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Showing posts from November, 2016

gentle silence

One of these days I will talk about what it's like being a deeply shy and uncertain person who feels called to write for an audience. But not tonight.

(with apologies for the deleted post.)

the power of women

Do not think you have a strong spirit in you, woman. That's not right. You have a strong spirit around you, holding you - you live inside of it. And your spirit flows out like the branches of a wild rose bush, weaving itself through the spirits of other things - through family, and sunlight, and trees, and ghosts. And they weave themselves through your spirit. If you ignore them, you will never understand yourself.

The events at Standing Rock in Dakota have been in my heart very strongly. Even as a white woman, the daughter of immigrants (colonialists), I feel I have a right to be touched by the concerns of this far away place, because I am most truly of all a daughter of Motherearth.

When evil is arising with such power in this world, at this time, the actions of protectors are so very important to at least keep the balance, maybe even tip it gently into hope.

This morning, I read two facebook posts about Standing Rock which threaded through my spirit like long brown feathers fro…

the fictional dog

I love a dog in a book. They seem somehow to represent the innocence and good cheer of us all, and the benevolence of conscious nature towards us; they are, in many cases, guides along the way, even if only guides into our own vulnerability. 

 jeanie tomanek

That's why it is always hard for me when writers kill off the dog, the owl, the loyal small creature. Not only do I find the manipulation of sentiment too overt, but I'm saddened by the author's cynicism. Why can't love, innocence, wild loyalty, survive?
Even Ursula le Guin killed off Ged's animal companion in The Wizard of Earthsea, and although I should not argue against a writer so wise and masterful as she, I wondered when I first read it, as I still do - can we grow a character even when they are loved? Must a man or woman have all softness and company ripped from them just so they can develop? Or is it more true to life that people become strong because of love? That infact it's very hard, if not impo…

the poetry of everything

You can not tell me the seasons cycle through a year, just like that. Not when I've lived autumn and summer in an hour, in my heart. Not when I've seen brown leaves raining on a summer's day.

You can not tell me we need the strong people and the gentle people, as if they are different things. There is a woman who cries in her bathroom for less than a minute, softness falling and fading from her heart, before going out again to gently guide her children, make their dinner, take the mail when it arrives at the door. There is a protester embracing cannon-shot water who is there because he dreams like a wild white bird.

Long ago, I used to paint my hair orange, same colour as my boots. Now I shift uneasily between earthy and pale, as if I am a fashion piece and not an island, a hill-haunted sky, a story untold beneath all the stories I tell, a secret at night. I have a friend who says her style is comfort. She wears clothes not to show who she is, but to care for who she is. R…

wanting the trees

The flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes. Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

It has been hard these days to let the world go and just sit with quiet, with dreaming. But although my mind is clutching on to news piece after news piece, for that is what it does when anxious - equating information quite ridiculously with a sense of control - my heart agrees with Patricia McKillip when she writes in Winter Rose

I did not want to think about people. I wanted the trees, the scents and colours, the shifting shadows of the wood, which spoke a language I understood. I wished I could simply disappear in it, live like a bird or a fox through the winter, and leave the things I had glimpsed to resolve themselves without me.

Someone said to me yesterday that they no longer knew how to cope with a world so full of hatred, corruption, and cruelty. They said this only a few minutes after I had been looking at the new Patreon page for Hedgespoken. I wanted to tell them, l…

defending the sacred space

There is a space between the waters and the profiteers, a space where you can stand. You may find it at a river in Dakota; you may find it in your own heart. Every era it seems to me has a space requiring a stand; for example, between the people and the ovens, or the emperor and the bread ...

And it has come down to this, that our generation must stand between the necessities of life and mindless greed.

The thing is, when you stand in the sacred final space, determined to protect the necessities of life - the water, the love, the very air we need to breathe - you will find yourself fired upon. It is true in Dakota, and in the American voting booth, in the hospital ward, in the home and school. When you stand, the establishment will always try to push you down. They lie so beautifully. They have big guns.

But when you stand, soaking wet, frightened, watching the blood count rise or the grades go down, fearing poison in the water whether you stand or fall - please remember, you are stan…

the graceful bones of love, of words

All morning it has been raining. In the language of the garden, this is happiness.

