Poem: Winter Wren at a Stoplight

Winter Wren at a Stoplight

I.

Bordering busy city ways
and broken corn stalks
sticking up through the snow.
Atop a lonely frozen cattail,
rooted in an ice ditch
covered in white, small claws hold tight.

Twitch-tail, shot straight up
from a brown-black feathered egg.
Tiny wings flutter to stay balanced
in the cold-coating wind that carry
a melody to listening souls.

II.

You are far from your dark home
within the heartwood of an ash;
to bring your carol here
at a stoplight,
where everyone is only waiting.

Are you waiting for your throne
to thaw and sway?
to dance to your melody?
Are you singing
like the crocus through the snow
for strength like the pine?

Swift as cirrus clouds,
Brother Robin will come, red-breast gleaming,
in the strengthening light of Spring.
to give you rest when the worms
are freed with the rain.

This poem I’ve revised, revised, revised, everytime I see it I do something to it. Hope you enjoy it’s latest incarnation. Inspired by the folklore of the robin of the warmer seasons, bringer of spring and the wren of the colder seasons, the bringer of autumn. The winter wren is a stick around kinda bird who has a beautiful song.

Book Review: The Witch of Portobello

The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho is a novel that leaves an impression. Wonderful book for anyone on their own spiritual journey or has a fascination with how legends are made. The mode of narration reminds me of Tracks by Louise Erdrich in the way it shows how a woman becomes a legend and how she is viewed by other people rather than how she views herself. It is amazing how we see other people compared to how we see ourselves or how we think they see us, then we are surprised to find they have a different idea. Perspective is everything.

The “author” investigates the mysterious protaganist Athena’s past by interviewing the people that knew her, giving the reader a full range of emotions and impressions about her along with how she progressed to being a priestess able to channel the wisdom of the goddess. A guru that became a guru by chance or destiny rather than by advertisement. She gains the attention of many but in the end she draws the attention of fanatics and zealots who wish her harm or at the very least want to break down her following by discrediting her. 

I felt a kinship with the character, Athena. Doing things her way, feeling her faith, swimming in it, becoming emersed to drowning. I’ve cried, rejoiced, felt the fire of bravery, courage, passion, and understand the trance in her dance. All through other characters’s eyes. Those who loved or wanted to, her teachers, her family, those who respected and detested her.

I really enjoyed this book. I can tell when I’m learning something from a book because I cannot it read in two days. I have to savor it, absorb it. It took me close to three weeks to read this with a book inbetween just to give me a break. Some people might not have this reaction, I do not want to repel anyone. That’s just how I know I’m getting something out of a book.

Highly recommended. I give this a ten for originality in story and narration. I think for some pagans who are familar with the concepts in this book it might be tedious given the explanations it gives but it’s still a good read.

Holidays: St. Patrick’s Day

On St. Patrick’s Day a Christian FB friend posted a thoughtful question. How do pagan’s celebrate St. Patrick’s Day since its namesake had converted Irish pagans to Christianity? I appreciatedthis question being asked. I tried to reply and then found I had too much to say for just a comment. So here we are!

I’ve seen pagans angry about this holiday because of it’s religious significance as an aggressive triumph over Irish pagans and they refuse to recognize it. And, yes, some just don’t care about the significance and just want a reason to party.

I’ve also experienced a service where we bow our heads in recognition, honoring and respect of our ancestor’s struggles and possible deaths during this time in history. Some for fear of pain, death or some other threat. Some, I’m sure, decided to convert because it made sense to them, some for the wealth promised or the golden ticket to heaven. Some continued their pagan ways even though the church breathed down upon their rites. Which is probably one of the reasons we may have some practices nowadays that seem similar to catholic ritual. (I know some of you don’t want to admit it! But most of the old ways were oral tradition and not written down lost over time during the Inquisition, Dark Ages, persecution forcing our ancestors underground.)

They hid their ritual tools among their other everyday tools to avoid suspicion. Took a rosary to the pew and spelled rather than prayed or prayed to the Goddess/God. Saw Brigit placed among the Saints and it made the transition easier filling the Catholic numbers. Seen Mary risen to the Goddess status before them as the waymaker for their needs of the divine. Even Jesus plays his part as the sacrificial God who gives his lifeblood for continuation of his children and then is risen again every year to do it again and again. But as the Sun God before him, he serves the purpose of paralleling the decline of sunlight and the sleeping of the earth, when it is dark and humanity suffers separated or survives united in the warmth of love, generosity, forgiveness and the reminder that we are promised light after a time of darkness.

