It was on a walk along the Lenape trail earlier today, through Mills Reservation in Essex County, that we spotted this mushroom.
As most of us know, a mushroom is only the fruiting body of the fungal mycelium that runs subterranean. And here in this forest were a variety of trees with roots that branched beneath the surface. As Robert Kourik in his work ‘Roots Demystified’ mentions  “While one rule of limb has been that a tree’s roots are one and one-half to three times wider than the foliage, other investigators estimate an irregular root pattern four to seven times the crown area; and, still other researchers maintain that the root extension can be four to eight times wider than the dripline of the tree, but only under certain conditions.”
This evening, something triggered me to compare the subterranean systems to John Gray’s idea of atheists as inverted believers. It may have simply been the word ‘inverted’ or the pessimistic philosopher himself that struck me, whose work I read with keen interest a few years ago. Terry Eagleton wrote of Gray’s book ‘Seven Types of Atheism’ in 2018 , that according to Gray, most humanists are atheists and have substituted humanity for God and that the popular belief of atheism and religion as opposites, is a mistake. Religions are not theories of the world but forms of life and are less systems of belief than acts of faith and therefore he considered many fanatical atheists as no more than inverted believers. I am curious about this idea just as I am about a tree or a mushroom. I find a tree to be that sort of organism that has its lungs on the outside while the being itself remains embedded in the Earth, just like the mushroom emerges from its subterranean mycelium.
Well, my poem is not about John Gray or mushrooms or the Lenape or atheists, it is actually on the concept of inversion in trees. I must thank John Gray for inspiring this thought, though.
A seed lay buried to fate in a copse of stately Oak / Leafy susurrations in the crown above, seem to ruffle a verdant cloak / like wind subdued grasses in a glade //
Germination is but an adventitious murmur / seeking the depth of a dark silence / in roots swaddling the Earth like it would have simply crumbled otherwise //
The tree of life is scattershot / hidden from the eye of the Sun / It bends whichever way in seeking baptismal waters / sunk in the innards of the Globe //
There then, where roots are girdled / they chase around themselves in sacred enclosures until / they have choked the trunk to their aerial lung //
In such viridescence resides poetry / a glint and shimmer until the flicker of Fall / but the trees themselves remain embedded in the mythology of loam //
My blogging hour today, looked a bit like this below; a bridge over moisture and pebbles 🤷♀️It’s a fancy bridge though, diacritical marks, lines and everything. (I notice now, some leafy punctuation too)
And then it increasingly began to look like this …
I love words, they can be so powerful when saying the right things; so gravelly when one has to eat them, so unfortunate too, when one tries to converse with a tone deaf animal, like supplications to a rattle snake for instance (I did that on one rare occasion a long while ago, it makes me cringe now and a reptile’s a reptile). It brings to mind a memory of when my driving instructor told me that I should never ever honk at a buffalo or a rickshaw (tuk tuk) as both would be unable to understand the language of the horn (I learnt to drive in India). Words are so beautiful when making a promise and heavenly when delivering on it, healing when in poems and mantras, trenchant in sarcasm, violent in battle cry, inspiring in revolutions, so important too for speaking long distance with family. Most of all, I love words in writing but sometimes, they seem very hard to string together…
is an overseer with a whip
and I feel like an excuse
of a bridge over waters
troubled in stone,
not exactly the Nile
but crossing sentences
across the shallows
is simply being cross at life
And the words rasp
at my throat,
circuit my lobes housed
in a head, fancy that!
But inflections are a mere
tingle in my fingertips.
This must be writer's bridge ×=====×
The term ‘writer’s block’ feels like a dam against a conceit of deep waters, that could burst into a deluge or something along the lines of it. A ‘writer’s bridge’ in contrast feels like one must de-silt the river, create depth, more flow, to be a bridge that actually counts.
Dawn accreted glow
like a need to walk
out of a tangle
of poetry in my head,
to open fields someplace.
It must be the stars
that rally us to
in thorny shrubs,
It reminds me of Anne Sexton’s poem, ambition bird and her business of words …
The business of words keeps me awake. I am drinking cocoa, the warm brown mama.
I would like a simple life yet all night I am laying poems away in a long box.
It is my immortality box, my lay-away plan, my coffin.
