Illness

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Terrified.

 

Pulled out of mind,

pain racked body

screams from far away

and I have

no recourse –

just curl into

a frozen ball on a

hospital floor, as if

I could escape

this misery.

 

Terrified.

 

“Just Relax.”

Breathe,

I am told

in a room

without windows…

Hooked up

to tubes

for their convenience

not mine, certainly.

My entire arm

turns black

as I endure further assault.

Above, White light

Burns my eyes,

I throw up

again to platitudes

uttered in total ignorance-

perhaps stupidity.

 

When I complain

without remorse

I am the “Bitch” –

An old one at that.

This inhumane treatment

is our broken

medical system –

the Perfect Machine,

oblivious to human frailty.

 

I am terrified.

 

Once home

with dear canine

Companions

And a dove

who sings up

the moon,

I can once again

contemplate

Gratitude

that I survived

One more trauma,

if only from afar.

 

 

Terrified.

 

What if this had been

my time of dying?

To spend final moments

in fright

not of death,

But of what human robots

might do next?

 

Terrified.

 

This morning

I staggered to the river

to gaze at the sky

before dawn.

 

A sky full of bruised purple

and pink, an orange glow

etching bare branches in black ink.

The Earth moves through her cycles

And this brings me comfort.

Silencing the fright

crackling through hopelessly fragile bones.

Omen: Owl Convocation

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In the still autumn night

crickets chirp at

the forested edge,

the child and I stand rooted.

When we hear three voices cry out,

“woo whoo

whoo whooh – awhooh” –

we understand

a convocation of owls

calls us to evening prayer.

 

Straining to hear,

I open the window

wide with wonder

just like the child who is

soothed by the sound of brook waters

sliding over moss covered stone.

Our golden apple tree breathes in sweet night air.

The chorus of Great Horned Owls begins again.

 

Memory strikes the dark mother chord

hidden deep within.

Fear leaps out like a roaring tiger

claws extended, with piercing eyes,

becomes embodied.

A stone.

 

Owls come to those who need them,

Send messages of Flight

to the cosmos, seeking spirals,

that may or may not exist.

No wonder the experience

of human fright seems surreal.

 

Great Horned Owls

are messengers

sent from the Great Beyond.

Tecolate, Indigenous people call them

heeding their words,

turning heads away.

 

Transmitting Light through Sound

Owls hoot to warn,

to comfort, to heal,

to eventually transform.

 

One year ago this month,

a great horned owl landed on

on my bird’s cage.

And my dove nearly lost his life…

 

What am I to make

of such a visitation

from these three Old Women

hidden

in feathered apparel?

The child fears death

for her beloved bear.

I cringe with fright.

for an aging body,

a wounded bear.

 

How do I deal

with knowing that

we have been invaded?

Or that death may be near?

 

I have no answers.

I will not comfort the child

with promises I cannot keep.

“Only change is constant,”

I hug her as we weep.

 

Whatever the outcome

We will search out Love

in a ground of red ash,

brown dirt, “our mothers,”

include a generous hearted man,

and the planting of single apple seed.

 

I remind the child what her bones know:

(if she could remain sewn inside her skin)

That Earth has always been our Mother

that the Great Bear can bring us peace.

 

“Who whoo, who whoo, who hooh, ahooh…”

This trio of owls witness deep distress,

Responding thrice with voices that remind us

that neither bear, woman, or child

will walk our path alone.

Postscript:

When I was a small child my mother, an artist, used to draw great horned owls, and I started drawing them too. I feared this particular owl. Through all of my adulthood I associated great horned owls with my mother with whom I had a most difficult and confusing relationship.

Twice a Great Horned Owl came to warn me of impending death.

Here in this mountain valley I used to have barred owls who hunted at dusk, and although I loved them they also carried messages I didn’t want to hear.

Two nights ago a convocation of Great Horned owls gathered just beyond my house (this has never happened before in 30 years). Their beautiful calls initially captivated me although I could feel another more somber message coming through the night air. Later, coyotes sang.