REPORT A PROBLEM
I pick up the peach beside me in the grass
It is perfectly ripe, warm from the sun
not yet bruised from the fall
I run my fingers over its furry skin
then break it open
letting juice stream down your chest
I take a portion and place
it in your mouth
I watch your pleasure
I kiss you
for a long time
you stir and take a portion of the peach
you rub it into my still young belly
the peach trees shade us
the bell sounds for lunch
its close by
but we ignore it.
You cannot explain a dive into the abyss
its not depression, not to be avoided-
but it's not rational either
its about surrender-
My body is made of space-
well imagine being Gulliver 100 feet tall
and then multiply that 100 times
You could put your hand in
between the atoms I mean, and there would be space
Active space, ecstatic space
So that's what Arny meant when he was asked about handling criticism when he left the Jungian fold to out alone:
"I am so full of holes the bullets go right through."
What is it that IT needs, not you or I but IT?
I visited you at 4 years old and 9 and often after that.Louis would greet us at the door and kiss our hands.Enchante Mademoiselle!
Walking up your stairs was a lesson in psychology:
I felt I saw the soul of every sitter.You could paint lace and fur but also the innocence or vanity, worry or the flickers of doubt ..
You could also paint the masters, Rembrandt's mother, Gainsborough; I have the Murillo.
You came to me when I left New Zealand.You said I would go over a steep precipice, but not to worry: I could trust the rope and go hand over hand, down and down into a new world and to enjoy looking at the rock face as I went.
I went so deep I lost myself
I told you I am utterly broken open
did not bother to come and find me
maybe you were mesmerised
maybe you just don't want to go there
but do not accuse me of bitterness
there is no bitterness
no judgment in searing grief
No the one who found me was Breac
whose very name means dappled;
there's beauty in all the dappled things
like trout in the shallows half hidden by reflections from the cloudy sky, water streaming
His name means speckled but also to illumine and to ripen
He reminded me I am a Celt
a medicine woman painted blue
She opened the back of my head just like that
and from a huge jug
she poured a liquid that smelled of oranges, roses and honey;
it slipped inside like exquisite silk, softening and opening
every part, not only of my body but all the spaces between.
Ishwari said this was Soma, the ambrosia of the Gods. I just said Thank you.
Perhaps I didn't need to climb the hill in the heat. I said I would prefer to go slowly and rest when I needed to, but you said: there's a train, I will come with you. After two hours of shuffling along slowly from seat to seat in a concrete barn filled with parents, little children and the very old, waiting for that tiny cable car, you went into a trance and she healed your heart. To me she just said: feed my children.
Rama and Sita
a story of the eternal stupidity of virtuous men
after all that love and travail, including sitting in fire- when Sita returns with her grown up sons Rama does not welcome her. She has had enough. She asks Mother Earth to take her back, the earth opens, Sita steps in and is swallowed up.
Grieving Rama creates a golden statue of Sita
a solar creation, some subtitute!
I recall the Maori woman who said of her violent husband, do not ask me to leave him.
He is my Tane.
The black form of Rama and Sita is very beautiful. I place my last rose between them.
I dreamed that my house
(from right to left,) had a kitchen, a living room, a study and upstairs, three bedrooms, and a wide verandah
I had been away
When I came back
I saw that you had placed prayer flags under the eaves
There were some extra cups and pots in the kitchen
some new books in the comfortable living room and some statues in the study, as well as your laptop
You had put a case by the bed in the guest room and slippers under the bed, but had not otherwise unpacked
I went downstairs, pausing to water the plants that had been left under the eaves
You were sitting in the garden on a wooden deckchair, shaving your feet! Clearly you did not want to be mistaken for Pan-
I embraced you. You are very welcome in the house of my soul.
Why Marieshka did you choose to come at such an accursed time?
Your father and brother were murdered, there I have said it.
They believed he would bring back the Tzar, though we were Polish.
