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.

I ask the Oracle about the wind

Jane and I were discussing the source and destination of the wind this week, and I thought I would consult the Oracle.

Another collage from the archives. I seem to have an endless supply. And yet I always feel like I can never get anything done.

who breathes this wind?

a wild seed growing roots
from tendriled air—

winter deepens the moonforest path
between after and always,
following ancient secrets into spring

Also linking to earthweal open link weekend.

Soundings

tides entombed in unchanging light,
reflecting the absent sky,
shimmering with intangibles–
an ancient web woven with stories–

the stilled sea contemplates its origins–
heavy with the cadences of gravity
boundaried by the afterlife–
tides entombed in unchanging light–

surrounded and asunder, astonishment
becomes tinged with enigmatic clarity–
holding particles of stars as if enshrined,
reflecting the absent sky–

the fulcrum rests inside the echo
of what endures, arising
from an aqueous womb
shimmering with intangibles–

the circle continues, horizonless,
quivering in confluence–
who can refuse the voices of the sea?–
an ancient web woven with stories–

I’ve been futzing around with this all week, inspired by the Kick-About prompt, Eugen von Ransonnet-Villez, and the earthweal challenge natural forces. The painting above, my first attempt, probably has 20 painted layers. Watercolor looks very different wet, and each time it dried I was dissatisfied with the result.

Eugen von Ransonnet-Villez was an Austrian artist who designed a diving bell, below, so he could paint the landscape that existed under the sea. This was in the 1860s–both crazy and fantastic. His paintings have an eerie green magic, which was what I was trying to capture.

Eugen Ransonnet-Villez

Because what is the sea but the most elemental of magic?

Like Ransonnet-Villez, I wished to immerse myself inside of it. Being at the moment concrete-bound, I could only try to conjure it with words and paint.

new world

The Oracle, as usual, resists my attempts to ramble on. I read a Zen saying somewhere to the effect that we’re so busy looking at the teapot that we forget to drink the tea. I think she has a similar idea in mind.

I’ve been working on this collage for awhile. It’s inspired by Redon.

don’t live in symbols–
grow mystery with earthlife
riding waves of sky

Also linking to earthweal Open Link Weekend.

Already Dead

We have written our words all
over the land, constructed cages
to contain what we can’t
control.  We have put a price
on all the things that can’t
be bought or sold, raised
our voices until we are all
deaf.  We have invented gods
of fear instead of harmony,
raped and discarded what could be
raped and discarded, left
bloody sorrow to fertilize
anything mistakenly overlooked.
We long ago sold our souls,
and our hollowness is so vast
no one can measure it.  And still
we look for more more more–
because what can ever satisfy
the absence of what was
never there?

2-gone-silent-s

For Brendan’s earthweal challenge, already dead. The art is a postcard fiction from 2017, but it seemed appropriate to both the theme and my thoughts.

4-empty-handed-s

You have to become empty in order to begin to fill up again. Perhaps we can learn to choose more wisely this time.

Linking to dVerse OLN, hosted by Bjorn.

Shapeshifter

Do the mountains touch the stars?

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.

Appellations

Will you reply when called?
What is your name?  The sky
refuses to say why
you hold the tree.

Why have you conscripted
this perch among the dead?
Abide with me instead
amidst the green.

Have my ghosts entrusted
your wings with messages–
voices of presages
destined for me?

Immovable, silent,
a silhouette distilled–
I seek but am unfilled–
inside stripped clean.

For Sue Vincent’s photo prompt above, and Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, where she has introduced the poetic form Abhanga. I like it, but I think I need to experiment more with it to get the rhythm right.

Also linking to earthweal Open Link Weekend.

As you may know, Crow and I are old friends.

Mercy 1/2 (after M L Smoker)

An answer arrives,
but it’s not words,
not even something
that you can hear.

–not that you
ever listen to anything
anyway–

How do you
recognize it?–
but you know
that your inside has shifted
into what it wasn’t–

At the same time
you are still where you were–
you still face towards impossibility
in every direction—

And yet your mind is not the same–
a strange memory you cannot name
has cleared a path between
the synapses of despair
and you can breathe again.

Is the light lost?
You leave a candle burning,
place it in the window–
come home

For the earthweal prompt of Seasonal Changes 1: IMBOLC hosted by Sarah.

Last year I wrote a series of poems inspired by M L Smoker’s poem, Mercy, which can be found in the anthology Native Voices, published by Tupelo Press. This poem is a combination of numbers 1 and 2.

imagining spring

tree window 3s

We have welcoming blue skies today, although it is cold. But the Oracle, at least, is thinking ahead.

tree window 2s

These photos were taken in March of 2016–March! not that far away–of Central Park, reflected in the windows of the Jewish Museum on Fifth Avenue.

are you dazzled
with green trees oceans
of air and sky

breathe in then out
surrounded by blueborn
mornings that spill
secrets and then

laugh

linking to earthweal open link weekend

synergies

nina birthday mandala s

bejeweled
with eyes reflecting
mysteries
blossoming
in every season day and night
and on each new hour–

embryos
in expectation
of bursting
into song,
nestled in the openings
between yes and no–

shall we dance?
the shadows linger,
dissolving
into dusk–
and still our bodies listen
and repeat, reply,

riding dreams
past waves of darkness,
not asking
how each sky
contains the endlessness of
spinning leaping light–

claiming wings
invisible yet
tangible,
our steps rise
following silent music,
orchestrated flight

that repeats,
always being born
perfectly
uncontained–
we have been cast out like seeds–
resplendent, alive

A shadorma chain for Merril’s prompt at dVerse, connections, and Brendan’s earthweal challenge, entanglement. With more art from the archives.