Gilt Edged Tanager (Draw a Bird Day)
I Dream of Brigid
In the beginning I was alone, carefully unwinding the wormlike stem of a large plant. It seemed like a cactus to me at first, but gradually it reshaped itself into a huge iridescent flower. I was surprised to suddenly find that instead of tendrils I was in possession of two glittering aqua and golden wings. They opened my arms like bridges in the street of the sky.
Night walks, scattering poems, uncoiled in a spiraling serpent around me. Feathers became flaming scales became feathers again, mercurial rainbows scattering glowing seeds, crossing and recrossing the portal that explored every direction between the darkness and the light.
My blood began to sing, an echo of bells vibrating, calling my name. All the words I had lost or abandoned returned to me, transformed into candled threads sailing like a sea of flames on a river of stars.
I really did have this dream, at least the first part, which led me to look for a bird that fit those wings. The gilt edged tanager came closest. Native to Brazil, its habitat is fragmented, and though not considered endangered, the population is found primarily in protected reserves of moist lowland subtropical forests.
There are close to 400 species of birds in the tanager family. A few species live in the United States, but most of these colorful birds live in Central and south America.
Tanagers are associated with the goddess Brigid, which seems odd since they are not native to Ireland. But many cultures, including the Japanese, consider them to be messengers from the spirit world. They do look magical.
The story of my dream was written for dVerse prosery, where Linda provided a line from ee cummings, in the street of the sky night walks scattering poems, to be included in what we wrote.
I was not really happy with any of my renderings of this bird when I did them, but they are growing on me. In order: colored pencil, gouache, inkpen with watercolor, neocolor. It’s been a long time since I painted with gouache.
The Fate of Fools (Thursday Doors)
doors, dazzle you inside dreams,
the complex language of choice–
abandoned, you jump
doors dazzle inside dreams,
appear as if sailed, transported
by complete darkness
thresholds cast riddles—as if
life, opening, free
I wanted to construct a house as a sort of book, so I took a cardboard box and collaged this interior. It’s similar to many houses I visit in my dreams. It did not really work for my book idea (the exterior is also still a work in progress), but it fit well with the last Kick-About prompt. As Phil pointed out to me, it resembles a stage set.
I also have a liking for windows and shadows.
The poem is a troiku, written for the W3 prompt, in response to Steven S Wallace’s poem “In Praise of What is Private”, and his prompt poem, Emily Dickinson’s “Superiority of Fate”. I’ve also used some of Jane’s Oracle 2 words for the week–I realize I never finished what I started with last week’s words, but perhaps it will show up somewhere down the line.
You can find more doors and share your own here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.
Eastern Screech Owl: Draw a Bird Day
eyes that penetrate
I had a dream awhile back about hearing a bird calling. Looking for the source, I found it was a tiny owl. It let me get up close to it, but when I tried to take its photo, it went into my daughter’s shirt pocket and hid. Of course I had to try to identify what this owl could be.
As with my hoopoe dream, I recognized it immediately when I saw photos. The Eastern Screech Owl is a robin-sized owl, and would easily fit into a pocket. They are common throughout eastern North America, and though they prefer woodlands, have adapted to living in both cities and suburbs. These owls do not build nests, but depend on tree holes that already exist, often those abandoned by woodpeckers. They will also use nest boxes. Active from dusk to dawn, they eat mostly insects and small rodents, but have been known to catch small fish, as well as frogs and lizards. They also eat other birds, as owls are prone to do.
Their call is unusual, more like a whinny than what I would associate with an owl. Definitely not a screech.
Owls are considered old souls, prophets, protectors, keepers of ancient wisdom. They are also associated with death. But as with the Death card in the tarot, death is never just an ending, but a beginning as well.
As to what my dream meant, I still haven’t puzzled it out.