Ah little Marieshka I trusted you were safe at school, learning languages and the violin. I couldn't come, I couldn't come through my grief and the hard winters. I did not know you would spend your life alone, bent over plain sewing.
You were petrified in that forest. Raped and murdered by soldiers on the German border, no longer a girl. Your little brother met you then, he said, from now on you will always have apples.
Forgive me Marieshka.
Ayla May sweetheart
Happy Birthday. You are two years old..May you learn and grow and enjoy every moment and also let your parents get some sleep this year! When you were a baby I sang sleep little girl, there are people to meet, places to go...true!
Today you are in Amsterdam with Mama Ness and Oppa and all your Dutch family. You think aeroplanes are normal, like bikes and cars and that everyone is there to entertain you.You read by yourself, you sing and dance and swim and understand every word.
When I made a cake last week you watched carefully and helped me mix it. When I peeled apples with a knife you brought over the little wooden chair all by yourself, climbed up, opened the deep drawer and found a peeler. There Nana.
See you in dreamtime munchkin
Why do I have, so often, to threaten those who bury themselves in paper and go back on their word, or otherwise fail to do what is plainly necessary, obvious and just?
When my first child was due I arrived at the hospital in the last stages of labour; they lost my papers. I had to say if you want me to start screaming I will scream.They admitted me.
When I took a client, raped by US servicemen, as a witness to the court martial, they went back on their word. I had to threaten to make an international incident. It worked, but it should not have been necessary.
" to go into the dark with light is to know the light-
to know the dark, go dark. Go without sight and find that the dark too blooms and sings, and is travelled by dark feet and dark wings"
..meeting you set off an atomic explosion
in every cell, it's dark
since that time there is no time. I am back before the fall, no separation and there is a soft dark
I can only feel my way in this strange world, akin more to an amoeba than a human being.
Of course not everyone knows this. I continue. But when you are not afraid to feel, you know..
( thanks to Wendell Berry in Oman.M ed Prayers for Healing-365 Blessings Poems and Meditations From Around The World. Berkley CA 1997 p 254)
So there I am
I am looking at at the entrance to a rose red cathedral made of concrete slabs.It has a roof of copper which reflects the sun.
It's been servicable, a great gathering place, but now it is being dismantled. Sure a few people are scurrying around trying to put the slabs back, but I know it is coming down.
I walk away straight into quicksand up to my chest. I have to draw heat from the earth by my own power and dry it up or I will die.
I do this and the sticky mud turns to dust.
I discover that where the cathedral stood there is now a labyrinth, simply stones in the grass. I am so glad to see it there.
I place myself in the centre of the labyrinth.
I am there now, a woman in her power.
"I have seen not behind but within,
within the dull grief, blown grit, hideous concrete facades
a gleam as of dew, an abode of mercy,
have heard not behind but within
a humming that drifted into a quiet smile.
Nothing was changed, all was revealed otherwise
Not that horror was not, not that the killings did not continue, but
as if transparent, all disclosed
an otherness that was blessed, that was bliss.."
Before I left I prayed that we would meet in peace
You have seen not behind but within
I have heard not behind but within
You even said thank you.
(thanks to Denise Levertov: City Psalms 1965)
There he lies, Indian brave
flung head and back on rock, gasping for breath
arrow to the inner thigh, dying
not from his injuries but
from the wound to his masculine identity, his role-
defeated in battle to him is shame
In truth no blame.
It's all in dry-earth gold, turquoise
very compelling, very grand-
but wait, aren't those kangaroos?
The Mother's swept him up
his dingo dreaming
quite a while ago now, brought him to this land:
You don't have to sacrifice uncertainties or
being strong, decisive, tender, bold
to be a father and a lover, to be a man.
I asked for a lift to the station
Not knowing it was quite close by.
There was plenty of time.
There has always been plenty of time.
You asked if I liked Greek cakes.
We talked and talked and laughed and talked,
until I said I had to go.
In Greece I dreamed of you.
