Hierophant

unnamed

I slipped my harbored feet from shoes contained
for sixty years. Rough earth is ruthless where
calloused barrier was never ordained.
I walked on soles that burned and bled, a dare
to turn retreat. Instead, I asked for help
to bandage cuts. I praised a course fresh of
deliverance. Sores closed. Skin grew. A whelp
now strong and fast. I met cool shade, green grove.

But there I didn’t rest. More called to me,
unfurled a passage to my Beginning.
In confidence I accorded the plea,
Within myself I captured my bidding.

Not one holy man’s word over another
will heal our wounds, the pain we embrace.
Here in Creation we’re bound to each other
as we dance through the veil in grace.

.
.
.
Author’s Note:

I truly believe it is the journey that is vital, not necessarily the end product. I like to share how I arrive. For those of you who are interested, below is the path of the end sonnet, Hierophant.

On August 13, I participated in the 2016 Poetry Marathon. I signed up for the 24-hour contest knowing that this was the end of the first week of school and I would probably not make it. I didn’t. But I did complete the half-marathon.

Each hour, on the hour for 12 hours straight, we received a new prompt. We had an hour to write to that prompt and post it before the next one showed up in our in-box. It is a wonderful challenge. Learning to let go of that inner editor, that ego who wants everything perfect. It’s a wonderful thing. That is what I also love about my writing group. We write knowing we are not going to be perfect, the importance of letting go, and the ability to chuckle at oneself.

To the prompt from the Poetry Marathon, I added one more piece. I keep a lovely tarot deck on my desk next to my computer. It is the Pentimento Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert. She is an artist, Celtic spiritualist, and goddess who created this deck using the medium of beeswax encaustic – a layering of wax – a pentimento:

“An underlying image in a a painting, especially one that has become visible when the top layer of paint has turned transparent with age, providing evidence of revision of the artist. (American Heritage Dictionary via http://www.gaiansoul.com/.)

She only created the Major Arcana for this deck but it is stunning. It is of our ancestors looking back on us, giving us hope and support and wisdom. Take a look:http://www.gaiansoul.com/shop/pentimento-tarot/

Also, this month I wanted to do a study of sonnets. I did. I completed two. I shared the early one after my visit to Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the sea.

Here is the process of Hierophant:

The prompt from the Poetry Marathon in Hour 11:
Write a persona poem from the point of view of a person without a home. You can have a specific person in mind, or they can be entirely imagined. This person can be a homeless beggar, or someone who drifts from town to town, or someone who just can’t imagine settling in one place, so they don’t.

The Pentimento Hierophant card:
Of this archetype, Joanna asks questions such as “What do you have to teach?” “What do you have to learn.” “What is the place of religious tradition or lineage in your life? “Who do you trust as a spiritual teacher?”

Below is the poem as it appeared as I wrote it for the marathon. Above is the transformation of it into a somewhat sonnet form.

The Hierophant

I took off my shoes.
The ground was rough and poked.
I wore those shoes for almost sixty years.

I walked on feet that burned and bled.
I asked for help to bandage raw cuts,
was offered new ways of treatment.

Sores closed, thick skin grew and
my feet held me strong and steady.

I walked on legs that swelled and
I asked for help to ease the pain.
Good remedies followed and I
moved on.

In time

I took off my shoes to feel the earth
I knew the ground was rough
they burned and bled but I walked
to find soft grass and cool of shade

No roof above, I left it behind
No friends to share my sorrows
I looked for answers from voices
just shadows merging in darkness

But when I sat down, stopped
searching for the right way,
I stilled myself  and found
your voice inside.

We come to this place, a stop over
to ponder, to rejoice in each other,
and dance with abandon.

Not one holy man’s words over
another can heal the wounds
we bear, the pain we embrace.

We’ll move on, through the veil,
but for now we must play in
Creation and unmask one another.

Almanac Questionnaire.end

Day Twenty Two
napo2016button1

Big Blue Bear

Sunday worship, a custom

child with hat and white gloves, black patent shoes
kneeling, hands folded, head bowed in supplication

guitars, women nearer the altar, kiss of peace

a pause, a long time gone

new words for old prayers, re-imaging Christ

no longer defined by Sunday or its tired formBigBlueBear

In reverence of Redwood architecture
joining air to earth to that which lies beneath
I stand in awe of your strength
pay homage to your constancy

Three minutes down the city banded
alleyway, a wall to halt my vagrancy,
you press me to change my viewpoint,
look up instead of down, past high rise windows
my eyes ascend to glimpse a peek of sky where
buildings join air to earth
to that which lies beneath
In observance I discover
You are also here

Outside my glazed glass frame
a tree bows in reverence under snow,
crow, owl and squirrel, bees and spiders
await their spring ritual
Tree, oh Tree, you brush my face
in morning hello
tap my window in icy storm
wear that which I cannot control,
innocent release to what Is,
you welcome me to journey
enraptured I bow to You

Lilacs, lavender, iris
purple flora scenting air
fill my lungs with song
I chant Your being

In weep of rain,
I receive your indulgence
wash away quotidian dust
rain, oh, rain
a baptism of comfort issued
Your lullaby and caress

