Poetry: Six Solstice Poems about life, death and renewal

Spontaneous musical improvisational chants
Grounded in roots of 969 poems that I choose as we play.

That I read without practice
That I read to make the moment clear
That we are all here

In this moment…
That life is too short to
Sing the same song twice!

Be well, Deane

Play here:[Audio:Tom Rhodes – Wilderness Invovation.mp3]

Download: MP3 here: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/audio/Tom Rhodes – Wilderness Invovation.mp3

Tom Rhodes – Wilderness Invocation

You desert, whose ever-shifting sands reflect the
constant changing in our own lives,
Whose dry heat brings interludes of repose,
Show us the beauty that comes with purity
and teach us how to simplify our lives.

You mountains, with stone peaks reaching for the heavens,
who stood here even when the earth was formed,
You, of dizzying heights and ancient age,
Lend us your perspective,
For our actions now may yet impact the ages to come.

You meadows and grassy hills,
Whose bright fields of wildflowers
provide unparalleled beauty in our lives,
Provide us with the time to pause and reflect
on God’s artistry and playfulness.

You forests of sturdy oak, hued maple, and ever green,
You home of deer and bear and rabbit and eagle,
shelter in our play and hostage to our ambitions,
Grant us your maturity,
and the wisdom to truly know what we do to ourselves.

You age-old rainforest, rampant with life’s creativity:
Your tangled masses of trees and vines
embody our interdependent web.
You are diversity incarnate.
Bestow upon us the ability
to appreciate the interconnectedness of all being.

You ocean of the deep, keeper of earth’s last mysteries.
Beneath your ceaseless waves,
in your quiet and dark womb did life first begin.
Remind us of our beginnings,
keep us humble against your vastness,
And know that you are truly the water of life.

Play here:[Audio:Anna Ruiz – There is a River.mp3]

Download: MP3 here: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/audio/Anna Ruiz – There is a River.mp3

Anna Ruiz – There Is a River

There is a river of no return
flowing freely, consummately
down a mountain path,
glacier worlds of pristine solidarity
meander along with multi-million national
group investment accounts, unaccounted
for conflicts with natives indigenous to local
Patagonia flora and fauna, I wonder if
Julius Popper would disappear into the wild
and still be king, lead modern expropriation
of natural resources,

(Is the hole in the ozone large enough
for a rocket ship of 6.7 billion to pass through?)

If all men were giants, would there be room
enough on one small planet?

Would sheep be blind?

God save the world from human ignorance
let us break the binds to deep pockets of
a filthy currency that would cover our eyes, speak
not for our precious earthly home, the
guanaco, the centolla,
where should the penguins at Punta Tombo
who will hear the cries of dying rivers
forests and moors,  southern beech
and bogs,
who will mourn
the Alerce the carancho
if Gaia’s song were to  end?

…when the calafate withers without berry…
Anonymous – Crabby Old Woman

Play here:[Audio:Anonymous – Crabby Old Women.mp3]

Download: MP3 here: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/audio/Anonymous – Crabby Old Women.mp3

When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near
Dundee, Scotland, it was believed that she had nothing left of any value.
Later, when the nurses were going through her meager possessions, they
found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies
were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Ireland. The old lady’s sole bequest to posterity
has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the
North Ireland Assn. for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been
made based on her simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this little old Scottish lady, with nothing left to give to the world,
is now the author of this “anonymous” poem winging across the Internet:

What do you see, nurses?
What do you see?
What are you thinking,
When you’re looking at me?

A crabby old woman,
Not very wise,
Uncertain of habit,
With faraway eye.

Who dribbles her food,
And makes no reply,
When you say in a loud voice,
“I do wish you’d try!”

Who seems not to notice,
The things that you do,
And forever is losing,
A stocking or shoe?

Who, resisting or not,
Lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding,
The long day to fill?

Is that what you’re thinking?
Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse,
You’re not looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am nurse,
As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding,
As I eat at your will.

