the ancient shores of galaxies still call

printed geese 1s

I stand facing the ocean
tides of wing and air–
time fades into mystery,
emptied of illusions

sea sketch 2s

tides of wing and air
held in light–
emptied of illusions
I swim in dream languages

forms die s

held in light
horizon merges into skylandsea–
I swim in dream languages,
wordless songs that awaken stories

elaborate music s

 

horizon merges into skylandsea
consumed by rivers of stars–
wordless songs that awaken stories
mirrored in ethereal blue

ocean pencil drawing s

consumed by rivers of stars
time fades into mystery–
mirrored in ethereal blue
I stand facing the ocean

blue 2s

For earthweal, sacred (sea)scapes.  How many poems have I written about the sea?  As many as I have about birds and stars and moons.  This unrhymed pantoum contains lines from many of them.  The artwork is from my many previous ocean-themed posts as well.

The Local Crow (revised)

crow 3s

Crow calls to me from above–
“Crowman are you stalking me?”
There he is—on that roof.

Call to attention–
the question
harsh, always interrupting

the pause between the lines.
“Do you want me to look up?”
He extends the invitation again and again.

“I’m telling stories,”
shape-shifting in the interlude–
“remaking the recent past.”

how to release and how to begin–
but that part’s invisible,
stark with intention.

“…or do you hear it?”
unseen voices echo across the gap,
“and are you laughing at me?”

an interior bathed in blue–
“OK—I’m leaving that world—”
memories circle round and round–

“I’m here now, present.”
thoughts hang in the air–
“I’m unfolding those regrets.”

Crow flies over my shadow.
“Are you happy now?”
the clash of silence, unbound

crow 1s

Crow has been following me around for about 15 years now.  I notice birds all the time, but I don’t always know what they are saying to me.  I have a tendency to space out, especially when walking.  Crow’s message has always been clear:  get outside yourself, pay attention.

crow 4s

A message that’s more important than ever.  For Earthweal, messages from the wild, hosted by Sherry, a revision of one of my many poems about Crow.

Graveyards

painted skull comp

Where do we bury the words
we didn’t say, our silent
protests—do they die
with our bodies, encased
in the skull, still afraid to move
the hand, the jaw bone?

Regret is relentless–
thoughts become blurred,
bordering madness and crossing
into the places where nothing
connects, nothing fits,
everything rests only in disease.

We try to hard to reverse
time, spinning wheels
in a landscape of quicksand–
in a landscape of chasms
that open like cut veins
spilling every trace of life.

The sky has already fallen,
abandoned even by
the phantoms of what was left
undone—this place is beyond
haunting–subtract everything
you thought you knew.

Add it to the ending.

painted skull don't look comp

Some old paintings and a new poem for earthweal’s weekly challenge, shifting baselines.

Necessities

necessities s

How much is enough?  Too much can still feel impoverished—it’s not just money or things (we know that we know that we know that…and yet)

We need another warm body—kind, accepting—one that touches us not in anger, but with love.

We need air that does not scar our lungs, water that quenches without leaving toxic residue.  We need food grown with earth knowledge.  We need multitudes of species–unafraid, unshadowed by our destructive impulses.

We need shelter from harsh elements, windows and doors that open without fear.  We need roots, a place of refuge to call home, a circle of people who reciprocate with trust.  We need to both render and accept, exchanging gifts with mercy and grace.  We need to be needed, for our days to have a reason.

We need stories that ask questions, that challenge and celebrate and comfort us in times both joyful and dark.

We need to be able to provide help without diminishment, to acknowledge the mutual relationships of life.  We need to share what we have too much of with those who don’t have enough.

We need laughter and light, leadership without tyranny.  We need to know we belong.

empty
the future
of past expectations

enter
the depths
of the unimaginable

change–
the path
becomes a river

hands
held shimmering
by the sea

necessities close up s

Sarah’s earthweal challenge asked us to think about the balance between the individual and the community.  I think it’s hard to disentangle one from another, even for those who insist on their “individual” freedom.  The cliche is true: no man is an island.  Everything, all life, depends on relationships for survival.

on a turtle’s back

turtle back round s

we cling to ourselves
(a)mending all our invitations
with threads that must be pulled
in just the right way

we disguise our own
houses as fortresses–
foundations sunk deep
into the growth of the economy

we arrange nature
to reflect order, not chaos,
not seeds strewn on the wind–
we kill the intruders,
the unwanted, unexpected,
the exceptional,
with chemicals and pruning

we have forgotten
awe, the strangeness
of wonder, of what
we did not know
to look for

we’ve forgotten to be
curious, to open
the door, to enter
into dialogue with
forces we cannot control

we no longer know how
to return what is given
with care and kindness–
to celebrate the earth,
to leave room for her
to sing her own song

turtle back half a

Merril’s photo of the turtle she moved off the road on one of her walks provided the inspiration for both my art and my poem.  Turtles are symbols for Mother Earth in many cultures, and are said to carry the world on their backs.

