Thursday, August 25, 2016

Thursday Poem - Sleeping in the Forest

I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

Mary Oliver from Sleeping in the Forest

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Going to Abundant Seed

Garlic chives, also called Chinese chives or Oriental garlic
(Allium tuberosum)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday - Saying Yes to the World

How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one’s culture but within oneself? If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction, because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.
Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Barley Moon of August

Oh, for a perfect burnished full moon on an evening in late summer... After many years, the longing remains in all its foolish intensity - to be enfolded in something grand and gilded and luminous.

The late French conductor Pierre Boulez once said: Just listen with the vastness of the world in mind; you can't fail to get the message. Whatever happens to my gnarly old self and its molecules (starstuff) this time around, I like to think that a tiny scrap of the world's grace and grandeur and vastness will remain in my consciousness as I billow off into the great beyond like a scrap of linen liberated from the clothesline.  Let there be that and a few scattered images of the moon surrounded by stars and looking down on the earth, lustrous and blithe of countenance. Every night is a jeweled tapestry, and every lunar round is a wonder to the eyes and lens tracing her contours, mapping her mountains and valleys, wide mesas and dry seas, lingering on her glossy light.

Under the August moon, geese move back and forth between rivers and fields.  Deer and wild turkeys graze along farm fences, and coyote clans call across the hills in voices hinting at autumn. Moonlight turns trees in the woodland into throngs of interlaced fingers and their dancing leaves into flocks of nocturnal butterflies - it touches grasses with silver, transforms sleeping fields into rippling dunes and rolling oceans.  In its light, Farm buildings, fences and windmills are stark shapes silhouetted against the darkness and far-flung stars.  There is something mysterious and bewitching about this month's moon, and for all the activity down here on earth, there is something plaintive and rather haunting too.  The barley harvest is about to begin in the highlands of eastern Ontario, and "Barley Moon" is the perfect name for the lady shining down on us all this month.

We also know the August moon as the: Acorns Ripening Moon, Berry Moon, Big Harvest Moon, Big Ripening Moon, Blackberry Moon, Blueberry Moon, Centáwen Moon, Claiming Moon, Coho Salmon Return to Earth Moon, Corn Is In Silk Moon, Corn Moon, Crest of Hill Moon, Cutter Moon, Dahlia Moon, Dispute Moon, Dog Days Moon, Drying up Moon, Eighth Moon, Elembivos Moon, End of Fruit Moon, Feather Shedding Moon, Flying Moon, Fruit Moon, Gathering Rice Moon, Geese Shedding Their Feathers Moon, Gladiolus Moon, Grain Moon, Green Corn Moon, Harvest Moon, Hazel Moon, Joyful Moon, Lammas Moon, Leaves Moon, Lightning Moon, Moon After Lugnasadh, Middle Moon, Moon of First Harvest, Moon of Freshness, Moon of Life at It's Height, Moon When Young Ducks Begin to Fly, Moon When All Things Ripen, Moon When Cherries Are Ripe, Moon When Elk Bellow, Moon When the Geese Shed Their Feathers, Moon When Indian Corn Is Edible, Much Heat Moon, Much Ripeness Moon, Mulberries Moon, Paper Bark Moon, Pear Blossom Moon, Plum Moon, Red Berries Gathered Moon, Red Moon, Ripe Berries Moon, Ripe Corn Moon, Rising Moon, Starts to Fly Moon, Still Green Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Tall Grass Moon, Thumb Moon, Vegetation Moon, Wode Moon, Wheat Cut Moon, Wild Rice Moon, Women's Moon, Wood Cutter’s Moon or Wort Moon.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Thursday Poem - August

Summer sings its long song, and all the notes are green.
But there’s a click, somewhere in the middle
of the month, as we reach the turning point, the apex,
a Ferris wheel, cars tipping and tilting over the top,
and we see September up ahead, school and schedules
returning. And there’s the first night you step outside
and hear the katydids arguing, six more weeks
to frost, and you know you can make it through to fall.
Dark now at eight, nights finally cooling off for sleep,
no more twisting in damp sheets, hearing mosquitoes’
thirsty whines. Lakes of chicory and Queen Anne’s lace
mirror the sky’s high cirrus. Evenings grow chilly,
time for old sweaters and sweatpants, lying in the hammock
squinting to read in the quick-coming dusk.
A few fireflies punctuate the night’s black text,
and the moonlight is so thick, you could swim in it
until you reach the other side.

Barbara Crooker,
from Selected Poems