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BY pearl

10/01 Direct Link
 24 October Toulouse

awake! awake at 4am:
I should have slept
better than a baby
after 8 hours walking,
or was it the very good coffee
at 4pm,
or the very good wine at 1pm,
or the sight
of a rose red city
and not one but two
Black Madonnas,
crowned
and empowered
by the love
showered upon them?

Perhaps it was the river
almost equally beloved,
or the conversation
all in my splattered French
(which is to say we did not say much)
sheltering
from thunder overhead (again)
with a dark eyed man
passing the time of
day or dusk
so as not to get soaked
completely-
why can I not sleep
after just one day?
10/02 Direct Link
October 23 En route St Martin a Londres a Toulouse

we came through rain
and rows of trees
bending in to drink
the welcome autumn

there was a remarkable sky
rather as if a giant
child had
reached out her arm
and traced an arc
this way and that, then
up and down in white
indelible marker pen
across her mother's
fresh blue chiffon sky

criss-cross clouds
were still there
with some adjacent whisps
of white
when
along the dark horizon crept
a sultry purple hem
10/03 Direct Link

22 October 2016 Hammeau d'Etoile, France

A warrior for peace:
yes you can say that
now,
so many years after Vietnam;
so many dreams
of the ship
of the dead,
of men
who can't let go
their memories
or let their souls
fly to the peaceful lands-
a warrior for peace.
He is and is not the kind-eyed, weathered
man you have become,
or even the long legged
leaper over rocks
by the singing river.
He is the young brave,
the warrior that was born within you
out of struggle, and anger and love and pain,
through dreams for a new humanity,
truely you were born again,
a warrior
for peace.
10/04 Direct Link
October 20 France

How can I write about that?
Too close to the bone,
my deepest fear you say. Well!!

All I will reveal is my swift black panther leaped
to the top of a mountain, cleft open
by my resolute intent.
He burned his paws standing
in black lava
that had not completely cooled,
and yet he waited.

How much do I owe that faithfulness?
When I returned from
that deep descent
his raw burns were cooled
and healed
by liquid pearl.
10/05 Direct Link
5 October in memory but not in fact

I was at a course
on managing aggression,
no, not wrestling each other to the ground,
or practising restraints
and how to get out of awkward holds and sticky situations,
as we used to do.

No this was an intelligent discussion,
an analysis,
of what it takes
to defuse
aggression before
it becomes violence.
What need is this
utter melt down
expressing here?

Well may they ask!

An intelligent analysis
of social factors
and political
indifference
might
spell this out
succinctly...

Managing aggression,
though ever so intelligent,
from those whose mandate
is to care,
is something
which our tutors
may not discuss.

However, I liked them.
They made me laugh!
10/06 Direct Link
6 October in memory
I recall
I worked this day
and then I hunted for the cat
and couldn't find her,
took six things out of my suitcase,
showered,
changed the sheets,
covered up the unused paint,
tipped out the milk,
read mail I did not want,
(the tree needs trimming
according to the power board,)
took the last tomatoes and my keys next door,
hurry, goodbye to dear ones, hurry
and then wait 20 minutes
while the airport pick up gets lost-
All off set by
a young man's  charm and chatter and vision
for his business
and the totally stress-less arrival
prior to my departure.
10/07 Direct Link

A market, we walk up the hill:
fat fully ripe tomatoes,
peppers, artichokes, fish that looks fresh,
figs, trays of oranges, pink rose garlic,
several sorts of potatoes, greens I cannot name, apples,
grapes, oh, the green ones are sweetest!
A dozen round gleaming bowls of olives black and green,
and at the top of the hill, flowers on one side and potted plants on the other. Some basil!
Perhaps I should buy these bright zinnias, but,
no scent.
The seller sees me and gestures, these ones!
She points to tall stems
of a white flower I do not know.
10/08 Direct Link

this was the day after
we walked up the hill to the market and down the hill with our supplies,
making our home welcoming with fragrances, 
white flowers with a heady perfume,
basil, tomatoes, and fresh zucchini
with flowers attached, clearly just picked that morning,
figs, honey, cheese;

this was the day after
our first gazing
at the neolythic pottery we both loved so much;
warm round pots that were shaped
and used in the cooking and serving of food,
by women, more than 7 thousand years ago

today we  reached further
to discover the Madonna of the Streets
10/09 Direct Link


We missed our way and walked
three kilometres out of our way
on increasingly hot pavements,
in increasingly less salubrious surrounds,
and in doing so
met
the Maddona of the Streets.

