In Celebration of Telephone Lines

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This morning I sit in my chair watching the next storm move in from the Pacific.  Clouds of every type race across the dawn- streaked blue, creating a backdrop for swaying cedars.  Crows struggle to stay airborne as they make their way toward their day jobs after a night of willow-nesting up north.  Idyllic.  Except for the damn telephone wires.  They intrude upon the landscape like the proverbial elephant in the living room.

 

Flaws, faults, and faux pas
Line the landscape of human character
Like telephone poles stretching toward
A much-desired vanishing point.
We can wish them gone, but
They stand guard over the
Authenticity of our humanity.
They are the contours which
Showcase Beauty.
Honor them.

© rita h kowats 2014

Two-Spirit Spirituality: Gift

dreamstime_l_8136471 Two-Spirit Symbol 2

I have known for a very long time about the tradition of gender-variant shaman among Native American peoples primarily in North America, and recently I felt moved to research further.  This poem is the fruit of my research and prayer.  I dedicate it to my dear friend Jim, the extroverted mystic, who gave this gift at the hardest of times to a church which could not receive it.

As unlikely as it sounds, the idea germinated from a word challenge to create a post around the word “violet.”
 http://suellewellyn2011.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/a-word-a-week-photograph-challenge-violet/posted the challenge.

Violet

 

photo credit:  ID 8136471 © Njnightsky | Dreamstime.com

Bibliography:

http://potnia.theladyofthelabyrinth.com/native-american-two-spirits/

http://www.dancingtoeaglespiritsociety.org/twospirit.php

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2010/oct/11/two-spirit-people-north-america

An Outstanding TED TALK about gender variance:

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5295619?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

Two Spirit: The Story of a Movement Unfolds – Native Peoples – May-June 2014 – Native Peoples
http://www.nativepeoples.com/Native-Peoples/May-June-2014/Two-Spirit-The-Story-of-a-Movement-Unfolds/#.U6noMPBpU60.facebook

A Prism

Please enjoy reading and relishing this lovely poem by my friend Kay:

Kay Mullen’s poetry has appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies.  She is the author of three full length poetry books, Let Morning Begin, 2001, A Long Remembering: Return to Vietnam, 2006, and more recent, Even the Stone, 2012.  She earned an MFA from Pacific Lutheran University in 2007.  Kay lives and teaches in Tacoma WA, USA.

A Prism

hangs from a kitchen window.
Shapes of refracted light sprinkle
through the room, illumine
the space with the glory of gold.

On the way into town,
a prism dangles from a cord
in the car ahead, rainbow colors
sparkle as the crystal shifts.

These shimmering seconds, these
pinpoints of jewels and unspoken
gems fill reserves of the day
the way perceptions
pass through a painting or a poem.

When darkness appears, moon bows
fill the night and in the blend of a life,
sun softly mirrors itself
in sleep.

In morning, these beams of light
disperse in the seconds and hours
of another day.
The awakened know
this candescence cannot be owned

but flows from reflections
content that even the night holds all
that is needed,
know the light passing through
makes itself more visibly present.

Kay Mullen

photo credit:  www.artexpertswebsite.com  Sonja Delanney

Exposed

railroad tracks 2

This poem comes as gift at midnight when it would not leave me alone until it was born.

In winter
Leafless trees
Permit the sound of
A train at sea level
To escape through spaces between branches
And traverse hills to settle in my ears,
Where the clickclickclick blends
With the swishswishswish on I-5.

trees

In winter
Unadorned Essence
Permits the pristine sound of
Virgin truth to
Break through superficial debris,
And unlock the ears of consciousness
Where it couples with compassion
To awaken and prod the unsuspecting Soul.

© rita h kowats  2014

tree drawing by buchi-nei-calzini.blogspot.com – tumblr

What Color Is Your Soul?

IMG_0571

Saffron threads of thoughts
Dangle in wispy plaits,
Jangling as they swing to a
Sunshine-saturated rhythm
Not yet heard.

Royle blue peacock- prone,
She struts her stuff with a
Trip over duff and dale,
Hale and hearty in
All things veiled.

Pained purple lives in the
Obituaries of his lost dreams,
Holding vigil while blind to
Today’s possibilities.

Cat’s Eye green,
Wide open surroundview.
No slinking in on “little cat feet,” then
“Moving on,” for you.
Electrifying,
Awe-inspiring green for you-
Bring it on!

Splashes of vermillion
Dashes of dark brown
Blue violet
Magenta
Maroon…
What color is your soul today?

© rita h kowats 2014

Thanks to Carl Sandburg for his priceless image:

Fog

The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Out-Waiting Tick Tock

This post is inspired by Sue Llewellyn’s Word A Week Challenge on A Word in Your Ear at http://suellewellyn2011.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/a-word-a-week-photograph-challenge-waiting/.  We are asked to respond to the word, WAITING.  Once in a while lately I feel like Alice following the white rabbit down the hole, so my poem emerged from these ideas of waiting and being a good steward of TIME.

