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The Lotus

On the day when the lotus bloomed, alas, my mind was straying,
and I knew it not. My basket was empty and the flower remained unheeded.

Only now and again a sadness fell upon me, and I started up from my
dream and felt a sweet trace of a strange fragrance in the south wind.

That vague sweetness made my heart ache with longing and it seemed to
me that it was the eager breath of the summer seeking for its completion.

I knew not then that it was so near, that it was mine, and that this
perfect sweetness had blossomed in the depth of my own heart.

—Rabindranath Tagore

Our Lady of Compost

Going to Ground

Bygone morning’s coffee grounds

ground further down,

down

to

ground

by hyper worms, all caffeinated.

Leaves of autumn, brittle, perforated,

are integrated

as eisenia fetida binge and purge,

binge and purge,

and binge and purge,

in their castings new lives emerge

from rotten tomatoes, banana peels, cherry pits,

straw covered in the chickens’ shits,

avocado skins, watermelon rinds

strawberry stems and murky brines.

Other bits thrown in the mix:

pistachio shells and broken sticks,

ash from last winter’s fire,

lint from the laundry’s dryer.

In the midst of this debris,

a rotting jack-o-lantern held an errant seed.

A pumpkin vine sprouts from his wrecked grin

as his ghoulish, rotting face caves in.

When human footsteps fall that way,

sunning lizards go skittering into the fray

to join scutigera coleptrata and armadillidiidae

who work the lower strata in some mysterious way.

Above it all Our Lady of Compost stands poised and posed

overseeing all that is composed and decomposed.

Within her purview is order and disorder and

life and not-life at this strange borderland.

Knowing well her own disintegration will nourish

the next generation to flourish.

~~*~~

 

Today’s musings were inspired by my own heap of compost and also very much by Walt Whitman’s “This Compost”, a meditation on Earth’s resilience and ability to turn the nastiest diseased corruption into an astounding flourish of beauty.

Today’s offering in celebration of Earth Day: Precious moments aboard this beautiful planet with a reading of my favorite poem by e.e. Cummings, #26

So, about that job interview…

…You know, the one I wrote about in my last post?

…You know, the one with all the gravitas and questions that made me ponder how I do the work?

Well, I was offered the position! And I accepted it!

And I took all the unicorn smarts and BIG IDEAS (!) to someone else’s office,

where I sat at a computer

with all the e-mail,

and all the systems,

and all the passwords,

and all the plans,

and all deadlines,

and all the importance, day after day,

after day,

after, day,

afterday,

afterdayafterdayafterdayafterday

…like any normal person might!

(I really, really wanted “normal person” to work for me in this instance.)

And that went on for 11 weeks until I realized:

No!

and also:

whycoloured worlds of because 
do not stand against 
 YES
which is built by
 forever & sunsmell

(thank you e.e. Cummings)

…and then I quit.

Nearly everything.

All at once.

Dead Things.jpg

O sweet spontaneous
earth how often have
the
doting
 
             fingers of
prurient philosophers pinched
and
poked
 
thee
,has the naughty thumb
of science prodded
thy
 
        beauty      how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
squeezing and
 
buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
gods
         (but
true
 
to the incomparable
couch of death thy
rhythmic
lover
 
             thou answerest
 
 
them only with
 
                              spring)

 

–ee Cummings, #21

 

Make-it month continues.

I decided to channel my all my emo and mopey-ness into further development of the raven choreography.

I can’t remember what came first, the wings or the song.  Both appeared in my life around the same time about a year ago.  The wings I purchased from Polish artist Dorota D.’s Etsy store Pracownia Dor. She hand-paints these gorgeous silk wings.

Raven

The song I’m working with was originally a poem set to music in the 1700s by Swedish composer Carl Michael Bellman (Fredman’s Epistles, No. 81). I’m using the Mediæval Babes’ version of this work, Märk Hur Vår Skugga (Behold Our Shadow), which you can listen to in the video below.  The lyrics set a scene in which two fellows are graveside with the deceased: a wayward, trouble-making woman. As the two men reflect on their own mortality and stare into the abyss, one wonders, ‘Who will now command the bottle? Thirsty was she, thirsty am I, we are all very thirsty.’