It was worth the detour;
there she was painted, emerging from
a halo of barbed wire,
or was that a fence at some border?
a weary, strained, woman
of maybe forty years,
maybe more, or less
but hands open
carrying everyone
with Her

everyone who hates Her
because she is foreign
because she is poor
because she is a woman
because she might take a job
from their family to feed herself
and her family,
those few who made it through;

and everyone who loves Her
nonetheless.
10/10 Direct Link
10 October is your birthday
and I am very far away.

You are just at that age
where, your body says,
you can no longer do quite so much-
Oh yes, you can dig, prune and weed
and climb those hills-
but,
there is
an echo-
little aches take
a little longer
to release,
and
after you have brought in the wood
for the still, cool night,
that hot bath feels
more welcome even
than before.


May the birth of this new year,
this new age be gentle.
May every wind be gentle-
Welcome to the wisdom years!
But then, little sister, you have long been wise.
10/11 Direct Link
I am writing on November seven:

every month I run behind-
I want to write
I feel in tune with myself when I write
but the truth is
I do not always get to it
the tuning that is
or the page.

On this day I was in Athens
it was hot-
I did not go to Delphi;
I regret this now
as I wanted to stand again, at sunrise,
where once the oracles
were spoken by
the priestesses
inspired
by visions
that also
gave them headaches
from subterranean gasses.

I wonder if those women
felt in tune
with themselves
after a day of such work
or if they just felt
tired out?
10/12 Direct Link
AI WAI WAI

NEVER SORRY

a thousand flowers
in the form of blue and red satchels
bloomed
on the facade of an art gallery
far from China;
She was happy for seven years.
The epitaph for
a little girl,
one of five thousand
who died when school buildings
with inadequate steel
and shoddy concrete
approved by corrupt officials
and rubber stamped by others,
crashed down the mountainsides
in Schzuan.

NEVER SORRY

It has taken you much courage
to call together the volunteers
who sifted through the rubble
to identify
and name each child,
to speak to grieving parents
to publish the lists-
to embarrass the government!

Let a thousand flowers bloom
in every country
and continue to bloom.















10/13 Direct Link
Kali is the goddess who defeated time.

She is the wild one who rides a donkey.
By all conventional wisdom she is crazy!

She is embarrassing in her intensity.
No one wants her in their house!
She may be honoured,
but she is also feared.

She is the power of all gods together.

Kali is the goddess who defeated time:
She chopped off his head with
her curved scimitar.

I drew her this way
when my baby died;
I knew then
love is eternal
grief does not end
love does not end

We are timeless,
yet, we need her
NOW
to lick the blood of demons!
10/14 Direct Link
If Soul
is the Truth
of all of us,
who we are
at core
and
all the frantic
surface of our lives-
then Soul
must sometimes resemble
a congested motorway,
slowed by rain.

And if Soul
is the fingerprint of God,
then why didn't She
or is it He?
wipe Her fingers
before lifting that glass?

It's no use telling me
there are better rainbows
to be seen through
dirty glass!

I just don't like dirty glass,
and there are too many
collisions on the road as it is.

I prefer the idea
that Soul
is that pause
between the
action
and response,
that nagging attraction,
the nudge. the lure,
that leads us on.
10/15 Direct Link


Donald Trump

there is a shifting of tectonic plates-
the end of all the assumptions
about the shape of the world
our parents
and grandparents fought for-
the end of alliances
the end of the economy we know, the stock market, manufacturing, jobs, pensions, incomes;
far from rebuilding roads and bridges
there is every chance they will be ripped up,
that the States will disunite
that counties will seek to
protect their resources
industries, cultures and beliefs
from one another,
that bigotry will become normal,
and hatred errupt everywhere
as fear seeps up
from those hidden drains
that we forgot,
that sewer we forgot
needed maintenance
and will now
have painstakingly
to be relaid.
10/16 Direct Link
also 17 October

Watch out, the ancient sow
is loose-
do not take the Goddess lightly!
from Ireland and Sumeria and from India
we serve her; we too are many breasted;
we also have savage tusks
and a nasty bite.

Flies see in all directions, 
scavenge, clean up what is dead and dying like vultures
and the sad white eagles in Tirichupalli,

The Goddess will kill you if you stumble at her threshold;
she'll leave you to the flies,
and later dance upon your grave.
Bury all your facile and self centred hopes and fears
now, before they trip you up.

