw to keep
from finding out.

Listen.  I am
waiting for you
to come home.

I needed to consider this seemingly unsolvable riddle that is human life on earth from more than one side.

centermost

become empty—o
pen yourself until the wind
fills you to zero

draw yourself in circles, hold
your essence out, listening

For the final day of NaPoWriMo, the prompt is to write a poem in the form of a series of directions describing how a person should get to a particular place.

Thanks to Maureen Thorson for once again providing a home for poetry and for all those who read and commented on my efforts this April.

Roig (Red)

Red is an imaginary carpet
dancing with desire,
lettering the days
with roses and birdwings.
Red is the sky
that turns the morning
into an omen, the night
into a full moon–
catching dreams
like a wayfaring balloon
painting the town with stars.

The NaPoWriMo prompt today is to write a poem that delves into the meaning of your first or last name. Roig means red in Catalan.

neocolor cardinal s

To Our Mother

Who gives us life–
you have many names–

the seed, the root, the vine, the flower in the field,
the lily, the rose, the fertile garden,
the cedar, the cypress, the cherry, the tree of life,
the fountain, the dew, the living waters,
the cloud raining upon the earth,
the lighthouse, the harbor, the shell and the pearl,
the star of the sea, the cresecent moon,
the morning star, the air we breathe,
the cup, the vessel, the channel, the conduit,

the food of the spirit—

You need no kingdom.

You belong to everything,
the very elements that make up
the earth and the cosmos.

You bestow mercy and grace to all,
saint and sinner alike,
rejecting both power and glory,
vengeance and servitude.

May we honor your gifts
with gratitude and humility,
mending and treasuring
the fragile balance
that sustains them.

We remain, stubbornly,
Human

Dear Humanity,

Open your eyes and your hearts.
Honor and practice what preserves life
not what destroys it.
Take only what you need,
and return as much as you can.
Be patient and persistent
and don’t lose hope.

I remain, forever and ever,
Your Mother.

NaPoWriMo asks us today to write an exchange of letters.

Also linking to earthweal. Did you know it’s Earth Month?

rampant grace

“You were once wild here.  Don’t let them tame you.”
–Isadora Duncan

presence, breath,
the mystery of
the body–
here and now,
never once upon a time–
wild eternity

full of what
is—translating and
transforming
each step through
the labyrinth that is you–
synchronal, alive

This is a Kick-About prompt (the quote from Isadora Duncan) that I never posted. I had an idea to do collage illustrations, but the photos of Isadora dancing made me want to try to capture them in gestural drawings.

I haven’t used pastels in a long time, but I can see why Degas chose them so often to render his dancers. The body becomes transformed by dance, lighter and more transparent. Otherworldly.

For NaPoWriMo, and also linking to the dVerse prompt from Grace, The Body & Poetry.

Sisters

We remain ourselves, enigmatic–
a paired paradox
of who we are–sisters
bound by blood and expectation.

Our portrait is a puzzle
to which we hold the pieces–
together we can complete it—but only
if we remain ourselves, enigmatic.

We are both similar and neither
without being either
identical or opposite–
a paired paradox.

We hold the mirror up lightly,
confronted by our artificial reflections,
the complex and divergent shades
of who we are—sisters.

But to you we reveal nothing–
only these parallel arrangements–
the outlines of our surface disguises,
bound by blood and expectation.

I wrote this cascade for The Ekphrastic Review challenge, Theodore Chasseriau’s painting The Two Sisters. I did not think it would be published, and it wasn’t.

I have brothers and no sister, but I have two daughters. They have their own special and complex world, both for and against what exists outside their relationship. I felt that strongly in Chasseriau’s painting. For my own exploration of the painting, I drew first with neocolors and then dipped them in paint to emphasize some of the color and lines. I haven’t been doing much drawing in the past year, so it feels good to just fool around with it and see what happens.

You can see the painting and published responses here.

All That Is

What do we say to death when
it insists on arriving despite the fact that we
are not ready?  We still have love
that needs to be given.  We
haven’t said all that we feel
to those who need to know.  It
is never the right time, is it?  That’s all.

(a shovel poem after Robert S. Carroll  “This Much”)

I get daily emails of poetry from several sources. I don’t have time to read them all, but I look at least one every day. Yesterday when I opened the Rattle email to the poem “This Much” by Robert S. Carroll, about the death of his father, I was stopped in my tracks. I read it over several times, and then wrote this shovel poem from the ending thought “When we love, we feel it all”. I urge you to read Carroll’s poem here.

For dVerse OLN, hosted by Sanaa, and another response to Sarah’s prompt to have a conversation with another poet/poem.

I know everyone is obsessed with Donald Trump right now, but 4000 people died yesterday in the United States from Covid-19.

Vestiges

What abides
contains emptiness
waiting for
what cannot
return.  What abides remains
forever unfilled.

What abides
is quintessence—the
embodiment
of a way
of being—the exchange
of rudimentals.

What abides
contains entire lives
together
and apart–
more than a remembering–
opened held nowhere.

A quadrille for dVerse, where Jade has given us the word abide.

Refugee

Lost among the layers of words, my needs slip through the cracks that keep opening into assaults on the ways that have always belonged to me.  I don’t want to be reoriented towards a future I can’t imagine, or pushed through a portal into a world I don’t understand.  A world that does not recognize me and has no relationship to the one that has always sheltered me from unwelcome change.

All those strident sentences you spit out—they mock my choices, erasing any value in what I call a good life.  The scale on which you judge me makes my wishes weigh nothing.  You discard everything that makes me happy.

The tasks of survival are not so easily sorted into black and white, good and evil.  What seems to work for the time being is all we can attain sometimes, worth more than the promises of a future that we can’t see.

It’s impossible to know God’s plans or to understand them—despite your fancy degrees and charts, there are realms beyond the facts, beyond what you call science, that we can’t anticipate or control.

Instead you put yourself above me.  But you appear in my mirror as one-dimensional, rejecting me and the grieving that belongs to me, the losses I have experienced and feel.  You insist they are worthless, I am worthless.  But what do you offer to me that will replace them?

You list all my beliefs and shame them, shame me, shame my culture, my family, my friends.  And you call it compassion.

I am not asking for your false understanding.  I do not want what you want, what you think I need.

I want to be worth something.  I want to matter to someone, something.  I want a world that holds out a hand and tells me I belong.  Where has it gone?

look at me
listen to my life
make me real

Jim Feeney at Earthweal gave us quite a challenge this week: to write a poem from the point of view of someone who is a climate change denier or a climate solution denier or someone who just doesn’t care because they won’t be around when it happens. It’s not easy to put yourself sympathetically in someone else’s shoes. I chose to repeat some of the words and ideas I heard in interviews with Trump supporters, figuring no environmentalist would ever vote for Trump. I have to admit I resent the fact that the media always tells us we need to try to “understand” people who support Trump, and yet Trump supporters never have to return the favor and try to understand those of us who don’t. We are not all wealthy Ivy League educated “elites”.

And the thing is…in the end our desires are not so different. I don’t reject science and I would not talk of God, but I have spiritual beliefs too that involve feelings and ideas that can’t really be quantified. I also often feel unacknowledged, dismissed, invisible. I have lost parts of my life that will never return and cannot be replaced. We all want to matter, to belong somewhere.

Why can’t we make that somewhere a place of mutual respect that honors our interdependence with the natural world? So we have a world where everyone’s children and grandchildren have a fighting chance at survival?