Correspondences

Looking at the photo Butterfly on Asters by Lisa Smith Nelson, I’m immediately reminded of a story in Robin Wall Kimmerer’s “Braiding Sweetgrass”.  Kimmerer is asked by her college advisor why she wants to study botany.  She tells him she is hoping to learn “about why asters and goldenrod looked so beautiful together”.  Her advisor is appalled.  To him, the beauty of a field of flowers has no place in science.

I could have told her, as her artist friends later did, about complementary colors.  But I did not know, as she learned in her further studies, that the eyes of bees, like those of humans, are naturally attracted to complementary colors.  I looked up butterflies and their vision, too, is similarly color sensitive.  When asters and goldenrod grow together, they complement each other in more than color—they attract more pollinators.  Plants need pollinators to reproduce. 

The combination of purple and yellow is part of the ecosystem.

It seems that beauty is indeed a necessity for life.

which came first–
the delicate wings
or the seed?

Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday prompt this week was a photo chosen and taken by Lisa Smith Nelson, above.

Children of the Night

“Listen to them, the children of the night, what music they make.”
–Bram Stoker

There’s a dark path in the forest that reaches not only to the horizon but far up into the stars in the sky.  The contours float, infused inside and out by an endless melody that sings chaos into shimmering pattern.

Where does the story end?  Perhaps it leads to dreams that have been hidden away, to possibilities invisible in the light of day.  To once upon a time that becomes here and now.

If you listen–still, silent, boundaried by the night–it’s possible to catch a glimpse of these distant voices.  But only a child can find the entrance to this liminal landscape of matter, spirit, and sound.

wonder shines
silvered, transcendent–
opening

The Kick-About prompt this week was the quote from Dracula, above. These monoprint paintings were a response to that.

The road from Samhain to vampire costumes for Halloween travels through the pop culturization of every holiday we celebrate for commercial purposes. But that does not completely disguise its real roots in the transition from fall to winter and the crossing over that occurs between the worlds of the living and the dead.

It’s fitting that we have turned Samhain into a children’s festival–we can join in for their sake, hidden behind masks, remaining rational adults while keeping a thread tied to our ancient rites of passage.

Children are our conduit to what we are ashamed to acknowledge. They remain close to the Other Worlds–they still believe completely in magic.

For earthweal, where Sarah has asked us to think about Samhain and celebrate the places that lie between.

Still #2

70 years cranes s

“It doesn’t make a damned bit of difference who wins the war to someone who’s dead.”
― Joseph Heller

“And a step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.”
–Kurt Vonnegut

crane 2s

August 6 marks the 76th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, which was followed by the bombing of Nagasaki on August 9—the only time nuclear weapons have been used in war.

Between 130,000 and 230,000 people were killed, mostly civilians.  Many of those who survived the bombing itself were stricken with radiation sickness and died painful and premature deaths.

The story of 12-year-old Sadako Sasaki’s attempt to make 1000 origami cranes after falling ill with leukemia turned the Japanese Crane, long a symbol of immortality, into a symbol of the wish for nuclear disarmament and world peace.

There are currently less than 1800 Japanese cranes surviving in the wild, for the usual human reasons—loss of habitat and food sources, pollution and poisioning, poaching, disease.

And so it goes…

burning floods
birds singing silent
ash and bones

cranes s

For Frank’s haibun prompt at dVerse, August. I’ve written about this in August and used these images several times before.

 This is our cry.
This is our prayer.
Peace in the world.

–inscription on the Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima
http://www.nippon.com/en/images/k00009/

crane 5s

Sadako Sasaki was a toddler living in Hiroshima when it was bombed by the United States.  Ten years later she died as a result of leukemia, “the atomic bomb disease.”  If you don’t know the story of Sadako and the 1000 Cranes, you can read about it here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadako_and_the_Thousand_Paper_Cranes

70 years close up 1s

Midway

If I approach before, must I retreat after?  The mirror is always turning.  The reflection reverts, echos, remembers, forgets.  Meets itself, coming and going.  Centered, stilled.

on the cusp
earth bows to the sun
abiding

Perhaps the sudden and expanded silence is what heals, releases the mind from meaning.  Can words ever really stand in for what they are not?

Without time, I can relocate who I am.  I reach for next, but I don’t understand until later how very far it is from now.

widdershins
the circle dances
into fire

Frank at dVerse has us thinking about the Solstice.

And my title has me thinking about Joni.

More art from the archives.

Oasis

It’s a robin, I think, as the melody enters my consciousness through the window.  But then it morphs into a litany of birds from cardinal to crow.  There may even have been a frog thrown in for good measure.

