Monday, May 16, 2022

EIGHT LESSONS IN TRAINING A GOSHAWK

 


I
First, I had to become invisible,
so she could learn to accept me.
We sat the difficult, patient,
excruciating hours together,
her hooded, at times, for calmness,
my eyes averted,
until she could be with me unmasked,
without fear.


II
Next, I had to make her hunger,
so when I offered food
on my extended fist
she would come to me.
This was a dance that took some time
to choreograph.


III
I did not know,
until she laughed,
that goshawks were capable
of play.


IV
We walked the hill to the field in dread,
her on my arm,
she because she was terrified,
I because I feared
she'd fly away.


V
The hardest thing to learn
was trusting
she'd return.


VI
It took many fails a day
for a week,
her falling, hobbled,
to the ground,
angry and glaring,
and then we got it right -
she flew right to me.


VII
In the brambles,
her first time loose,
caught by the bracken,
her yellow eyes
looked to me
for rescue. Trust.


VIII
I thought I was training her
to be a goshawk,
but she was teaching me
to unite my wild and human parts,
until my spirit rose
from its bed of grief
and flew.


for my prompt at earthweal: Lessons From the Wild. This was the story Helen Macdonald told in H is For Hawk, a most fascinating tale of an inter-species relationship.


Saturday, May 14, 2022

The Last Star of the Morning



Traveler walks like a moving tree,
like a wind-whisper, singing,
like the breath
of dawn.

Traveler is a
part of the landscape;
she carries with her
a corner of the sky.

Traveler rises
with the morning sun.
She is always walking towards
the next sunset.

There is the last star of morning
on her shoulder.
She wears the first star
of evening in her hair.

The moon is her mistress,
a songbird flies
from branch to branch
beside her,
and a wolf-shadow
companions
her every step.


A very old poem from the series of Traveler poems I wrote during NaPoWriMo in April 2011, shortly after Pup's death. That series of poems came from somewhere else. It was like taking dictation. That hasn't happened for a long while now. Sharing with earthweal's open link.


How To Emerge From Lockdown

 


How shall I emerge from lockdown?
Cautiously, like a hedgehog poking its nose
out of its burrow, checking to see if it's spring?
With masks, since the virus is still here, lurking,
though most are pretending it isn't?

I was already a recluse, a hermit,
content in my small rooms. During lockdown,
all that changed was I went out into the world,
when I did, briefly,
with a mask. And will I ever be comfortable
revealing my naked face to the world again?

I may just continue making
short visits out, then come happily home.
Lockdown is lifted, but people are still
falling ill after they gather.

It's Saturday, and this is what I know:
sometimes the world won't let itself be sung.
But we can sing to it, until the frogs
begin to croak in small springtime creeks,
sing to it until it is ready to sing 
its own sweet song again.


An offshoot of Jim Moore's How to Come Out of Lockdown. The italicized line is his.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Words

 


Words are my currency. Spending them
is my satisfaction - this stringing of thoughts,
of phrases, trying to find the ones that create
a moment of connection - with you, and with
whoever might pick up my poems after I am gone:
to find me, come this way.

My work is to explain my heart,
even though I cannot explain my heart.

My mother said, "You should be writing
these stories down. You're the writer."
I should have listened. Memory is
selective, and fallible.

My work is to capture the moment
when the sun comes up behind the hills
at  South Chesterman's. My work is to
love the creatures passing through,
knowing I will have to, at some point,
let them go.

My work is to share the joy and grief 
of being alive, to express my gratitude
to the All That Is for my sojourn here -
the heartaches, the heartlifts.
Thank you. Thank you for it all.


Inspired by An Address to My Fellow Faculty Who Have Asked Me to Speak About My Work, by Papatya Bucak. The italicized lines are hers.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

REASONS TO LIVE THROUGH THE APOCALYPSE*


The beauty: waves, mountains, forests. Clouds, misty fall mornings on the river. Fog, its unearthly delight. Dogs, wolves, all fur creatures. Birds. Stars. Bioluminescence. White lions and medicine men, with their ancient wisdom-stories. Elephants. Africa and Tibet, the places that live in my heart, where I live in my dreams. Song, and the blow-me-away voices of Old Soul children, sent to this planet so gifted, they show us the side of human nature we are meant to strive for. (Soldiers smiling in trenches underground as they sing how it is better to die under the gun than to live in chains. Though war does not belong in this poem, their courage does.) Love. The feeling of one's spirit having wings. The heart-lift that hits randomly: at sunsets, at witnessing kind acts - at performing kind acts. Heartbreak, because each time shows us how deeply we have been gifted by love.

Reasons to live through the apocalypse? Hope, that what humanity learns from the experience will help us finally learn how to live together, peacefully and sustainably, on this planet, and with Mother Earth.


*Poem inspired by Reasons to Live Through the Apocalypse by Nikita Gill

Monday, May 9, 2022

The Poetry of Witness



A hillside falls away; we catch our breath.
Every day, now, we are witnessing the magnitude
of this present we have created, foreshadowing 
a hot and steamy future. Frog and pot,
we simmer just beneath the boil.

Wildfires are burning, rivers turn into lakes
and swallow towns. Trees tumble down a slope
like skidding toboggans, as Alaska melts
and polar bears grow thin.
And we live on. Nothing changes much,
except everything gets worse.
Large segments of the populace go mad.
Hatred, terror and grief are everywhere.
Humanity has lost its way; is there still time
to recalibrate our compass with the
songlines, re-align
our hearts and minds?

It comes to pass, the Mayans said.
We write the poetry of witness, of awe,
of fearful wonder - and the grief of comprehending
in our starry bones that we are witnessing
a leaving. We move forward because forward
is all we know, into the Great Amorphous Beyond
that holds our common fate.
I fear that we may be awaking
forty years too late.


This landslide took my breath away. Brendan's prompt is timely.




Friday, May 6, 2022

THE CALL OF THE DRUM

 


Artist: Suzanne de Veuve

The crone, wrinkled and gnarled,
with her long stringy hair,
is stirring in the forest
in her nest of leaves.

Rabbits and wolf cubs perk their ears
and the bear is arrested mid-swoop,
while fishing in the river.

She is sounding the drum,
its reverberating thrum
calling the Council of All Beings
to the river's edge.

Her drumbeat is calling me
out of the bustling village.
It beckons me deep
into the forest's heart,
where all is green, and silent
and sacred.

I enter the primeval sepulchre
as the world goes still
and falls away.

The way forward is written
somewhere
within that stillness.

I need but listen closely,
to find my way.


for earthweal's open link.  I watch the news. I bear the toxic energies of people who live close by. I bear the unexplained silence of those farther away. To strengthen and reinforce the peacefulness that saves me, I go into the forest, walk along the shore. Everywhere I look is beautiful. I breathe in blossoms. I breathe out a constant "Thank You. Thank You. Thank You."