*phew* Stepping away from the podium, away from the altar. haha

In regards to why we have gotten away from the religious significance and now it’s all a party! Well, I think the USA being the melting pot that it is and our general movement toward acknowleging our oneness as a global people and yet embracing diversity we have given St. Patrick’s Day the place of celebrating the Irish! Irish folks are stereotypically alchohol-lovers and a rowdy bunch so how else would one celebrate that than a party? And because of this focus on the culture/ancestory/heritage  many people delve into the history and find that there is much folklore and superstitions leading to leprechauns, fairies, etc.

I’m not sure where pinching someone who isn’t wearing green comes from ( maybe it has something to do with those mischeivious wee folk), but I’ll wear green anyway to avoid being pinched. You wanna get on my bad side, just try and pinch me. I’m helping people by wearing green the way I see it. : )

I would love to know how you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day or what you think of this topic, so please leave a comment if you feel compelled to do so.

Visit with an old friend, organizing, drama

When the last vestiges of sickness left me I found a shiny new need to clean and organize which always leads to more productivity, definitely a good thing. Then, I found an old friend, Brian, that I really missed on FB and he stopped by and we talked for a while. It was smooth until my daughter came home and it felt like my past and present were in the same room. I didn’t notice the years that had passed by between my friend and I until she came home. It had been about eight years since I’d last seen him. Lily is five. There is a certain comfort talking with someone that knows who you’ve been. Thankfully that was the experience I had with Brian’s visit.

Having this oppurtunity to connect with the past got me thinking. Sometimes it’s not the most positive experience seeing an old friend because they remind you of what an ass, or idiot, or aimless person, or whatever you were when you were younger just by existing. Memories come back that you would rather have buried because their embarrassing to remember. Yeah, I know, I’m a tad hard on myself. For the most part I so my best to remember that I was young and not as mature as I am now and I try to pay the same courtesy to other people. Yet we are the sum of our experiences, right? On the other hand, I’m a firm believer in accepting all parts of myself because these experiences are mine, I own them, better to be mindful than oblivious (trust me, I have to make an effort not to be oblivious). They should not be shunned but embraced which can be difficult. Learn from the experience and it will be transformed into something useful rather than painful or at the very least the pain can be signal not to do it again. Conditioning, I suppose, hmm….

Anyway, so I started really cleaning and organizing my place. Granted I do general cleaning, for goodness sakes, I have a child! I can’t get away with just having dust coat everything and nothing in the fridge or choosing to eat a fluffy salad for dinner, lol. This kind of cleaning is dragging stuff outta closets and reevaluating decor and knick-knacks, etc. Spring (or fall) cleaning. I find that if the outside of me is in a particular state, the inside of me can reflect it. This instance I allow for that mirroring. I’m so grateful for it. I haven’t felt this together since last summer.

I was doing well keeping the house organized per a little organizing book Don gave me in my holiday stocking ( he is great encouragement, plus it staves off him pulling his hair out, lol). But then some stuff went down in my extended family and it kinda fell apart (my parents split up). Of course, this was also the only summer I was taking classes because I was determined to graduate the coming fall semester. There was a lot of stress and it took everything I could do to hold on to that stable place inside me. I was lucky to have Don then. He’s loving, stable, consistent and doesn’t give in to drama at all. He is a living Occam’s Razor which is always helpful when one is an imaginative and expounding sort like myself.

There is still lots of drama. Lots of emotional upset. I’ve become accustomed to the level of drama that can ensue at any given moment.  It has been quite a journey and learning experience in how to interact with individuals in such a situation. Being my parents I know better than to take sides and not to exacerbate their state of being by strongly expressing my emotional struggles with the situation. Also I’ve graduated to the Boundaries Course 201.

I tried to make sure Lily wasn’t emersed into the emotional crap being flung and explaining calmly and honestly without any sensationalism at all why Grandma wasn’t living with Grandpa anymore. *phew*

Now I’m thankfully back to that peaceful, stable place where I happily organize and clean. It’s wonderful!

