welikia

I see you
superimposed on
the landscape,
melting in
to the shadows of buildings,
sidewalks, trunks of trees–

woodfern
sweetpepper bush cherry
maple oak
panicgrass
fleabane hornbeam chestnut
marsh blue violet–

I float on
streams to the river–
pickerel perch
otter duck–

climb paths up forested hills–
bear fox rabbit deer–

My Lady
of Mannahatta–
swallowtail
buckeye spring
azure monarch
–you gather
me windwhispering

on hawkwings–
full green animate,
this island

return me
to the timeless before, when
land was shared, not owned

Welikia means “my good home” in the Lenape language. The Lenape tribe were the original inhabitants of Manhattan and the surrounding lands. Their main village was where Yonkers is now; they had temporary structures on the island of Mannahatta for use in hunting, fishing, and gathering.

The Welikia Project is an interactive map of New York City, where you can find out about the biodiversity and landscape of the island in 1609, before it was developed by Europeans. The idea that the Dutch “bought” the island was not one shared by the native peoples they then forced to leave the land.

Today, the NaPoWriMo prompt is “to write a poem that recounts a dream or vision, and in which a woman appears who represents or reflects the area in which you live.”

almost

The first part of this one went quickly, but the Oracle made me work for the last 2 lines. Only when I decided to see if I could make the word “illusions” would She let me complete it. “Life is but a dream” or so they say.

sleep whispers
in tongues of blue mist–
as if moons
seadream light
though shadows above still water–
illusions of time

Dear Refugees

We have heard
and noted your cries
for help.  Un
fortunate
ly our sovereign borders
are currently closed.

We fear that
we must turn away
from any
images
of drowning, freezing, starving.
They disturb our sleep.

But we are
not completely heart
less.  We will
send you our
Condolences, as well as
our Thoughts and Prayers.

For earthweal, where Sherry, after bringing us up to date on the flooding in her Canadian homeland, asked us to write Verse Letters: a form of address, akin to dramatic monologue, to all parties involved – letters to the lost, perhaps; to those who caused the extinction;  or to those of us who are in the middle.

kinship

to belong
is a feeling–not
words over
heard in pass
ing, but a garment to wear–
it keeps you warm, this

chorus sung
by many voices–
it tells you
how to clear
your self, opening to be
come filled, become found

Sarah at dVerse shared with us once again the paintings of Fay Collins, and asked us to write to what we see in her images. I did not pick any particular landscape, but used the entirety of her work as inspiration for both my words and my watercolor, which reflect her immersion in and love of the earth.

Also linking to earthweal, where Brendan has asked us to praise what matters.

You can see the work of Fay Collins here.

Souvenir

I could not
look at it from be
fore or aft
er, only
the angle of gone, dissolved,
empty, vanishing–

not just the
material thing
that had been
dispossessed,
but what it represented–
a piece of myself,

never to
be recovered–and
here I am
left watching,
clinging to impermanence
like water and wind

“The Kick-About prompt of souvenir seemed perfect: my daughter had given me a small sketchbook, and every day I sat on my beach chair with my feet in the waves doing a drawing, and then writing a haiku to accompany it.  The sketchbook would be my souvenir.

On the last day of my beach vacation the ocean was quite rough, due to Hurricane Henri passing by, so I sat far up on the sand, where only a small piece of a dying wave occasionally brushed my toes.  Holding my sketchbook up to let the watercolor pencil drawing dry I was suddenly totally upended by a rogue wave that covered me completely. I stood up, soaked, clutching my pencils in one hand, but watching my sketchbook being pulled under and out to sea. 

I will replay that image in my mind for a long time, maybe forever.

When I got home, I channeled my emotional turmoil into neocolors, drawing from memory the ocean that was now fixed in my mind.  The sketchbook drawings were so much more beautiful though.  At least that’s how I’ll always remember them.”

For dVerse, where Ingrid asks us to attempt “writing your way out of a place of pain“. I drew it first, then I wrote.

now, when

what crowns morn
ing what binds begin
ning connects
endings to
portaled timelessness what re
news continues life

if not birds
if not stars if not
dawn if not
rain wind sky
if not fertile earth turning
into trees—what then?

For earthweal, spending some time with trees. My painting is, once again, inspired by Joan Mitchell’s tree paintings which I return to again and again.

anomalies

phantasma
goria exposed
by shadows
dissolving
into borrowed wings eclipsed
by casting out light

11 surrealist women artists take centre stage for the ...

I’m behind a few weeks on posting my contributions to the Kick-About, but this is the most recent, a collage inspired by Sheila Legge’s Phantom of Surrealism, above. Masked in roses, she was photographed in a white dress and gloves, surrounded by pigeons in Trafalgar Square, a performance inspired by a painting by Dali.

Woman with a Head of Roses, 1935. By Salvador Dalí ...

I was drawn to the statuesque quality of the photo, particularly given the location, and I can never resist using birds in a collage.

And of course we all don our own masks–some are just more obvious than others.

Twenty Years

I had written my own poem earlier in the week, but since the anniversary of 9/11 is on a Saturday, I also consulted the Oracle. We are both feeling the shadows and the ache.

ghosted, these
ruins—shadows left
imprinted
on this day–
each returning resurrects
the ache of absence

beneath blue skies
death shows up
raining red

the day lives raw
our dreams ache
with rust and blood

language is shadowed
as if love
will never be recalled

music whispers
on the wind
through still light

shadorma/liala

the landscape
pauses, quiescent–
waiting on
the edge of
movement—no time passes here–
framed in memories

Colleen’s #TankaTuesday prompt this week was an interesting one–

  • First, choose your favorite syllabic poetry form. Write your poem.
  • Next, give your poem some different characteristics to make it something different. You can change the syllable count, rhyme scheme (add or get rid of it), anything you want to create a new form. Write this poem.
  • Give your new syllabic poetry form a name.

I chose shadorma. How to change it? I had noticed before that all the lines had odd numbers of syllables, so I added one syllable to each line, to make them all even.

landscape pauses,
quiescent, waiting on
movement’s edge—no
time passes here–
a stilled photograph of silence–
time framed in memories

Thinking of a name was difficult. Shadorma seems to be totally made up, although several people noted the similarity to the word shadow. So I decided to pick a name with a beginning from light. I ended up with Liala, because I like the sound of it and the repetition of the a ending. It’s evidently a girls’ name but I could find no meaning for it.

There is a subtle difference between the odd and even syllabled poems, but I’m not sure which one I like best.

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.