Monday, January 13, 2020

Sacred Swim

Lula swims the French Broad

Here on the banks of our own river,
here in the divine Blue Ridge,  the French Broad,
here where we gathered to worship Her, Oshun,
Mother of the River,
here in our town, and here too
in Nigeria, Osogbo, sacred to Her,
we gathered by the river, to sing, to drum,
to dance our love for Her, for each other,
for the beauty of the day, for the golden honey,
for the rippling waters of our river, and Hers,
we came to be Hers, to live our lives with Her,
at our own river, the French Broad, and for all the rivers,
for the Oshun river, for the Mekong,
for the Mississippi and the Yangtze,
we came to sing, to pray, to call out to Oshun,
and yes!  to swim,  lover of the river,
immersing in Her, feeling Her currents,
as so many of us watched and swam along,
together as one, one with the swimmer,
and Oshun, Her ripples, Her currents,
Her smooth stones, Her coolness and warmth,
one with the birds and the leaves falling,
the offerings we cast upon the water,
one with she who swam all the way,
all the way and back again,
with us, with all of us, loving Her,
loving our Lady, swimming with Her,
swimming for the love of Her.

Annelinde Metzner
Blessings on the River
August 26, 2011

      This year, 2020, we will have gathered to honor our rivers for the past 10 years, celebrating "Blessings on the River."  Originally inspired by Priestess of Oshun, Yeye Osunyemi, with whom I collaborated to compose songs in honor of the Ifa Orishas, Yemaya, Oshun and Oya, we began by meeting on the French Broad River in Asheville, and for the past few years, on the Swannanoa in Black Mountain.

      This poem represents our surprise and delight when one of the participants, Lula Moon, shed her clothes and took a swim across the wide French Broad during our ceremony.

Here is my voice in a reading:

For more information on the Ifa religion, follow this link.

Rainer Doost made 4 wonderful videos combining our 2010 "Blessings on the River" along with footage of the Oshun celebration held in Her city, Osogbo, Nigeria.

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

Yeye Osunyemi and others in prayer by the French Broad river

Celebrants casting their blessings with popcorn

By the River                       

I returned to the riverside park,
the day quiet,  a few dry leaves blowing,
the river glassy, more like a lake really.
The lovely park which is all river, all Her,
Her power and majesty manifest,
just some grass and a sidewalk
plus Her, the River, magnificent.
There in the quiet by the tree of seven stems,
not a shred remained, but the memory of all this,
Oshun holding us gladly, still gazing and singing on the shore.
The voices chiming forth Her name,
the drummers and the drums,
the priestess bowing right to the ground,
the dancers, the smiling families,
the babies held high,
the worshippers offering their golden honey
for Her, for Her they moved to the river’s shore,
for Her they poured out their golden love,
their needs, their pain.
For Her someone doffed her clothes
and swam to the other side!
We gathered there by the river,
in the name of love and no more war.
We called out loud to Oshun,
for joy, for water, for our lives,
and She sings there still, calling back to us,
remembering our names.

Annelinde Metzner
Blessings on the River, Woodfin Riverside Park
September 15, 2010 


Friday, January 3, 2020

Sycamore Fig

Sycamore Fig fruiting

I know you by your absence, my adoration,
     your familiarity.
Great tree, Ficus Sycomorus, twenty meters tall,
     twice that in width,
     reaching out your wide expanse to protect us,
     our Ancient Mother.
Asherah! Asherah! I remember you as Goddess,
     nurturing us, fostering all beings,
     and in that life, in that dream,
     You were our altar.
Heart-shaped leaves, a canvas for artists through the ages.
Your abundant fruits!  Flowering year-long,
     they ripen green to yellow to richest red,
     proof of your divinity.
Each fruit-fall, a ton, ripens at Your leisure,
     at all times of the year, as it pleases You.
When You, Asherah, were Goddess at our altar,
     were those thousands of rich red fruits
     all the proof we needed?
At our altars, two thousand years ago and so much more,
     You fed us all, monkeys and humans, elephants and bats.
In Egypt, they painted You everywhere,
     as we suckled at Your holy breasts.
"Destroy their altar, break their images,
     and cut down their Asherim!"
     cried Moses, the teachings of the advancing hoards
     echoing down through the ages.
The good red fruit, Your menstrual blood,
     Your woman-power, Your all-giving grace,
     Your place of honor by the altar
     is now lost to us all.
Oh our Mother! Asherah! Sycamore Fig!
I am there again, singing,
     with my sistrum and my drum,
     dancing with all my people
     to the beat of the tambourine.
Roots wide-spread underground, 

     Your massive canopy overhead,
     I feel You reverberating,
     happy under our feet as we dance.
Oh Asherah, Sycamore Fig! African Queen,
     Queen of Trees, beloved of Egypt,
     adored in the Holy Land,
     in those holiest days before Yahweh and his swordsmen
     set out to destroy You....
You fed us all.
I feel Your wide-splayed roots
     and your luscious wide canopy
     growing holy and happy once more,
     fruits as red as my blood,
     in the ageless and undying altar of my heart.

