I had a rich couple hours of mystical experience atop the mesa on my New Mexico land in December 2008. I have long had an affinity with trees. This day was simply more. This poem wrote itself in the first fifteen minutes of coming down from the mesa.
The Goddess thrusts her great clouds of grey and white mane with fierce allure.
Repeatedly, she pruriently tosses the fabric of her skirts with such provocation that my will is her will.
In this place Juniper possesses my body, my mind, my heart. She knows she will have her way with me.
Her regal sculptured reach is enough to undo me.
She does not have to work at all. It is her languid presence that is her coquettishness.
I am captivated.
I sit in and astride her glorious bifurcating body, held, as I hold. I entwine ever more completely. She too.
To merge completely is my longing. My face, close as physicality permits. Tears are pulled from within me. One being.
Yet she is more than her physical Grace. She, her Presence, dwarfs the body on and in which I sit.
Yes, I talk with her. And she with me.
The great mane clocks round again. Skirts rising, entreating, then falling.
I am shameless.
In this place, yes, Juniper. Yet in other places I ache for Redwood and her generous statuesque endowment of deep patient giving.
And then, Madrone in the same locale. The ease, tensile and Grace of her slender breadth. The color of her arms and torso as she sheds no longer desired blouse and jumper.
The Goddess moves her hips and I am delirious with the Olive Tree of the Middle East.
Ancient thickly sculpted body of peace and unimaginable fecundity. Giving, giving, giving.
Yet, receiving so little. Or so it seems.
She is open within you know. Space for all who notice. And for those who do not.
There is a fidelity in my heart belonging to many. I am. You are. We are the Earth, you know.
Last week’s hastened winter and today’s blustery push all the more. Bad boy polar currents rousing intemperate moist flows along the “North Atlantic Drift.” In feigned flinch, she relinquishes her bounty on this city. We, the beneficiaries, are regaled in brisk wettish renewal.
I, an outsider, a foreigner, possessing but modest linguistic and cultural fluency attempt comprehension while negotiating cityscape and cross cultural intersections. Silent ancestral alliances come to my aid – bits of understanding congeal.
I love Londoner’s dignity. Her character. Robust spirit. I am yet incredulous at London’s penchant for a wardrobe of black. Black stockings, shoes. Yes, of course. Black waterproof and umbrella, okay.
But enough now! Please! What and whom do you perpetually mourn? Might not your geographical bias for long hours of winter darkness, cold sluicing rain from blackened skies and cloudy summers months suggest that a distinct boon awaits once donning an array of colorful clothing?
London Plain Trees! Their profound magnanimity takes my breath.
In awe I stand entranced in city squares held by these behemoths of Grace:
Tears streaming. Heart expanding. Joy and gratitude buoyed on shimmering branches of love.
They told me: “We hold the hands and hearts of Londoners.”
I work in Greek Cyprus three or four times a year – and have for several years now. One of my friends graciously permitted me the use of his home in the rural village of Tres Eleis. This poem speaks to the beauty I found there.
Treis Eleis, Troodos Mountains, Cyprus
Aphrodite’s birthplace to the Southwest of this place, that direction, on the coast.
This village was a place of hiding. In the old times when this island was bounty to marauding sailors.
Here, nature’s conspiracy extant in exuberant profusion.
Walnuts. Copious. Rolling down steep streets, gathering where tarmac and contour diverge.
Some years ago, invited by friends to visit them in New Mexico, we walked up and onto a mesa. Something there touched me deeply…involuntarily, I dropped to my knees weeping in gratitude and joy. Eventually, I bought the land. “Sublime” presented itself three years later after returning from a couple hours of being alone with the life on the mesa.
I do not own this land but in the vernacular of our collective ignorance, I hold its deed and call it mine.
Each fall I pay homage to the County through its assessor.
Now in snow atop this mesa, in ostensible solitude, I stand in the august company of many.
Spirits of spent volcanos, other grand mesas and mountain ranges circumambulate between horizon and me, watching.
In their intense presence, I am seen; I belong. And I too see.
Anasazi are present. I weep deeply at their recognition and my remembering.
They reveal other temporal realities of this place and me.
Others too are here. The Santa Terra there, at the mesa’s western edge, informing I am home.
Spirits of stones, Pinon, Yucca, Juniper.
All are celebratory.
Now, after eons of longing to be inspired buoyed – fostered – by a place,
touched with griefs of remembering, joy, gratitude,
at last, I am here.
This land: fierce, arid, masculine. A place of restoration. Its nurturance is that of the Goddess.
Yet She remains unrecognized by postmodernity’s character and temperament.
Larger than Red-tailed hawks, Raven flirts with me in aerobatic nuance.
Descending within four meters, she stalls aloft as we look into each other’s eyes.
Raven speaks in soft audible multiple syllables. Her sounds I do not yet understand. I know her silent communications.
Raven welcomes my return for she assisted in my purchase of this land.
On that day three Raven simultaneously circled me at the mesa’s western edge.
Sometimes, I ask those in my workshops to allow themselves to remember intermittent moments in their lives: those times when someone acts in a manner that soothes a wound, or touches one’s heart, or, resonates with something beyond the personality. These moments of Grace are intended to support the expression of promise a person carries. One such moment involved the very decent human being Mary Miller, as she touched my shoulder. Her honoring of human dignity helped set a trajectory for me. As to the bit about her skirts, I don’t know…it came forward in writing the poem.
She, my fifth grade teacher, an anomaly in my world: She respected children.
As she queued her class for lunch, she touched my shoulder.
First honest woman’s touch.
Whether the world found Mrs. Miller attractive – I did.
Present. Kind. Caring. Honorable.
Seeing under her skirts. I linked character and form.