Bringing light in these uncertain times is a plethora of poetry being shared. It’s amazing the power that poetry can have bringing our attention to the matters of humanity. The last of these is mine.
And the people stayed home.
And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply.
Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently. And the people healed.
And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”
I spent several years working and exploring in remote corners of Alaska as a young woman. This required transportation in floatplanes and small boats to rocky shores, arctic lakes, meandering rivers
and remote airstrips. The weather played an important part in determining departure and pickup times. It seemed that the pickups were often the most delayed. Maybe that’s because it was the end of a trip when I was tired, cold, and desperately in need of a shower and my own bed.
My university education steeped me enough ecology and natural science where I developed a different view about modern humanity and our dismal treatment of our natural environment. A couple years back I wrote this poem to give myself some comfort (in a sciencey kind of way) that the Earth will be just fine without our presence. I never shared it until now as it seems so appropriate to the times…
Beyond the scope of our perceptions
They live, thrive even
The precursors of life
That once rose out of primordial goo
Giving rise to our modern-day selves
In the span of millennia
Now they keep house
In the dark soil
In the lining of our guts,
Or riding on the currents of air and water
They are the good guys and the bad guys
Working the magic of digestion, decomposition, disease
Keeping life on Earth in a delicate balance
As they go about their quiet business
While we humans multiply and innovate
Thinking the planet is ours to consume
And ours to fix
In the end will come the justice of Nature
Indiscriminate of zealot, terrorist, or model citizen
From microbes, having no other intelligence
Than the genius of mutation
A plague perhaps, unleashed with a single sneeze
Our technology, heroes, and gods will not save us
The Earth will rest, then heal in its time
Nature will learn from her mistakes
And new life will rise
Our presence recorded in a layer of rock
Six inches thick
On that note…
Be well everyone and make the most of your social isolation!
His voice made me halt abruptly as I walked my dog down a country road. I was listening to a new podcast on my phone. It was a most comforting, soft Irishman’s voice, the kind you know the speaker has depth, an old soul worth a listen with total commitment. That voice was that of Pádraig Ó Tuama, the host of the podcast “Poetry Unbound”, part of the On Being Project He was introducing himself and the podcast. Then he began to read the poem “What You Missed That Day You Were Absent from Fourth Grade” by Brad Aaron Modlin. Not only was I was utterly transfixed by the way he read the poem, his interpretation that followed illuminated this piece in a way that I never could have in my own reading.
I came late to poetry, the reading and writing of it. To be honest there are few poets and poems I really love. I have been guilty of quick reading, passing over an author’s words like speeding down a road without noticing the scenery. But with Padraig’s reading and interpretations, I am finding new love in unlikely poems. He pays attention deeply to what the author is saying in each line and then makes the poem come alive to the listener. After his guidance, he reads the piece again so you can fully appreciate the poem’s magic.
Being a creative soul, my brain is constantly mulling over new ideas and possibilities for my visual art and writing. Being absent-minded really means not being mindful of the reality is in front of me in exchange for the reality I’m experiencing in my brain. My head is often somewhere in the clouds growing flowers. A really annoying side effect of that part of the creative mindset is losing things- constantly. I’m working on it.
A few years ago I welded a piece from junk objects I call ” The Goddess of Lost Things.”On her arms, I hang earrings and I have lost in hopes they will return to me (there have been mixed results). Her headdress is made from a rusted pair of garden clippers, some kind of plumbing fitting for her head and various bits of this and that I came across for her body.
This month”s prompt for “The Nuthatch Society,” My petite writing group was “loss,” a topic that can be explored so many ways. Rather than the serious side of loss, I chose this everyday part of my life.