Ambition Bird by Anne Sexton Read more~https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/148744/the-ambition-bird-5c11322239c2b
It brings me to this wonderful transcript I read this morning, on a speech by Virginia Woolf, on words … In the link is an animation of a BBC radio broadcast she made on 29th of April 1937, they brought it down to two minutes and I enjoyed this immensely. It made my morning to listen to a person that I have come to love after engaging with poetry; it takes a certain maturity to warm up to Woolf, to see her brilliance with the very words she speaks of.
Words belong to each other, although, of course, only a great writer knows that the word “incarnadine” belongs to “multitudinous seas”. To combine new words with old words is fatal to the constitution of the sentence.
...hence the unnatural violence of much modern speech; it is a protest against the puritans. They are highly democratic, too; they believe that one word is as good as another; uneducated words are as good as educated words, uncultivated words as cultivated words, there are no ranks or titles in their society.
Nor do they like being lifted out on the point of a pen and examined separately. They hang together, in sentences, in paragraphs, sometimes for whole pages at a time. They hate being useful; they hate making money; they hate being lectured about in public. In short, they hate anything that stamps them with one meaning or confines them to one attitude, for it is their nature to change.
Perhaps that is their most striking peculiarity – their need of change. It is because the truth they try to catch is many-sided, and they convey it by being themselves many-sided, flashing this way, then that. Thus they mean one thing to one person, another thing to another person; they are unintelligible to one generation, plain as a pikestaff to the next. And it is because of this complexity that they survive.
Finally, and most emphatically, words, like ourselves, in order to live at their ease, need privacy. Undoubtedly they like us to think, and they like us to feel, before we use them; but they also like us to pause; to become unconscious. Our unconsciousness is their privacy; our darkness is their light… That pause was made, that veil of darkness was dropped, to tempt words to come together in one of those swift marriages which are perfect images and create everlasting beauty. But no – nothing of that sort is going to happen tonight. The little wretches are out of temper; disobliging; disobedient; dumb. What is it that they are muttering? “Time’s up! Silence!”
If not for this broadcast, I would have never known that ‘incarnadine’ is actually a colour and is defined as a bright crimson or pinkish-red colour. (And no, I did not study Macbeth at school)
'Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red' Macbeth (Act II, Sc. II).
Incarnadine brings to mind an image of the Red Canna by Georgia O’Keeffe, that I took at the library recently, which suggests, incarnadine should in fact be like the poetry of words, indefinable, not conscripted to one single shade and number in a paint catalogue. It manifests when one looks at the entire image, much like evolution I would like to believe, intricate fractals in the details. So it is with words perhaps, do they entropy towards the heat death of silence I wonder ? Some believe in Gods and deities, I believe in the colours of the red Canna today, the words of Virginia Woolf, the breath of fresh air and beauty in the infinite complexity of our universe. I think our lives are secreted within yet occluded by the literature of words in the science of being and as Woolf so elegantly observed: (at least about the English language, could apply to any other)
Our business is to see what we can do with the English language as it is. How can we combine the old words in new orders so that they survive, so that they create beauty, so that they tell the truth? That is the question.
And the person who could answer that question would deserve whatever crown of glory the world has to offer. Think what it would mean if you could teach, if you could learn, the art of writing. Why, every book, every newspaper would tell the truth, would create beauty. But there is, it would appear, some obstacle in the way, some hindrance to the teaching of words. For though at this moment at least 100 professors are lecturing upon the literature of the past, at least a thousand critics are reviewing the literature of the present, and hundreds upon hundreds of young men and women are passing examinations in English literature with the utmost credit, still – do we write better, do we read better than we read and wrote 400 years ago when we were unlectured, uncriticised, untaught? Is our Georgian literature a patch on the Elizabethan?
Where then are we to lay the blame? Not on our professors; not on our reviewers; not on our writers; but on words. It is words that are to blame. They are the wildest, freest, most irresponsible, most unteachable of all things. Of course, you can catch them and sort them and place them in alphabetical order in dictionaries. But words do not live in dictionaries; they live in the mind. If you want proof of this, consider how often in moments of emotion when we most need words we find none. Yet there is the dictionary; there at our disposal are some half-a-million words all in alphabetical order.
But can we use them? No, because words do not live in dictionaries, they live in the mind.
