The Lunatic Moon


This is from 2013. There are no physically manifest poems on the PoeTree this year.

The Lunatic Moon
by Beth Weaver-Kreider
for Mara

The thing is, I am a Twisted Hair.
The thing is, I believe that bridges build their own burn.
I am weaving that into the braid at this exact moment.
Some days I walk on burn
to return to the path that calls me.
Perhaps this is where the poem begins.

The thing is, when I read that line
about what I believe, I felt seen and known.

Burn your bridges, burn your easement, burn your draft card, burn your bra.

The thing is, I am simply a character.
I am devouring. I am pretending.
The thing is, I am a simple character,
made of burn, of bridge, of web.

Weave yourself a bridge of sunlight and flame. Weave an easement to the moon.

The thing is, the more I twist these strands into the story,
the less I am a solitary spider, and the more I am the moon.

TOMORROW’S PROMPT:
We’ve learned the twinkling light of the star that refreshes, the wild light of the moon that pulls, and tomorrow, the Fool steps into the light of the sun, feeling her full power. She finds herself able to experience joy in a new way, not in denial of the hardship and pain of the journey, but because of it. Now she knows her strength. Now she knows her wildness. Now she knows her fierce and tender heart. She absorbs the power of the Sun.

Gratitude List:
1. Poetic conversation
2. Odysseys, journeys, adventures
3. This writing life, fragmented and small as it is
4. Chocolate bunnies
5. Every day a new sensation, a new color, a new birdsong

May we walk in Beauty!

Betwixt

spider

Perhaps I have written about this before, about trying to stand in the space between rage and despair. About the way that both of them distract from the ability to stay awake and alert. If we are to do our Work in this week, in this year, in this season, in this lifetime, we cannot afford to let ourselves lean too far into either space. There’s a reason it’s called blind fury–in the throes of absolute rage, I cannot see the broad picture, cannot get in touch with the essential humanity of all the people in the story, cannot keep perspective. It is the same with despair.

We will probably find ourselves walking into both of these doorways in the coming days, but if we are to be effective at the Work that lies ahead of us, we cannot afford the luxury of remaining long in either room. Neither can we afford to let them go entirely. We need to keep in mind that we are a complex beings and can hold all of these pieces at once.

In these days, let us remain in the place betwixt the poles, owning our own despair and rage, helping to hold and carry others’ burdens of the same. But let’s keep them as lenses for interpreting the times, as tools for stimulating and inspiring our work, instead of letting them numb and blind us to the reality around us. Let’s be like the spider, neither creature of air or of earth, but who inhabiting a space between. Let’s build our webs of Work and Prayer and Song and Standing Up and Creating Belonging here in the space between the fire of rage and the stone of despair.

On this day, I think of Martin Luther King, who must also have carried with him large portions of both despair and rage, but who stood between, holding his vision of who people could be and what justice looked like, with clarity and great will. May we follow in his steps.

Keep breathing. Keep watching. Keep speaking up. Keep spinning and weaving, singing and knitting, dancing and shouting. Keep holding each other.

Gratitude List:
1. Quiet time to work quietly
2. Paying attention
3. Looking forward to a new semester
4. Remembering–both the challenges and the joys
5. Knitting, weaving, spinning–all of us together

May we walk in Beauty!

Stand Still

garden peach
Garden Peach tomatoes. Sweet, juicy, almost fruity. These two happen to be heart-shaped.

Reading Parker Palmer this morning, I again came across this poem by David Wagoner. I had such a strong reaction to this when I first read it a couple years ago that I can still recall how my skin felt as the words took hold.

Lost
by David Wagoner, from Collected Poems 1956-1976

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. you must let it find you.

Gratitude List:
1. She might not be gone. I was certain that the hummingbird had left her nest, either abandoning her eggs as unviable, or getting too skittish about all the activity below her. This is the sort of thing I worry about. Yesterday, I watched her zip up to the nest, and instead of sitting on it like she usually does, she perched on the rim, and stuck her beak down into the nest. I can’t be positive, but this appeared to be the behavior of someone feeding young ones. Holding out hope.
2. Jumping spiders. They’re sort of like teeny tiny puppies, only you don’t have to worry about who is going to take care of them. Yesterday, I encountered a tiny brown jumping spider who kept leaping from finger to finger. It was like she understood where I wanted her to jump to next. She would race toward me across the vast distance of my hand, and then look up at me, and then when the people at the picnic table laughed, she would suddenly stop and twist her body so she could look at them, and then we would resume our little game.
3. The village that raises the children. My kids hadn’t seen Sandra for several weeks, and yesterday when she came, they raced to her and couldn’t stop bending her ear. She listens to them, she converses at their level, but never talks down to them.
4. Also, the schools. Last night was Back to School night at Wrightsville Elementary. I love the teachers and administration and staff at this local elementary school. I love the friendly, earnest culture of the place.
5. Encountering Beauty–in words, in the visual realm, in the aural realm. Sort of like encountering that little spider–there are moments when Beauty seems to say, “I get you. I am here to play with you for this one bright shining moment.”

May we walk in Beauty!

