Poetry as Catharsis

Prompt by Ammol:  Write a poem titled, “Poetry as…,
http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-tuesday-platform-you-are-poet-poems.html

The spire of the cathedral burns
falls
old energies are cleared
purged
in the flames

the abuse of children
and single pregnant girls
the ancient burnings of the witches
the persecution of mystic Christians
are exposed by the fire

The spire of the Cathedral burns
falls
the people weep and wail
a cultural icon gone.
The old ways crumble
the edifice of power is
breached.

The cathedral dome
melts away
in the flames
Mother Mary
so long enclosed
beneath the overarching dogmas
of patriarchy
is released.

Open you hearts
she roars in the flames
free yourselves
from ancient chains
let them melt away.

Hear now the cries of Mother Earth
her pain is your pain
your pain is her pain

The cathedral dome
melts away

a new space is revealed
a space where healing can occur.

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A new start

photo credit-  https://scvincent.com/2019/02/14/thursday-photo-prompt-new-writephoto/

As the sun rose over the rooftops like a searing ball of flame another day of excessive heat was born.

The couple out for an early morning fitness walk stopped in their tracks and viewed the spectacle.

“I feel so impotent,” said the man.

The woman glanced sharply at him wondering if her long term partner and father of her children was about to reveal some emergent sexual problem.

The man, oblivious to how his words had been misconstrued,  continued on:   “I mean, what can I do?   Out there across the country bushfires are burning out of control while record breaking floods swamp the north east.   Millions of fish have died in the extreme weather affecting the inland river systems.   Across the world beneficial insects and bees are dying.”

The woman shifted uncomfortably.   These thoughts had been on her mind too.  “And still governments refuse to act on climate change,” she muttered.

“I could volunteer for the emergency services,” the man reflected, “but I doubt I’d be much use.   I’m a scrawny artist guy not a macho fire fighter.”

“And I’m a writer and poet,” said the woman.

“Make art then,” said a lilting voice beside them.  “Write stories.   Sing.  Dance.   Take photos.    Create, create, create.”

The couple looked around in confusion.   They had thought they were alone.   Both gaped as their eyes fell upon a small ethereal being dancing in the sun beams.

“Oh good, you can see and hear me,” the being sang/spoke.    “I’ve been working at making myself visible to you.   I have a message for you.”

“A message?” the man queried.   His tone hovered between aggression and disbelief.   Seeing fairies was not something he was accustomed to.

“Yes, yes.   Don’t argue.   Just listen.   I don’t know how long I can hold this form.”   The being appeared to flicker in and out of manifestation in the bright sunlight.  “This isn’t my natural state you know.”

“Well who’s the message from,” the man demanded in a practical, no nonsense tone.

“Oh the fairies and all the elementals,” the being said impatiently.   “We’re worried.   The Earth’s in trouble.   We’re trying to contact all the artists, musicians, writers and creatives who are open to new inspiration.   It’s time for you all to get busy.”

“I know,” the woman murmured, “but I’ve been feeling so blocked lately.   My last book sunk like a stone and I haven’t felt like trying again.    I seem to have run out of stories.”

“Put all that aside,” the being advised.   Its voice was more kindly now.  “There’s no time for all that creative angst any more.   After all those creative blocks are really just personal personal obstacles.   They are negative by-products of the wounded ego so many of you creatives are afflicted with.   Now is the time to heal your wounds and see the bigger picture.   Your creative talents are a gift you can use to help heal the world.    You can take whatever raw materials you choose to work with – paint, words, musical notation, wood, stone – even food or garden plants – whatever motivates you to create.    Take those base materials and transform them into new forms that offer, healing and beauty to you as the creators and to those your work reaches.”

The being dancing in front of the couple blazed in the light like a beacon.   “Creativity expressed with intention can make the invisible realms of the imagination visible to others.   It can operate as a portal to worlds of expanded consciousness.   Shifting hearts and minds in this way allows room for healing.”

The man and woman nodded slowly.   The words echoed heart callings they both felt deep down but hardly dared express even to each other.

“The creatives amongst you all are the voice of the time you live in.   Creativity is a gift that moves through you.   It’s not something you own.   It’s greater than you.”   The being’s voice rang like a bell in the morning air.   “Sure it can bring you undone.   It can consume you if you let it.   But, if you use the energy in a trans-personal way, it can uplift you and the world around you.   It’s time now to heal yourselves and step into your greater role as creative healers.”

As the sun climbed higher in the sky the temperature rose further.   The elemental being seemed to dissipate and become part of the white light that beat down upon the dry ground.   At the same time the memory of the encounter shifted into the mythic and neither the man nor the woman was entirely what sure what had just occurred.

“Ooh, it’s so hot,” said the woman.   “I’ve got to get out the sun.   I want to go to my study.   I’ve got a feeling those notes I made a while ago might form the basis of new story after all.”

