Being

Before me the world is clarified
by a luminosity that consolidates
all presence into chords of stillness.  What
song would this landscape sing?

Just a little green–
color disappears into the air, glimmers in
still lines across the meadow.

Like the color when the spring is born
the quiet is dizzying, embracing.  All is solitary,
complete.  Waiting.  For what?

The nights when the Northern lights perform
the hour is transfixed inside a secret whisper of
pulsing breath.  An alternate world,
muted, mysterious, not quite real.

And sometimes there’ll be sorrow—shrouded
in uncertainty, time has lost its focus.  The land is
primordial, inscribed with a narrative
that has no translation into any language
we are capable of understanding.

Just a little green—a vessel
immersed in air, from the bottom up

earthwalkers–
exchanging wonder
there will be

italicized lines are from Joni Mitchell’s song Little Green

Carl Zimmermann, Deer in a Summer Meadow

Merril supplied five paintings as ekphrastic summer inspiration at dVerse this week. I chose Carl Zimmerman’s painting, above. Since I’m late, I’m posting on OLN, hosted by Bjorn.

Also linking to earthweal, where Sherry supplied the prompt of dreaming in green. A good color to dream in.

to sail or to swim

The Oracle begins the year for me with questions–not a surprise. My dreams have been vivid of late.

I did a series of these small circle collages for NaPoWriMo 2017. They continue to resonate .

ask the wind if the moon cries
when dreams are lost
in stilled seas

can the sky sing life back
with blue light?

will we be who we are
as time blows the ship of sleep
from here to there?

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.

Will They Will

Age is definable but never still–
we try to hold it back, but still
our age continues to rise

We linger in the still dreams lost
ages ago, unable to move on,
still refiguring the past

Must we always be aging children?
still youthful to our inner mirror, but
aged into bitters

Into a stillness of chimeric eternity,
searching for an ageless portal
stilled beyond time

Day 21 of NaPoWriMo asks for repetition. I’m not sure this is exactly what they had in mind, but it’s where I ended up.

close your eyes

I did have the NaPoWriMo prompt in mind today when I visited the Oracle. At least in terms of a song. My things are mostly in boxes, not drawers, at the moment–this is my third move in the last 18 months so it’s all junk now. I was also thinking how much I would like to just take an entire day and do nothing but sleep. Which led me to James and Joni. And the Oracle obliged.

all I want
is to sleep beneath
a still sky–
a shadow
of whispered light on water
moondreaming the wind

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.

equinox

summer s

gather well
in preparation
for winter

give good thanks
harvest the sharing
nature’s gifts

day then night
opposite equal
complete whole

wheel turning
the waning of light
enfolding

birdling center s

I’ve borrowed this birdlings collage from the archives to illustrate Frank Tassone’s #Haikai Challenge this week, autumn/spring equinox.

seasons lg s

I haven’t seen the birdlings since my previous move–they may be in storage.  But they are always here in spirit.

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.

the circle game part 2

circle game 2bs

Times Square is empty, like the weather—grey now, the colors drained like the empty subway cars, residing hidden in tenements, written in the isolation of morning coffee.  The Sunday newspaper remains undelivered (again) as even that thread of connection frays into feral cats in dark corners and the shadows of crows haunting the hometown I never knew.

All of this is imaginary, of course—flora and fauna are absent from this enclosed space, except as chimera, impoverished by the boredom of my own company, the same jeans and shirt waiting to be worn like the trackless days.  No Significant Other to keep me in, and an invisible barrier blocking me from leaving.  Outside my window a graffiti of exclamation points greets me each day behind the passing cars and on clear evenings I say “Goodnight Moon”, remembering bedtimes with small bodies close and sleepy and warm.

But the lines have been drawn, and as Joni reminds me, the seasons still go round and round.  We’re always captive on the carousel of time.

tomorrow
blue skies
growing new wings

circle game 2 close up s

The NaPoWriMo prompt today was “to fill out, in five minutes or less, the following “Almanac Questionnaire.” Then, use your responses as to basis for a poem.”  You can see the questionnaire here.

 

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Another Thirteen Days

apolcalyptic crow 2s

1
Crow sits
in the back
of my mind,

2
insistent call
searching
for the source.

3
Crow exists as a continuation–
night overlapping with day.

printed geese 2s

4
Dark shapes,
constant motion.
Behind my eyes,
constant motion.

5
I do not know which to prefer,
black branches
or the hint of green,
the waiting
or the surprise.

6
Wings cross the sky
of my isolation,
weaving through wind
rattling the glass,
suspended
between my longing
and the possibility of flight.

There's a crow flying # if I flew

7
Am I rising or setting?
Can light return
me to my rhythms,
or will only darkness come
to fulfill my desires?

8
I send messages
by breathing,
by listening
through the silences
of birds.

9
I mark the edges
with the songs
of memory.

crow #1s

10
The sky reflects
on the questions
that weave my solitude
with songs.

11
I walk the landscapes
of the unseen,
holding the fear
of endings
in the shadows
of glittering eyes.

spiral crows 2s

12
The sun rises above the roof.
Crow calls me to attention.

13
The days remain
undivided,
uncalendared.
Like the blackbird,
unknown.

13 blackbirds s

The NaPoWriMo Day 14 prompt asks for a poem that “deals with the poems, poets, and other people who inspired you to write poems” .  I return often to Wallace Stevens’ poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”.  Every time it opens new doors.  And Joni…

I have done numerous poems and works of art involving crows, and a selection of the art appears amidst the stanzas above.

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this is the place s