You will have to move swiftly
to avoid our tusks!
10/17 Direct Link
hammeau d' etoile en France

I have arrived again
to the same sweet bed under the same window with the tall trees to wake to

This time I shared a taxi with friends!
It is cool October
I am wearing merino wool from New Zealand
black with a new necklace in pink and grey and a light olive green
bought, is it only yesterday,
at Ste Maries sur la Mare
where we had an excellent meal at a family restaurant, and discovered a viviacious old nun in the little shop
attached to the Eglise
She sold you ,un bebe, a Christ Child to take on your travels

I have one already

Then we went into the Crypte to meet Ste Sara
 dark skinned, wrapped in a dozen lacy saris

There is a picture on the wall where Sara holds the
barque, with two disciples preaching
at her heart
10/18 Direct Link

we met on the train
from Penn St Station
going upstate
through very pretty, green,
early summer countryside

you have twin daughters
two years old,
were going to meet your buddies,
a serving vet, ex Afganistan
your scariest moment?
when the pilot said
he couldn't land-
you knew
you
could get out and parachute to safety,
but you weren't sure that
was so for all your men

your wife was your teen sweetheart
pretty, sassy, black, like you, a year older-
you asked her to the prom.
she was a New York cop;
she died in childbirth:

your sister cares for your babies
you work two jobs
you're 28
the face of America
10/19 Direct Link
there were a thousand of us
in our unusual profession
that one
that takes
only those willing
to walk
the path less travelled on

I met those who have written the books
who have lived with love and passion and now
the humility of eldership

I heard the new initiatives and understood
our work here is just as cutting edge
perhaps less hampered
by convention, even
than the pioneers

I think of the new grad
so delighted with her new job
(paying less than admin here)
in a school
that four months later
was traumatised
by a crazed gunman

I think of you all
there are red poppies in my garden
self seeded like the ones
in Flanders fields so long ago



10/20 Direct Link
written Nov 10th 2016

I do not believe a word of it!
the stock market fell
on the rumour that Donald Trump would win the American election

the stock market rallied when he won
and gave a pre-scripted speech
thanking Hillary Clinton
for her years of service
and calling for unity!!

Who would unite with one
whose opinions are so 
misogynist,
myopic
zenophobic;
whose policies, if real, will take America back,
if such a thing is possible,
to the years before he was born,
before the NEW DEAL
back into the depression of the 1930s
into a despair
that is now, armed with the AK7s and yet more sophisticated
armaments that rule the streets
and infiltrate small towns and suburbs
across increasingly
disunited States.

10/21 Direct Link
10 November 2016

I woke with a vision
of the map of America
ripped open
by an earthquake
where two fault lines met
one from Washington DC to California and the other
from Detroit clear through to Mexico.
No walls there.

I saw the land tilt up
 like a giant pie crust, split in two directions,
opening great crevasses
where there were highways,
turning pasture into swamp
and forest into deserts.

I saw the paper that has been covering the rifts
already apparent
ripped open
and blowing away

I saw dusty, hungry refugees from the
anarchic cities
seeking pockets of land once again,
to build cabins and grow vegetables
avoiding the poisoned fish.

10/22 Direct Link
I am in France again.
I love these people.
I love their good will, their work,
their care for the people they work with,
their laughter and vivacity
their love for dreaming;
their belief, one I share, that we can reach in
we can dream with the spirits!

We can together, dream a new reality,
a new humanity,
we can heal the earth,
we can learn to trust each other
slowly

Even though we speak six languages
even though we are slow learners
and our teacher is tired,
even though everyone finds
that money can be hard to come by
that travel
is an effort
as well as a privilege,
even though
we are bruised by our histories
and our nations stories
even though, some of us are not here this time
and I miss them,
even though
it is now autumn rather than summer

I am so glad to be here with you
ALL

10/23 Direct Link
The Soul is
the fingerprint
of God;
that One
you don't believe in-
or, that other One
who may be Many.

Or that other One
Who is presently
Creating its
Existence
Through your very fingerprints,
those dirty ones
you leave on your glass
after buttering
your bread.
10/24 Direct Link
well there is an earlier entry or two about today

when I travelled by car
across the South West of France
because
I asked,
because I did not depend on my own resources,
because you were generous,
you were able to reach across time
and tell me
about Catalonia
and the sacred places you know so well in the Pyrenees;
tell me about your husbands death,
and the persecution you are still facing
today
in a small French village.
Everyone thought
you would quietly go away
after your husband died
but you did not
you have written another book.

