grey morning

rain muffles the noises
of the heavy shrouded dawn

the city unfolds slowly,
tentatively,
as cars whoosh water in the wake
of the bursting clouds

blackness dissolves into spectral mist
the spots of windowlight disappear

colorless facades take their place
as the horizon shifts

the sense of yesterday lingers

like a pause waiting
between opposing forces
for one or the other
to tip the wheel around

today becomes a space

reserved for nothing
empty of ambition
of any sense
of being connected

pull the covers up

close your eyes

For dVerse MTB, hosted by Grace, where the poetic device is imagery.

Aliens

You meet me only on your own terms, describe me and put me into categories based on the systems created by the human mind.  You expect me to respond like you do, refusing to grant intelligence or even sentience to my interactions with others of my species, with the world I know, inhabit, understand.  You deny me even the dignity of knowing who I am.

The sea calls to you—it is where you came from, what you carry in the cells that form your body.  Before history begin, we were all one.  You believe in your own superiority, the pinnacle of a tree with many branches that was seeded in the ocean.  But the branches are subtle, complex.  Our paths are so divergent they intersect only on completely different layers of reality.

You consider the possibilities; I am all potential.  You struggle to reconcile body and mind; my brain is everywhere in my body, fully integrated into my entire being. We have no physical equivalence.  What makes you think your dreams are better, or more real?

what is a thought?  can
words capture it?  images,
colors, patterns—this

is music—transformations
into chords of utter joy

It took me awhile to figure out what animal to give a voice to for the earthweal challenge this week from Sherry, when animals speak. But I kept going back in my mind to a book I read last year by Peter Godfrey Smith, Other Minds, about the octopus but also about how life came to be. Cephalopods are truly alien forms of life.

They are their own canvas, their own clay, with malleable bodies that can change their skin both in color and pattern. Their mind is located throughout their body and arms, and they seem to both learn and play. Is it possible to ever truly understand their consciousness?

Joker’s Wild

sorry charlie fool s

It doesn’t matter if you say
no
in fact:  why not?
go ahead

I’m taking it with a grain of salt

It’s a blessing in disguise

I may have missed the boat but
I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it

in fact:  the sky’s the limit

And if I’m not playing
with a full deck:  so what?
I’ve got an ace in the hole

I’ve got the whole nine yards

I’ve got all the time in the world

joker s

Take a wild guess–what’s in my hand?
Gobbledygook?  Only a joke?
Hullabaloo?  Mirrors and smoke?

Juggle to play–where will they land?
Diamonds and kings?  Jack and a Trump?
Ace in the hole?  Or just a hunch?

Song and a dance–strike up the band!
Monkeys are here–business to make–
Chickens are counted–won’t calculate.

Quick!  Heads or tails?  Where do you stand?
Not fair at all?  Surely you jest–
I’m just a card–take a wild guess.

Two final fools for 2020, both from 2016. I wonder what inspired me that year? Let’s hope 2021 deals us all a better hand.

Castle in the Sky/the earth sings

Too much and too little of everything,
this disembodied crowd of kings and fools–
the culmination of faith is a leap into the unknown–
the spaces between are all that remains.

The details of life become blurred and distorted,
fragments scattered into ghosts
reflecting the collision of bottomless dreams and desires–
too much and too little of everything.

Plans go astray, linger unrealized.
The path is long and winding and there is no map —
what makes us think we have finally found the truth?
(this disembodied crowd of kings and fools)

Does only night reveal the secret of the star?
The past follows us no matter where we go–
how little is really necessary!
The culmination of faith is a leap into the unknown.

The earth embraces us, teeming with life–
what are we looking for?  where do we belong?
Will we recognize it when we reach our destination?–
the spaces between are all that remains.

memories are
woven into tales–
time and space
expanded
and compressed—fragments scattered
like ghosts of what is

no longer
there—we know why we
seek this thing–
Divine Light–
but there is no star, only an
endless procession

escaping
from its past—still we
always come
back again,
repeating the well trodden
paths of Holy fools–

and when our
destination finds
us what will
we see?  grace
reflecting the gift of life?
or the gold of kings?

