Tuesday, November 24, 2020

I Dream of Swan Bones

The other night I woke up with a dream image; it was a plastic bag or a basin full of bones in liquid.  I knew they were the bones of a large bird, and I felt that they must be swan bones.

I've had a thing about swans since childhood.  When I was growing up in Baltimore, we used to go ice skating on a frozen stream, and there were often swans there that I loved seeing.  I also fell in love as a young ballerina with Swan Lake.  And then there was the story of The Ugly Duckling.  Who among us hasn't felt as though we didn't fit in?  

After sitting with the dream image for a while, I had the thought that one possible meaning was that I am about to embark on a new phase.  Tomorrow is my last chemo, and when I recover from that, I will be considering how to put my life back together.  This past 8 or 9 months has been a kind of spiritual dismemberment.  Maybe the dream is showing me that I need to reassemble the bones and reanimate them.  And not in the same way, not back to some old sense of "normal."  There is no normal now, not for me, not for any of us.  What will life be like moving on, especially taking into account all the uncertainties?

So, this poem came:

Stripped down to the bone.
the essential pieces of a life
float in a basin of liquid, waiting.
They were not buried or burned
but are held suspended, so that
they might be fleshed out again.
Wing bones, leg bones, long and white
wait for what happens next.
Will the feathers still be white?
Will the eyes be fierce and dark?
Will the swan swim and fly freely
once more?

I am also reminded of the story in Women Who Run with the Wolves of the one who gathers and reassembles the bones.  It seems a worthy task.  

Also, another swan association is my SoulCollage® card for my 4th chakra (sorry it's not a great copy - just a phone photo):

Sunday, November 8, 2020

 I am moving towards the end of round 7, having had my double-dose chemo on Wednesday.  Although there are always some surprises, I am very familiar with the side effects by now.  They will pass (I keep telling myself).

I use my SoulCollage® cards daily.  Sometimes I do Tarot readings.  But lately when I have big questions, I use the I Ching.  The other day, I got an astounding reading and this poem came as a result.




When I inquire

about prayer and opening

to the Great Mystery,

the I Ching responds with

“Field/Yielding” and

the Mother Goddess,

the Dark Animal Mother.

Six young yin lines,

no relating hexagram.

It is pure and clear

in its message.

She gives blessings.

She receives the dead.

The field is open

and enfolds all things.

It is my task to yield

to each arising moment.

There is no way to doubt or to

brush away the guidance

with the customary wave

of my cynical hand.

I am in a great field.

I yield.



The SoulCollage® image is called "Offering."

Thursday, November 5, 2020

A New Poem: Writing

I've heard Michael Meade say that some supposed poems are actually journal entries.  I get what he meant.  I don't really know whether this is a poem or "just" a journal entry, but you know what?  Right now, I don't care!  It is what it is.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

A New Poem: I Go to the Trees


I go to the trees
for peace and
for grounding.
They show me
that to live well
you must root deeply
and lift your limbs
up to the cosmos.
What better guides
could there be
than the trees?
They drink nutrients
from the soil
and give breath
to the creatures.
They provide rest
for the birds
and splash beauty
across the earth.
I trust the trees.
They, like rocks, water
and mountains are spirit
made manifest, without
judgment, stinginess
or withholding.
It has taken me
a long lifetime
to understand the gifts
we were given.

My figurine and SoulCollage® card, Asherah of the Redwoods

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

A New Poem: Forgiveness


A New Poem: Forgiveness

Tomorrow I head into the double-dose chemo of round 6 (second of four potential rounds post-surgery).  This past week ("chemo lite" week as I call it) has been relatively easy, but I know starting next Saturday I'll be feeling it.  Nothing easy about this, as you know.  I'm just grateful that the air has been breathable, that I've been quite able to go for walks and to eat well (even if everything tastes weird and bitter), that I've had family around me and friends in contact, that I have a good home to live in.  It helps to feel gratitude in these difficult times.  My inner experience is pretty much in line with the outer experience of life in this chaos.


My body 

did not betray me.

I am in need

of forgiveness, and

who I must forgive

is myself.

Meting out judgments

harsh and punishing,

I found a culprit 

to blame - the body

I've never rested easily in,

that never has lived up to

my required standards.

I've had so little tenderness

for its failings and foibles -

the belly wrinkled

from pregnancy,

the young girl's

awkward height,

the invisible issues

of the blood.

What I want 

is to cradle

my body-self and say,

"Shh!  It is all right.

You are loved."

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A New Poem: Forgiveness

Tomorrow I head into the double-dose chemo of round 6 (second of four potential rounds post-surgery).  This past week ("chemo lite"...

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Fires of Initiation

Heading into the second day of infusions of round one (or five, depending on how you count it).  This is the double dose day.  I woke up feeling strong and calm after a few days of some anxiety about it.  I've gotten through this before.  I can again.  I woke up in the night with the words "The fires of initiation" and I had the title for this poem.

Below are two SoulCollage® cards - one is my card for the fire element; one is a card of offering to fire.

What is happening in my body

is happening in and to the earth.

The fires rage, burning their way

to cleansing and renewal.

This is not easy for the people.

Lungs struggle to breathe.

Houses burn to ash.

Forests and animals are

struck down.

To the earth, we are the interlopers,

greedily pushing our way

into places we have

no business occupying.


And me?

My body has

interlopers, too.

I am being initiated

by fire.

I am becoming

a fire priestess.

I follow the burning

in and through channels

and watch things die.

I learn to stir a cauldron

bubbling over flames, cooking

down all that needs

transforming, everything ready

to melt into new form.


And so I say –

Fire, your power is

undeniable; your genius

rolls out over many fields

Here is an offering.

My basket is empty now,

my water gourd running low.

May renewal come.


I hate the way Blogger is formatting this, but can't see a way to change it.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Poisonous Ally

 Here's the poem I wrote before my fifth chemo infusion, first one post-surgery.  (Sorry for the duplication if you subscribe to my Caringbridge page.)

poison that heals,
ally of titrated dose
that kills only the intruders,
the interlopers who
would steal everything.

Bless you, poison,
consecrated to the
six directions as you
flow through receiving
channels.  Let us keep
out of your way.
After all, you were invited.

Even if muscles go slack,
empty mouths fill with
metallic taste, bodies slump
into waiting recliners,
let the slender threads
drift away and fall
like dust motes.
Poison and healing,
paradox of the age,
you are a mystery
of moving on -
like a river,
like a cloud,
like a life.