I also revisited Poe’s poem The Raven for a bit of Nevermore inspiration and read up on raven symbolism in Viking mythology.  I played with wing configurations, geometry, and whirling. I experimented with wing and wind, shutter and flutter. I perched and sat in an attempt to capture the ghastly, grim, and ancient in movement and stillness. Then when things got too morbid and ridiculous, I squawked and flapped my wings and flew the coop.

 

water ducks sky

the 

          sky

                was

can    dy   lu

minous

            edible

spry

            pinks shy

lemons

greens     coo    l  choc

olate

s.

      un    der,

      a    lo

co

mo

     tive     s pout

                             ing  

                                     vi

                                     o

                                    lets

–e.e. cummings, Songs, I

sunset

Tumbling-hair

              picker of buttercups

                                                 violets

dandelions

And the big bullying daisies

                                  through the field wonderful

with eyes a little sorry

Another comes

                         also picking flowers

–e.e. cummings

iris 2

 

roses2

journal

It’s been a busy spring filled with seeds sewn and flowers bursting. Seeds were planted in so many places I can’t keep track of it all in spite of my journaling,  mapping, and labeling.  I get impatient. If a seed doesn’t sprout within a few days a different seed gets popped into the same tray.  Nature has her own rhythm and won’t be rushed.  Suddenly there are multiple things growing from the same cell.  I am no longer sure what’s what.  The rain has washed away the ink from my labels.  The garden will be full of surprises.

Life is not all fuzzy sprouts, sweet-scented petals, and swirling cursive. The concrete spillway leading from the pond collapsed and caved in from erosion over the last few years. It needed immediate attention.  Hours upon hours were spent in the pit with mud in my hair, in my ears, and under what was left of my jagged fingernails.  Digging rocks from the mud and moving them from here to there is prison work, I tell you! Then there was the construction on the learning garden and the hauling of poop from here to there.  It is almost complete.  So worth it to see he beans already beginning their ascent to the top of their tee-pees.  I can’t wait to show you!  Until next time…


Hawaii Feet April 17, 2019

Wherelings, whenlings

(daughters of if-but, offspring of hope-fear, sons of unless and children of almost),

never shall guess the dimensions of him

whose each foot likes the here of this earth

whose both eyes love this now of the sky.

endlings of isn’t shall never begin

to begin to imagine how

Him whose each foot likes the here of this earth

Him whose both eyes love this now of the sky.

(only are shall be were

Dawn dark rain snow rainbow

and a moon ‘ s whisper in sunset

Thrushes toward dusk among whippoorwills

or

tree field rock hollyhock forest brook

Chickadee

Mountain. Mountain)

Why-coloured worlds of because

Do not stand against yes

Which is built by forever and sunsmell.

(sometimes a wonder of wild roses sometimes)

with north

over

the barn.

 

e.e. cummings

20/50

In the middle of our life journey, I found myself in a dark wood. I had wandered from the straight path.  It isn’t easy to talk about it: it was such a thick, wild, and rough forest that when I think of it, my fear returns….

Dante, The Inferno

Dante's Inferno

On Saturday, October 3rd, the Inferno choreography was released into the world.

Inferno (2)

The idea for this dance has lived in me for over nine months. In the last trimester alone I poured out over 20 hours of zeal and profound love on just the physical creation of the 4 minute and 23 second dance. That doesn’t include the hours I spent reading, researching, and thinking about Dante’s heroic verses.

Inferno

Before this conception there was a courtship, of course.  My notes date back to August 15, 2014, when I responded to Dante’s call to his Readers:

O voi ch’avete li ‘ntelletti sani,
mirate la dottrina che s’asconde
sotto ‘l velame de li versi strani.

Oh you with sound intellects,
Observe the doctrine that conceals itself
Beneath the veil of these strange verses!

–Dante’s Infeno, Canto IX

Inferno 01

That’s when I began studying Dante’s work in earnest and trying to interpret the mysterious verses. It’s astounding how a 700 year old poem continues to resonate through the work of contemporary musicians, painters, writers, singers, and other artists.

By the time of the performance, most of the choreography was set, but there were unnerving parts I had to improvise.  I haven’t seen the video yet, so I don’t know how well the improvised parts went and whether I was able to express what this dance with Dante meant to me, but I do know that I learned a lot through the process of making it.

IMG_4916 (2)

If you’re interested in seeing the images I collected to guide the choreography, they may be found through the link here on Pinterest:  Inferno inspiration board

Inferno Finale

 

The poets leave hell

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