- Mary Oliver

This fountain pen was brought to me from the Vincent Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. I actually use it. There is an enchantment in the scratching, in the slow dip for language in old ink; I love to see how words shape themselves naturally on the page, some swelling with gentleness, others barely visible but just as powerful nonetheless. It could be a metaphor, but I only mean it to be a few words about words.

Make what you will of my words, and of the world.

| the labels for this post are love, writing, poetic, rain.  when you write what you love, you tend to write your truth. |

when all the world is the dark forest

"What will you do now?" asked the crone.

"Who will you be again?" asked the fool boy. 

"Who will you help with what you have learned, here in the dark forest?" asked the wild man with the sun on his heart and the great white sword.

"Anything," said the woman. "Anyone. Everyone. If I can." 

"If is a dream in the darkness," said the crone. "Try is a solid road."

"But I'm tired, and the whole of me hurts."

The crone grinned. "I didn't say it was an easy road." 

The boy shrugged. "You could just go home." 

And the man with the sun on his heart, he sighed. "Or you could come with us through the forest, seeking lost souls, helping them sing their way back to themselves." 

The woman sat straighter, although her spine felt still clogged with pebbly dirt, and her heart felt chewed by monsters, and her feet ached. "I would like to try that," she said. "But I have …

a wind-shaped woman

This is a little piece my daughter wrote elsewhere, and I asked if I might share it here with you, including her photograph. She's seventeen (where did the time go?) and has already travelled further than I've ever been.

i once went sailing. yes, i did literally go sailing.

it was quite a sunny day. the jetskiiers whizzed around, their clean straight wakes pushing my craft and I aside. sadly for them, they wouldn't have noticed the tiny penguins, or the waves between the waves that suggest a secret wind.

i kept sailing, further and further out, past the loud engines. i knew I was too far out to sea, but i couldn't resist the call of the sea spirits. i couldn't help but be drawn just a few feet past the horizon. maybe home was there.

just a bit further, just one more gust then i was going back. just one more gybe, one more tack, one more run. okay, the next gust then back to shore ...

eventually, it was time to go home. i thanked the wind and waves and sailed back …

the healing power of small and quiet stories

As I wrote yesterday, I've been feeling uncertain lately. I have wondered about the importance of quiet magic and small gentle stories when the world is sliding towards terrible danger. It has seemed to me that surely vigour is more important at this time, and meaningful words, and protest.

But this morning I read Terri Windling's latest post about returning to the work of art, and felt encouraged all over again. It's a beautiful piece, and if you are an artist, writer, mother, human being, feeling uncertain yourself at this time, I advise you to read it.

I believe in narrative therapy. Mythic therapy. After years of watching masculine theories of psychology fail for women, I have come to put my faith instead in the old witchy wise theory of sitting down on the ground and telling the story. Singing the story. Drumming it with fists against the ground. Dancing, walking, digging, wailing the story.

And that doesn't mean necessarily the story of what has happened to the w…

the writer as an agent of consolation and change

For quite a while now, but especially after the American election, I've come across many articles, webposts, and facebook comments reminding writers of their importance in society. Ours is the privilege and the power to influence hearts. What we write matters.

It has stopped me from writing.

This is not the fault of the bloggers or commenters. It is all within me. Like most authors, I want to create something meaningful. And like many people of my generation, I want to help strengthen and heal this broken world which is increasingly burning away. But each time I sit to compose a poem or story that addresses the important issues of our time ... that has meaning, or even a quality of beauty or song which might inspire readers to find meaning elsewhere in their lives ... the weight of it all clogs my heart and leaves me silent.

I try to remind myself that a story has its own business with readers, and I'm just the intermediary. I never really know what will touch people. (If I di…

every moon is a miracle

She comes out of the sea like a droplet of old, golden memory - like all the things you've thrown away, salted and soaked and given back to you for night dreaming and long, wordless wishing. She is the goddess of self-reconciliation. And what she offers is a promise that nothing is lost, nothing is ruinous, all broken hearts may go into the deep and come back golden.

 sally mann

I drove once to the highest place I could find to see the super moon. I don't do that kind of thing any more. Living on the floodplain these past three years, down by the horizon, I have seen hundreds of moons, and every one of them was beautiful. Fat corn-goddess moons. Fine-boned maiden moons that seemed to have been woven from the luminosity of wet shells on dark shores. The size did not matter, only her soul. For me, looking out my kitchen window every night, wondering what the sea and sky had born this time, it was always about the moon. Not about me, not about mathematical astronomy. Just the old,…

strong women rising and singing

These past few days have been terrible and wonderful. I won't talk right now about the terrible things - although I do plan to keep on protesting until evil has been undone. One thing I've learned over the years is that love can inspire action, love can guide action, love should always be at the heart of all things - but only if it is not a passive thing. It must be given a voice, it must be shaped by hands, made into a dance, storified, tweeted, marched. Sometimes love turns over tables, tears down walls, and says no. Sometimes too it is quiet and comforting, holding the warm space at home.

