The following is a collection of poems and musings that landed on me beginning in May and up through the present. I want to spend more of my time crafting poetry, even really bad poetry, because it allows me the opportunity to approach my relationship to the land from a different perspective. When I have to change the rules of language to support a thought it allows me creativity and Awen comes to wash me clean again. I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.
Becoming the Pine
There is a Blue Spruce
in the yard
and it filters light
through the kitchen window
on grey days it catches the rain
while I watch out the window with my son
the water tumbles over
the green needles
to the eager mound of Earth
stepping out the front door
a toddler hugging my knees
the rain washes over
my twisted limbs
upon my growing son
I am a graying elder
I am a growing child
There are times when I want the roof of my home to crack open like an eggshell over my head and let the rain pour in and soak everything. There are times when I want a dying pine tree to topple over and make his final resting place in my bedroom. Invite the Wild into my living room, let the black bears hibernate in my couch, the raccoon can eat canned ravioli in the kitchen sink, the seagulls can nest in the bathtub. My son will play with coyote pups and my wife will teach knitting to the groundhogs. I will listen to the sound of chickadees nesting in the open microwave and the mice will use the oven racks for a jungle gym. Ivy will grow up the wall and over the television, moss will cover the electrical outlets. Beavers will dam up the washing machine and flood the basement. There is a moose sifting garbage in the garage and a family of deer are playfully jumping up and down on the hood of the car. In the bedroom, the mirror fell off the wall and stares at the sky in surrender.
Stepping out into the wild next door
I walk with ungraceful strides over the ferns and through the witch hazel,
in the place of four bears,
sometimes my footsteps cross their tracks
and nothing is familiar
except maybe the mosquitoes
my bare arms are not bear arms
and the sentinel pines offer no protection
and while I wander over mossy rocks in large dumb circles
the wild watches me in spreading awareness
like a fly caught in a gossamer thread
and the twisted trunks smile at me in amusement
the mosquitoes draw her price from me a thousand times
and my arms are itchy scars
Nature is a blood rite.
Black Fly Tidings of May
Black beads buzzing around my head in silly circles
Lightly touching, itching,
Shooing away from ears and eyes.
I’m not sure why it makes me sigh.
Leaning on a White Pine,
There is Honey in my beard and a buzzing in my ears,
with my back touching the tree I’ve known for years.
Skiing into the Summerland
Blessed is the smell of earth in the springtime up one’s nose,
And blessed is the grass one feels in between their naked toes,
And blessed is the sun we feel, upon our naked brow,
And blessed is the carefree feel, as before the spring we bow.
Before the gnats and mosquitoes perch, to taste our red liquor,
Below the skin their proboscis search, and drive us back indoors,
We have but a week, or perhaps 10 days, before the armies fly,
To lay upon the greening Earth and bask beneath the sky.
To whit young man upon the ground, his lady love in reach,
And naked laying arms outstretched, might be a summers ripened peach
If the armies of the black fly king, were to search and seek him out,
And chase that screaming ninny fool, that whining silly lout.
Yet bask he does beneath the sun of summer’s prognostication,
Upon the grass, beneath a tree in the land of eternal vacation.
Without a mosquito or black fly found, to land upon his skin,
And seek the beating blood and veins that he has so rich within.
The sun declines on western lines, the coolness never felt,
As his naked form has lost for norm, a overcoat or pelt.
And as the twilight settles in, his lady gone to home,
The night begins just warm enough, to simply cool his bones.
As the mistress moon glides overhead, the Earth sheds off her heat,
And the coolness of the sod below, sucks fire from his seat.
He shivers lightly in the night, frost forming on his lips
And in the dawning of the light, has crowned his fingertips.
His feet won’t thrum, his heart won’t beat, his hands will ne’er grasp,
The feeling of the summer grass, the shuddering cold and final gasp,
The songs of summer soft and sweet, of grilled and charred and perfect meat,
The Spring in Maine is often cruel, by daytime Litha by nighttime Yule.
Last night, I saw some clouds absolutely illuminated in silver moonlight though the moon remained obscured. It drew my attention and I began thinking about this object in the night sky. Our ancestors identified the passage of time by all these easily observable celestial bodies. This is of course, the basis for many of our Pagan festivals and holidays.
It fills me with a sense of awe(n) when I look at things online like computer models of the galaxy and galaxy clusters. The distance between things in space is far more vast than what I can comprehend without relative terms. I’ve heard people try to point out that this makes us insignificant and yet, I don’t feel insignificant. I feel important and legitimate no matter how many stars and galaxies there may be. I also feel that the way I see things is a unique perspective on how the Universe interprets itself and that my experiences are valid and real.
So I think about how Organic ritual must have been for our ancestors as they stared at stars and wondered about what they were and what it meant that they were there in the first place. I imagine that sense of bewilderment and the meaning that came out of it. It makes sense to start with celestial events. I wonder if the celestial holidays, the observation of the changing Earth and the Seasons, isn’t our most observed holidays because it was the first and most recognizable. I also love the idea of smaller rituals in which we honor more individual concepts to the gods of place.
In a very real sense, it seems to me that our ancestors probably did the exact same thing. There were these large, observable correspondences upon which the basic structure hung and then they filled it in with other immediately observable events. If you think about it, isn’t that exactly how life developed here in the first place? A large blank canvas upon which life began and filled in organically?
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