Annelinde Metzner

January 1, 2020


Egyptian mural of Tree Goddess

Beautiful trunk of the Sycamore Fig

Birds enjoying the sacred fig tree

Thursday, December 12, 2019

La Reina de America

Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, all photos by Sylvia Ponce

We honored our Great Mother,
Queen of the Americas,
filling the largest stadium in Charlotte with our joy.
There She was, emblazoned with gold and light,
Her joyous followers gathered in love.
The people danced, children and elders,
sturdy young men leaping and stamping,
bright colors flashing.  For Her!  For Her!
Quietly She gazed as group after group
paid homage to Her with their dances and their prayers.
The men sang, the musicians played.
Tears streamed down my face.
“This is my world,” my soul was whispering,
my roughed-up soul, who had seen such deceit,
my soul who had come face-to-face so recently
with disrespect, violence, viciousness and lies.
“This is my world,” She whispered to me,
pouring from my face in tears,
tears of recognition, relief, remembrance.
Empress of the Americas!
Flags of all colors, North, South and Central,
paraded the aisle with a flourish and a spin, for Her.
Children gazed in wonder, 

shiny black hair beribboned with color.
A man with Her image on his poncho, Juan Diego!
Ready for the North Carolina cold.
“Que Viva la Reina de America!” (Viva!)
“Que viva la Morenita Virgencita!” (Viva!)
Tears on my face, my soul leaping, 

the parade continued before Her,
teenagers with boxes full of roses,
young men leaping, feathers flying,
all for Her, and there She is smiling,
my soul weeping, all of us cheering,
a glad returning to this night for Her,
for all of us, for the beauty of the world,
for the healing,
La Reina de America.

Annelinde Metzner
Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
December 12, 2016

Sunday, December 1, 2019


The trail from Sullivan's Island beach

My cousin in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa sends me photos-
     the little town, Cacheu, on the sea,
     quiet, sleepy, on the edge of the world,
     a few boats aligned on worn docks,
     ready for fishing.
But the ghosts there, how they wail!
     The people gathered up, captured,
     the simple bliss of freedom lost forever.
The enslaved were loaded here,
     a human cargo in the hulls of ships
     with all their history, all their futures,
     their families, their gifts, their art.
No matter!  They were loaded into ships,
     packed head-to-foot with utmost efficiency,
     and died in a thousand ways.

Yemaya, Orisha of the sea,
     grieving, grieving for all Her beloveds,
     carried the ships in Her salty waves,
     Her great heart broken.
How Yemaya grieved!  And gave the choice
     to Her beloveds, sick and lost,
     to escape this madness in death with Her,
     Her warm salty waters carrying them away.

The rest, day after suffering day,
     arrived on shore, the other side,
     Sullivan’s Island, the American shore,
     beautiful, green, a place one day
     after generations of suffering and courage
     to remember Africa in language, in family,
     in arts, in food, in music, in Love.
But that day, that time, far from home,
     each one alone, heartsick, in pain,
     and less than human in their captor’s eyes,
trudged up the narrow path,
     at the mercy of the winds,
     to the unknown and horrifying future
     of their lives.

Annelinde Metzner
Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina
June 6, 2012

   My poetry chapbook from 2012, "This Most Huge Yes," features this poem inspired by my cousin Keith's residence in the tiny African country of Guinea-Bissau, and my own explorations around Sullivan's Island, SC.  These are the beginning and end points of the "Middle Passage," carrying enslaved peoples from West Africa.  I am honored that this chapbook is available for sale at the Penn Center in St. Helena's Island, South Carolina.

Slave market in Cacheu, Guinea-Bissau

Historical sign on Sullivan's Island near Charleston, SC

Yemaya by Cuban artist, Celia Gutierrez Cienfuegos

Vicissitudes by Jason de Caires Taylor, an underwater sculpture of enslaved people

My chapbook containing the poem "Passage"

Wednesday, November 27, 2019


Hunting Island marsh

Three PM and the tide is ebbing,
Her gentle, slow movement unstoppable, back to the sea.
Two snowy egrets move out of the way
as a grey heron glides in
to land in a tree branch.
No one needs to go anywhere.
As the tide goes out,
cushioned by pluff mud,
little currents make tiny whirlpools
fast enough so a blade of grass
makes a wake mid-stream.
The departing sea water and the crabs in the mud
leave little craters everywhere.
An egret preens in the sun, oblivious of me.
A hillock of mud remembers the high water
and yearns for Her return.
'Way beyond, the bright sea caps
proceed in to shore, line by line,
changing everything.
A loud "scree' from on high
and a majestic bald eagle
ascends to her exquisite nest,
fit for a queen, in just the right spot,
overlooking all of this,
all this profound silence.
Pulled by the moon, day in, day out,
She breathes water.