Threads of a Poem

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Spider is writing her poems along the field
from sedge to bramble to foxtail
in silver shining threads and dew.

Gratitude List:
1. Several new babies safely in the world now.  Blessings on the new people and their parents.
2. Dawn chorus.  I may need to change up my routine and do my writing in the evenings so I can sit out on the porch and listen to the morning’s symphony.
3. Harriet Tubman will be on the $20 bill.  It’s a symbol, and it’s only money, but it’s a nod to her role in our history.  The people we set up as our heroes shape who we become as a nation.  This is a small step, but it has the potential to show us a better side of who we can be.
4. Resolve.  Determination. Will.  I don’t know about you, but it seems as though I have energy cycles–sometimes I can only focus on getting done the things I need to get done at the moment, whether it’s a lot or a little.  There are times, however, when it seems as though the winds push through an extra measure of resolve, and the energy for moving forward is more constant.
5. How spring always has a new thing.  The crocus and the earliest spring flowers are faded, but a few daffodils remain.  Ms. Freiberg’s yellow tulips are still shining in the morning dew, and the my guarddogwood trees are daring each other to be the first to burst into bloom.  (Now, if only oriole would come and whistle for me.)

May we walk in Beauty!

Eagle and Butterfly

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. . .and spider and little brown bat, whom we call Otis.  The bat’s full name, in Latin, is Myotis lucifugus, and when there are two of them roosting up in the barn, we call the other Lucy.  Screech Owl’s Latin name is Otus asio.

Gratitude List:
1. The bald eagle rising above the trees by the River on my drive home, pumping its wings as it rose toward a cloud that was rimed by a golden halo of sun.  I am sorry we have made them such a symbol of military force.  Writing about this eagle, I feel as though I must wade through layers and layers of shallow and odious symbology to get to the way it carried my spirit as it rose with powerful pulls of its wings, swimming upward through air, and how the sun lit the cloud from behind.
2. Monarchs buffeted by every little breeze and puff of air, making their laborious way southward.  So many of them.  Each sighting brings me a stab of joy. One fast truck can send them spinning and looping out of their way, but they persist.
3. Student music at school.  I am blown away by the talent of these young people.
4. Restorative Justice.  Discipline that thoughtfully encourages young people to look at the breach in relationships and how the breach can be mended.  Empathetic and compassionate accountability.  The principals at my school are wise and empathetic in their work with this, and this week we learned that the principal of our sons’ public school is also working with implementing restorative principles in the local school.
5. Cool air I can breathe in.

May we walk in Beauty!

Bowlful of Prayers

EWK 5 001

The stories converge.
The strands on this web meet,
connect, and twist outward again.

This is a bowl of stones, holding prayers:
a shining soul who just received a terrible diagnosis,
another bright spirit who is caring for a suffering loved one,
another, walking the confusing labyrinth of a broken relationship,
a quiet spirit grieving a loss that never seems to heal,
an eager heart aching with loneliness,
a disappointed one,
a tired one,
and you?

A stone for each of these I love,
and also, one for the bright cardinal
who comes with messages of hope,

one for the courage of the activist
climbing high and challenging oppression,

one for hope, one for love, one for tenderness,
one for patient remembering to give yourself time,
to cut yourself a break, to let yourself cry,
to remember your truest, greenest, most powerful self,

and one for the spider who brings all the stories
together in a web, binding us all into one.
One story.

Gratitude List:
1. Change
2. Stability
3. Prayers, stones, and feathers
4. Watchfulness
5. Root beer floats

May we walk in Beauty!

Spider

Gratitude List:
1.  That spider whom I dislodged from a corner of a little-used bin yesterday.  As she scuttled away, I saw three swelling egg sacs.  I hung them carefully in an out-of-the-way place, and then found Mama Spider again and shooed her onto the egg sacs.  She immediately took up her guard there again.  Fierce Mama Protectiveness, even in Arachnia.
2.  New Computer.  I’ve been feeling a tiny little bit overwhelmed by the size of the technological learning curve as I prepare for school, but a little time playing and fiddling does go a long way toward making me feel comfortable in these new virtual rooms.
3.  Community Building.  I am pushing my getting-started classroom plans back a day or so in order to do some community-building exercises in my classes.  Before we talk about Narrative Structure in Literature, we’ll tell our own stories.
4.  Good conversations.  Thank you for being my village, friends.
5.  Even though I really loved that dress, I am incredibly grateful that it tore BEFORE I wore it to a day of school meetings rather than when I got there.  I’ll hem it up and make a shirt of it.

May we walk in Beauty!

How the World Began

Welcome to National Poetry Month!

So much to do!  I was away from home all day today, so tomorrow I will inaugurate this year’s Poetree in my dogwood.
Stacia Fleegal of the poetry blog Versify offers a challenge to read a poem a day.  I won’t put all mine on videotape, but here’s today’s attempt.
I think I will try the April Poem-A-Day Challenge again.  Today’s prompt is a two-fer: Write a Beginning poem.  Write an Ending poem.

