Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Plague Poems: No Guarantees

This morning, I pulled this SoulCollage® card:

This is one of two cards I have made that I have called Maya.  When I received the name Maya almost 50 years ago now, I was told the translation from the Sanskrit is: the creative principle of the universe.  Most people have heard it translated as illusion.  You can think of this world that way, but it has always made more and deeper sense to me to to see it as consciousness being made manifest.  In any case, it's been a large name to carry.

Based on pulling this card, today, this is the poem that came.

There never was a guarantee,
only a whirling into the life
of the body, a knowing
of the importance of
lifting up the arms to touch
the sacred, the instinct
to wear red as a sign
of commitment
to life.

There never were promises
of ease, of safety, of knowledge.
Only the mystery was ever given,
and a certain useless compulsion
to understand.
There is absolutely no knowing.
There is only the breath, the dance,
the earth and this constant spinning.
Life has always provided
what I have needed.
That is the foundation for trust,
for keeping the arms raised,
for continuing to turn.

I am wearing red today.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Plague Poems: Mating with the Tiger

No, I haven't watched Tiger King.  But this came to me.

On Receiving the I Ching Hexagram “Treading/Mating with the Tiger”

I am dancing with the tiger.
Too close and I might be devoured.
Too far and he will take over my world.
It is my world.
He is the intruder.
Nevertheless, he is here,
and I must ascertain how
to live with him.
A step forward, circle,
feel the swipe of his sharp claws,
One of us will rule.
He may be winning now,
as I have nowhere else to go.
But he will tire at some point,
lie down and sleep, or
be pushed out or
enticed towards an exit
not visible now.
Then we will see
what happens next.

SoulCollage® card - The Writer

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Plague Poems: Advice to Myself

Monotony sets in.
The daily routines,
so predictable,
can be seen as
either comforting
or boring.
Take hold of the monotony
and make it holy.
Invest love
in what recurs
day after day.
One day,
it will end – this monotony, 
boredom, predictability.
Let this day be
an appreciation
of the ordinary,
a blessing of
continued breath.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Birthday Poem

One more year passed
in a long life.
One more year beginning.
In these times,
no amount of time
can be taken for granted.
This is nothing new,
yet the immediacy
of the moment is
somehow more real now.
It is as though Death
had been looking at us
from a great distance, and now
 it is right before us.
Hello, Death.
I see you there.
You make this day more precious.
I tender my respect.
I apologize for taking so long
to make you an offering.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Relections A Few Weeks In. And a Poem

Evening sky.  I watch the sky a lot, an easy thing to do from our hillside home.  I don't mind waking up before the sun rises so that I can watch the dawning sky.

I, like most of you, am now over two weeks into sheltering in place.  What I've begun to notice in my own family's moods and reactions is that things are really starting to register now, to sink in.  How serious this is.  How long it could go on.  How hard it can be to be alone.  How we miss being with certain people when Zoom and Facetime can't fill the gap. 

I do appreciate posts on Facebook of nature or humor, even dark humor.  I'm having a harder time taking in ones that are optimistic.  Too facile, perhaps?  And talk about the crazy-making discrepancies in information!  First it's wash your groceries with soap and water; then, it's soap will hurt you.  Elderberries are good.  Elderberries are bad.  Sometimes Facebook feels like a lifeline, and sometimes I just need to shut it down.

This morning I heard two radio shows about the difficulties pregnant women are facing.  Man, that is a tough one.  Here is another, on a sort of similar theme.  Some of us will need health care that is not coronavirus-related.  I find myself in that situation, and, boy, is it problematic.  No doc wants to see you come in.  Some of us may have to do so and undertake the risks that involves.  And yet, at least for now, I don't have the dreaded virus, and I don't want to minimize my gratitude and recognition of the privilege I have been fortunate to have.  I have a home, food, family, friends, books, poetry.

I've turned to writing a poem a day.  Many are just rants.  Once in a while something comes that I nod my head to.  Turning to Persephone is always my way.  Here's one of those.


She paces.
Like Persephone,
she knows confined spaces.
She wants to listen
but needs to still herself,
and the pacing
does not help.
That is the word.
Is she being called?
Or is she the one calling?
That is the beginning
of finding an answer.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Plague Poems: Business as Usual

It’s business as usual
in the natural world.
Spring has brought
profusions of blossoms.
Deciduous trees have
leafed out beautifully,
and the birds sing
in the dawn light.
The very normalcy of it all
presents a stark contrast
to what is happening
in the human world
that sits atop this one.

We have reached
a tipping point, our
collective actions not only
crushing the planet’s resilience,
but our sheer numbers and
dumb unwillingness to own
our folly have made life
frightening and untenable.
A plague of biblical proportions
runs amok through our cities
and over the countrysides
of all nations.
We have no business as usual now,
but nature goes on in its
ordinary, relentless fashion –
tides rising and falling,
seasons turning,
days dawning and subsiding.
These are the times we knew
would come.
These are the times we hoped
we would never see.
These are our times.
What is our business now?

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Two new plague poems.

My daily plague poems are mounting up, so I thought I'd share a few.  The first one was largely in response to waiting to hear from a doctor I'd been trying to contact for a week.  Stay healthy!  Not only from the coronavirus, but from more common ailments because it's challenging to deal with the overwhelmed medical establishment at all.  (Yes, I did hear from him finally, and it was very helpful.)

Waiting for the doctor to call.
Waiting for the fear to subside.
Waiting for the pain to stop.
Waiting for the trees to speak.
Waiting for the flowers to rise up.
Waiting for tears to fall.
Waiting for the heart to open.
Waiting for consolation.
Waiting for restoration.
Waiting for grief to end.
Waiting for grief to begin.
Waiting for the exhalation.
Waiting for a new story.
Waiting for words from the ancestors.

And then I did hear from the trees.


In the dark
pre-dawn mornings,
I listen to the trees.
Sometimes I hear nothing,
but feel their reassuring presence.
Sometimes words sail
into my head,
like the goldfinches
landing on my bird feeder.
Today they told me:
Ground!  Ground deeply.
You will know people
who get ill.
You may know some who
will die.
You could even be
one of them.
Your task today
is to ground and be
a solid presence
on this patch of earth.
Watch us
and follow suit.