Vacated

I’ve forgotten yesterday by the time today approaches.  The past is a dream I can no longer access—an afterthought, insubstantial—something I once acquired and then quickly lost.

But my hands remain busy, continually shuffling the cards. Each time I turn them over I see nothing–both sides are empty.  No surprise.  They have been empty for a long time now. 

The hours chase me unguided through tunnels of almost and maybe, seizing and destoying probably until it’s anyone’s guess.  My mind has become an imperfect mixture of what I can’t recall and what I don’t want to remember.

The wind tells me stories, invites me to become a passenger inside its song, cut loose from any need to reconstruct the places I have been, the ones that once contained my life.  I am weightless, free.  In the tender gray I swim undisturbed.

The prosery prompt at dVerse, chosen by Lisa, is from Celia Dropkin’s “In Sullivan County”.

In the tender gray,
I swim undisturbed.

I’ve also used Jane’s Oracle 2 words as inspiration.

frozen

bombs are cold
explosions of bitterness
sucking the warmth
out of what remains
of possibility

bombs are greedy
machines, meant only
to destroy, burn
any seeds, annihilate
life

bombs are hungry
voracious conduits
for our worst impulses
eating our souls
from the inside out

A quadrille for dVerse, where Lisa has given us the word warm. In 2014 I did a series called “What Is It Good For?” on memadtwo. There were, as always, many conflicts in the news. Hearing this song from Buddy and Julie Miller this morning, it reminded me of the art from those posts.

It also made me think again of how cold this winter will be for the Ukrainians and so many others the world over. How short our attention span. How little we have learned.

What IS it good for–the guns, the bombs, the dying? We know the answer.

who walks this nightpath

My message from the Oracle this morning. The first word she gave me was “animal” but it seems she meant their presence to be inferred by the Badger form.

ask the
long always for
sanctuary—beneath
seasons of riversong
here follows deep
between

why and
how to listen
when moonspirit is about–
wandering ancient light
through forested
earthshine

The art is from the archives–one of many mandalas I did for Sue Vincent’s prompts.

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.

River Man

She did not remember the way, but she remembered the times, the place.  She wanted to connect present to past.  She did not know how or where to begin, and yet she needed to try to construct that bridge.  Words were all she had now.

Two ways, really, even though she always pretended they were the same.  Or maybe it was only her longing that failed to understand that they were two, not one.

She had been dreaming of a river.  A man, a boat.  Trees, weeping, or was that her own voice, crying on the wind?  It had been summer once.  Flowered.  Sweet.

But here was the river again, littered with fallen leaves.  What magic word would turn back the seasons, dispel the haze, repair a lifetime that had already disintegrated into dust?

Was she coming or going?  In her dreams a voice kept repeating you have to choose.  But between what?  Who?  Did she get to choose who would be waiting on the other side of the river?  Or was she to be the one left waiting?

to begin,
become the current–
sing its song

Brendan at earthweal has more to say about rivers this week and poses the question: What voyages are found there, which deities are vast in its depths? It made me think of my response to the Kick-About #61 prompt, which was Molly Drake’s haunting song, “I Remember”.

I wasn’t aware of Molly’s connection to Nick Drake, but when I learned that she was his mother, Molly’s song immediately made me think of Nick’s song “River Man”. I took the feeling I got from both songs–a kind of remembering intertwined with uncertainty, loss, and the passing of time–and wrote the above prose poem, adding a haiku coda for earthweal, and some water art from my archives.

The River Knows Your Name (reprise)

The river has songs to fill every season.  I turn with the circles, swimming the wind that chases the water, bending around the curves, following the changes in tempo and depth, bound to the ripples that radiate from every slight disturbance of the surface.  Looking for the most efficient path.

I construct imaginary boats and then dismantle them, leaving the remains dashed and forgotten on the farthest shores.  The river continues, reflecting the sky’s transformations, a window opening into the changing light.

Stilled, I try to capture the current as it passes by, to fill my pockets with the riddles it holds inside its voice, all the wisdom gathered from its ancient repeated journeys.  I want to be cleansed of all the outside forces that try to bind me, to find again the center hidden somewhere inside that keeps escaping my grasp.  But I am too far, too long, too hindered by my own noise.  I have lost the lines and the point of the contents of my brain.

Let it go the river sings.

Not anything.  But.
And this too.  What seems.
To be.  There.  You are.

Brendan’s challenge prompt of rivers at earthweal brought to mind another recent post, consecration, that featured John Haitt’s title song as it’s coda. It, too, included the weekly words from Jane’s Oracle 2 generator.

And of course I can never have too much of John Haitt’s song.

consecration

a feather,
a rose, an apple–
small pleasures,
blessings of
continuity, gifts of
joint inheritance,

of stillness–
a hallowing that
exists if
we choose to
walk with the land—unhurried,
emptied, listening

I’ve used words from Jane’s random word list this week from the Oracle II, to answer Brendan’s call at earthweal to the wild stillness

Safari

“Living day by day with elephants, he had absorbed their deeper, more philosophical cues. In fact, he discovered in them the virtues he would work to develop in himself: courage, loyalty, the ability to trust (and the good sense to know when to be distrustful), fairness, patience, diligence, kindness, and humor.”
–Vicki Constantine Croke, “Elephant Company”

Step this way–
sink deep, uncreatured,
into the
mouth entombed
in death—enter the ceaseless
current of slaughter.

Destruction
overtakes rebirth,
permanent–
we cannot
remake the magic of earth,
uninculcate ends.

Silver tongues
make promises, kill
what little
is left, drunk
with power—bleeding life out
to termination.

Elephants once roamed in Syria, Turkey, and Iraq. This species became extinct about 100 BC due to overhunting for ivory. This is still a major threat to both elephants and rhinos, along with habitat loss, which includes all the ramifications of climate change. Poachers are looking for ingredients for traditional Asian medicine. Local residents see wild animals as threats, and/or kill them for food when other sources, such as agriculture, disappear due to extreme weather. And of course Western big game hunters love to take home trophies to prove how manly they are.

The Northern White Rhino recently became extinct.

Endangered African primates include the chimpanzee, the gorilla, the bonobo, and the drill. The cheetah is critically endangered, and lions and leopards are also in a vulnerable state.

Other critically endangered African species include the African penguin, the African wild dog, green turtles, pangolins, and hundreds of species of birds.

For earthweal, where Sherry asks us to consider how humans have changed the African landscape. I’ve used words from the Oracle II list generated by Jane this week.

All the art is from previous posts about endangered species. Interestingly, I only found one other poem written to go along with the images. Perhaps it’s because words are inadequate for me in the face of such a huge loss. It’s easier for me to draw or paint or collage my distress.

nightsong

A peaceful message from the Oracle this week. Even with some strange dreams, and the moon waking me, I’ve been sleeping well.

could I rest here
beneath the quiet dusk
let nightsong in

walk along ancient rivers
know the the intuition of trees
feel every growing thing

as earth follows
its rooted moonpath
into the birdlight of dawn