I can’t locate the bird to see who is gifting me with its repertoire of local wildlife sounds.  It could be a starling—I once lived in an apartment where the local starlings would sit on the roof railing next door every morning and tell me all they knew.  But there are also plenty of both mockingbirds and catbirds hanging around.

city fades
a sanctuary
feathered skies

A meditation on sanctuary for earthweal. Also linking to dVerse OLN, hosted by MsJadeLi.

Night Ride

I drift inside dream rivers open and wild with singing, flowing through unexplored dimensions into rough horizonless seas.  How will I cross?

My vessel waits, slowly filling with circular light.

in between what and
if sail the indigo night
gardens of the moon

A haibun with the theme “flower moon” for Frank at dverse.

The Age of Aquarius

Back when the musical “Hair” came out, some astrologers grumbled that it wasn’t really the Age of Aquarius yet.  But what did we care?  We were tired of the world as it was, ready for Peace Love and Understanding.

Well…maybe not.

chaotic stillness
watching from the whorled center
for new beginnings

During 2020 there were rumblings once again online about the REAL Age of Aquarius finally showing up.  I was skeptical to say the least.

all those lost patterns–
I collect them in my mind,
in new rotations

It seems we had the Age of Aquarius skewed, not only in time.  Yes, it’s a total tearing down and rebuilding.  But it’s going to require hard work.  Taking a lot of drugs and wearing tie-dye and listening to songs about love won’t do it.

all impermanence—
no matter which way you turn
the path continues

Can we change our entire approach to living together, not only with each other, but with the earth, its creatures, its landscape, its elements?  We need to if we want to survive.

giving myself hope
inside my dark wanderings–
a world of wonder

When Phil asked me to choose this week’s Kick-About prompt, I thought immediately of The Age of Aquarius, because I’ve been turning over in my mind the hope that it might be real, that humanity can change. I always loved the music posters of the “Hair” era, and used them as inspiration for my neon colored paintings.

I’m looking forward to seeing all the other responses next week.

International Woman’s Day

Gonna Take a Miracle (for Laura Nyro)

Uneasy.  Have you sinned?  Did Pandora pull you from the box holding your dreams?  Did you flee after filling your mind with the fruits of Eve?

Go naturally.  Sing the madwoman, the sorceress, the witch of becoming, Our Lady of the Moon Eclipsing the Sun.  Sing terrible and trembling, elusive and out of control.

Time is near.  Still living in a paradise of fools.  Still living in a valley full of the shadows of fallen angels.  The Devil is still hungry.  The Devil is still sweet.

Way down there.  Meet fire with broken wings, broken heart, broken promises.  Tangle time up and lay time down.  Wash the sky, the water, the land, the air.  Stand on the brown earth with dreams and a white dove.

No chains.  Going to the moon dock going to the luna tick tock with medicine in my hand going to visit Our Lady of the Holy Woman the Holy Golden Wager.  Footslipping off the cliff out the window got blinds drawn all over me.

Freedom.  Under the boardwalk.  Up on the roof.

A daily blessing:
ride the fury of the soul–
sing the glory road.

fly me top 3s

Ingrid at Experiments in Fiction asked us to post something for International Women’s Day, today, March 8. I wrote this poem, first published in Formidable Woman in 2018, using the music of Laura Nyro as inspiration.. This year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge. And so she did, and her words continue to resonate.

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.

Poem up at the Ekphrastic Review

where does the body lie?

a prisoner of gravity,
it remains forever outside of dreams

unfit for the spiritship,
a vessel of startled complexity–
open, unbounded, secret, extreme

Picture

I wrote the original version (much revised) of the above 42 poem at the same time I wrote my haibun, Unattached, which is published on The Ekphrastic Review today, along with Jane’s lyrical poem, Bronze Dreams, and other varied responses to Frida Kahlo’s painting, The Dream.

My collage is once again based on a tarot card, this the the Four of Swords. Kahlo’s paining reminded me very much of the iconic Rider-Waite card, but my own interpretation drifts in between the card and the painting. I could not find out if Kahlo ever studied tarot, but she was friends with many of the Surrealists, who certainly played with its symbolism. The Four of Swords is a card of restoration and healing, just like Frida’s Dream.

I placed a photo of the interior of an Egyptian sarcophagus in the sky. The figure painted there is the sky goddess Nut, who “spreads out her arms protectively to receive the deceased. (s)He is sheltered by her, is adsorbed into her body, and emerges reborn” (Rose-Marie and Rainer Hagen, “Egypt”).

You can read my poem (and Jane’s) here. My thanks once again to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for supporting my work and the interaction between the visual and written arts.