How the World Began

In the beginning, Spider
launched herself into the spring breeze
from a rattling stalk of dried nettle

toward a skinny maple sapling.
She missed the maple.  Landed,
light-foot, in a heap of leaves

gathered around its base.
A quick scuttle upward, launched again
and through the breeze once more

to nettle stalks this time, and
the gossamer cord caught.
Then launched herself once more

into the gentle breath of wind
until she’d spun herself a world,
until she had encompassed all.

In the end, Spider gathered strands
and wove herself a spirit cloth of silver thread
to catch the wandering dreams

of mockingbirds and wild geese
passing over the chilly meadow,
following tomorrow’s sunrise.

 

Gratitude List:

1.  Flicker calling from the treetops this morning
2.  The golden flank feathers of the pheasant who walked through my parents’ lawn this afternoon, and his squeaky screen-door squawk.
3.  The Fool, dancing on the edge, willing to take risks, to laugh lightly at herself, to seek adventure.
4.  Energy.  Taking responsibility for my own, learning to sense it, to listen for it, to watch, to shift it.
5.  The smoke ring that emerged from the palo santo smudge that Nicky used this morning, how it rose so languidly through the grapevines, twisted, turned for a moment into a baby dragon, and dissipated like a mist, like a wraith.

May we walk in Beauty!

Where is the Moon?

This is pure play, loosely based on a game we made up during supper tonight.  I think I might want to come back to it at some point and re-work the idea.  It reminds me a little of Ted Hughes’ “Amulet.”

Where is the moon?
I think it is in the pond.
Where is the pond?
I think it is under the mountain.
Where is the mountain?
Inside the eye of the dragon.
Where is the dragon?
In the dreams of the fox.
Where is the fox?
In the egg of the hummingbird.
And the hummingbird?
In the shimmering colors of the sunset.
And the sunset?
In the spider’s web.
And the spider?
Oh, the spider is on the moon.

Lura Lauver Slabaugh and a baby
This is a photo of my grandmother Lura Slabaugh.  I wonder how old she was in this picture?

Gratitude List:
1.  All the birdie love in the air today.  A bluebird feeding his sweetheart.  Grackles mating–he did such an elaborate dance with his wings in fans while he sang her a sweet song, and watched her so intently with his bright white eyes.
2.  The way the sun suddenly shone through the clouds when my boy and I were out checking the chickens this morning.
3.  The way the big carpenter bee at the barn swims through the air to check me out–eye to eye–whenever I pass, and then zzzzez away.
4.  Words, resplendent words, audacious, precious, unique, absurd, fetching, delightful, breathtaking words.
5.  The way the Earth feeds us, even beyond what we can plant.  There’s food out there, in the dandelions, the poke, the soon-to-ripen Juneberries, the dock and thistle and plantain.  I use most of these mostly for tea at this point in my learning.  Still, they nourish me.

May we walk in beauty.

Jan. 7 Poem, Jan. 8 Prompt, and a Gratitude List:

I am not planning to make a habit of waiting until the next morning to post.  But here you have it.  I am coming to terms with how much daily events and needs can take over the poetic process, even when I am managing some personal writing time each day.  I do not mean this as a complaint, just an observation–I feel pulled lately between the extreme neediness of a three-year-old and the writing of the poem.  My heart and soul are bound up in figuring out how to meet his deeper needs beyond the moment-to-moment challenges, and so what is left for poetry is my head.  Here’s the glosa from yesterday:

Be Melting Snow
“Be melting snow.
Wash yourself of yourself.
A white flower grows in the quietness.
Let your tongue become that flower.”  –Rumi

To pursue the path of the poet
apprentice your soul to nature.
Mark how she moves, moment to moment
dance her wheeling rhythms
follow the pathways of water
wander down to the meadow
taste the nectar of the poppy
listen for the scree of the hawk above you
stand silent in the shadow of the crow.
Be melting snow.

Be the thrust of the thaw
the clashing of ice on the river
the flow and the flood
the bursting of seed, the forces of growth
the blood: vitality, fertility, health.
Be the fire at the heart of the sun
the raging, whirling winds of summer.
Become the heartbeat of the Earth Herself.
Wash yourself of yourself.

Then let it go.
Be wide and open as the ocean.
Let the sky unfurl within you.
Be the whine of the mosquito
the whisper of an owl’s wing.
Be patient, forceful, fearless.
Be the dream of the trees
the secret hope of the sparrow.
Go into the stillness.
A white flower opens in the quietness.

Hold that perfect form
within your soul’s eye.
Unhitch the horse of your brain.
See it with your heart
with your hopes.
Feel the bud’s birthing power.
Long for its blooming.
Feel it quiver with wakefulness.
Begin to open, hour upon hour.
Let your tongue become that flower.

 

Prompt

Today I am going to write a list poem.  I like lists, and I like the stacking together of images to see what sort of house they make.  Care to join me?

 

Gratitude List

1.  Grandparents–the kids get a day to re-set after almost two weeks of quarantine and crankies.
2.  Spiders
3.  Stretching and yawning
4.  Radiance–what a marvelous place to spend a day!
5.  Sunrise.

May we walk in beauty.