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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.