I didn’t have time to paint an owl this week, but I did a third quick drawing without looking at the page. A good exercise which I should repeat more often.
what dream is this? circling
spiralling into form
slipstreamed fertile reborn
Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday theme is dreams, so I’ve written a variety of dream poems for March, a dreamy month I think. I’ve interspersed some of my previous March grids.
in March I
rains that be
come sun-dappled spring—shining,
blooming with birdwings
part of the landscape
begin to dance
with waves of light, singing
sun into roots, filling
my nights with dreams
Poetic forms are, in order, abhanga, shadorma, haiku, badger’s hexastitch.
sailing the mares of night
The Oracle gave me another lai, the featured poetic form at dVerse for May. She began with darkness and ended with light. They are always switching places it seems.
what blackness this storm?
it covers the moon
beneath shadowed dream
wind remakes the when
time sings of spring sun
the light whispers come–
Shadows and Dreams
I dreamt of my grandmother
in a large bed
in a crowded room
filled with aunts and uncles and cousins.
But where was my mother?
I sat in a rocking chair
and held her mother’s hand.
We did not need to speak–
her fingers had already threaded the needle
and passed it along.
My father came to me
like a bird, wings of arms outstretched.
“I am looking out for you,” he said.
I knew then he had made it safely
to the other side.
The dreams of a child
are like the cascading of oceans–
endless waves merging as they ebb and flow,
fantastic worlds ignoring the divisions
of day and night.
I would be a princess, a singer, a cosmic traveler,
an artist. I would be a butterfly, a tree,
What were my mother’s dreams?
I could not imagine her as a child.
She said she had wanted to be
an engineer. She wanted
to study in Mexico. She wanted
to travel the world. Her father said
that was not what women did.
They married and had families–
and so she married my father,
and I was born between brothers.
When I dreamed of my children’s father,
he was working.
He was always working.
But my heart was glad:
“You are yourself again,” I said.
I knew he had made it safely
to the other side,
tools in hand.
For the last few years of her life,
my mother barely spoke.
She lost her tether to the world
when my father died.
Neither the hands of her children or her sister
could pull her back.
She is suspended in both time and place.
And so each night I wait.
When will she return to me, herself again,
to embrace my longing?
Where is my mother?
I don’t usually write such long or personal poems, but Larry Levis’ beautiful and meditative words, the reference for today’s NaPoWriMo prompt about the layers of time in thought and in life, made me think (as I often do) of my mother. I’ve also incorporated the dVerse prompt of cascade.
Night Visions (Moon Totem #2)
the matrix of my dream emerges
from dark mirrors, casting outlines
of stories on particles
points of glittered light
A nonet for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday with synonyms for origin and write.
I did a bunch of these moon totems in 2017 and meant to do more, but the project got sidetracked by life. I found this one in a drawer…I know the others are around somewhere. Perhaps they are hiding with the birdlings, also missing since I moved.
Nina and I consulted the Oracle together this week. We did our art independently, but the Oracle is always watching.
Now out to look at the blood moon!
Diamond rain crushing
the sky with shadow wind,
bitter like an ache–
Blood singing of moon storms–
languid music so still…
I want an enchanted garden
of madness and mist
to whisper through beauty–
Tomorrow it will be gone–
this false night,
this held breath–
we are undreamed.
Light falls scattered
a sliver of reflected time–
tomorrow it will be gone,
out there towards never.
It resembles matter,
although it has no form–
this false night,
(that’s what I imagine–
healed and levitating into always)
This held breath—
it neither comes nor goes.
Listening, it does not reply–
(we’ve lost our knowledge of sleep)–
we are undreamed.
For Sue Vincent’s photo prompt, above. Another mysterious landscape.
Another cascade poem.
Draw a Bird Day: Which Bird?
I thought I saw blue jays, but red feathers and whistles turned them into cardinals. I thought I saw cardinals, but the starlings stole their song. I thought I saw starlings, but they grew huge and then they laughed in a raucous crow chorus.
Which bird? you ask, which
bird?—sparrows, tiny sparrows–
wings to wish upon
This is based on a fragment of a dream that came back to me with the birds in the morning. All five birds mentioned are often both heard and seen outside my windows and doors (and, apparently, also in my dreams).