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.

Approaching Beltane

What is?
Why not say blue
mirror, say deep well–
Why not say sun
light, say bright fire?

Dancing circles
into braided beginnings,
the meeting of earth and air

Weaving flowers
to welcome back
the missing and missed

Swallowing the past,
planting the future–
doing and being both—

Balancing the between
to expand
in both directions

What is?
Why not say moment
of birth, say the point when
life begins, say spirit,
breath, embodiment?

What is?
Why not say the pivot
of is and is not?

Sarah has given us the inspiration of Beltrane at earthweal this week. Whatever you choose to write about, remember that this is a celebration, of new life, of love and of the endless bounty of this planet.

Grow NYC

On the run, in retreat,
empty lots, dirty streets–
take the land, make it green–
thumbs and hearts, community.

Food to eat, flowers, herbs,
trees with branches full of birds–
an oasis filled with life–
lost then found, death defied.

I’ve been thinking about the earthweal challenge for Earth Day–what postitive steps have been taken locally to improve the environment?

NYC was in serious decline in the 70s–hence the famous headline, from 1975, below. Everything was falling apart, and there were vacant lots and abandoned properties everywhere.

Ford new york city drop dead

Organizations like GrowNYC, Greenthumb, and OasisNYC began to foster community gardens in abandoned lots, renovated by volunteers from the surrounding area. Today there are nearly 600 such gardens in the city–everywhere you walk, you’ll stumble upon one. Managed by neighborhood residents, they grow all kinds of things, both edible and simply beautiful. They foster new and experienced gardeners, young and old. They sponsor art displays and performances, and act as community centers.

I used Bjorn’s prompt, at dVerse, to compose my poem for Earth Day in Anapestic Tetrameter.

how to breathe

The Oracle responded immediately to the NaPoWriMo day 17 prompt of the moon. And who could blame her? It’s always a good subject for a poem, in this case, a Badger’s Hexastitch.

moonsongs
treeroot between
the ancient wanderings
of night—follow secret
animal paths
earth deep

Also linking to earthweal open link weekend.

On Rambling/City Streets

Under concrete still lies the earth.
Am I bridged?  Do I travel on or over?
The air takes my thoughts and plays with them,
embroiders them, suspends them between.

Am I bridged?  do I travel on or over?
My fingers want to hold the windwhispers–
embroider them, suspend them between
the bare branches of the trees.

My fingers want to hold the windwhispers
that touch the moon on her journey
through the bare branches of the trees
into the fullness of the reflected light.

I want to touch the moon on her journey.
My own face is shadowed with uncertainty,
backlit by the fullness of reflected light.
My own hands are empty, unthreaded.

My own face is shadowed with uncertainty,
a landscape I too often inhabit.
My own hands are empty, unthreaded.
I keep trying to rearrange what isn’t there–

a landscape I too often inhabit.
I look for birds.  I want to ask them their secrets.
I keep trying to rearrange what isn’t there–
how to be someone that is also everything.

I look for birds.  I want to ask them their secrets.
How to dance across the invisible threads.
How to be someone that is also everything,
crisscrossing land sea sky stars.

How to dance across the invisible threads
that hold both concrete and earth,
crosscrossing land sea sky stars–
(the air takes my thoughts and plays with them)

This pantoum is definitely a work in progress. For NaPoWriMo day 15, and the earthweal weekly challenge: Toward an Ecopoetry.

Also linking to dVerse OLN, hosted by Sanaa.

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?

masses of green

The NaPoWriMo prompt for Day 3 is intriguing. I already know about Michael McClure’s “Personal Universal Deck” and it’s on a long list of things I’d like to do as I love cards of all kinds. But it needs more than a day to do properly, and I only have an hour on this particular day.

So I stuck with the Oracle’s deck of magnetic words, as I do most Saturdays. She knows these are holy days, as is every day when we pay attention to the wonders of the earth and its seasons. Who will save her?

spring seeds light
birds flower air bees
following

walk with green spirits
on earth as it is

Linking to earthweal Open Link Weekend.