Where the Lost Things Are
Tucked in burrows, sheltered from the obligations of daily use
I imagine they are gathered
Possessions I once held in my grasp that broke free and claimed their independence
The khaki hat I wore on the Camino de Santiago, left at a resting stop under a tree
How I missed its wide brim as my eyes squinted and my brow perspired under the Spanish sun- such a lucky find for another pilgrim
My prescription sunglasses in a case of mustard yellow, guaranteed to catch my eye, my name address & phone number in black sharpie on the back
No strategy foolproof
The red leather wallet lost years ago that fit so easily in my pants pocket. Where are you little one?
Earrings – always my most cherished
The mates, now single, put into service as zipper pulls, charms, and bling for art projects in memory of when they made such a darling couple
Hats, headbands & gloves fallen from pockets on ski trails through snowy woods- usually the ones hand-knitted by dear friends
Sets of car keys
The scarf that dropped from my neck as I walked through the bonny highlands of Scotland
Then the myriad of expensive striped wool socks that enter the wash as pairs and then exit a party of one
At times the lost return by chance or effort
Like my favorite watch of silver and turquoise from Santa Fe
But not before I bought a replacement on Ebay
Now I have a spare
In the end, it’s the curiosity that haunts me, the perplexing questions of how, when and where the lost were lost
Questions I would like to be answered complete with videos and maps before I die
Have the socks and earrings joined in more diverse pairings?
What new adventures did my khaki hat have?
Unsolved mysteries that will most likely remain as such
But for now blessings to all my lost possessions
Thank you for your service and blessings to the finder if there was a lucky soul
I was out in the garden today “putting it to bed “ for the winter. It’s good work on a chilly autumn day. I looked up at the sky and the colorful leaves and said to myself “this day deserves a poem- just do it” so I dashed off to the house in search of a notebook and pen. Sometimes you just have to pause, be amazed, and write about it!
Putting the Garden to Bed
Under an intense blue sky
My garden disappears
with each whack of the machete
As I work I discover monstrous cucumbers
Submerged in dying vines like green submarines
And overlooked onions hiding below the straw
The parsnips pull out of the ground reluctantly as always
Sadly too mature to be good eating
As my armloads of spent foliage build up the compost pile
I sigh with memories of sweet tomatoes
And savory salads
I leave the dried heads of the sunflowers standing
It is the height of summer blooms. Bumblebees are to be found everywhere about my yard. I find them in the cool of the morning sleeping in flowers, drunk from the previous day’s feeding. As the day warms I pause to watch them at their work, mindfully probing into pistils within blooms sucking out nectar.
They are especially fond of compound flowers, those in the genus, Compositae, the daisy family, the largest example being a sunflower. These are flowers within flowers. Look closely in the middle of a dahlia, zinnia, daisy, dandelion sunflower, etc. and you will find multitudes of tiny flowerets surrounded by showy petals. It’s like one-stop shopping for bees.
Bumblebees make up the genus Bombus with 255 different species. Generally, they are black with varying stripes of yellow and sometime red. They make nests near the ground under logs, duff in small colonies. They are honey producers but in smaller quantities.
Though bumblebees don’t get as much press as their smaller cousin, the honey bee, they are extremely important pollinators. Bumblebees are particularly good at it. Their wings beat 130 times or more per second, and the beating combined with their large bodies
vibrate flowers until they release pollen, which is called buzz pollination. Buzz pollination helps plants produce more fruit. Bumblebees flap their wings back and forth rather than up and down like other bees. Researcher Michael Dickinson, a professor of biology and insect flight expert at the University of Washington likens wing sweeping like a partial spin of a “somewhat crappy” helicopter propeller,
They are gentle bees, single-minded in their work and rarely sting which is good because their sting can be particularly nasty. I have never been stung even though I sometimes gently pet their fuzzy backs then they are immersed in feeding. Such sweet bees.
In Praise of Bumblebees
They probe dreamily in the center
Of pie sized yellow flowers that nod towards the east
Keeping me company
As I work in the garden
These tiny winged beasts do their work
Heads up down, up down
Placing in precision their needle-like proboscises