We need all possible kinds of love.

Today I want to share the wonderful, the love.

Sharon Blackie invokes the Cailleach in her appeal to re-remember women's stories told with women's voices.

The NZ Green Party, my own political party, will not smile and politely accept hate.

Neither will Nicola Sturgeon.

A time for refusal : don't become a rhinoceros.

More than three and a half mill…

medicine for a broken hearted world

From the very beginning, we have told stories. We have walked them, carved them, sung them, and made paper so we can write them down. Stories have always been important to every culture in the world. They are the thread that weaves everything together.

And so for me, when trouble comes, I turn instinctively to story. Poetry, song, woodland path, novel. I read and listen, but I also weave too. It is almost always the only thing I can do. I have no wide garden. I have no money. But I can tell story. (Not very well, but still it is something.) This is my small medicinal offering to the world and to myself.

Lately, I've been unable to do much of that weaving. I know all the stitchwork, but I haven't yet found my story. But the longer I sit aching and restless from the silence, the closer I come to understanding. Sometimes stories can be drawn from the air. Sometimes they wash in on an inner sea. But some stories need to be mined from the heart of the earth, and that takes perserve…

and so in the darkness we fight on

The old world is dying. We thought it was finished when we overthrew segregation, welcomed women into the workforce, passed laws for marriage equality, came together to save the climate. But some things take a long time to die. Especially the enormous, red-eyed, sharp-toothed Beast who was the apex predator for so long. They don't go without a fight.

Now is the hour for absolute courage. We are exhausted, we have battled the beast for so long - for all our lives, some of us. We may feel despair. But remember - we are winning. All over the world, lights are shining, forests are being replanted, we are winning. In some places, though, the beast had its claws dug in deep. And so the fight must go on. Have courage, have courage, be strong!

Those of you in the darkness, don't feel bereft. And don't feel embarrassed by what the election results showed of your culture. Everyone else already saw long ago your wonderful brilliance and  your awful shadow. (We have one too.) But look…


I would drape the night over you, the gentle, magical night.
........ I would cloak you with stars.

| marginalia : comments

i want to raise an army

We do not need freedom. There is no peace in it, no ease from stress, only a great, gaping silence as we become untethered from the heartbeat of the world. What we need is love.

Love to gently hold us so our edges don't get chipped away. Love to remind us we have value and a purpose in life. Love to protect us, uplift us, warm us to the core.

Imagine troops of love-givers, going through the suburbs, the depressed towns, the cities, the broken places. An army bringing kindness. Imagine them giving hugs, caring conversation, a hot drink. Imagine them listening to half-forgotten family jokes and laughing, and the laughter is in their eyes. Imagine them holding a woman while she weeps because her thighs are big or her hair is grey or she confesses whatever else she thinks must be wrong with her - holding her, smiling at her, doing that deep healing work before even saying a loving word to her.

We do not need freedom. We need to be told we matter. We are loved, and worth loving. Let me…

the king of light and love

Now is the season of the summer king. Every day lately, the sky has felt like a celebration. The earth has clothed herself in flowers for him, for she is his priestess and his wife (I do not say his queen, for she is queen in her own right, although he is her king.) I stand between them and feel luscious and warm with their love.

As a new moon rises into Beltane, and the young King takes his golden crown, I feel joyous, as if my heart dances even while I sit properly still amongst the sensible people. I know summer will drain me of it all - joy and strength and creative forces. I will become as pale and dry as the grasses. But that is life, and that is the purpose of the seasons. After summer will come autumn to cool me, to rub away my dryness and break me so I will bud anew. Right now, the King is here with his beautiful smile and stormy eyes and scars and his heart wild for love. And I can not help but skip in the encompassment of that love - that wild-lit storm-wrinkled wide wonder…