Familiar

“The world around us is absolutely mind-blowingly amazing….All you have to do is pay attention. Then the stars come out and they dance with you.”–John Muir Laws

Common you say.  Everyday you say.
and it’s true:  night follows day
follows night.  Many things
form patterns, yet within
the patterns are mysterious
variations, expressions of one
particular momentary intersection
of space and time.  The moon
playing with clouds.  Water
coming in contact with light.
A tree, any tree, in any
season.  Who can forget
an insect’s wing?  Pigeons
swooping in unison between
the roofs of buildings.  Common.
And yet.  But still.  It stops
me.  Looking, listening, wondering.
Every day.

The NaPoWriMo prompt today has a link to an animation of the music of the Sun Ra Arkestra. Sun Ra was in tune with the world’s amazingness, but you don’t need psychedelic imagery to notice it.

Brendan at earthweal asks this week: What is the turning point that gets us out of this labyrinth of fated humanity? Who or what must we embrace? How do we find our way into the Totality?

We could start by just paying attention.

For NaPoWriMo this year I will mostly, if not entirely, be using art from the archives. I am in the pre-panic phase of my move–a little over 2 weeks before the movers come. I may not post every day, but I’ll do my best.

You can also see my art this month at the Ekphrastic Challenge at Wombwell Rainbow. Two other artists, and many wonderful poets, including Merril Smith and Jane Dougherty, are participating.

Thirteen Ways (after Wallace Stevens and Joni Mitchell)

crow #2s

1
Did you know?  Was it you
who sent Crow?  Black wings
swallowed by the sky

2
I had time and seasons
rising to meet me
like trembling in my bones,

3
like Icarus ascending
on beautiful foolish arms
.

There's a crow flying # if I flew

4
Crow and I
are not one–
but we are together in this
cosmos, on this earth.

5
I do not know myself
and yet I know of the intersections
of that unknown self
with the call to attention
that is Crow.

apolcalyptic crow 2s

6
My mind is busy
with trivial things.
The shadow of a cry
spills everything out
empty
waiting for the return
of listening, watching.

7
O ragged soul
why do you take flight?
Do you not see the trees?
They are returning from the dead
again and again.

8
I know many words
and the images that accompany them.
But I know too
that Crow lives deeper and wider
than what I know.

crow tree close up s

9
Diving diving diving diving.
There is no bottom no top
no inside or out.

10
At the sight of Crow
resounding the light
the layers reveal
their chorded songs.

spiral crows 2s

11
I walk these streets
in oblivion,
trying to escape
the fear of the known
by making up stories
that rearrange my life.

12
I hear my fate turn turn turn
how many crows?

13 blackbirds s

13
Always standing in the doorway
like Janus—neither and both–
cursed and charmed
Crow laughs—he knows
I have a dream to fly.

crow #1s

Brendan at earthweal asks us this week to think about the nature of poetry. I first encountered Wallace Stevens and “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” in high school and it remains my poetic touchpoint more than 50 years later. But equally important to my connection with poetry was music–first, traditional folk music, and then the whole crop of singer-songwriters that emerged from the folk revival. I love Joni Mitchell’s “Blue”, but “Hejira” has always resonated with me most of all. The form of this poem is based on Stevens, but the spirit and italicized words are taken from Joni and from my own encounters with Crow, a master shaman.

I have not been posting much, and will probably be mostly absent for the next month or 6 weeks–I’m moving (again). But this is good news! I will have a dedicated work space once again, and a real kitchen. I knew the last 2 moves were temporary, but I thought both moves before that would be the last one–so I’m making no predictions. But I’m planning to be there for awhile.

Creation Story

Let there be lines, he said.  Let there be vectors, plots and graphs.  He skipped pebbles over the pool of his mind as he devised a plan made up completely of endings.

Let there be angles troubled by twists and turns.  Let forward and backward be arbitrary, just a dubious arrangement of flotsam and blitz.  Let there be clues and traces, but no solution.

Let shapes enter forms that echo shadows cast by ladders to nowhere.  Let uncertaintly be vexed by avoidance and puzzled by what arrives after.  Let eons come before next.

Let all the signs hint at comprehension while remaining unspelled.  Not either/or but henceforth.  And inasmuch as.

clueless
this world
without a prayer

Brendan at earthweal has asked us to describe the unsayable nature of the pandemic we are still fighting our way through.