My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place.  And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Time trips over its hands,
Running, running, late, late,
For a very important date,
Its slaves shackled to tick tock,
Tumbling, tumbling, into the
Hole they’ve loosened with the
Pick axe of avoidance, and
Shoveled out with the spade of fear.
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Waiting
For shackles to fall,
And slaves to see the
Light of Day.
Waiting to become
Time itself,
Stretching minutes into long, leisurely
Hours- hours easing into
Eternity,
Waiting,

Tick Tock,

Tick Tock,

Tick tock,
Stop.

 

SHOWINGS

hummingbird

Here in the Pacific Northwest of the United States we are usually blessed with mild winters.  My apologies to the frozen regions!  Hummingbirds linger through our winters if their human friends faithfully feed them.  These creatures astound me.  They can stop dead while moving at full throttle; they go forward and backward, up and down, and hover to assess their surroundings.  They flap their wings fifty times a second, and because of their breathing, heart rate, and high body temperature, they have to feed every ten minutes.  Ruby-throated hummingbirds travel two thousand miles from Panama to Canada, five hundred miles of that journey non-stop over the Gulf of Mexico.  In the Americas, indigenous people have long deemed hummingbirds messengers between the worlds.

Within a period of four months I encountered the spiritual power of this symbolic creature.  She showed herself in a trilogy of experiences, first on a November night, flapping her wings (fifty times a second!) in my left ear, grazing my nose as she flew by, and rested at my right ear to sing a sacred song from beyond.  Then on a cold and snowy December day she came to my artificial Christmas tree out on the deck and drank from the bright red ornament.  One Wednesday in February a group of teachers gathered outside at the Stations of the Cross to pray for a family whose baby had been stillborn.  As we prayed the messenger appeared next to me, drinking from the winter-deadened blossom of a rose bush.

She has continued to be a constant, enduring companion.

i
First met you
“Midway upon the journey
Of [my] life.”

You with hummingbird

Were always here
While I was always there.
At last I hovered
Long enough to catch the
Shimmering glint of wings
And hear the melody
From beyond,
A double-edged, enigmatic message,
Compassion and justice,
Safely sheathed in Love.

More than midway upon
My journey now,
Melody morphs into
Concerto,
Foreground becomes background-
The Ground of my Being
Where I encounter
The Messenger.
Enduring, faithful companion,
We.

© rita h kowats 2014

“Midway upon the journey
Of [my] life.”  from Dante’s Divine Comedy

photo from royalty free vector source, http://www.polyvore.com/hummingbird_image_vector_clip_art/thing?id=22216447

SHOWING:  Dame Julian of Norwich, a medieval English anchoress and mystic used this word to mean revelations to her from God.

Bless the Darkness

winters cloak pic

This poem comes to us from Joyce Rupp, a sister of the Servite order who clearly does her own spiritual work.  I post it here because we are in January, heading into February, the doldrums of winter.  As I create this post the Pacific Northwest of America is locked in a fierce storm, with 60 mph wind gusts and driving rain.  Instead of cursing the dark, Joyce encourages us to embrace it.  It is what it is, and out of it light can emerge.  You can find a list of her books and tapes at http://www.joycerupp.com/

Winter’s Cloak

This year I do not want
the dark to leave me.
I need its wrap
of silent stillness,
its cloak
of long lasting embrace.
Too much light
has pulled away
from the chamber of gestation.

Let the dawns
come late, let the sunsets
arrive early,
let the evenings
extend themselves
while I lean into
the abyss of my being.

Let me lie in the cave
of my soul,
for too much light
blinds me,
steals the source of revelation.

Let me seek solace
in the empty places
of winter’s passage,
those vast dark nights
that never fail to shelter me.

by Joyce Rupp from The Circle of Life

Intersect: Marge Piercy and Meister Eckhart

intersect

Unclench yourself

Open, love, open.
I tell you we are able
I tell you we are able
now and then gently
with hands and feet
cold even as fish
to curl into a tangle
and grow a single hide,
slowly to unknit all other skin
and rest in flesh
and rest in flesh entire
Come all the way in, love,
it is a river
with a strong current
but its brown waters
will not drown you.
Let go.
Do not hold out
your head.
The current knows the bottom
better than your feet can.
You will find
that in this river
we can breathe
we can breathe
and under water see
small gardens and bright fish
too tender
too tender
for the air.

Marge Piercy 

intersect opposites

A human being has so many skins inside, covering the depths of the heart.
We know so many things, but we don’t know ourselves!  Why thirty or forty
skins or hides, as thick and hard as an ox’s or bear’s, cover the soul.  Go into your
own ground and learn to know yourself there.   Meister Eckhart