White Rabbit Moon

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I live in the shadow

of a rabbit

who was murdered

by the dark side

of the moon –

the one whose hooded face,

whose back is always

full of gnashing teeth.

Intolerable grief leaves

my weeping body

a place too painful

to inhabit.

Intolerable loss

steals the last shreds

of hope.

Yet the longing

to be reunited

with my children

lives on.

Eyes of the Night

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(Beloved Cottonwoods frame the predawn in front of the Casita)

 

“Eyes of the Night”

Benign or Suspect?

Here is a question

worth pondering.

 

“Eyes of the Night”

peer into dark souls

uncovering hidden agendas

exposing the worm.

 

“Eyes of the Night”

are not fooled

by words forcing fake

kindness through preaching

or shaming.

 

“Eyes of the Night”

(that seek to harm)

are turned back

on themselves

by the Powers of

Great Horned Owl.

 

“Eyes of the Night”

ride on the wings

of falling stars

Earthing destructive Fires.

 

“Eyes of the Night”

split the sky in two at midnight

The Great Bear

spills her Grace before dawn.

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Working notes:

 

Often I will read a phrase like the one repeated above and suddenly a poem materializes out of the Great Beyond. I don’t pretend to understand the process, but I honor it.

 

I have always been most comfortable during this dark time of the year, perhaps because I am a poet and a dreamer, but also because I am a naturalist and these long nights give the discerning eye a chance to visit with creatures who are invisible during the day.

 

Here in Abiquiu, the Great Horned Owl is my nightly companion as are the stars overhead, seemingly so close that I could touch them. The high desert stillness is rarely broken except by the coyotes that sing love songs to stark reptilian mountains and to La Llorona, the Spirit of the River, like they did last night.

 

Every morning in the predawn hours I walk to our river to watch the sky catch fire embracing this magical space in between worlds, offering my gratitude for what was and what will be.

I am usually home by sunrise…

When the Cranes Come

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When the Cranes Come

I remember who I am –

A woman with wings.

 

When the Cranes Come

I listen with rapt attention

I am a woman with wings.

 

When the Cranes Come

I am pulled into a primordial field

I am a woman with wings.

 

When the Cranes Come

I know I must fly with them

I am a woman with wings.

 

When the Cranes Come

I remember that community is real

I am a woman with wings.

 

When the Cranes Come

I believe hope can be restored

I am a woman with wings.

 

When the Cranes Come

I lay down in frost – covered reeds

At peace with Sand -hill Cranes.

 

Working Notes

 

“By paying attention to what is real and true and authentic we come home to ourselves.” I paraphrase Terry Tempest Williams words although I have used these very same words myself.

 

Paying attention to Nature is just what I do. It is my primary survival tool. My joy is hidden here in experiences of the Now. Paying attention also forces me to witness heartrending Earth broken-ness, and this witnessing leaches the life force out of me. This anguish has no name.

 

When I am pulled into the “field” of Sand hill Cranes I undergo a mystical transformation.

 

There is something about these most ancient birds that live together in peaceful community, who stay together, who migrate in family groups, who look after one another that “call” me to them in a way I can’t comprehend, but feels so familiar… like a dream I can’t quite remember.

 

What I do know is that I must follow them. I must allow myself to believe that there may still be hope.

 

These last years have been impossible because I am witnessing earth destruction daily through the loss of so many animals and plants, polluted air, water and soil. So much slaughter. The earth is going up in flames – Fires rage, destroying the forests that allow us to breathe, and drought cracks open the earth, withering the most resistant trees. Dust chokes desert air.

 

I endure – waiting – no longer believing any action will be enough to stay the human greed, hatred, warmongering, lies, loss of decency, compassion, humility.

 

That is, until I see the Sand hill Cranes flying overhead with their gray gracefully curved wings, their long legs floating behind them – during those precious moments I am filled with inexplicable hope and joy – I once again experience wholeness.