Anne Sexton poem~https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/148744/the-ambition-bird-5c11322239c2b
Virginia Woolf on words ~https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20160324-the-only-surviving-recording-of-virginia-woolf
A discussion on Metaphysics feels a bit like this one that transpired between my friend’s two very young sons. The older one insisted that God made all things and dinosaurs were real since God made them, but Super heroes weren’t real. His younger brother was visibly distressed at the ungodly and unreal existence of Captain America perhaps, when the older one finally assured him, that since God created the human intellect that generates superheroes, in a way God made superheroes too even if they were not real. His brother was very satisfied with this explanation. I am quite impressed for this feels like what Metaphysics appears to me sometimes, the territory of Marvel superheroes and fleshy dinosaurs (and their skeletal remains), a web of questions and the idea of an immutable God and other such, at least in substance Metaphysics.
I wonder also, if our inability to comprehend and make allowance for the kaleidoscopic dynamism in our expansive evolutionary processes, combined with the onerous ricocheting within the Metaphysical chamber is what drives us to seek the absolute monism of mysticism? Is it fear or exhaustion with the search for the meaning of existence, that provokes us to explore what we assume to be the mystical, a union with the absolute, to be undifferentiated in the experience of nothingness. It would be extremely difficult to achieve such a state, the path to which is as yet undefined except through the experiences of others. It feels like the difficulty of reversing time.
The prompt for my poem ‘Mystic in the Rain’, comes from a singer, some of whose compositions I found, evoked the mystical or simply, the poetic. Gold laces by Júníus Meyvant (moniker of the Icelandic born musician Unnar Gísli Sigurmundsson) was a mainstay on my Pandemic playlist and to my amusement, one of my top songs of 2020 on Spotify, as was his popular Signals. I must have had a very small playlist 😅 Some of Meyvant’s songs read like spiritual songs then and he alluded to mysticism.
I admire his faith in his muses (as he puts it) to have set music so, that takes you someplace else. When I first heard Meyvant, there was something sad and searching in the way he sang, that resonated with me, struck within a deep place of some congealed emotion that created a viscous perplexity of trying to find spirit. If this spirit exists at all, it must be the wellspring of personal creativity. Then again, I may be wrong, but is there is anything of the nature of the spiritual and mystical or are these simply words attributed to experiences we cannot comprehend. Or perhaps music has a way of channelling one to that frequency where the questions begin to dissipate and remain relevant no longer.
Meyvant also wrote Floating Harmonies, which veers into the realm of the psyche. His song, melody and tone flow like what some may describe as a gentle prayer.
Floating harmonies by J. Meyvant
Floating harmonies, breaking down all over me tonight, stirring colors to the sound.
White magnolia, rise above these monuments of broken dreams, bricks of vanity.
Threw my hands up, prayed for rain. Clean eyes, down, filled with pain. Drift into quiet night alone, to wait in the subtle, broken mind to be free.
Mystic tag-along, hold me close. I owe the world to see a different part of me.
Threw my hands up, prayed for rain. Clean eyes, down, filled with pain. Drift into quiet night alone, to wait in the subtle, broken mind to be free.
The pain of broken dreams, broken minds, can there exist such, except in the expansiveness of thinking, simply abstraction or even illusion? This brings me to the Vedas. It is Paramhansa Yogananda, who interpreted ancient Vedic scriptures in saying that the physical world operates under one fundamental law of Maya, the principle of relativity and duality. God in his absolute form is considered to be Complete Unity, the only way He appears as the separate and diverse manifestations of creation is when under a false or unreal veil of Maya, or illusion. Maya is thus, interpreted as cosmic illusion. (Well, given it is the age of the World Wide Web, I daresay it appears like the age of illusion) Are our mental processes too a matter of illusion and where is the immutable in them?
The schools of Vedanta like many other esoteric schools of thought, suggest engaging with life in the belief that the material is ephemeral and mostly illusory, but that feels like an inauthentic approach. The mystics on the other hand, propose seeking absolute unity of being but do not have any methodology inveigled in the esoteric. The term ‘broken’ in the song, like in so much of poetry on the same theme of sadness, suggests though, that there is an immutable essence to minds, hearts, dreams, feelings as in the material, that can break into their component atoms, Our lexicon does little justice to experiences that are ineffable if we brush them off as illusions or perception along with the temporary material, not considering the realm in which they exist. As I explore this further in pursuit of underlining my own personal philosophy, it simply feels like the more I find out, the less I actually know 😀
Meyvant alludes to the Mystic in this song, yet in the next line ‘I owe the world to see a different part of me‘ he speaks of the non mystical, by signalling diversity, which is essentially a process towards differentiation, in contrast to the Mystic who veers towards absolute monism.
