fullness

Full was the first word that jumped out at me from the Oracle, but in the end it didn’t fit into what she wanted me to say. But it works as a title I think.

When I’m looking for images to illustrate a poem I search through old posts. I found some of these photos when I searched for trees in memadtwo, from a trip I made to visit my brother and his wife when they were living in Asheville, NC. Like me, he’s moved a lot–after 15 years and 3 cities in North Carolina, they are on their way back to Ohio again. So I probably won’t get back to Asheville.

But the photos and my memories of the landscape fit with the mood of the Oracle.s words today.

when moonspirit walks between
nightshading

listen like stones in the riverpath

follow deep rootblankets
through dark earth

resting at dawn
quiet beneath birdtendriled
ancient trees

sabbatical

It seems like every day I read a new article about the need for a sabbatical from technology and the fast pace of the world. Those slow pandemic days are fading fast.

Some people talk about a secular Sabbath, some want to revive the religious one. Some people propose not only ditching technology for 24 hours each week, but creating new shared rituals and places for community during those times. Some talk about just taking a day to go and sit with the trees, to experience the world at their pace. I wonder how many of us could actually slow down and withdraw from our devices enough to actually spend a day that way.

And all of these ideas are a hard sell in a capitalist world.

the water reflects
the world through the trees dappled
sky moving over
rocks and feet planted
like hushed reeds waiting to sing
the songs of quiet movement
and transforming light

This drawing is part of my attempt to try different things in my art journal. Many artists write on their pages as well as draw. The image is based on an advertisement photo–I removed the models and the product (I can’t remember now what it was) and wrote spontaneously about the landscape. Whatever they were selling, I wasn’t buying. But I always notice trees.

let life move
while you rest outside
and listen

For earthweal, Interdependence Day.

unmoored

suddenly you open,
falling back into what
was ere, senses bare, taut,
returned, stepped through–

like dusk that silences
the sun, rooted in deep
layers of shadowed sleep,
awaiting night–

the point of transfer is
never clear—the threshold
disappears—uncontrolled,
adrift and lost–

each moment lingers too
long—endings shrink, tied fast
to darkness, floating past
what can’t be seen–

hints of color, mirage
of movement just beyond–
all sense of distance gone–
who owns this fate?

For Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above, and Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, an abhanga using synonyms for loose and tight.

Currents

How far, how
long?  Is forgotten
gone?  Today
can stretch out
ahead and behind towards both
retreat and escape.

Form has no
real boundaries—light
shifts, guarding
waves wielded
in ways we misunderstand
and fail to protect.

Things change when
we try to measure
them—they be
come contained,
finite, solid, orderly–
ordinary—fixed.

A shadorma chain for Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above, and Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday words past and present.

Even changing the orientation of an image reconfigures how you see it.

Additional inspiration courtesy of Marcy Erb and Tom Waits.

the collision of infinity

My heart was split, and a flower appeared
–Solomon

the stillness rises,
leaving trails, glittering dust,
illuminated–

illuminated
path, column to sky portal–
what is left behind?

what is left behind
fills the silence, the silver
unmooring the ghosts–

unmooring the ghosts,
the whisperer raises limbs,
phantoms smoldering–

phantoms smoldering
from cracks growing like branches,
brambled, wintering–

brambled wintering,
hard as stone–not casting spells,
she is praying them,

she is praying them,
unshrouding the rapt tempest
as it waits, glowing,

as it waits, glowing
through trajectories of light
into the unknown–

into the unknown,
weeping, she follows, verged—her
eyes are full of birds

Laura at dVerse has challenged us to write mystic poetry for Advent.

Also linking to the earthweal challenge of Advent for Earth.

unexplained

unexplained s

gathered in
like harmony
spilling out
like wings

like harmony
a stillness
like wings
unfolding

in stillness
each chord
unfolding
the world

each chord
filling
the world
with song

filling
the edges
with song
reaching

unexplained close up s

the edges
uncontained
reaching
the invisible

uncontained
singing
the invisible
to eternity

singing
beyond reason
to infinity
all needs

beyond reason
spilling out
all needs met
and gathered in

An unrhymed pantoum for Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above.

the ancient shores of galaxies still call

printed geese 1s

I stand facing the ocean
tides of wing and air–
time fades into mystery,
emptied of illusions

sea sketch 2s

tides of wing and air
held in light–
emptied of illusions
I swim in dream languages

forms die s

held in light
horizon merges into skylandsea–
I swim in dream languages,
wordless songs that awaken stories

elaborate music s

 

horizon merges into skylandsea
consumed by rivers of stars–
wordless songs that awaken stories
mirrored in ethereal blue

ocean pencil drawing s

consumed by rivers of stars
time fades into mystery–
mirrored in ethereal blue
I stand facing the ocean

blue 2s

For earthweal, sacred (sea)scapes.  How many poems have I written about the sea?  As many as I have about birds and stars and moons.  This unrhymed pantoum contains lines from many of them.  The artwork is from my many previous ocean-themed posts as well.

