still now, with mornings speaking in dragon breath and prophetic tongues of shortening days and the cold that comes that comes – still now the birds proclaim the day, call clear blue horizon to horizon while singing autumn songs, gorging themselves on fruit full ripe and sweet with sunlight gathered and grown to seed.
it is not like we can wait, burning as we do with the long ache for dissolution of self among the choir of trees – barefeet crunching in late summer leaves
it is not like we can wait, hem entangled in snag breath lichen twigs and thorn – to part ferns, soft grown knee high, to find this slow undoing where the longing of bones meets rapturous the long silence of trees.
it is not like the world can wait
For Brendan at Earthweal’s weekly challenge: WILD MIND
and always and again this light comes distils into bird song calls us from sleep sings our awakening
and perhaps we never needed to overthink this being here – perhaps all we ever know, all we ever needed to know is that we are here-now women becoming lichen becoming tree-light bushbuck forest becoming morning becoming women
sunflowers turn their bright sky faces to look to the earth to the rich dark soil the unfathomable life of roots and microbe and worm
you have to give yourself to it completely, until you are boneless in the river – a body of water lapping with the windblown waves
the only way to stay afloat is to give yourself to the river completely, to be buoyed by saturates and densities and the lightness of your being.
to tip your head back hair sea-grass to the saltwater close your eyes soft until bright sun through blood and flesh of eyelid become that other sky and we become the reed-bank river, the mud crab and the grebe flowing with the incoming tide.
blood warm and smooth as silt the honey spilled the spoon drenching the afternoon in long remembered sweetness
and when the rain came, to break the heat that lay heavy on the hills – pushing our breath, it came cool from the warm sky and we who had been waiting through the heat of days held our hands and arms like wilted leaves to the rain listening to the soft splatter voice speak our need fulfilled until skin drenched and stripped of our lethargy we laughed with the sky.
between breath and horizon the sounding of a slow sea that shapes the long shore of our sleep
between breath and horizon the quickening of evening wings the click of frog the waking of the night
there was a time when when her feet still soft indented this dust when the rain pooled her footprints and the wild places grew where she walked. she dreamt the night erupting in stars – and it did.
did she know the feet that followed never could trace the intricate back forward turn of her dance – hair and arms alight with stars. did she know we would try fail, try again. did she know the feet that followed?
in the long dark silence of this night we have only this breath to find our way through only our bodies our light our longing let it be enough let us be enough
In response to Brendan’s beautiful essay at Earthweal’s weekly challenge GREEN FIRE (wild and sacred)
we sat on the grass on the steps stood, leaned waited – some brought chairs for the elderly, the frail
we came with empty hands, old wounds and words that burned holes in our tongues and kept us silent for years, we came with new ideas and shared concerns we came with love –
we gathered because it is time because there is a child on the street corner who says she is hungry and her mother has passed and if it will take a village to raise this child we have gathered to be that village – build a village from our broken past.
we have gathered because there is a future that calls us to be here together – now.
and the blue clouds heavy with promise held their rain until the talking ended.
and the late sun broke the dark horizon – bathed us in gold, skin and leaf and grass seed alike
illuminated us momentarily in the light we are becoming.
love never changed her mind or changed her ways. she has always been in love with you, with the fiery heart of your living – your burning passions that could set a room aflame – the quiet your of being in the emptiness. she knows your vulnerabilities, your need to keep yourself warm. and perhaps she should have said something (and perhaps she did) when your living flame turned to burning desire and trees began to fall in your wake.
and you need to know she loves you no less now that the world is on fire. that she walks with you, tattered and burned thirsty feet crunching warm ash, that she still hopes you will see yourself in her eyes and know that there never was any need – that you always had been enough.
Reposting for the Earthweal’s Open link weekend #69.
it was my plan all along to lie down there among the twigs and fallen leaves,
let the forest have me
because there is something in my bones that does not know these days
can’t taste the sunlight or feel vast oceans pulse in the night.
three days now the snail has been sleeping on that leaf through my window,
it is not winter, none of it is making sense
and we can’t and we can’t and we can’t remember
how we came here, how we built these worlds and walls around us
how our lies become our stories and
our stories became stones that paved into roads,
piled into wall and hut and temple. big stories like pillars
holding a roof over our heads so we can’t see the sky
and the stars can’t speak –
a roof to keep the rain from touching our twitch animal skin
lest we remember who we are. we know that we are tired
we know all this will fall like leaves to the forest floor.
it was my plan all along to walk until my feet wanted,
to find a root that curls around my body, a parasol touched with light
and lie down there among the twigs and fallen leaves
and let the forest have me
and if it happens the sky is blue enough to be seen
like a reflection on still water between the trees
or thin pond mist grey wisping on high winds
i will watch dark shadow birds, wing fingers spread to carve sky paths
above the canopy, knowing their backs are feather painted by the sun
and i will untangle the bramble from my hem, pull thorns from my hair
and lie down there among the twigs and fallen leaves
and let the forest have me.
and when black butterflies wake because morning has come slowly
(do they sleep? do they remember in dream life before wings?
if imaginal discs hold potential do they hold memory too?)
when black butterflies wake, turn their folded wings from leaf to flight
to dance hover circles in unexpected shafts of light
i will be there silent stone among the roots of the tree
and the birds might move around me speaking summer voices
like pebbles tapped together underwater –
breaking the surface to gulp laughter instead of air
and you speaking flowers
saying life is nectar
while river salt dried on your skin
and all was fractal and light spilling sweetness
until even the mud between our toes sang of beauty.
and no matter that it passed as summers do,
the river still flows deep dark to the sea without me –
the kingfishers have fledged, skimming their impossible malachite flight
less than a breath above the water.
i love them no less for not seeing them,
not seeing those golden leaves fall turn spin to touch the still surface –
drifting small boat, stem sterns to the ocean.
summer will come again and we will walk once more among the living
reading stories with fluent fingers across their tall bark –
taking breaths so deep they burst shudder from our mouths
that can speak no more than i love you and thank you.
it was my plan all along to come here
to lie among the fallen leaves and twigs of autumn
to give myself to you
breath, blood and bone
again and always
there were big windows, wooden floors
and an indoor quiet that made our ears hum.
it was monday morning
after a favourite uncle’s birthday
on the weekend
i had made him a card
drawn flowers because he like them
copied in my newly acquired hand
it took me most of saturday
each letter a task
down up around and down swish
around up and back down swish
ended with a flourish
a loop, a flick –
he loved it.
back in the quiet hum of the class
i applied my new skills to the page
finishing a whole row of a’s and m’s
with tails turning up, dotting the i’s with flowers.
time passed in focussed silence
punctuated by the rattle of pencils on desks
and the slow steady click of the minute hand moving.
final flourish on the bottom
of a well pleased page
after break teacher called me to her desk –
we all loved her
with her golden curls and lipsticked smile.
my book was open on the morning’s work
i nearly crowed with imminent reward
those gold stars we got to wear
on our foreheads.
what is this, she asked
and i oblivious
told her of my uncle les and the birthday card and
no, she said
this is wrong, she said
i don’t ever want to see this again,
i thought they looked nice, i said
and surely even then i should have known better
but it was my first year at school
and i still had much to learn.
i held out my almost six year old hand
on command as i had seen
other children do before
so you remember she said.
turns out the long arm of the law
had painted nails and a gold link bracelet
and knew how to apply a ruler
to the unruly.
back at my desk
i sat on my hand
to cool the burn
i did not cry.