And I must say also I’m thankful for Facebook because I’ve friended a lot of people I haven’t talked to in years. Facebook: Highly Recommended.

A Short-Short: Chartreuse at the Museum

Chartreuse at the Museum

                At the sound, she looked up. She could hardly believe the cacophony of giggles resounding through the open angular taupe space of the Classic Court. The high-pitches layered upon each other until they died away as a result of Mammy grabbing up little Chartreuse before she could really make a go of it.

                They had been looking at a small greenish statue of Aphrodite and her little man Cupid when Chartreuse imagined moss growing and sprawling along the bottom of the case. She followed its path to the other side where, the gold oak leaf head-wreath began to wiggle about making its askew shadows dance. She couldn’t help but laugh and giggle in merriment.

                “What you doin’, makin’ all that racket?!”  Mammy said in a very stern quiet voice. Her eyes, dark and murky, bore into Chartreuse who snapped her mouth shut with a single whimper.

                Mammy held her upper arm as they passed amphorae. Huge jars with painted pictures in terracotta red and black, some bodies graced with white. Chartreuse thought of her pastel paints at home. Her mother lets her paint with her fingers in the afternoons, now that she doesn’t put them in her mouth anymore.

                “Where are all the other colors, Mammy?”

                “Maybe those are the only colors they had to paint wit, Cher.” Mammy’s grip loosened a bit.

                In the center and back of the room was young green boy. He was missing an arm and naked.

                “Why doesn’t he have any clothes on but she does?” She swung her arm toward the robed woman behind them. The momentum breaking Mammy’s grip and propelling Chartreuse deliberately back toward the statue.

                Mammy grasped arm again, muttering incoherently under her breath, then she replied louder, “Well, girl.” She took a mumbled breath. “This plaque at her feet reads that’s what they wore back then. They were in a kinda club, see, and only them woman could wear these particular clothes. They were special, these woman. You know like nuns but different.”

                 “Okay, Mammy.” Chartreuse nodded the warning clear to her when Mammy went from calling her “Cher” to calling her “girl”.

                They turned around together, to view the large square mosaic floor in the very center of the room.  Tiles of off-white, red, blue, they glinted in the spotlight. The border made of colorful braids, the corners with sprays of flowers.

                “I like the flowers, Mammy. And the braids,” she swayed her body, a wide smile on her face. The pink marble ties holding her braids together wiggled.

                “Yes, Cher, they are pretty, aren’t they?” She adjusted her glasses and bent to read the plaque, “says here this was a floor in a palace, where they danced and drank wine to the god,” she moved her glasses again,” Bacchus?”

                “Oh, a palace, like where princesses live?” Chartreuse’s eyes looked far away and her swaying quickened.

                “Sure, darlin’. These little pieces are tiles of limestone, glass, and shell,” Mammy continued.

                Chartreuse imagined a princess dancing on the floor, her dress flowing around her, arms outstretched. Mammy was still mumbling the text out loud. Chartreuse stopped swaying, and became thoughtful. She moved forward inch by inch. She noticed the looming black stone figure on the other side of the tiled floor; beheaded, stepping forward, its hands held broken posts at its waist.

                She stopped moving, the image of the dancing princess vanished. She held on to the hand gripping her arm with her other hand and asked, “Mammy, can we go home now?”

* * * *
    This takes up one page! It is a piece that I created in a course at the University of Toledo. Really awesome course. “Writing About Visual Art” in the Toledo Art Museum.  Kinda sink or swim at first but then I came out with plenty of written pieces I’m proud of. I didn’t think that I could do short-short stories, I surprised myself. I enjoy writing science-fiction. It’s the adventure of creation, I guess. So, don’t expect this sorta fiction all the time.

Laryngitis, Laundry, Talking

I’ve been outta commission for the past, eh, two weeks, I suppose. It started when I went to the laundry-mat to do laundry since our clothes-washer’s motor burned up. Can’t complain, that baby lasted for close to four years and we thought when we got it for free with it’s front panel falling off that it would only last for six months. The next saturday we bought a used washer though so don’t worry about me.

I didn’t mind the change of scenery to the laundry-mat because Grandpa took the munchkin and I was left to do as I liked, which was read. So I get home with the laundry and I am sniffling. I think being there in all that lint-filled air set my nose on overtime. I was sneezing, itchy, general bleck-ness. I held on like usual to my health because I’m a mom and that’s what moms do, at least the moms I know. We’re multi-taskers, nothing can slow us down!

