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

Traveling in the Wilderness

Mid the woods,
snowdusk shadows are
spare–lovely
but cold, dark,
clinging like shaded brume and
wandering silent and deep.

Drawn here but
not belonging, I
do not have
promises
of morning or an end to
this vigil I keep

of if and
beyond—all those miles
now lost to
me.  I go
in circles of before–I
beg the night for sleep.

The Kick-About prompt this week was the last 4 lines of Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. I was struggling with my poem, a shovel poem (using the words of Frost’s lines as the last words in the lines of my poem) in the shadorma form, when Sarah at dVerse posted her prompt suggesting titles taken from “Surfacing” by Kathleen Jamie. The idea of traveling in the wilderness helped me find a focus.

I had already spent a long time fooling around with the art. The diorama I planned didn’t work out as I expected, but I liked the background paintings I did more than I thought I would.

Done on very wet rice paper, with black ink and silver and pearl metallic watercolor, they had much more of the feeling of Frost’s words than I expected. The diorama on the other hand, failed to match my vision, and I took 50 photos to come up with just a few that I liked.

Still I learned from the experience, including how natural light is much more blue than that from my drawing table lamp which has a yellow cast.

And I got a surprise in the monoprint that emerged from under one of the wet rice paper paintings which also seemed to capture well the feeling of my poem.

Vestiges

What abides
contains emptiness
waiting for
what cannot
return.  What abides remains
forever unfilled.

What abides
is quintessence—the
embodiment
of a way
of being—the exchange
of rudimentals.

What abides
contains entire lives
together
and apart–
more than a remembering–
opened held nowhere.

A quadrille for dVerse, where Jade has given us the word abide.

beyond dawn

I was thinking about the painting I did yesterday when I consulted the Oracle this morning. A shadorma for Colleen’s #tankatuesday. Sue Vincent provided the inspiration with her haiku, below.

clouds cover the moon,
beyond dawn’s pale horizon
sun rises unseen

haiku ©2020 Sue Vincent

sky of still
water—open me
to borning,
this healing
breath that listens to stars be
tween morning and night

If the circle opens, will it become a line? (new moon/almost like praying)

I wanted to reblog my response to an old prompt of Sue Vincent’s in honor of the New Moon this weekend. The Oracle had something to say about it too.

In my original post, I explained my inspiration: I discovered this week that the plural for luna mare (moon sea) is lunar maria …is that wonderful, or what?  So when I saw Sue Vincent’s Luna photo prompt, above, I had to incorporate it into my response.

Here’s the poem I wrote for Sue’s photo:

The arc of
lunar mountains, edged
dark with bays
of basalt…
Maria!—your names reflect
as mirrors to fill

with sorrow,
forgetfulness, snakes,
storms and fear.
Can we find
the sea of tranquility
and sail into dreams?

between is and if only
we listen
as earth grows restless

breathing wild ancient song
beneath murmuring leaves

climbing windshine
over rock rooted paths

wandering through the hidden secrets
of the moon’s dark night

And of course this song is still and always appropriate.

You can see 14 other interpretations of “Maria” here.

Also linking to Earthweal Open Link Weekend.

spirits of place

infused with
what?  forms shimmering,
unfocused,
almost not
there—breaking into bits of
color, sprinkled light–

watching the
air, you can’t quite be
lieve, place, what
you thought you
saw, significant portions
of which have faded

into blurred
memories that have
discarded
their presence–
the lost and found of the mind,
a vast space without

an index–
tangled up with myth,
stray remnants
dismissed as
merely imagination–
how do we discern

what is true?
maybe what is real
is really
made up—all
wrapped together in spirits
that are beyond sense

Brendan at earthweal discussed land-spirits and asked us to write about a local spirit. My locale has been NYC for 50 years, but within the city it has been constantly on the move. I thought first of birds and trees, which made me think of my own trees that move with me from place to place. My lemon trees are nearly 30 years old, grown from seeds planted by my older daughter as a young child. I also have a corn plant tree, rescued from the basement discard room in an apartment building I lived in briefly about 15 years ago.

tree sprit face tree 3s

I carry their spirits with me, but I have also given them form from time to time. Like the plants, they provide companionship and continuity, a living connection to reciprocal relationships that exist without needing any specific place or time.

tree sprit face tree s

POPO 2020 part 2

many books
speak of the one way–
what is real?
close your eyes
and listen to what you see–
try to remember

This year I participated in POPO the August POetry POstcard Fest–where the challenge is to send a different postcard with a poem you’ve composed for each day in August, 31 in all. This is the second installment, with cards 3 and 4.

I decided to do shadormas, as they would fit easily on the back of a postcard, and to connect them through repeating part of the last line of each poem to the first line of the poem for the next day. The last line of the poem from day 2 was “to fill many books”

remember
the interior
spiraling
while the out
side remined calm, in
visible, rooted

You can see cards 1 and 2 here. To be continued…

passing

In the mirror I
am only a face–
a fleeting facade,
disembodied,
always incomplete.

I recognize it, but I
do not feel attached–
I dislike the lines,
the dark circles,
the sagging jowls.

Our interactions are
conditional, brief.
My face is
interesting in the way
of all faces,

but not memorable or
distinct—brown hair
brown eyes behind glasses–
averagely past its prime–
I could be anyone.

I see the years in
my hands and I
celebrate them.
Why is my aging
face a source of shame?

Our bodies are merely
ephemera—transitory,
waiting to be
discarded—waiting to release
our spirits to the wind.

This is some more old work I never posted because I was moving. It was inspired by two prompts: The Kick-About prompt of Joseph Cornell’s “Romantic Museum”, which was part of an exhibition dedicated to portraits of women, and the dVerse prompt from Sarah asking for self-portraits. As I said to Phil when I submitted my response to the Kick-About: what woman do I know better than myself?

The hand holding a needle in Cornell’s work, above immediately attracted my attention. I wanted to do something on newspaper, but I couldn’t collage (my first choice) as my glue was packed.  My needles and floss were not, however, and this also seemed appropriate to Cornell’s work.

I was pleased to find a newspaper page with a photo of hands.  I drew my own, and also my face, and stitched and wrote my reflections based on the drawings.  It’s not quite finished, but maybe that’s the correct response too.

linking to dVerse Open Link Night, hosted by Grace

wake up

I needed
herbal tea and drank
peppermint
chamomile
lemon ginger—aromas
filled the afternoon

awakened
this morning my head
pounded with
forgotten
caffeine—I had neglected
to include coffee

I needed
to smell the coffee
pot brewing–
inhale
the cup–cravings satisfied–
snug, reblanketed

I wrote two blanket poems yesterday–one was depressing and the other too enigmatic, to put it kindly. This poem came to me spontaneously this morning as I waited for my caffeine to brew–along with a drawing to help the time pass more quickly.

A quadrille for dVerse, where Merril has given us the word blanket