The Cranes have whisked me away…

 

It’s interesting to note that I finished this poem, opened the door and seven Cranes were flying over the house…Sometimes I literally experience myself being being lifted into the air when they are flying above me.

Under a Canopy of Bears

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Two mourning doves

greet me

at dawn,

fluffed and huddled

on a pine strewn floor

Mist blankets a forest

that creeps ever closer

towards the door.

 

The strip of red cloth

tied to a branch

is a prayer

for life or a painless death.

Bears are under fire.

 

I am embraced by trees

whose leaves

are tattered and worn.

All are bowed,

bearing ripening fruit.

 

Clusters of emerald grapes hang from

my bedroom window

The light is scattered – soft

green, sifted gold

filaments stream

through heart shaped leaves.

 

I sleep under quilts

on these cool nights

snuggling into

silky softness

feeling the gentle

rise and fall

of my dogs breath.

Except for them

I am alone here

and content

to be so.

 

I awakened last night

breathing in

deep woods air,

slow moving waters,

The scent of this

valley stream,

sudden showers,

keeps my senses keen.

 

I am gathering memories

for a basket made

of reeds to take

with me when I

leave this sanctuary

made holy by

Love and Bear Attention

over so many years.

 

I knew before

I arrived, that summer

carried threats –

One cannot change what is

Or what will come to be…

 

There were high points:

Beloved bears,

meeting an ‘old man’

who loves them,

kayaking on the pond.

Picking wild roses by the sea…

The horizon was unbroken as

I heard the words

“I am looking into eternity.”

Blessed rain – I listened to

Tree roots glowing, glistening

underground –

hyphae pulsing light.

 

A dark cloud hangs heavy

over this weary body.

I am closing the gap

between a life that has been

mostly lived and

the Great Unknown.

Five lives,

  • only two are human

hang in a balance

I cannot comprehend.

 

And yet

With the advent

of  autumn and

the turning of the wheel

Silence births peace

A fall flowering –

a thinning of the veil…

 

Across the brook a single maple

turn crimson and gold

a few painted leaves

drift like the butterfly

whose deep orange coat

signals a time to journey south.

Not just this leave – taking

but others are ahead.

 

The children I bore are gone –

the pain of intolerable loss

ebbs with this change of season.

Green frogs cheep,

nubbly toadlets trill

cardinal clicks abound.

 

Fields of yellow goldenrod,

purple asters,

spiraling passion plant tendrils

and a beloved yearling’s visit,

attach me to knowing

that to be Present is enough…

 

Later this fall

after the carnage ends,

I will take refuge

under a canopy

of tree roots

carved out

by black bears.

 

Working Notes:

The bear slaughter in Maine finally comes to an end November 30th and I am counting the days… So many bears are dead including the ones I loved and cared for – one I mentioned above. Continuity of life for Black bears simply doesn’t exist in Maine. Most bears are shot as yearlings. This year each hunter can kill two bears… There is simply no relief from the heartbreak.

Nailed to the Cross

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Stunned – Numb,

I peer through the veil

into the dark souls

of those

who crucify

the innocent.

 

Whose own agenda

is deeply suspect.

 

I have done nothing

to deserve such treatment.

 

I am not that much

of a fool.

 

Rake me over the coals.

 

Make connections

that don’t exist

but don’t expect me

to comply.

 

I opened my heart

And was scorned.

 

Like the bears

I seek solace, safety,

relief from violation

 

beneath the roots

of dormant trees…

 

I have been

nailed to a cross

of dreams.

 

Working Notes:

I take full responsibility for the fact that I write honestly and openly… and by doing so risk being judged and misinterpreted, but this doesn’t change the feelings of violation I experience having my politics, my relationship with nature (read: religious beliefs), and my work as a woman’s advocate scrutinized and judged so harshly by people who don’t know me personally and take my words out of context using them to condemn me.