Unfortunately, I had to make a deal with my body. It’s okay to get sick once a year for more than a day. I still fight. Drinking OJ, tea, vitamin C, anti-oxidants, fruit, etc. Sometimes I can feel it coming on a fend it off in the matter of a couple days. But that laundry-mat gave it an opening. *sigh*

It was escalating as the weekend came and went. The next weekend I was determined to go to this LUPEC party (Ladies United for the Protection of Endangered Cocktails). I joined their tribe and will be hosting a party in a couple weeks (attending parties and hosting one are the only dues!) I was determined to go, even if I had to wear a breathing mask! Plus there was a Pure Romance presentation fit in to the evening. It was fun, drunk and admiting what a freak I am in a room full of women of which I only know a few. No biggie, I’m an open book pretty much anyway.

By the end of that particular night, my voice was gone. I know what your thinking, I was screaming like a yahoo at a windmill, no not that kind of party. It was because the snot falling down my throat finally settled around my voice box. Well, really my throat was probably swollen or whatever. But this happens every year, I know what I’m talking about.

The next day I wasn’t worth squat. I couldn’t talk, or think past two seconds into the future. I was thankful that there were so many leftovers in the fridge that I didn’t have to do much except call off work (which sucked since I do not get that many hours anyway).

My friend, Dottie, asked me since I couldn’t talk, did I write a lot? No, if it wasn’t something that I could do in the recliner and not think or move a whole lot I wasn’t doing it. She was referring to the fact that I like to talk a lot. She loves to tease. “Tease those you love, so they know you love them.”

In my defense, I don’t think I talk as much as I did when I was younger (early twenties) but that’s debatable I suppose. I usually talk a lot when I’m nervous, around people I don’t know, in front a group of people, or when I’m over-energetic after a ritual or something equally intense. I actually found early on that if I forcefully shout/breathe I can discharge it, a strong short “HA!” accomplishes the task. Some people need to walk or stomp barefoot on the earth or rub their hands along something earthy because that’s where they feel the energy trying to get out….I have to send it out on words.

Poem: She Dances

She Dances 

              From a dream, dedicated to Selene

Gossamer wrap,
   flows around
    smooth skin.
     A touch
      cleansing mud
       in her wake.
         The jambé sings
       under the rhythmic fall
     of your palms.
   Rests equate
  to a magnetic
 need to rub
the tight hide
sunwise   within
  its roped rim.
   Through lobe-leaf
    oak trees; tall,
     hanging above.
      The clouds slide away,
       the moon appears,
        greets the fire.
         Light mingle light.
          Bare feet trace
         an instinctual path
        in the sandy bowl.
      Arms snake,
    calling the bonfire
  to rise, intrinsic unity.
Your arms energized,
   endeavor attunement.
     Her movements feed into-
                        -from the beat
                                   like the tide.
                            Cicada
                           gripping
                        nearby branches
                      crescendo
                   to counterpoint. 
              Points her toe
           to the ground,
         rocks to her heel.
                           Swing.
                            Small silver coins
                        adorn
                     moss-covered breasts
                  waving ocean hips,
                flash in the firelight.
              Metal meeting metal
            tickles your ears.
         She teaches the art
       of silent calling.
     Intuitive tending.
   You surrender
to listen.
  The cadence
     closes your eyes.
      She sways to you,
         a wave meeting the shore.
                                    Her fingers
                                 bend to open
                               your eyes.
                    She raises your   sight
                  with her arms
                as her hips trace
                                  an analemma,
                 close to your drum,
                   light reflects into her eyes.
                      Light mingles light.
                        On the fringes
                you sense the undertow,
                                                 then
                                       a flourish toward the center,
                                                              she dances.

One of my favorite poems. The inspiration came from a few places but mostly from one of my closest friends who belly-dances. Her man was on the drum. Their interaction, the energy of drummer and dancer was beautiful. Reminded me of the feeling of communion with divinity or deity. That trance where you feel swayed by an unseen force. Writing it was a similar experience. I want to capture it in oil paint because it seems to want me to, just haven’t gotten around to it. Thankfully, it is patiently waiting. There is plenty at play in this poem. What do you “see”?