I’m a small child of ten,
With a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters,
Who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen,
With wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now,
A lover she’ll meet.

A bride soon at twenty,
My heart gives a leap,
Rememb ering the vows,
That I promised to keep.

At twenty-five now,
I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide,
And a secure happy home.

A woman of thirty,
My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other,
With ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons,
Have grown and are gone,
But my man’s beside me,
To see I don’t mourn.

At fifty once more,
Babies play round my knee,
Again we know children,
My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me,
My husband is dead,
I look at the future,
I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing,
Young of their own,
And I think of the years,
And the love that I’ve known

I’m now an old woman,
And nature is cruel,
‘Tis jest to make old age,
Look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles,
Grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone,
Where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass,
A young girl still dwells,
And now and again,
My battered heart swells.

I remember the joys,
I remember the pain,
And I’m loving and living,
Life over again.

I think of the years,
All too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact,
That nothing can last.

So open your eyes, nurse,
Open and see,
Not a crabby old woman;
Look closer – see ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an old person who you might brush
aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all, one day, be
there, too! (If we’re lucky)

Play here:[Audio:Wendell Berry – Two poems.mp3]

Download: MP3 here: http://forestpolicyresearch.com/audio/Wendell Berry – Two poems.mp3

Wendell Berry – No going Back

No, no, there is no going back.
Less and less you are
that possibility you were.
More and more you have become
those lives and deaths
that have belonged to you.
You have become a sort of grave
containing much that was
and is no more in time, beloved
then, now, and always.
And so you have become a sort of tree
standing over the grave.
Now more than ever you can be
generous toward each day
that comes, young, to disappear
forever, and yet remain
unaging in the mind.
Every day you have less reason
not to give yourself away.


Wendell Berry – Do Not Be Ashamed

You will be walking some night
in the comfortable dark of your yard
and suddenly a great light will shine
round about you, and behind you
will be a wall you never saw before.
It will be clear to you suddenly
that you were about to escape,
and that you are guilty: you misread
the complex instructions, you are not
a member, you lost your card
or never had one. And you will know
that they have been there all along,
their eyes on your letters and books,
their hands in your pockets,
their ears wired to your bed.
Though you have done nothing shameful,
they will want you to be ashamed.
They will want you to kneel and weep
and say you should have been like them.
And once you say you are ashamed,
reading the page they hold out to you,
then such light as you have made
in your history will leave you.
They will no longer need to pursue you.
You will pursue them, begging forgiveness.
They will not forgive you.
There is no power against them.
It is only candor that is aloof from them,
only an inward clarity, unashamed,
that they cannot reach. Be ready.
When their light has picked you out
and their questions are asked, say to them:
“I am not ashamed.” A sure horizon
will come around you. The heron will begin
his evening flight from the hilltop.

Posted via email from Deane’s posterous

Comments (6)

MarinelaJune 23rd, 2009 at 7:03 am

Nice poems, I enjoyed reading them :)

BerdJune 23rd, 2009 at 10:01 am

Nice work Deanne, I especially like “Crabby Old Woman!”

Be nice to old people!

Groovy GalJune 23rd, 2009 at 10:04 am

Great Work! Amazing! You sound really centered.

PaulaAugust 20th, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Hi – my favorite of the day is “Anna Ruiz – There Is a River.” The flow, the dynamics – everything really worked in this presentation. Thanks!

Meic CoxeAugust 25th, 2009 at 8:02 am

Great selection, excellent presentation. “There is a river” is wondeful

Craig ScheinerMarch 14th, 2010 at 11:39 am

Tom Rhodes – Wilderness Invocation

Each Equinox and Solstice a group of 6 or 8 of us gather to celebrate the seasons’ change. We each contribute something; a poem, a ritual, a dance. Our calendars require we celebrate Spring a week early this year, and I’m going to read your very appropriate poem tonight. Thanks very much for your insight in writing it and your generosity in posting it on the web for us of all to ponder, appreciate and enjoy.


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