In his song, drifting into quiet nights to be free within, signals the type of contemplation while you seek a mystical experience, it does not appear to seek the truth as an epistemologist seeks, or meaning as a metaphysician would but the freedom of nothingness perhaps, union with the absolute. This is the way of the mystic as defined today. The human is perennially restless, the questions strangely have remained the same even if the philosophies or the approaches have changed to suit the times. The infinite expanse remains silent, echoing back to us our perennial questions, having scrambled them into a riot of syllables as the epoch turns.
In the formulation of a personal philosophy, mine allows for a curious and continuous exploration. The dualist as well as monistic approaches for me, erode the spirit in a soul conflict I am led to realise. Why is it difficult to appreciate the beauty of time and thus life, as a flowering in a kaleidoscopic excess, sort of spiralling outwards, forever in transformation and metamorphosis but through the interrelatedness of the dancing particles ? It is when particles fall off, the patterns disrupt. In an analogy to human lives, such disruption exists as minds are broken in a world that is severely compartmentalised alongside an inter identity amnesia.
I think too, the pursuit of mysticism for me feels not the begining of the spiral, for that appears like a disservice to the blossoming of spirit, but in the spiraling. No sunflower lay invested in bud nor the Nautilus in germ, we are all spirals of nature where we live as part of a larger process, that spiral we cannot see and do not comprehend or as yet appreciate as desirable, where we prostitute life itself by deeming it an illusion even as we seek God or a locked singularity. There are nascent beginnings but is it not in the interrelatedness of all immutable substances that life and thus meaning gets created, in plurality, a diversity of being? Then again, I need to further explore this, for there is no truth set in stone. I tried to write my own floating harmony today, inspired by Meyvant in a fit of spiritedness. He was my muse last year in a strange melancholy and this is my tribute to him too.
Mystic in the Rain by Davina E. Solomon
Can a rain be subtle, does it fall
in the becoming of science, for the mystic
yearns in parched land for dew drops.
The centuries floated away in a great flood
and were buried in sand, but the answers
are hid in shadows someplace. Downpours
the rhetoric of warring clouds, shed
like forever question marks on
an exhausted dust, rising off fallow sentiment.
Is there poetry in the reluctance of a glacier,
the babbling of a brook skirting rocks,
the silence of the deep of an ocean that
will never swell to surface? Can the rain
meet them all for succour in a deluge,
to freeze, splatter and dive? The river underground,
taunts a divining rod like a veiled God
dowsing a nascent church. Yet, there’s a hum
of liquid life that spirits
into the clouds to descend again like a creed
and we pray, we pray that the soul quells
it’s thirst in worded silences like
the music of rain on a raging river.
Meyvant inspires me with his simple elegance in writing, his spontaneity I think with words, his easy melodies, something I aspire to with my own poetry. Here below is Color Decay.
Color Decay by J. Meyvant
Straight up right now Is so wonderful Way beyond believe and dreams. Your voice is so beautiful. Like the voice of quiet spring.
Little like the hours castaway. Why wonder Time ain't either here to stay Why wonder Time will always pass away
He sings of time, decay, entropy … that’s a partial salve to the rhetorical in the mysteries of the universe, answers that are truisms of sorts, like the passage of time, a concept we try to make peace with at an earthly level, harnessed that we are to cycles of the Moon and to the Sun. I have come to believe, we think of the flow of time as analogous to a trudge towards death and the opposite too, of it’s circularity. Is it our contradictions with regard to the idea of time that creates such metaphysical and spiritual confusion? I wouldn’t know but perhaps, think of time as a kaleidoscope, evolving like a snowflake, there’s beauty in that, how would it define our life then?
Do listen to the artist. He sounds like a prayer sometimes.
I was struck by the leafy beauty of the Angelica tree  which I came across at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on the Virginia half of Assateague Island that we visited recently.
The trunk and petioles bear spines, a stem modification in defence from foragers, that makes it also quite deer resistant. The spines also gave it the common name of ‘devil’s walking stick’ or ‘prickly ash’.
Here below, is a botanical poem.