I climbed down a cliff to play with you
drawing magic patterns in the sand
soon washed away by the sand and drawn again.
I am going back to my art you said.
No more accidental careers.
We have many soul mates you said.
That is certainly true.
I am flying back.
Still my homeland and probably why I am not yet an Australian citizen, despite being eligible, despite living here so long.
I miss NZ birdsong. I miss the Alps, Aoraki and the broad Waimakariri. I miss people; I do not miss the high cost of living or parochial TV.
I hold Wyn's hand. She no longer knows me. She likes me massaging her hand though. Look Mum I say.There we are. Oh that is my daughter I think, she says. No it is you. Oh really? That speaks for itself then.
Yesterday my parents were both in bed. Everyone got flu shots, everyone got sick.
Today they were both up and I saw them twice. Coughing but OK.
Dad, did he know me? I am not sure.He knew he had been to Fremantle.
We stayed with someone there.Yes Dad, you stayed with me!
You also stopped in on your way to build those radar stations in Ceylon in the war..The ship's company was given grapes, boxes and boxes of grapes, enough for everyone...
I have been to every capital city in Australia. We name each one.
Yes, $27 is a ridiculous price to pay for a session at the gym, pool/hot pool.That's what my local centre would charge if I didn't have a membership; I have a membership. It's a great place with a lovely view out amongst the gum trees, (no plum trees) but here it costs $7 for the pool and sauna and the view is of the Kapiti hills...
My sister has thoughtfully filled up my parents' car with fuel.She sees them most days.She is a saint.
My brother in law will drive me into Wellington.Also a saint.
What sort of attraction is this
that ricochets across the cosmos
lighting up in wild desire?
Uranian? Can you handle lightning bolts?
Don't they have a habit of splitting open ancient trees
releasing who knows what geneii?
Either that or they glance off safe conductors
and hit the solitary man in the anorak, that one plodding across
muddy paddocks to his quiet home.
Transform or die, or both.A little dramatic don't you think?
And then the storm is over.
The damn moon glides serenely
Lighting the lake with silver ripples.
I'm welcomed by Tammie, Francis; Freya is asleep.
Look Mum there's a bed-no more sleeping on a dusty floor; the termite ridden wall boards have been replaced.
We go to the markets and eat Vietnamese rolls for breakfast.
We walk in the park by their beach. Freya has a pedal car. It's a black Porche found on ebay..I am only buying her one Porche says Dad, and this is it!
I listen to Tammie's stories of her trip to New York.. to Francis' new songs and hear about his business plans.
I scoop up Freya; my delight.
no no no no
I can't have this symbol naked in the market place-
there has to be Whitsun, a circle of flame
it needs Grace and a community of spirit,
of devas, of humans (who may come and go)-
There needs to be land-
a portable fire pit, I see a circular one,
for preparation within the circle, for ritual sometimes, and for cleaning up, releasing the space.
Above is a circle of stars;
She is crowned by stars,
Though Her body, the Vesica Pisces formed between crown and womb, stream all possibilities for this time and place.
Her skirt swirls out around her tracing a third circle of stars,
one for each soul present in this communion.
A white circle of fire is set around Her.
You were born into Africa
you have never been back-
Pam was white but your mother is Black
Pam bore you with a drunken doctor in attendance instead of a midwife.
She loved you but feared for you;
that you would be kidnapped, poisoned by spiders, by bananas, by sunshine, by eating anything other than lamb and peas shipped from far corners of the Empire.
Instead you listened to the soul of the drums.
Kofi taught you to walk safely through the long grass, fed you fufu in the village-
He led you to those African mamas who brought you to earth.
I did get to tell her, Peggy, that it meant a lot to us, those Hohepa May courses. That interwar generation had it pretty hard, but we, well we were given everything. We would drive down from Auckland University, along the wild switchbacks of the Napier-Taupo Road, with dodgy brakes and no suspension, a tribe of angels managing such variables as gravel and other cars.
