Avian Ambition ~ Cross into the Blue

On a recent trip to Raritan Bay, we had the Feathered Air Force welcome us to a light ocean spray and a limitless horizon.

Cross into the blue as you aim high~ Air Force in remiges
Reaching for the stratosphere in feathered flight / the plumes of ambition / the stuff of downy dreams in my pillow  / A breezy morning drive by a bay / and  townsfolk haven't remembered  to store the skeletons of halloween / Our notes tether to the railing in claws of a circumspect laugh / bracing the wind like it could fall off / knowing little it can soar / lilting awkwardly, then lifting the spirits to levitate like birds / spanning across the universe of quill dipped in ink / leaving words in wingtips / The force are lined up in defence of land they think they possess / until they fly into a limitless sky //
Powered Wingtips ~ Avian Airforce

These birds were hanging on for dear life in a significant breeze. It looked so odd yet amusing, considering they couldn’t really fall, given they could fly.

Spring survives in racemes of yellow

There’s a holly like plant that has naturalized near my home. On my walk, I was delighted to see racemes [1] of yellow flowers that will thereafter turn into clusters of blue-black tart berries of the Oregon barberry. The Oregon Grape Holly or Mahonia aquifolium is from the family Berberidaceae, has leaves that look like Holly and is the state flower of Oregon. This shade garden ornamental that I could finally name, is so beautiful, used now as a substitute for Goldenseal as the leaves, bark, and root contain berberine, a yellow alkaloid that is the same antimicrobial compound found in there too. Its use in medicine by Native Americans in the treatment of arthritis, jaundice, fever and other ailments has been documented as well. Foragers use it to create excellent jellies. It’s literally in my backyard and I never knew … so here it is, set like pectin in a poem.

This poem is dedicated to the beautiful Oregon Grape Holly.

Mahonia aquifolium
Evergreen, the winter never laid a blemish on her waxy leaves. Is this the eternal of that which survives the rain, the sun, the waxwings, the raccoons, the storms, the kind mercenary from the landscapers in his brown overalls clicking his alligator shears, the petite woman who struck down a holly-alike limb for a sacrificial feast of gratitude ... If feelings ever gelled in pectin then it would be an antiquarian delight, for my Jam Bible has no such recipe. Perhaps I should write one, for they could find it stored in a canopic jar under the sands of time some day the sun rises in the future, like victuals of an earlier age, eternity assimilated in the glaze of green and a yellow of delicate racemes, onyx berries. In Oregon, the barberry is a survivor so they honoured her in their pantheon of Spring goddesses. The birds tell me it is Spring here too. Summer will soon cluster in survival, in patient berries, some tart, some sweet.

I find evergreen to be a poetic synonym for resilience. In the temporal, the evergreen will perish but live an eternity in its lifetime, or perhaps, the Oregon Grape Holly is simply poetic in her waxy leaves.

[1] Definitions:

Raceme ~ a flower cluster with the separate flowers attached by short equal stalks at equal distances along a central stem. The flowers at the base of the central stem develop first. (Oxford Dictionary)

Botanical definition ~ A raceme (/reɪˈsiːm/ or /rəˈsiːm/) or racemoid is an unbranched, indeterminate type of inflorescence bearing pedicellate flowers (flowers having short floral stalks called pedicels) along its axis. In botany, an axis means a shoot, in this case one bearing the flowers. (Wikipedia)

On the death of God and the ghosts of a haunted sacristy

A prose poem for today. The weather is the pallor of death and the absence of faith. It has sprung a wet rain cloud, yet this morning the trees wore their usual vestments of Spring, like winter never happened at all.

I remember a chapel from childhood …

Is the Chapel a cloister of the ghosts of empty confessionals? Freud never haunted this place nor hailed Mary. A sad tree now stands guard over a barred window. Is it to keep them in or shut them out? They line up at the door of the sacristy, like aspiring altar boys and girls for a service to one dripping out dregs of lifeblood, nailed solely by human pathology. They will speak of resurrection as consolation, like they always do, a placebo of worded liturgies surviving the soul. The creed to make you know, the creed to make you feel, the creed to make you see  is a blueprint for astro-archaeology. In the demise of the planet and of religion, they would excavate the gospels in scrolls, in the dead of space. Do we truly believe in the holy trinity of love, faith and meaning? Then God must be surely dying.