Postscript:

I looked up the word violation. The Latin root is Volare which means to be treated violently, which is exactly how I experience this kind of invasion.

The common dictionary meanings follow:

The failure to respect someone’s peace, privacy, or rights.

To treat something sacred with disrespect

Literary definition is quite precise – rape or sexual assault

 

Postscript 2:

When I use the word CONTEXT I am referring to the separation of the particular from the whole ie – taking a word or phrase that someone has used and using it as a weapon while disregarding the rest of what was said or written.

The U.S has become a low context culture and this kind of distortion is common and “normalized” – which makes it even more deadly.

 

Lady of the Canyon

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And the canyon held her

Like a mother holds

a grieving child

who lost her holy place

to slaughter.

The trees wept.

Today,

she gathered pinion

pine, fir, and spruce

to acknowledge

the sanctity of trees

in this dark season

of golden winter light.

 

She gathers in the greening.

 

The scent of pitch

sticks to hands

tipping branches

In Love.

Giving thanks.

She imagines beloved

Black bears

dancing

behind boulders,

feels a powerful

beary presence nearby…

She has been

offered another gift

in this place

where clear spring waters

tumble down steep mountain cliffs

and watercress grows…

In Memoriam: The Loss of the Holy

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( a close up of a piece of the magnificent cottonwood canopy that arced its way overhead and met the ground – photo 2018)

 

Something’s wrong.

I stopped dead

in my tracks as I

passed through the gate

startling the pre-dawn sky.

 

I was on my way to the river.

It was dark.

Gazing up at my beloved

Cottonwood Cathedral

I couldn’t see,

But why couldn’t I feel her Presence?

 

A fearful hole

ripped through my heart

as dread seeped in.

Some alien force

had smashed the Peace.

 

When I reached the river

La Llorona was sobbing

her veil of mist

smudging the trees with a shroud.

 

Retracing the path at dawn

the terrifying sight of

severed limbs –

the loss of

supple arches

that swept the ground

with their bountiful grace,

limbs bowed low in surrender…

shattered the wonder of this holy place –

twisted knives in my gut.

 

To lose a holy place

is to be annihilated.

 

Both the trees and I

have lost our limbs

like the handmaid once did

to mindless slaughter

by those that neither

see or feel.

 

Never again will

we rejoice in the

reciprocal

joy that the holy

bestows on

those that are

capable of Love.

 

 

For three years I have walked through the Cathedral of Cottonwoods, sometimes two or three times a day just for the simple pleasure of feeling the peace that these Matriarchs of the Bosque bestow upon anyone who can feel their benign yet powerful presence. In just one place beyond the gate the holy lived… and day after day year after year I would stop just to feel the peace – amazing grace. This spot was my sanctuary, the one place on this property that somehow felt like it belonged to me as I did to her.

 

Today my sanctuary has been destroyed forever. This tree destruction occurred either in my absence or sometime during this past week when my dog has been so ill that I have barely stepped out the door except to make a harrowing trip to the vet.

 

My body is still struggling to process the magnitude of this loss. Intentional or not it feels malevolent. Each time I walk through this area someone in me screams out “NO NO, not here.” My most beloved place. Gone, the severed limbs will bare ugly scars until the tree itself returns to the earth in death…

 

The worst part of this story is that the severing of the arms of the tree accomplished virtually nothing. These beautiful arches were beyond a fence… and part of a path to the river. There was absolutely no reason to senselessly destroy them especially since dead branches still hang over the same area.

 

The severed limbs also remind me of a fairy tale…In the “The Handmaid’s Tale” a father betrays a glorious apple tree that is also his daughter for money. This bargain with the devil intensifies as the dark one insists the father chop off the girl’s hands. At this point after a second unconscionable betrayal the child leaves home with her severed hands and throws herself on the mercy of nature, who eventually restores the young woman’s hands…

 

My beloved cottonwoods will not have their limbs restored but perhaps there’s a message in this story for me.