There would be a week of talks and painting, sculpture, handcrafts, star gazing, singing and good biodynamic food.
We met adults who lived their spirituality.
From this a dozen Steiner schools were born.
I can see my grandmother standing on the stairs of her modest semi, radiant in the pink quilted dressing gown I had made for her. It was complicated. I had never sewn anything so complex but it suited her perfectly.
She moved the summer before we left. It was hard for her to sort precious possessions, to leave Percy's rose garden.
Get me some whiskey dear, she would say, then, who has stolen the...You gave it away Nana.
If you were born again what gift would you ask for? A beautiful singing voice, she said.
I sang on the beach for her when she died.
The steps are just the same but your garden has grown, there are also more sculptures, more shells, more of you both. As I enter the little church by the wide river you have made your own, I feel so comfortable, made welcome, always at home. You have cooked together. I put my wine and Lynnie's on the table. Musician friends are passing through. Tonight there will be conversation, poetry, music..a warm fire. You could always move here, Jen says.
The gold letters on the arch where the altar once was say, one communion. And that is true.
Lynnie took me to her painting class:
I painted 4 small canvases. Flames.
I stayed 4 hours, enjoying myself also the other women's presence.
I added smoke into one canvas. And collage. A perplexed looking man looking up. Pink pearls above him, lemon behind him, rich rose red beneath. And then the "curtain" layer, two women with Barong masks, with tea cups strung round their waists as Kali wears skulls, one pouring tea into the other's cup above his head... except the cup is missing...should I add it?
Relationships: pearls and lemons, roses and thorns.
Little one, my darling little Freya
I love you and
I wish you would not throw your dinner on the floor
then chortle with glee...
I know you won't be fed
You HAVE to put the food on your fork yourself...
After all you are a big girl...
16 months and running all day, queen of drums and paints and books... The kittens do NOT need to eat your food from the floor !
It's not that I mind washing the floor, your highchair, you..
It's just my grandmother, reminding another little girl that
children in India go hungry still.
Wow, so hot. Delightful, amusing, deep and unexpectedly hot.
Good coffee, conversation, sushi.
I couldn't have sat with you under the trees.
No way, much too hot!
There was something about those standing stones..well the stones were fine, placed with intent in a natural hollow beyond the house, for meditation, ceremony, parties, you said, but there was something there between the stones and the trees that made me uncomfortable. You gathered dry twigs there, for evening by the fireside with your partner.
I am glad we sat in the porch.
I felt so lucky my godmother was a witch. ...she said that at your funeral, that marvellous happy sad occasion when we gathered again.. Your body surrounded with spring flowers, your spirit moving between us, touching each one as you always did. And Thomas had everyone singing in parts, tallest to smallest, so that my son said it felt like he had stepped back twenty five years. You used to visit whenever you could..I recall you prancing around on a broomstick to delight my toddlers, picking herbs, making brick hard scones and writing poems and prayers. Vale Margaret.Thankyou.
I just bought a little car, a tiny bright yellow toy VW painted with flowers and rainbows, with LOVE on the back license plate and HAPPY FOREVER on the front. It cost me 50 cents..for my therapy room.. Actually it is for me. Red and blue flowers, hearts and butterflies on a golden ground.. The wheels still turn. Reminds me of a VW painted just like this, owned by an artist friend of mine, way back when...the sunny expectation that we would always share each others lives. It didn't work out that way. But the wheels still turn.
Ma Kali You are exhausting: I adore you. You ignore all proper channels, flood me with churning emotion, with random debris and the rage of the dispossessed. You scour the earth taking me to deeper ground. I am not the same. I met your blue black form and gave you marigolds, knowing even then, you are the most potent form of Parvati.The lover. I ripped off my red silk sari.I rip it off again. How dare we make ceremonies about the inner marriage when streams are choked with plastic and Mumbai is the rape capital of the world?
The Tip Jar