A Quantum of Sattva

Sometimes, it’s not the number of things we do but the amount we think that exhausts us. I like long solitary walks in wooded areas together with my music. It is positively grounding. This week I may work on a daily Pranayama and some fasting, which I regret I haven’t made time for recently, or in a strict routine. I find them both helpful, especially for meditation. This poem is parsing a way out to a place of meditative silence, not to curb the creativity as much as to channel it, to take a break from oneself, so to speak.

.

.

.

The Sun is risen / gratitude is measured / to limbs that stretch far like rays to rival a mountain of assumptions / or a wanton horse in a meadow / or a bow aiming for reason / or bent like a hair pin securing locks of wild ebony / invoking that which brightens the day in radiance / moves across the sky with intention / is a friend / aum mitraye namaha //

The breath of life / an inhale of the universe / still as a deep lake in the holding place of love / an exhale of self / and in this, the expansiveness of heart / like in an elasticity of silence / clocks cease to exist here / time fills the lungs and loud spaces /a mind, eerily empty / settling like silt as rivers of thought meet the ocean of acceptance //

Food of spirit / Sattva in a steep consciousness / the altitude of a reckoning / and a chaste eating / even if it were a stone soup / to be sipped in gratefulness in a spiritual famine / A sense of cumin like a quantum of humanity / the fragrance of ginger in the abundant grace of serene moonlight //

.

.

.

The first verse indicates the Hatha Yoga Asanas of the Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutations and the 12 poses, each with a greeting to the Sun in gratitude. Mitraye means a friend in Sanskrit.

The second is on Pranayama. Ideally, Yoga Asanas were merely preparation for breathing, at least in the way it was meant to be, inorder to achieve a meditative state.

The third verse is about the concept of Sattva in food and through it, in spirit. I have never been able to adhere to Sattvic food for long, that would mean going vegan. Sattvic food follows a similar concept as the Japanese Shojin Ryori.

Sattva is one of the three modes of existence, the other being Rajas and Tamas. It refers in Sanskrit to the quality of goodness, positivity, truth, serenity, balance, peacefulness, and virtuousness that is drawn towards dharma (loosely the right way of living) and Gyana (knowledge).

Weighing the Soul

The poem was inspired by the cliff scene from the Swedish horror drama ‘Midsommar’, that depicts a ritual called Ättestupa. It is based on the premise of senicide, where at 72, the elderly cult members throw themselves off a cliff. Such a ritual is historically inaccurate, but it made me wonder of the myriad forms of approaching death, this one voluntary and clearly without a history of mental distress, it felt like a horrific and painful euthanasia. Ari Aster’s movie reeks of death but even so, the actors are all marvellous, the cinematography excellent, the premise of the film absolutely bizarre and overall, a movie that stayed with me because I actually enjoyed it. It is quite a work of art.

.

.

.

A promise was inscribed at the cliff edge of reason / What were the birds and the butterflies thinking / to fly without a harness / seeking salvation as simply as wading / through water like a seal / and coming up short of breath //

The soul feels ill prepared for what comes next / Transmogrify and perhaps / it can become a dove on it’s way down / through the sheer intent of words //

Promises made to the heart / that love will make the soul buoyant / as it will float finally like loose feathers / once the weighted bird hits the rocks far below //

.

.

.

I hope my readers don’t find the theme of this poem too morbid, this movie was quite bizarre, yet so creative. I had to translate the scene to speak for beliefs I think people have, that seem to provide for faith strong enough to jump to such a painful death, even if this particular ritual is historically inaccurate.

Criss cross through 2021, journaling crucifixes

A new journal begging to assimilate
moments passing/ stretched to hours of
unseen friends, unspoken thoughts, eyes/
the unsmiling but we all shop together now/
pixellated faces lips cheeks, two dimensions/
voicing through time, virtual, start to finish/
criss cross criss cross criss cross criss cross/
the to do list of much ado about much to do/
Add length to criss cross, vertical, dash … /
There, the Nazarene’s crucifix embedded/
on the Golgotha of acrid pages/criss crossing
away the norm of current times/ stationing
through January, then thursdays, fridays/
into February and then a similitude of days/
in the fourth week of March when I should/
look out the window and onto the seasons/
to recognize finally the colour of time/
criss crossing itself/ in erupting
blades of grass, emergent sprigs/
I will then journal no more crucifixes.