Volcano 1

what season is this?
dark, enigmatic, grown wild–
spilling from our eyes

don’t weep–
rings encircle
us inside life’s limits–
we must learn to accept
the turning of
the tides

Elisa Ang provided the artistic inspiration, above, for my series of volcano poems appearing this week at Pure Haiku. Serendipitously, the Kick-About recently hosted a prompt based on Turner’s painting of Mt. Vesuvius, for which I made a series of collages and wrote a cadralor of volcano-themed poems titled “In Search of Venus”. And Jane’s Oracle 2 words provided further inspiration for me to write five Badger poems to go with the volcano theme.

You can read my poem at Pure Haiku here. Thanks, as always, to Freya Pickard for her continued support of my work.

cold comfort

who will hear our voices?

winter winds our walls
snow our blanket

old news now–
drowned out
by the latest atrocities

“Ukrainian Figurines” by Kirill Shevchenko (Groder) Image by Кирилл Шевченко from Pixabay

David, at The Skeptic’s Kaddish, supplied the above photo for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday this week. I recently ran across a “42” poem I had written and the form seemed just right for this prompt. The situation in Ukraine is full of questions with no easy answers.

I did these collages in my early days of blogging, when Marcy Erb and I did a number of poetry and art collaborations. The poetic excerpt that inspired this work was from Frederick Turner.

On the Death of an Infant

Latecomer, first to go,
Like the small arctic flower
Between the snow and snow,
The fragrance of an hour. 

Frederick Turner (b. 1943) 

Every day new things demand our attention–but let us not forget the people of Ukraine.

shivering the mirror

and what if
you grew roots,
awakened spirit,
became treebound–
your blood flowing
glorious amidst sapwood–
your body suddenly
magnificent, unhewn—
your arms branching
toward the sun,
Familiar to birds,
ancient, floating
on the breath of wings–
your heartwood
trembling, weightless,
awash in light?

A quadrille for dVerse, where De has given us the word wing, and for earthweal, where Sherry has asked us to speak for the trees. I’ve also used Jane’s Oracle 2 words as inspiration.

ancient voices

Goddess was the first word that the Oracle gave me this morning. The collage above is a very old one I named “sha/wo/man”–it’s a stitched collage. I did a few of them about 10 years ago. I don’t know where the original is, but I recently found a photo of it in my files.

I found Ishtar in my files also–a message from the Collage Box Oracle in 2019 with a very similar theme.

I am listening for
the language of the goddess–
dishonored and swept away
by linear time

nightwings remember when
our motherworld was a sacred song,
a home for voices belonging
to the spirits of stars

if only we could soar
the daysky on our dreams

meditation

my mind ebbs, then flows out like an ocean sailing the wind–
empty channels drift away from the center to the edge–
multitudes of changing colour, condensed motion, thoughts full

I was going to write a sestina with Jane’s Oracle 2 words and I picked out six that called to me: ocean, colour, wind, edge, motion, full. But after writing the first stanza, it seemed too daunting, so I revised it into a sijo instead.

When looking in the archives for art, I immediately picked out the first painted mandala, but when I saw the collage I knew I had to include it too. It’s based on a painting by Nina’s father that she posted; you can read about it here. Nina has written several times about her father’s service in WWII and this is in honor of all our fathers and mothers and friends and relatives who fought and fight in the world’s continuous wars on this Veteran’s Day 2022. May we wake up and bring the need for them to an end.

Central Park Walk November 2022

1
It’s crisp but not yet glove weather.
Elongated shadows fall from the autumn sun.
Above the sky is so blue it looks unreal.

2
People are seated along the path, faces turned up toward the sun.
Construction workers eat their lunches together in Spanish.
Empty benches line the shaded side of the street.

3
Girls in short plaid school uniforms drift in bunches.
A couple walks slowly, holding hands.
A nanny sings softly to the child in her carriage.

