I wanted to reblog my response to an old prompt of Sue Vincent’s in honor of the New Moon this weekend. The Oracle had something to say about it too.
In my original post, I explained my inspiration: I discovered this week that the plural for luna mare (moon sea) is lunar maria …is that wonderful, or what? So when I saw Sue Vincent’s Luna photo prompt, above, I had to incorporate it into my response.
Here’s the poem I wrote for Sue’s photo:
The arc of lunar mountains, edged dark with bays of basalt… Maria!—your names reflect as mirrors to fill
with sorrow, forgetfulness, snakes, storms and fear. Can we find the sea of tranquility and sail into dreams?
between is and if only we listen as earth grows restless
breathing wild ancient song beneath murmuring leaves
climbing windshine over rock rooted paths
wandering through the hidden secrets of the moon’s dark night
And of course this song is still and always appropriate.
You can see 14 other interpretations of “Maria” here.
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?
The voice of the wind is harsh, unending, bringing news of winter. Under dusky grey I watch the heavens close in as tree bones rattle with last leaves. Night is everywhere, penetrating with howling visions the sanctity of sleep.
Solitude is impossible. Chanting surrounds me, invisible hands, the edge of a nightmare hovering on the threshold. Ghostlike it travels through the streets, knocking on each door, finding the cracks in each soul, rearranging the molecules of each defense. No prayer or good luck charm repels the chosen path of this bleak pilgrim. Its faceless form looms like a black hole.
A cacophony of silence tunnels into the center of my mind. It asks me no questions, desires no answers–an insatiable voice in a vortex ancient, eternal, lost.
forsaken, stars hide– sky fallen into stillness swallowing the moon
For the Earthweal Weekly Challenge, A Hallowed Moondance.
infused with what? forms shimmering, unfocused, almost not there—breaking into bits of color, sprinkled light–
watching the air, you can’t quite be lieve, place, what you thought you saw, significant portions of which have faded
into blurred memories that have discarded their presence– the lost and found of the mind, a vast space without
an index– tangled up with myth, stray remnants dismissed as merely imagination– how do we discern
what is true? maybe what is real is really made up—all wrapped together in spirits that are beyond sense
Brendan at earthweal discussed land-spirits and asked us to write about a local spirit. My locale has been NYC for 50 years, but within the city it has been constantly on the move. I thought first of birds and trees, which made me think of my own trees that move with me from place to place. My lemon trees are nearly 30 years old, grown from seeds planted by my older daughter as a young child. I also have a corn plant tree, rescued from the basement discard room in an apartment building I lived in briefly about 15 years ago.
I carry their spirits with me, but I have also given them form from time to time. Like the plants, they provide companionship and continuity, a living connection to reciprocal relationships that exist without needing any specific place or time.
Once we were all earth. We were only ourselves when we were each other. Our world had not yet been divided into good and evil, dark and light.
Golems we were, every one of us, raw elements of matter and light, untamed magic. Cosmic dust animated by water air and fire, rising from the depths of the sea. Pure energy concentrated into simple patterns over skeletons of increasing complexity.
Our origins shadow us, a mirror containing our destination. We fear who we are and so we seek to distance ourselves, destroying all reminders of our fragile mortality, our kinship with clay and mud.
We have transformed the golem into a fearful beast. We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time. What words can return us to our proper place on the winding wheel?
How do we spell life?
Prosery for dVerse using the poetic line from D.H. Lawrence suggested by Kim: ‘We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time’.
Black is the color of creation. The void is beginning. Emptiness must be filled. You can’t have something without nothing.
And how does that apply to imaginary beings? Must there also be a counterpart that’s real?
Must every question have an answer and every answer a question?
Catch the words– in context they become magic. Recreate the patterns that create potential, the map to being born.
A cloud is like breathing. Breathing is like catching. Catching is like stopping time. Stopping time is like an earthquake. An earthquake is like a heart beating fast. A heart beating fast is like drumming. Drumming is like dancing. Dancing is like a bird. A bird is like flowers. Flowers are like a rainbow. A rainbow is like a song. A song is like the universe. The universe is like a wheel.
The void is pregnant.
The journey is alive.
Do we get broken so we can be fixed?
For Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above, from August 2017. I’ve been missing Sue’s prompts. Sending this one out to her along with wishes for healing, a good night’s sleep, and the taste of a strong cup of coffee.
one morning you wake up and the reasons for everything are gone
the sky has already fallen and the wind changes direction continuously—the trees wave wildly as they try to keep their roots grounded, hold tight to their branches and seeds and leaves
the birds have long ago disappeared into the expanse of nowhere that used to be a horizon not even a line anymore but bottomed out down and far beyond away
you appeal to all spirits any spirit listening asking for some small sign that things will return to a state of understanding
slow down at least and give you time to adjust—to what? what is left of any configuration? will it be improved by changing the velocity?
nothing is sensible or even nonsensical
you yourself appear only dimly in the mirror– perhaps even your bones have taken leave and only your thoughts remain
invisible mad beside themselves alone
In July and August I wrote a series of poems inspired by M.L. Smoker’s poem “Mercy”. As I’ve been having trouble writing anything new, I decided to revisit them, and I’ve been worrying this one, #4, all week. I’m not exactly sure it fits the Earthweal challenge this week of a haunted wilderness, but it’s in the spirit.
“Everybody’s crying mercy when they don’t know the meaning of the word.” –Mose Allison
“Mercy” is not available online, but you can read about M.L. Smoker, and read some of her other works, here.
In my childhood, even our suburban house was only half a block from woods and meadows and creeks to explore. We had no devices to keep us indoors, and we went outside at every chance. There were still open spaces, for butterflies dragonflies tadpoles bees creeks meadows woods trees rocks sky prickers blackberries colors and clouds and wind—we ran wild, my mother just told us to be home for dinner, who does that now? They would take your children away from you.
I had the companionship of trees plants wild things animals and such clouds to contemplate–I used to lie on my back in the grass and just look at the sky, what was I thinking? Maybe thoughts beyond thought before thought. Now my mind is so busy it never stops to just be and let the world run through like a river like the wind.
child-self lying in
a bed of
sky—everything is opened
up, shining—the world
to a forever,
they ebb and flow—cascading
landscapes shouting yes!
Sarah at earthweal asked us to think how we connected with nature in childhood. I took sentences and lines from 5 previous posts–especially I remembered writing about this subject in a collaboration I did with Claudia McGill, and the bulk of the text is from there.
The art was done as a homage to artist Thornton Dial–I took his title, Stars of Everything, and made my own collage and accompanying words. He knew about the power of art.
“Art is like a bright star up ahead in the darkness of the world. It can lead peoples through the darkness and help them from being afraid of the darkness….Art is a guide for every person who is looking for something.” –Thornton Dial