“Yes,” the man mused.   “I feel like painting today.   I have an urge to express all this.”   He flung his arms out wide as if to embrace the world.   A faraway expression graced his face.   The woman left him to it.   She knew him well enough to know some new creative impulse was brewing within him.  Talking now would only dilute it.   Besides, she had to get home.   She had work to do.

Imbolc and Lughnasadh

Hot night
not quite sleeping
not quite waking
the ocean roaring
a ringtail possum
laughing/growling maniacally
outside my window

It’s imbolc I hear
– an old celtic festival midway
between solstice and equinox –
a cross quarter day.

What does that mean
down under
where the Wheel of the Year inverts

They say
that makes it
Lughnasadh

Imbolc is feminine – yin
Lughnasadh is male – yang

Australia in summer
is
yang, yang, yang
Everything is bright, hot, light,
outward looking

Where does that leave us
of celtic descent
and introverted inclinations
living here in Oz?

Instinctively
we seek to go within
yet the sun calls us out

In and out – all at once
Imbolc and Lughnasadh
rolled into one

The masculine and feminine
within
seeking some way to come together
-to act and to reflect
all at once
together

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Returning to Now

Chevrefeuille of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai titled his weekend meditation “Winter”.    It’s summer over here in Australia but I was inspired by the title of the music prompt- a tune  by Karunesh “Returning to Now”.   The prompt stipulates poetic responses are to be in form of a troika.  I’ve never written one before so I hope I’ve got the format correct.

They’re going –
all the January hordes
departing today.

They’re going –
summer holidays are over,
school term begins.

All the January hordes
intent on hedonism,
driving too fast –

Departing today.
Returning to now
the surf rolls in

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inspired by:  Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation – returning to now

Climate Change at the Beach

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A turquoise sea
stretching out
calm beneath a cobalt sky.

Looking to access the beach
we find the way is barred.

Cliffs have appeared,
metres high,
where once
– just last summer –
we rambled down a gentle slope.

A new fence has been made
and signs proclaiming hazard.
The winter storms
ate the shore
here, there and everywhere
along this southern coast.

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prompt:    http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/2019/01/poets-united-midweek-motif-climate.html
So many global statements have been made about climate change ~ both learned and popular ~ that I implore myself and you to do something different in our poetry: Make it personal and specific.  Amplify an aspect of the world so that others can see it too.  Whatever your politics and moral positions are when it comes to climate change ~ let us seedetails, the evidence of your senses, your time and your spirit.  Make us hear, see, touch your world.”

 

An Imaginative Connection

I was scrolling through my WordPress Reader when I came across Sue Vincent’s latest #writephotoimage.

When I saw it I did a double take for I spent hours yesterday making this collage – 001.jpg

What a strange imaginative connection links Sue’s photo and my collage.  I have no idea what motivated Sue to post that particular image but the inspiration for my collage came from thinking about the life and work of the 11th century Christian nun, Hildegarde of Bingen.

I find Hildegarde inspirational for she was an accomplished writer, herbalist, mystic, composer, artist and environmentalist back in an age where women were too often voiceless and powerless.

The brilliant colours of her manuscript art inspired my own collage –

Image result for hildegard of bingen manuscript illumination https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scivias

Her music is hauntingly beautiful.

One of Hildegarde’s most enduring ideas is the concept of Viriditas, a Latin word which loosely translates as vitality, freshness, lushness,greening, or growth.    In Hildegarde’s philosophical writings the word is used as a metaphor for spiritual and physical health.  She celebrates the sacred energetic force that animates all life and actively sought to connect with the natural world for she saw it as a source of creative and healing power.

“O most honored Greening Force,
You who roots in the Sun;
You who lights up, in shining serenity, within a wheel
that earthly excellence fails to comprehend.
You are enfolded in the weaving of divine mysteries.
You redden like the dawn
and you burn: flame of the Sun.”

–  Hildegard von Bingen, Viriditas

Hildegarde experienced visions from an early age but it wasn’t until she was 42 that she felt compelled to share her visions with the world despite the disapproval of patriarchal church authorities.  Later on in life she undertook four preaching tours where she told her male superiors that they would fall from grace if they didn’t change their attitudes.     Huffington Post – why Hildegarde matters  Her words have relevance today as the male clergy that control many Christian churches are being held to account for their role in covering up child sexual abuses.

There is so much to learn from Hildegarde’s life and work.   What came through for me yesterday while I was working on my collage was an understanding of the energy and inspiration found in having a sense of purpose that is greater than personal self interest.

Hildegarde’s voice speaks loud and clear down through the centuries.   I hear it in the calm pure notes of her music and in her writings.  I see its imprint in her art.  “Take your time,” she says to me.  “Celebrate life.   Create with clear intention.  Discipline the will and seek to serve the greater good. Speak your truth.”