breathing

I woke up this morning thinking of Sue Vincent. The words the Oracle gave me reflect that. She must have been in my dream, although all I remember is the ending which had snow and bright yellow dogs.

The art I was drawn to when looking through the archives for something to illustrate the words was also done for Sue’s prompts.

almost like light
this dusky song
a gentle color

of secret sound
murmured by roots and rain

how to follow
through beneath beside

ask the ancient path
to walk with you

letting go

why wait for now to pass?
always living in to be
tomorrow is not where we are, ever

each minute, hour, a chance
encounter we can’t foresee
full of spans impossible to measure

where am I?  here and now
and no place else—out or in,
over or under, it doesn’t matter

each fragment itself whole–
each moment contained within
the present completeness of forever

I haven’t written a kerf poem in awhile. The W3 prompt this week, a response to Burden of Time by A. J. Wilson, also has the restrictions of 12 lines or less, and the use of the word fragment. The kerf, a 12-line poem, was just right. You can read A. J. Wilson’s poem here.

Illustrations are two variations on the seed of life motif.

Beyond After

For how can I be sure I shall see again the world on the first of May?  Until the end I thought it was the beginning of the middle.  Time happened, then all of a sudden what you once believed in could no longer be retreived.  The truth was hard, never soft, never easy.  But it contained a life.

May came, but you did not see it.

And so it begins, and so it ends, always with a question.  And if there is no answer to give—only a silence that acts as if asking were enough—how does the wheel turn?  Or is the question the pivot on a circle whose edge contains only unknowing, infinite stillness?  Is that where you are? 

How can I be sure?  Every answer is the wrong one in a world where there is nothing left to say.

A prosery for Merril’s prompt at dVerse of these words from Sara Teasdale.

“For how can I be sure
I shall see again
The world on the first of May”

I choose a place that is unfrequented by men

The moon has risen on the last remnants of night–
floating she brushes the heavenly stars.
The lake has widened till it almost joins the sky
and the mist rising from the water has hidden the hills.
Far off the Dipper lowers toward the river.
You’d think you’d left the earth–
body and spirit for a while have changed place
and open, open–
the world’s affairs, just waves.

A cento poem for NaPoWriMo Day 30. Thanks to Maureen Thorson for once again hosting this wonderful month of verse.

poets in order of appearance
Po Chü-i (title)
Po Chü-i
Li Po
Po Chü-i
Ou Yang Hsiu
Tu Fu
Ch’in Kuan
Po Chü-i
Li-Young Lee
Li Po

Beyond All Knowing

They wished to be passengers on a river of stars,
but the road they followed fell below the horizon,

a road that insisted on following darker paths.
Suddenly they found themselves accompanied by wolves.

The wolves ran through an expanding tunnel–
its walls were spattered with the past,

a past too scattered to contain or understand.
No door appeared within, no window,

no exit from the accumulations of bad intent,
the gods and humans that demanded obedience.

The wolves made no demands, but extended an invitation
to join them as they became transparent—

to join them in sheering the mind’s self-imposed limits.
They wished to be passengers on a river of stars.

A duplex sonnet for NaPoWriMo Day 27.

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.”

in tandem 1 and 2 (Earth Day 2022)

when you leave yourself behind,
where do you go?–
clouds a shimmering path

blue like a robin’s egg–
this liquid sky, darkening into shadow–
when you leave yourself behind

does the mirror look back
like a lake regarding the sky?
where do you go?

do fish see themselves in the stars?
do birds ride feathered waves?–
clouds a shimmering path

The prompt for NaPoWriMo today was to write a poem that uses repetition. That prompt was made for me. I had been working on and off all week for a poem for Sherry’s prompt at earthweal, to write from that place of holding onto wildness of soul. I thought that today, Earth Day, would be the time to post it.

So I took my ideas and made a cascade, but there were ideas left over, so I did a pantoum too. You can never have too much repetition in my poetry world.

when you leave yourself behind
(clouds a shimmering path)
where do you go?–
windsong the surface

clouds a shimmering path,
the lake regarding the sky–
windsong the surface
displaced by light

the lake regarding the sky–
as it hues the reflection
displaced by light,
does the mirror look back?

as the earth hues reflection,
do fish see themselves in the stars?
does the mirror look back
when birds ride feathered waves?

do fish see themselves in the stars
on the remnants of moontides?
when birds ride feathered waves,
do they flow into calligraphy?

on the remnants of moontides,
where do you go?
will you flow like calligraphy,
leave yourself behind?

As I’ve noted before, I attended the first Earth Day celebration in 1970 in Washington DC. Not too much has changed since then. We can do better.

if I call will you come

1
an enchantment spelled
in the blue whisper of your voice
disembodied in the dim light–
a pretense of sushi and saki–
a stolen hour

2
the stitches accumulate,
suspended from needles
awakening color and fiber
into patterns, images,
ideas, dreams

3
a glittering ocean of blue
starlight afloat
massive celestial waves
unmoored no longer conjoined–
an ancient sentient land

4
how can I remain here,
undecided on the edge,
an intruder seeking
to override forces
I neither recognize nor understand?

5
all tautness,
the bow hovers between
contingencies, conclusions, desires–
I hold my breath
inside the heart’s beating wings

The NaPoWriMo prompt today is to write a poem in which you first recall someone you used to know closely but are no longer in touch with, then a job you used to have but no longer do, and then a piece of art that you saw once and that has stuck with you over time. Finally, close the poem with an unanswerable question. A prompt that seems ready made for a cadralor. The first four stanzas answer the prompt. Stanza 5 is the conclusion required by the cadralor form, the one that illuminates a gleaming thread that runs obliquely through the unrelated stanzas and answers the compelling question: “For what do you yearn?”