Crow Vision

flock-2574265_1920For the 24 years I have lived on my tiny farm in rural Oregon, I have witnessed a gathering of crows in the Eastern sky late in the days of the warmer months.  They are always flying South, as with some purpose.  Sadly, the woodland hills have been stripped in recent years for vineyards, so the nightly event has gotten smaller.  I’ve always wondered where they go and what mischief they might be up to.  Finally, I’ve gotten around to write about it.

THE CROWS COME AT SUNSET

From all corners of the sky

Black silhouettes winging together as a noisy flock

On their way to their secret destination

Which I long to know

 

I imagine they are sent from the spirit world

Spies in the sleek bodies of birds

Black as shiny coal

From beak to tail

 

They find their nightly roost

In the high branches of leafy trees

An avian barroom full of raucous cawing and flapping of wings

As they share the events of their day

 

The news comes as far as the cold lands of the Far North

To the dry, pastel arroyos of the Southwest

all the way to the crowded cities of the East

Stories they observed from the world of humans

Comedies born from intelligence gone bad

 

The jokes and stories are centuries old

recycled with different characters

Told with such squawking hilarity

That feathers loosen in the crows’ wild animations

And float earthward beneath the branches

 

The party goes on as the sky turns dusky to dark

Stars slowly appear

The birds’ black eyes grow heavy and their voices silent

Then all that can be heard is the sound of crow breathing

And the song of crickets that welcome the night

 

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A screenprint I made in 1994 “Crows at Sunset”

 

 

 

 

 

When the Creative Party Ends

It happens sometimes to creatives- your head is filled with a party of ideas & inspirations and then all of a sudden the party is over.  You’re left with a bunch of rubble, an empty IMG_1398room, and a creative hangover.  That’s where I am at.  I’ve been here before and it’s not fun.  You feel lost, lonely & a sense of despair.  The one thing I do know “This too shall pass” (but not without some effort).

Parties can’t go on indefinitely.  At some point, you need to rest & recharge.  The first step is to clean up after the party- literally.  I am doing a total cleanup of my studio.  On Saturday I swept down my cement floor, got rid of unnecessary items that lined the walls and occupied the floor and then hosed down the entire thing.  Afterward, it smelled fresh and sweet.  Today I am cleaning and organizing my table surfaces.  For some reason cleaning my physical space also cleans my mental space.  It’s not a cure-all but sure is a positive start to make room for new ideas.  Best of all- It’s something I can do now and feel good about.

I wrote the following poem at my low point (also posted on “Poet’s Corner”).  I look forward to hearing the songs of birds again.

 

BURROW

If I had a burrow

I would crawl into it

Make a bed of soft moss

Block the entrance with piles of rock

And curl up & sleep until the songs of birds

Wove their way into my consciousness

To wake me

rabbit-burrow
Image courtesy http://animalia-life.club

Return

Travel… many write about their journeys to far flung places but what about the return?  IMG_1379How does one re-enter gracefully after days from home and hours in transit?  Last night I returned from a week in Alaska on the heels of a three-week trip to Ireland and tried to get my bearings.

RETURN

When I  opened the door

It was like revisiting a book I had set aside

Trying to remember the plot and the main character,

Myself, and my part in the story

Everything familiar

Yet strange

Piles of unopened mail, weeds in the garden

A routine obscured by recent memories

How do I continue in my role?

Do I rewrite my destiny or carry on as it was written?

I lay down on the couch exhausted,

Wrapping my arms around the soft, safe fur of my dog

And slept.

 

How to Begin Your Day

IMG_1296I started this practice some months back.  It just sort of happened with no premeditation. When I was in some random airport waiting for a connection, I spied some lovely little leather journals in a gift shop and thought “What a perfect place to write poetry!”  The journal was purchased and is now over half full of poems and drafts of poems.  In the morning I am either working on a poem, reading poetry or doing a combination of both, in bed, a cup of tea in hand with two furry dogs beside me for company.  It’s been a delightful way to start my day, so much nicer than reading the news.

Begin the Day With a Poem

let the lines of beauty

spin a warm cocoon about you

Revel in its warmth

and the protection it offers

from the harshness of this world

Drink in the loveliness

of pure imagery

and let the words

light candles in the darkness

marking a clear path before you

into the garden of hope.

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LISTS

snake-309447_1280I hate lists
They wind around me
Like boa constrictors
Squeezing out my life’s energy
Unchecked items
Insatiable predators
Feasting on my self-esteem
Waiting for others in queue
To take their place
Lined up
To infinity.