Black Ice – Renewal?

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Last night She came –

I heard her call

my name.

She broke through

sea green waters,

white capped waves,

blocks of black ice.

My body hummed her song.

And yet I mused..

Who was She,

this ancient denizen

of the Deep?

 

Whale songs so complex –

so poorly understood

lead me down

Down

Down

Down

to the bottom

of the sea…

 

To learn how to Breathe ?

To dive into unknown depths?

To stand unbearable pressure?

To re –surface unharmed?

To breathe sweet water in too thin air?

To keep on advocating for Earth?

To hear to the Heartbeat

of Creation Sounding?

 

These are questions

I pose to Whale

in her bountiful Soul Skin –

velvety smooth

and firm.

 

In Indigenous story

an old woman

stands at the edge

of tidal waters –

patiently,

watches for whales

to surface –

walks into the sea

when she hears them calling.

 

A Star

shines in the East.

The Great Bear

points true North.

Perhaps

Whale comes to me

from the ocean

to guide my aging body home.

 

Working notes…

 

The Little Bear Moon is waxing according to some Northern Indigenous mythology… This is the month Black Bears give birth to their cubs. Wide awake and alert, these wild mothers care deeply for their young while staying snug in winter caves or dens dug under piles of stone or tree roots. The winter stars are bright and the Great Bear circumnavigates the sky each night.

 

When I dreamed of a great whale rising out of the sea. –“Someone” who was “familiar” to me – I was surprised – although my love of whales stretches to childhood when I first saw the Great Blue Whale’s skeleton in New York’s Museum of Natural History. On Monhegan Island, as a “fishermans’s wife,” I longed to touch the skin of these mammoths that often approached our boat while it was idling. Sometimes they lay just under the surface right next to the boat, as if they knew we were a safe harbor. It never occurred to me then that the whales might have come with a message for me.  Later that fire was re –kindled in the 70’s by Judy Collins’ whale songs. In the nineties I dreamed that the sea pulled away and I was walking on the bottom of the ocean searching for a golden dolphin ring. More recently, my fascination with Helen Hye-Sook Hwang’s scholarly research on whales, and my friend Lise’s profound life changing experience with these mammals has brought them back into the center of my awareness.

 

There is something compelling about dreaming of a whale surfacing from the deep while living in a drought driven high desert.

 

And yet whatever this Presence signifies for me personally is overshadowed by the collective need on behalf of all humans to start listening to the songs that all of Nature is singing or screaming before the Great Silence descends upon us stilling each song and cry forever.

 

The age of the Anthropocene is upon us, that is, an age that is totally shaped by humans. Without immediate intervention to stop this man made holocaust we will soon be the only surviving species left on Earth. According to the WWF Global Wildlife’s 2018 report the Earth’s wildlife population has dropped by 60 percent since 1970.

 

Some species have become ‘functionally extinct’, meaning that although at present the species is still extant, there are not enough individuals left to save the species from its eventual demise. Monarch butterflies are a good example – their populations have dropped by 90 percent in the last 20 years.

 

Unimaginable loneliness is coming our way.

 

We can start by dramatically lowering carbon emissions to help preserve the non-human species that still have a chance to survive.

 

We can plant millions of carbon sequestering trees…

 

We can protest our continued use of plastics.

 

Just to give the reader a few ideas…

 

Think about it. It is through our love of, and for Nature that most humans experience a sense of “renewal.”

 

Where will you go when the Silence of Nature becomes deafening?

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The Littlest Juniper

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A solitary spire

refuses to bow

to heavy snow.

‘My tree’ communes

with flaky gray sky.

 

Transplanted late

last fall

I wondered…

Young roots

are so tender…

Would the old

nearby juniper

teach her

the ways of

an overgrown field,

guide her tendrils down

to tap sweet

waters?

 

Whenever I gaze at

this miniature tree

she tears my heart in two.

I tell her

I won’t be here

to see her reach adulthood –

Junipers live

a thousand years or more.

(or did)

 

But while I am around

I will love her

as one of my own –

a child with prickly needles

gray green darkening to

emerald when the

Cloud People come.

 

Whenever I lay down

to rest my weary body

I imagine my feet –

brown roots flowing

out the door to

become one with hers…

 

Together we rise up

through her spire

find our way back

to my supine body

as a child would return

to her mother

closing a circle

of Love between us

as she listens to

my prayers for her life.

Remembering What’s Broken

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I kneel before

my wood – stove

kindling fire

in sapphire blue,

flaming orange gratitude

rising unbidden.

Bare limbs etch stories

against curved canvas

empty space – sky or dome

as Venus fades

and the day begins…

 

A golden dawn

awakened the Ravens.

Fluffed feathery balls

perched on frost slipped

trees whose crystals

shivered in a landscape

tipped in white gold –

each twig on fire

from the rising sun.

Swooping down for

cracked corn, coal black

Messengers quork

and hop as small

birds retreat.

 

 

January’s fur coat

is white.

My brother is dead.

I think of polar bears.

Blue ice

cracks under frightened claws –

Roots starved for water.