I wrote these two poems (a cascade, and a shadorma chain) in response to a painting of the daylight travels of the Magi followed by multitudes of richly garbed men which was part of the Ekphrastic Review Holiday Challenge. These did not make the cut. But when I saw the Earthweal Challenge for the change we are, I thought they fit.

I know my prompt responses often seem to veer off course, and maybe this one is also in that category. Perhaps it stems from my sense of things not fitting properly in the world–myself included–which gives me a general inability to feel I am accurately responding to anything. But I also feel that’s where “we” are at this Solstice 2020. Changes are all around us, but it’s hard to find the proper light in which to tell exactly what they are.

with more art from the archives

Between

between full comp

The path connects the path divides,
the sky is rising like a tree–
the ending moves, retreats, and hides
what is, is not, has yet to be.

The sky is rising like a tree,
the land grows, following behind
what is, is not, has yet to be–
an offering returned in kind.

The land grows, following behind
the dance of water, spirits, earth–
an offering returned in kind–
a trance, a dream, remembered birth.

A dance of water, spirits, earth–
the ending moves, retreats and hides
a trance, a dream, remembered birth–
the path connects the path divides.

A pantoum for Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above.  I love the rhythm of circular dance that this form always evokes for me.

between close up wood s

I photographed the art on many many backgrounds; it looked different on each one.  But I kept going back to these two:  vivid blue and wood floor.  Each brings out a different aspect of the painting/collage.

between close up blue s

This is a reblog from February 2018. Sue’s prompts have inspired a lot of work that holds up for me when I look back at it. Her photos are always magical.

Linking to earthweal Open Link Weekend.

What Child is This

Picture
Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels, by Jean Fouquet (France) 1452-1458

She did not seek this role.  She contemplated her pose, the way her body was placed rigidly on the dais inside the carefully staged script.  Why had they shaved her head, bleached her skin until it reflected like the porcelain doll they placed on the stiff folds of her heavy cape?  Who had created this idea of an infant, disproportionate and so unlike any real child?

The crown, heavy and ill-suited to her countenance, threatened to tumble from its uneasy perch.  As did her entire being from the painted backdrop, so eerie and haunted—the flattened throne, the red demon angels who lacked either substance or joy.  The wall behind it all, painted blue to match her skimpy dress, conjured no images of either nature or heavenly dream.

And why expose a breast that could neither give sustenance or be received by an artists’ idea of a child?  Real children were indeed holy, scared even, alive in all their chaotic glory.  Real angels were full of light, kin to birds, to the cosmos that shone in the actual sky.  A real mother would be full of the earth, flesh blood and breath.

She thought of seeds being planted, how the light returns each year to bring the world to life. She longed to be standing, unadorned, down there, amidst the cacophony of this crowded orb.

circle dance
a child comes to be
and welcome

Jean Fouquet’s Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels was the Ekphrastic Review prompt challenge this week. My haibun was not chosen, but even among the ones published on the website today, there was some ambivalence about this representation of mother and child. I obviously had more than some. You can read the selections on the website here, and Jane Dougherty’s responses to the painting, here.

exposed

“That what you fear the most
Could meet you halfway”
–Victoria Williams, Crazy Mary

we live both predator and prey
our expectations threatening–
attack, suppress, retreat or stay,
we live both predator and prey
to welcome or to turn away
each action, choice, a reckoning—
we live both predator and prey
our expectations threatening

Sherry at Earthweal this week challenges us to think about our relationship with sharks, or the idea of sharks. I chose to focus on the fear, a good stand-in for many of our anxieties about living in and being part of a connected world.

Ever since Laura at dVerse posted her prompt with a link to eight line poetry forms, I have been fooling around with some of them. This poem is a triolet.

december morning

The Oracle was feeling mellow this morning. I can use some mellow.

This photo was taken out my window of last month’s (nearly) full moon.

here beneath this thick blue
winter world
I watch the murmur
of almost dawn

seeds rooted in the night
tendriling a path through
dark into day

I follow still
spirited full with secrets
breathed by the moon