They could use some help right now with the load we have given them.  For the earthweal challenge culture and nature.

turtle back close up s

Nina and I both love turtles and have posted about them on memadtwo many times.  You can see some of the posts here.

turtle shell s

not crows,

not crows s

she said, but
count them, count them and
remember
what has not
yet been dreamed—what follows each
silhouette–

a breath that
removes what is not
required, keeps
what fills need
and refills it whenever
it becomes empty—

spellcast in
air, each wing gathers
force, compressed
like secrets–
talismans numbered and tossed
waiting for the wind

For Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above, and also posted to earthweal open link weekend.

not crows close up s

 

In Praise of Ecology

trees s

calling all the names–
circles of words and being
woven into life

branches comp s

I greet the oak, the way
its branches frame the sky–
morning and evening
preserving the winter light
holding as shadows
the imprints of birds.

Listen:  they begin
the day—robins and blue jays
emerging from the cacophony
of sparrows and starlings–
and here again—my constant
companion, Crow.

We name our streets
after the trees that once stood
there:  elm, walnut, pine, maple,
chestnut, cedar, oak.  I wonder at
the words, now only images,
memories of  a lost inheritance.

Once landmark and shelter,
the empty vertices wait–
listening for the bearers
of seeds to refill
the gaps that echo barren
now, seeking new songs.

trees close up s

For earthweal where Sherry asks us to write love songs to mother earth.

waiting

waiting s

let the raging rivers
polish each soul–
let the darknesses
become liquid light
as the waters still

̴ waiting   ̴

for clarity to reveal
the depths—let them
return running through
the end, bringing birth
back to the source

waiting close up 2s

Each time I read another puente written by Jane or Merril I tell myself I will attempt the form.  This one wrote itself (with help from the Oracle of course).

A poem of redress for earthweal.

Collage inspired by Richard Diebenkorn, words inspired by Pablo Neruda.

patterns of essential flow

patterns of s

we stand watching
the waters, fully
awake and undreamed—
the rivers exploding
uncontained, the sky
vivid in its indifference
to the currents
carrying the debris,
both past and future
burying all the voices
keening in the dark–

who breathes this wild
rain, exhales these tempests,
scatters the spirits
that might comfort
our distress?  we bandage
the gaps, we open
our umbrellas as the waters
rise, as the multitudes
wait, unsheltered, drowning
in the accumulation
of what has been denied

patterns of close up s

For the earthweal challenge, environmental justice.  Bandaids and umbrellas are not enough.

SpiritSong

jm 7ca blk s

Blessed be the Spirits of Becoming

Our Lady of the Silver Wheel,
waxing and waning with the moon,
reflecting back the circle of birth, life, death and rebirth.

Our Lady of Joy,
who lifts up our souls with melody
and transforms our movements into dance.

Our Lady of the Birds,
who grows wings on our wishes, hopes, and dreams.

jm 7ca close up 3s

Our Lady of Magic and Mystery,
silent and secret,
who shapes and shifts,
puzzles and predicts,
divines and deciphers,
casts and conjures,
and answers all question with a riddle.

Our Lady of the Rainbow,
who paints the infinite darkness with eternal light.

Our Lady of Wild Places,
guardian of the earth,
shepherd of the seas,
keeper of fire and wind,
shelter, shield, and sanctuary.

jm 7ca close up 2s

Our Lady of Healing and Renewal,
who embraces both body and spirit
with comfort, courage, restoration, and release.

Our Lady of the Weaving of Time,
whose threads mingle past, present and future
in a simultaneous, unfinished, ethereal tapestry.

Our Lady of the Crossroads,
who celebrates choice, change, and transformation.

jm 7ca close up 1s

To all who were are and shall be:

May our circles be open
but unbroken.

For earthweal open link weekend, all of it, a repost from NaPoWriMo 2018.