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.
Birds need no maps of the earth,
no compass to locate the forces
that pull and repel.
Their geography is larger
than what can be painted, written down.
Their landscape is contained inside
their very bones,
invisible roots woven through
Birds move on currents
of sun sky wind and water–
alert to the pauses,
in the movement of the light.
They hear the world
as it slumbers, as it awakens,
as it waits.
They have no need to build bridges
for crossing over.
Birds don’t need to mark their path,
to provide proof
of their connection to the cosmos
with signs or constructs.
Who they are
is part of their being.
The way is within
the first cell of
the first song of
the first particle of
dust from the first star.
I recently read an article about the red knot B95, nicknamed Moonbird. B95 is a banded bird that was both trapped and photographed through 20 years of migration between the tip of South America, where it winters, and the Arctic, where it summers and breeds, a distance of 9000 miles each way. B95 traveled enough miles to go to the moon and most of the way back–hence, Moonbird.
Considering the fact that one half of juvenile red knots dies during their first year’s mirgration, that is quite an accomplishment.
Red knots are robin-sized shore birds that have greyish feathers during their southern winters, but grow red feathers for the summer layover in the Arctic. As recently as 1995 there were over 150,000 red knots making the north-south-north trip, but half of the adult red knot population died between 2000-2002 due to climate change and human intrusions on their habitat. Of particular concern was the reduction of the horseshoe crab population in the tidal waters of the Delaware Bay, an important last feeding stopover before the final flight to the Arctic. Red knots time their migrations to coincide with the yearly egg-laying of horseshoe crabs, feeding on the eggs laid on the beaches. Horseshoe crabs are important to many other species in the bay as well, and scientists are working to restore this vital component of the ecosystem, which was dying due to overfishing and overdevelopment.
Red knots fly in acrobatic groups and perform evasive movements in unison meant to confuse predators like hawks. How do they “know” where to go? One theory is that they have an internal genetic flight map, but they are also known to respond to the position of the sun and the movements of the stars as they often fly all night. Red knots may also recognize both landmarks and magnetic fields. No wonder they have been called “a flying compass”
Moonbird was last spotted in 2014, 19 years after he was first caught and banded.
Red knots were the first bird ever listed under the Endangered Species Act.
are the days
moving on, circling
through? or are
they giving up, slowing down,
following the un
of tidings reaching for shore
lines that aren’t there–echos of
from folds of pages–
not maps, but
sparkling against the stardust
of reflected nights–
there and then not now
as omens—uncaught, eddied
by prevailing winds
For my February grid, another mandala. We are still mired in confusing times. Too many trees, not enough forest.
Sometimes a change of perspective can clarify, or at least calm the stormy seas.
My poem Upon a Time, inspired by “Spinning Flax”, by Maria Martinetti, below, is posted on The Ekphrastic Review today.
hushabye, don’t cry–
all the pretty horses fly
shining starborne dreams
You can read the entire poem here.
My thanks once again to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for supporting my work and the interaction between the visual and written arts.
in reciprocity to
meet the world halfway
The Kick-About challenge this week uses Ernst Haeckel’s “Art Forms in Nature” as inspiration. If you’ve never seen these images, take a look here. Below is the sample provided with the challenge, but I decided to use different images as inspiration for my composite creatures.
I looked in my collage box/reference book collection for nature images that I could combine to create new forms based on Haeckel’s paintings.
This is a project that could go on and on…
flashes of yellow
Last fall my daughter and I were sitting on Columbia’s campus, talking and drinking coffee and tea, when we noticed a tiny yellowish bird looking for insects in a tree nearby. It looked a lot like the wood warbler I’ve drawn, above.
We didn’t see it well enough to positively identify it, but a birder friend suggested from my description that it was a warbler. Many species migrate through the area, in addition to common local residents like the yellow warbler.
The Blackburnian Warbler can also be found in New York, but I haven’t been lucky enough to see one. I would like to watch the intricate aerial dances they perform when protecting their territories.
I first drew the yellow warbler by itself, and scanned it, as backgrounds are always a problem for me. I’m still not sure about this one, although I like the colors.
growing roots into
the protective cloak
of the earth
of the earth
talking to the moon
welcome the new year
patterns—open your arms wide–
For Frank Tassone’s #haikai challenge for the New Year, and Colleen’s #tanka Tuesday challenge to write a poem of hope, I’ve written two variations of the same idea, and reprised a collage I did for an earlier #tanka Tuesday in 2019.
Colleen asked us to use our favorite form of poetry and to tell why we like it. Of course I love pantoums and all repetitive poetry, and I often write using Japanese poetic forms, but I most often write in shadorma. Somehow its rhythm and length work well with the way I express my thoughts, and when I’m stuck, it works to focus me, making me consider the exact words I’m using and why.
I used the haiku form of the first poem, with the repeating lines, in a post on kblog, but couldn’t remember where I had seen it. I’ve since discovered it is called Shi Rensa, and it was invented by Ronovan, who has his own haiku and decima challenges at RonovanWrites.
tree lights sparkling
music and kitchen cheer
exchanging gifts of Love Actu
Colleen’s challenge this week was to write a cinquain reflecting our Christmas traditions. A tree with lights, music, cooking (especially those cookies!) and watching “Love Actually”–my daughters and I were lucky enough to share all these again this year.
I hope everyone separated from family and friends for this holiday season will be able to celebrate being together soon.