Sweet Angelica, An overwhelm of your leafy ramifications, waxed verdure affections for a wayward wind. My eyes caught the emerald glint; now they glisten green in a poetic apotheosis.
Should I deem you guilty that 'twas the devil's walking stick that sired you, as virid envelope, so delicate that every leaflet would blend to a fine herb repast.
So I brave your pricklydefences in my manner of white tailed deer and nibble of your leafy poetry. A half mouthed curse that you sting but your arbour rose where none grew and I thought you bloomed especially for me.
Rhizomes spiralled for life, and the taste of muddied rain. Other wanderers tried pillage those jejune early fronds and you recoiled in thorny armament, a conflicted poetry I read on you.
Look at you now ... largest leaf than any other in a North wind, towering panicles that draw a chorus of winged angels, quills. These be the battlements of love that will shed for life, in beauty
for when Summer leaves, there'll be Fall, then the long rest of seasons.
Devil’s walking stick ~ Aralia spinosa is commonly called devil’s walking stick and gets its common name from the stout, sharp spines found on its leaf stalks, stems and branches 
Prickly defences ~ The spines on the trunk are relatively stout, sharp and often arranged in curvilinear patterns around it’s surface. In addition, large petiole-scars persist on it. The branches are rather stout, terete, spiny, and either light gray or light brown. Like the trunk, they also have persistent leaf-scars. The leaves are glabrous and sometimes spiny on their undersides. 
Largest leaf ~ The tree is crowned at the top by umbrella-like canopies of huge compound leaves. Alternate, bipinnate to tripinnate, medium to dark green leaves grow 2-5 feet long and 2-4 feet wide, with individual leaflets (2-4” long) having toothed margins  The doubly or triply compound leaves are the largest of any temperate tree in the continental United States 
Panicles ~ The flowers are large, terminal, white panicles (loose branching cluster of flowers) that produce black berries in the fall. The flowers are attractive to may bee species and the fruits that are formed are important to birds as well. Not a plant for the garden, per se, but an interesting plant for naturalizing in woodlands or to grow in challenging locations The inflorescences are compound panicles of floral umbellets. The abundant berries are eaten by such birds as the Cedar Waxwing, White-Throated Sparrow, Swainson’s Thrush, and Wood Thrush. 
Having woken up this morning surprisingly to having the weight of almost a couple of years it felt, lifted off my being, my husband’s ginger cardamom brew and the sound of my folks back home talking excitedly of steamed rice cakes in fragrant turmeric leaves, I thought to write a poem simply for me. There are no rice cakes in it though but finds inspiration in the Vessel and the structures around it. The Vessel, that looks like a beehive, is an interactive artwork in New York City, that was imagined by Thomas Heatherwick and Heatherwick Studio. It is Comprised of 154 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs, almost 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings 
The pandemic isn’t over yet, but it is clearly to be defeated in the impassioned centering of self, suffused in compassion. We all had the opportunity to learn I believe of universal love, brotherhood; at least the poetry I came across suggested that or it may have only been a symptom of isolation, lockdown and the war time atmosphere. In any case, my faith feels slowly restored in the universal, in a hopeful optimism.
I love the temporal. The way the material can inhabit beautifully defined forms, elevates my spirit, yet, I also find comfort in seeking the transcendental. In the architecture of such wondrous things created by a group of delicate vulnerable humans, I feel, there must be something spiritual in the collaboration.
The soul must be a tuning fork, for the pandemic flit past in a vibration. Then all is still when the light gets the eyes and the heart can define radiance, simply in the clarity of lines and form.
The poetry of pathos is an epic elegy, and of happiness, a paean to a heart beat. A hive mind stilled to a limpid pool of reflection, and a pall lifts, like the sun rises on glass held in bezels of steel, on girders of strength.
Adored, blessed, loved, as clear as the day is green. Time can be a blur in a cloudy soul catharsis but the blue is simply sky, and a warm heart is the colour of light. Structure has wheels that are meant to turn.
Saturday, busy day / friends, crepes and a boathouse in it / Clouds blew the sun away / we laughed at rain, it threw a fit / / Saturday, easy day / books, photos and music in it / Pastan, O’Keeffe, Rukey … / …ser, Indie and the day’s complete // Asante sana for reading cropped bonsai rhyme ! Wikiendi njema wild as lemon thyme !