A Field Guide to Getting Lost

sue labyrinth s

After “The Owl” by Arthur Sze

I believed I was lost.
Night was on its way–
the path was purple in the dust
and seemed to have ended.
I had arrived here
without a destination.
I longed for sanctuary,
a resting place.

I saw an owl, perched,
watching me.
I spread my arms,
willing wings to appear
so I too could shelter
on a branch.

But I remained earthbound,
weary and alone.
And when the owl stirred,
a fine dust formed patterns
in the disappearing light.
It was as if a portal had opened.

Constellations
fell from its wings.  I was
surrounded by the cosmos,
spiraled into a glowing darkness
and deposited in a held breath.
All was silent then.  And I felt
safe, like the arms of the universe
held me in a vast sacred space.

Nothing stirred forever–then I sensed
the owl quaver.  And at dawn, waking,
I saw with clarity the world
becoming new, transforming
into a landscape that never existed
before now.  The path was green
and meandered back into itself.

I could not see where
I was going but it felt
familiar, like I had circled
with the seasons, following
the path of the planets dancing
with the sun and moon.

We emerged
reborn
into the
May light.

I’m bringing together a lot of different trains of thought here, so bear with me.

in the middle of now june 2016 grid s

The Kick-About challenge #6 is Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost.  Though I have not read that particular Solnit book,  I have read at least one essay she has written about labyrinths (“Journey to the Center” from The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness), and that’s the first thing that came to mind.

A labyrinth is not a maze–there is only one path in and one path out.  Labyrinths have been found in cultures all over the world, and are often used as forms of ritual or pilgrimage–a way to return to the source, to lose yourself in something larger and as a result find yourself again.

Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above, gave me that feeling too–could not those paths be circuits on a labyrinth, doubling back to the beginning of the journey?

mapping the wind s

Labyrinths have been linked to circles, spirals, and mandalas–all patterns of sacred geometry.  They have been compared to a map of the brain.

Solnit:  “Getting lost was not a matter of geography so much as identity, a passionate desire, even an urgent need, to become no one and anyone, to shake off the shackles that remind you who you are, who others think you are.”

map labyrinth s

 

When you walk a labyrinth you are walking the same path to and from the center, yet the journey in and out are not at all the same.  The seven circuit labyrinth is often layered with rainbows, mirroring the 7 chakras, the 7 notes of the musical scale, the 7 sacred planets, the 7 days of the week. The journey creates a bridge from earth to the cosmos and back again. In a symbolic death, you return to the womb, shedding the things you have acquired but no longer need.  Rebirthing back to the entrance/exit you open yourself to finding new patterns, new ways of being in the world.

chakra painted labyrinth s

Lost can mean adrift, forgotten, missing, but also captivated or consumed.  Lost can be hopeless or bewildered but it can also be rapt, immersed.

Solnit: “…to be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery.”

owl moon s

This poem is another instance where I spread out the lines of someone else’s poem and filled in the empty spaces with my own thoughts.  You can read Arthur Sze’s original poem here.

 

Who drinks your tears, who has your wings, who hears your story?
Rebecca Solnit, “The Faraway Nearby”

go make people s

 

among the purple heather

among the purple s

solitude
unwinding beneath
meandering
skies, layers
circling back on themselves, cross
currented by wind–

trees sweep leaves
into shapes–shivered,
spilled over
edges, cast
shadowed with spirits holding
earth connecting air

scattering
blossomed voices—bells
calling words
into breath,
into dances that whisper
sanctuary—“come”

For Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above.

I recently came across a video that talked about asemic writing, and using it as a prompt for extracting poetry from your unintellible scribbles. I decided to use Sue’s photo as a guide for my asemic composition, first using fine point markers in colors that echoed the landscape.  I then freewrote what I thought my marks were trying to say.

among the purple ansemic s

After that I took watercolor pencils, dipped them in water, and wrote asemically again over the markers, blurring both.  I looked at what I had written in my initial response, extracted some of the ideas, and formed them into a shadorma chain to go with the final composition.

among the purple close up s

 

When I saw Sue’s photo, the first thing I thought of was the traditional Scottish song “Wild Mountain Thyme”.  Joan Baez did a famous version, but I think the one I remember most from my youth is by the Byrds.  It’s been covered and reinterpreted by artists as varied as Van Morrison, the Clancy Brothers, and Ed Sheeran.  I listened to a lot of them, but I really like this one by Kate Rusby.

among the purple ansemic close up s