Dying slices my

joy in two

even as evening

grosbeaks

come to feed

and sea smoke

rises from the river.

 

 

Working notes:

 

January in New Mexico is like a dream when snow covers the ground twisting cactus into fantastic shapes and coating wheat colored grasses in silver. The snow cover helps me to forget that these same grasses never turned green. Crystal ground stars are so brilliant they hurt my eyes as I tramp around happily on snow-shoes under a warm afternoon sun and awaken to a frozen world. I am lulled into a peace I know is temporary because below four inches of snow the drought rages on shrinking the roots of each thirst driven plant and tree. There isn’t enough snow cover for Northern New Mexico’s mountains to create spring run off. The precious water that is needed for frogs to breed and corn to grow is absent. Alpine glow brings down the night and the Great Bear rises in the North and still I pray for water…remember my dead, and the Great Dying to come.

Dreamscape 2108

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I awaken chilled.

Darkness before dawn refuses to

illuminate frost covered skin –

frozen crystal fingers.

Barely breathing.

the forest sleeps,

Roots pulse Light.

I am running

from future

or past –

Withering away

in wrinkled skin,

Earth shudders.

Am I being called

by Raven,

and Owl

to choose?

Re-weave

the circle

of Shadow and Fire,

a monstrous West Moon,

embrace burning bones,

barren mountains

still hidden

from sight?

Tree of Life

 

 

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My steadfast Guardian Juniper

offers shelter

for birds

in her prickly

gray green branches.

 

A slivery star shines

from her core.

 

She bends, bows, nods

to whirling west winds,

acknowledges dark powers

that would topple

those without deep roots.

 

Her life -root sinks

into a complex network – a web

of underground support

and clear waters.

Sweet Earth.

 

Unlike my tree,

my roots

are weak and shallow,

scattered,

running too close

to the Light.

 

Without

a sturdy root center

to ground me

in dark places

I lose my way,

At least initially…

 

Women who know

call this Gas – lighting.

 

When betrayal strikes

blood pours

out of an ancient wound

in my belly. The

serpent rises

in protest of lies.

 

I cannot blame the dragon,

or the little body

in whose belly

the snake

finds home.

For we are one.

 

I turn to my beloved tree,

appeal for strength to resist.

She nurtures those

that are vulnerable –

deer included.

I raise my voice to Her

in  earnest prayer…

 

Can She support me?

– Assist me to

heal a deadly wound

that runs

so deep,

hidden in every cell

of  a body

I once despised?

Raven’s Cry

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Fake coyote calls split

a moon cracked sky in two.

False ‘Indian’ hoots and drums

stunned sleeping birds –

Why do ‘whites’

insist upon using Indigenous ways,

to make a point?

Coyotes know.

 

Did they think that she was blind

or that her dreaming body,

a roiling belly

wouldn’t warn her?

Deception is a ruse

to twist and hide from truth

even when La Llarona’s river

becomes a mirror

shivering under

winter solstice flight.

 

At dawn a flaming

orange glow

bled and pooled,

a lake of fire,

shimmered

before piercing eyes –

(She sees better in low light)

A dark star

rose with thorns

exposing

bruised and broken fruit.

 

While Coyotes slept

Raven brought the Light.

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Crow and the Pornographic Gaze

 

 

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The Old Art Masters indulging in their pornographic gaze….

 

Once she believed that

it was her fault

they came on to her,

that she owed them

something

They owned her?

Secretly the

girl was pleased

because any kind of attention

was better than none,

or being so “different” –

stitched into an Indian skin.

 

She was a pretty shell,

an abandoned spiral

worn down by waves –

assaulted from within

by the pornographic gaze.

How she hated being young.

 

Walking down the streets

of New York

They leered at her from rooftops –

Whistling and yelling,

“Here comes the Madonna…”

She tried to make herself invisible.

How she hated being young.

 

When she sewed on her woman coat

she discarded tight jeens,

began to weave her hair in braids,

became a scholar and writer,

turned to the animals

and plants that loved her

to find acceptance and trust.

 

Unconditional love

assuaged the isolation

the void in psyche and body

where once no one breathed.

How could she have known

that Nature would save her?

 

Learning self respect

is a life-time process.

As an elder,

she has broken

the spell –

toppled the edifice of

the

pornographic gaze.

 

She knows its

an ‘old boy’ problem –

a result of male privilege

bullying, a need to objectify,

chop women

into parts

behind closed doors.

 

Dirty old men

who stare at standing nipples,

hidden beneath a feathery cloak

leave only night chills

and a hoarse croak.

 

Revolted, she discards them,

and picks the bones clean.

She has the power

to render her tormentors

Invisible,

Inadequate, and knows it.

 

She leans

towards males

who are emotional adults,

men who are accountable,

men capable of honest relationship,

men whose deep humility

has rendered them human.

 

Their friendship,

respect for her integrity,

ideas, honesty, and empathy,

are the lenses through

which she has learned to see herself.

 

She is healing from sexual assault.

 

She is a tree with a star at her center.

 

By living a self directed life,

She has become the partner

she once longed for –

a birdwoman with tree roots

sunk deep in sweet Earth.