4
Dogs wait patiently as their owners chat.
Squirrels chase each other, rustling leaves and bouncing branches.
Birds call in many languages; I only see sparrows and starlings.

5
The remains of the Marathon are piled up along Fifth Avenue.
Vestiges of Halloween decorations still linger on buildings.
Pine cones and needles mingle with oak leaves on the ground.

Brendan at earthweal discussed this week the intimacy of our landscapes. He suggested “a walk on the wild side”. This is not exactly a wild walk, but it’s my landscape, where I often go both to get from Point A to Point B here in the city, and to get outside of myself.

Also linking to dVerse OLN, hosted by Sanaa.

enumeration

1
ask about cloud children
secret and ocean born

2
come dance with life
flying on foolish beginnings

3
the vast healing rhythm of green
opens slowly into always

4
stars surround the idea of time
sailing the voices of trees

5
if we listen to nothing
we can hear the universe sing

My message(s) today from the Oracle.

When I was looking for art, I stumbled on the dot collages I did for NaPoWriMo 2017. I did not do the entire month, but I did create new art for each post–the only year I’ve done that. Lately I’ve been creating a lot of the month’s art ahead of time, inspired by one or more artists’ work–Joan Mitchell, Matisse, Diebenkorn, Redon. But this might be worth trying again. I can never recreate things I’ve done in the past, so it would be interesting to see how I would approach the project now.

misdirection, or:  the politics of suicide

listing waves of change–
immense confused unwell–
a bitter solitude–
fretful shapeless still

wilderness estranged–
damaged undazzled quelled
reversed and left unmoored–
a landscape murdered killed

misunderstood deranged
hypnotic words cast spells–
a whispered mania–
the mind unravels, spills

connection broken frayed–
once Paradise, now Hell

Bjorn at dVerse gave us the challenge of writing a bref double poem. I had a lot of trouble with the rhythm of this form, a dissatisfaction that I could only resolve by making the b and c rhymes similar.

Like Punam, I looked to Jane’s Oracle 2 words for inspiration and received a similar message.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Living  

I
He wanted mountains
as his final resting place:
climb and let me fly.

II
We climbed, ten,
The landscape open, no trees,
just empty and wide.

III
The black ashes fell up to the ground.
The sun remained in the sky.

IV
A camera captured
pieces.
All around earth rocks family
air.

V
Our conflicts dissolving
into suspended time,
breathing memories,
the connections blinding,
the future past.

VI
The shadow of inheritance.
The pull of familiarity.
Love crossed with contradiction,
no answers,
lost words,
absences
uncertain and unknown.

VII
O voice of silences
what would you say to us now?
Do you not seek the many questions
embedded in the reparations
we expect to find?

VIII
I know only murmurs
and the rhythm of searching.
But I know too
that death is involved
in what I know.

IX
When we came down from the mountain
our bodies flew,
scattered to many destinations.

X
At the sound of each day
and each day returning
we noted the discordant measure
of hours and years.

XI
He did not ask
for more time.
He did not seek miracles
or complain of cruelty.
He knew that all stories
have an end.

XII
Her mind departed
long before her heart failed.

XIII
We went back up the mountain.
It was different
and the same and the earth
the sky accepted anew
our darkest gift.

Joy has asked us this week at earthweal to talk about the first poems that helped you to find your own inner eye and voice, and write about it. I’m sure there were poems and poets that influenced me before Wallace Stevens, but none has been as central to me as his “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”. I’ve posted at least 4 variations of it, including one for earthweal.

But the poem above is the one that still cuts closest. The photos are cropped versions of panoramas composed by my older daughter from photos she took in the mountains of Arizona where my father requested that we spread his ashes. My mother did not make any request except to be cremated, but we managed to find the very same place to spread her ashes years later after her death. As I wrote in my original post:  I’ve been thinking about my parents.  My generation is becoming the elders now.  I do not think we are prepared for it.