Yes, I would like to meet you in Ireland
or whenever our timelines cross.
10/25 Direct Link
 16 days after I was in Toulouse


I enter that hotel room on Place Joan d'Arc again
so conveniently next to the airport bus,
so alarmingly,
"just 10 minutes walk madame
go straight, go straight, go straight, then turn right
from the station,"
said the reluctant taxi driver,
who did not want to loose his place in the queue for a short trip,
fine if you have a map,
or if you speak the language well,
or if you have a companion and
your suitcase does not mark you as a tourist!

not so fine,
but OK, as it turned out,
to go down that street full of bars and little groceries with men hanging around together,
no women after dark;

it was good to enter that hotel room on Place Joan d'Arc!
10/26 Direct Link
This is for Nov 11 at 11am
I just ordered coffee
at the best Italian place
around here. It is of course
full of older Italian men drinking coffee 
and discussing the races. 

Italians were
 interned here in WW 2
11/11  signalled defeat-
perhaps they all 
 just wanted to go home.
 
Actually now I look again
they are the 
next generation. 
 
Their fathers and uncles fought,
their mothers migrated
without a word of English
and made them granita
with the abundant lemons
that grow here.

But no.
There is no 11 am silence in this cafe. 
10/27 Direct Link
Which goddess do you worship? 
She asked
Naievely,
As if there were truely
Some way to divide
The divine Ground of Being.
The lion goddess,
I nearly said,
As I bit off her head.
Instead I smiled enigmatically 
Hoping
She would mistake me
For a sphinx. 
Or sphinxess. 
 
 

 
10/28 Direct Link
I wonder if Donald Trump won 
partly, at least, 
because so few Americans,
outside the coastal cities, 
learned 
any geography 
as children. 
 
Sure they need to know about the Appalachians 
 and the Rockies
 the mesas and the prairies
 and Mrs M Mrs I Mrs SS I.. 
 But do they learn 
 about any other country,
 people,
 plant or creature on this wide earth?

I recall driving with your aunt 
a former congress- woman
who certainly knew geography,
up into the stunning mountains
a few hundred miles from
the Canadian border. 

She went to a meeting 
with first nations people 
about their fishing rights.

We stopped and chatted
in a tiny town.
There the store owner proudly told us
he had been to almost
every state in the nation.

We heard about his life
and all his travels..
Then I asked,
"Did you ever go to Canada?"

"Oh no," he said,
"You need a passport -
America's enough for me."

Your aunt,
who is much respected, 
had a mother who
joined the Black Sash movement
while she learned Swahili-

 a migrant really. 
 



 


 



 














 
10/29 Direct Link
This time I made it-
It's not October 
and barely even spring.
I cheated but I finished up the month
A poem for every day.. 

The rules are less important
than the poems,
that I write
even when I am moving house,
travelling
painting walls
unpacking boxes
of things
some of which I no longer want,
some of which I am glad to see. 

Did I tell you
there is an old mulberry tree 
in the vacant land
opposite my house?

I quite often have
fresh mulberries for breakfast. 
10/30 Direct Link
This damn cat has jumped on me
At 4.44am
Before dawn
She is pawing me
Her claws out
Ouch
I do not want to get up
Let alone wake up.
My dream has been lost in my exasperation
Are you my dream
This morning?
Birds twitter
A horse shakes itself and brays.
It is lighter than I thought. I hear a 
 Distant motor cycle. 
The crows.
  comment loudly. 
I will get up.


 


 

 

 
10/31 Direct Link
You came back from India
a second group-
 
We arrived
and no one was left behind!

A few curve balls-
It rained
for a whole week,
everything was sodden
muddy,
hot and wet.
Yet she smiled.

We could not use the pavilion
at the flower farm
a wind had ripped away
the lovingly
arranged
shelter
prepared for us.

We used
the living room
for preparation
and for ceremony
you said,

but more,
tears came to your eyes,
in Nasik
a five year old girl
was raped,
the police were slow to act,

there was a riot;
burned out vehicles
were evidence
of the rage.
Yes, the goddess is angry,
very angry,
when a child is hurt this way

Kali is alive.