I fear of being homeless,
without a house to cover my form.
But You are home within my being,
a house not of cards to collapse
with slightest breath
but Spirit filled dwelling
where I rest and cry, sleep and love,
You place yourself within
to walk with me in holy sanctuary
all the days of my life

Leo was there to welcome him home,
a scrap from a letter, condolences from Pam
angel doggie card in remembrance of Bremen
canidae, anubis, golden wolf,
protector of graves and cemeteries
I celebrate your unwavering devotion
Dog and God

Magdalene, a most notable person,
not whore who washed his feet,
that image only for those who boast
of saving souls, condemning sinners,
I know you as woman of understanding
the one who saw, the one who loved
the one who believed
I praise your grace

I am not the Big Blue Bear
peering into the great glass cave
hoping to be welcomed into
a walled-in temple, a postcard
perfect invitation to entice me
into a rigid model of salvation,
I choose to step aside,
turn around to join those in dance
under clear blue sky, each a unique
expression of You reveling in
your liturgy welcoming to all,
your holy sacrament to make us One

There is no conspiracy to
make me think I am Beloved,
I am
It is maitri,
through my bewilderment,
I find compassion
In disorientation, harmony,
with my befuddlement,
I am re-written, turned,
and in gratitude I accept me
I am Yours eternally

 

.

.

.

Author’s Note:

Click for how this poem came to be!

What I’ve used to create this piece:
Almanac Questionnaire
Weather: rain
Flora: lilacs, lavender, iris
Architecture: Redwoods
Customs: Sunday Worship
Mammals/reptiles/fish:
Childhood dream:
Found on the Street:
Export:
Graffiti:
Lover:
Conspiracy: not being beloved
Dress:
Hometown memory:
Notable person: Mary Magdalene
Outside your window, you find: my Tree
Today’s news headline:
Scrap from a letter: Condolence card for Bremen from Pam
Animal from a myth:
Story read to children at night:
You walk three minutes down an alley and you find: Wall
You walk to the border and hear:
What you fear: Being houseless
Picture on your city’s postcard: Big Blue Bear

Almanac Questionnaire.6

Day Twenty One
napo2016button1

Sunday worship, a custom

child with hat and white gloves, black patent shoes
kneeling, hands folded, head bowed in supplication

guitars, women nearer the altar, kiss of peace

a pause, a long time gone

new words for old prayers, re-imaging Christ

no longer defined by Sunday or its tired form

In reverence of Redwood architecture
joining air to earth to that which lies beneath
I stand in awe of your strength
pay homage to your constancy

Three minutes down the city banded
alleyway, a wall to halt my vagrancy,
you press me to change my viewpoint,
look up instead of down, past high rise windows
my eyes ascend to glimpse a peek of sky where
buildings join air to earth
to that which lies beneath
In observance I discover
You are also here

Outside my glazed glass frame
a tree bows in reverence under snow,
crow, owl and squirrel, bees and spiders
await their spring ritual
Tree, oh Tree, you brush my face
in morning hello
tap my window in icy storm
wear that which I cannot control,
innocent release to what Is,
you welcome me to journey
enraptured I bow to You

Lilacs, lavender, iris
purple flora scenting air
fill my lungs with song
I chant Your being

In weep of rain,
I receive your indulgence
wash away quotidian dust
rain, oh, rain
a baptism of comfort issued
Your lullaby and caress

I fear of being homeless,
without a house to cover my form.
But You are home within my being,
a house not of cards to collapse
with slightest breath
but Spirit filled dwelling
where I rest and cry, sleep and love,
You place yourself within
to walk with me in holy sanctuary
all the days of my life

Leo was there to welcome him home,
a scrap from a letter, condolences from Pam
canidae, anubis, golden wolf,
protector of graves and cemeteries
I celebrate your unwavering devotion
Dog and God

Magdalene, a most notable person,
not whore who washed his feet,
that image only for those who boast
of saving souls, condemning sinners,
I know you as woman of understanding
the one who saw, the one who loved
the one who believed
I praise your grace

To be continued…

.

.

.

Author’s Note:

Click for explanation of this growing poem!

What I’ve used so far…
Almanac Questionnaire
Weather: rain
Flora: lilacs, lavender, iris
Architecture: Redwoods
Customs: Sunday Worship
Mammals/reptiles/fish:
Childhood dream:
Found on the Street:
Export:
Graffiti:
Lover:
Conspiracy:
Dress:
Hometown memory:
Notable person: Mary Magdalene
Outside your window, you find: my Tree
Today’s news headline:
Scrap from a letter: Condolence card for Bremen from Pam
Animal from a myth:
Story read to children at night:
You walk three minutes down an alley and you find: Wall
You walk to the border and hear:
What you fear: Being houseless
Picture on your city’s postcard:

Almanac Questionnaire.5

Day Twenty
napo2016button1

Sunday worship, a custom

child with hat and white gloves, black patent shoes
kneeling, hands folded, head bowed in supplication

guitars, women nearer the altar, kiss of peace

a pause, a long time gone

new words for old prayers, re-imaging Christ

no longer defined by Sunday or its tired form

In reverence of Redwood architecture
joining air to earth to that which lies beneath
I stand in awe of your strength
pay homage to your constancy

Three minutes down the city banded
alleyway, a wall to halt my vagrancy,
you press me to change my viewpoint,
look up instead of down, past high rise windows
my eyes ascend to glimpse a peek of sky where
buildings join air to earth
to that which lies beneath
In observance I discover
You are also here

Outside my glazed glass frame
a tree bows in reverence under snow,
crow, owl and squirrel, bees and spiders
await their spring ritual
Tree, oh Tree, you brush my face
in morning hello
tap my window in icy storm
wear that which I cannot control,
innocent release to what Is,
you welcome me to journey
enraptured I bow to You

Lilacs, lavender, iris
purple flora scenting air
fill my lungs with song
I chant Your being

In weep of rain,
I receive your indulgence
wash away quotidian dust
rain, oh, rain
a baptism of comfort issued
Your lullaby and caress

I fear of being homeless,
without a house to cover my form.
But You are home within my being,
a house not of cards to collapse
with slightest breath
but Spirit filled dwelling
where I rest and cry, sleep and love,
You place yourself within
to walk with me in holy sanctuary
all the days of my life

To be continued…

.

.

.

Author’s Note:

Click for explanation of this growing poem!

What I’ve used so far…
Almanac Questionnaire
Weather: rain
Flora: lilacs, lavender, iris
Architecture: Redwoods
Customs: Sunday Worship
Mammals/reptiles/fish:
Childhood dream:
Found on the Street:
Export:
Graffiti:
Lover:
Conspiracy:
Dress:
Hometown memory:
Notable person:
Outside your window, you find: my Tree
Today’s news headline:
Scrap from a letter:
Animal from a myth:
Story read to children at night:
You walk three minutes down an alley and you find: Wall
You walk to the border and hear:
What you fear: Being houseless
Picture on your city’s postcard:

Five Prayers for Peace

Marrow
2.11

May peace settle
in the marrow
of your bones to flow
throughout your being.

May peace spread with
every step you take.
and in every touch you give,
in every smile you share.

May peace rest within
and without.

 

578,424
2.12

May we be broken
open, our doors pulled
down, our minds emptied
out to make space for
peace, a place for compassion,
a place of care for those
who reside within the homes
of 578,424 houseless lives.

May peace be home.

May peace be where the heart is.

 

Play
2.13

May you know the quiet
melt of ice and snow
of this winter’s day.

May you feel the burn
of winter’s chill, yet know
spring is on it’s way.

My you rest in peace of
all that is created not with
coin or legal tender, just in
ecstatic play.

 

Pocket
2.14

May the tiny stone,
hewn by its jumbles,
remind us of our
roughened edges
softened by
our life’s journey.

May the wayward bead
now lost from its strand,
remind us that we may
wander but always belong.

May the crumpled
tissue filled with tears
remind us of the comfort
given and peace in
being loved.

 

Board Game
2.15

May the road circle
round and bring
us home.

May we jump and hop
over obstacles with
lightened heart.

May we see the game
of life as not one to
be won, but one to
live in joy and peace.

.
.
.

Author’s Note:

February is Peace Poetry Postcard Month. Sponsored by World Peace Poets on Face Book, I accepted their challenge to write a poem a day about peace, put it on a postcard, and send it to another poet who is doing the same, thirty-five in all.

The above are inspired by last week’s prompts:
FEB. 11TH Inner peace comes when I…
FEB. 12th More than 578, 424 people are homeless in the U.S.
FEB. 13th Does money buy happiness?
FEB. 14th I carry Nature in my pocket.
FEB. 15th It was a board game: PEACE

Little Trees

I put up four little trees, not real ones, but ones
with tiny flickering white lights. I placed two,

each one in a planter, and two side by side
in the same. I pulled down branches, fluffed them.

Sitting for a year in the basement crawlspace
waiting for purpose once more withered

their look. It was cold. An arctic chill swooped
down quickly this day. The morning was greeted

by a blazing sunrise of butter yellow melting into
neon orange, then ruby reaching it’s fingers into

royal purple. That’s the way to start a new
year, this first day of Advent, in a blaze of Light.

But icy cold haze rolled over us. Fog rarely seen
hid the park leaving only a picnic house with its

white painted beams glowing in ghostly
cover. My fingers stiffened bending the wire

branches feigning to be pine. My slippers
absentmindedly chosen not for weather

but for convenience did not keep frozen air
from numbing the tips of my toes. How do

those who don’t know this is the first day of
Advent, those on park benches and under

bridges, live in tandem with this cold? I finish
stepping back into the warm breath of my

kitchen to gaze out at my handiwork for
another season. Lights twinkle and words

from today’s homily pass my way once more.
Stay awake, be aware. My stiffened fingers

begin to curl smoothly again as I embrace a
lusty mug of coffee. I wait, aware of chill that

stiffens and the gift of light and warmth I have
been afforded this Advent, the first day of the year.