Annelinde Metzner

November 17, 2019
Hunting Island

I had a very interesting stay at St. Helena's Island a week ago. At the beautiful, remote far end of the island, my car had to be towed. No car, no phone, no internet, no camera. Being I still had my brain and a pencil, I wrote a poem while receiving the kindness and hospitality of friends. These photos are from 2 years ago, but thank Goddess, the beauty remains.  Gratitude.

Friday, October 4, 2019

I Have Sworn to Protect Her

"Healing" giclee by Autumn Skye Morrison

I have sworn to protect Her!           
Miracle blue-green jewel of all the worlds,
ancient blue mountains, vast golden deserts,
hummingbirds in the jewelweed,
black bear in the raspberries.
I speak for Her!
I howl for Her!        
I howl, “Beware!”
to you who remove Her sacred mountaintops
torturing her body to get at Her coal.
I howl, “Beware!”
to you who go deep within her mineral layers,
scraping away at her core
for your own gain.
But no one gains by this.  She feeds us all.
I have sworn to protect Her,           
this day that She needs us,
when even Her vast blue-green oceans, teeming with life,
are tainted with blood, the black oil of power and greed.
This is the day, this is the hour.
She, long-silent, awaits our voice.
The signs of Her anger are everywhere:
desert, flood, tornado, wildfire, earthquake, typhoon, tsunami.
I howl for Her!             
I love my Earth as my own body!
I have sworn to protect Her!

Annelinde Metzner
July 31, 2011

     I send out my poem once more as a prayer, to add to so many others, for divine wisdom to come through for all of us.   May we all protect our Earth, our beloved Home!!   May we love Her more and more each day!!

Delaware River, Margaretville, New York

Sacred mound, Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Grandmother University

We'Moon Datebook for 2020

Vandana Shiva, the nuclear physicist,
went back to her land, India in the Himalayas,
to save seed for the farmers.
Organic farms, five times more productive than monoculture,
lead the way at Navdanya, “Nine Seeds,” her farm and home.
Saving fifteen hundred seeds, a biodiversity of seeds,
for local farmers to plant.
Farmers in the Cotton Belt have killed themselves
by the quarter million after Monsanto colonized the region.
“We learn from the seed.”
“We learn from the seed generosity. 
We learn from the seed diversity.”
Grandmothers, the elders, are the best link,
the true source of biodiversity.
“The link of the past to the future,”
says Vandana, her smile huge and warm, her eyes alight.
In the cotton regions,
Monsanto has colonized the seed,
limiting to five the thousands of cotton types known,
and from these five, genetically modified,
extracting royalties for their use.
And in Vandana’s way, at Navdanya, her ecological farm,
 “the Earth is generously saying,
‘Take everything from me.’”
“I have deep trust in the Earth.”

Annelinde Metzner
January 11, 2013

I am so grateful to the We'Moon sisterhood who have published so many of my poems over the years.  This year I am especially proud of the two poems in the 2020 issue, with the Tarot theme of "The World."   This poem is devoted to the brilliant and compassionate Vandana Shiva who is revolutionizing agriculture in India while resisting corporations such as Monsanto. Here is some info about Vandana.
     And some info about her movement, Navdanya.

Vandana Shiva

One of my poems in We'Moon 2020


Friday, July 26, 2019

Incredible, Edible Todmorden

Garden in Todmorden, UK

“The industrial revolution came... and went.”
Thus begins the story of Todmorden, England, 

the little town that could.
Food grows free for the picking, everywhere,
at the police station, the fire house, the schools.
Yum, yum!  Fresh and free, festivals and street fairs,
recipes traded from around the world.
All grown here or right nearby.
“Everyone’s got to eat,” they say, and so they do!
“The time to act is now.”
Creating a world truly nourishing, 

for their children,
for us all.
Food production begins in the garden of every school,
vegetables, chickens and fruit trees.
“The joy of connecting people is fabulous.”
Training the young people to grow food and market it,
small sustainable jobs 

where despair and depression had been.
In every nook and cranny, an apple tree.
“Go ahead, take some, it’s free!”
Poultry raising, bee keeping, dairy.
“You just have to give a damn about tomorrow.”
Dear little Todmorden, voting for life with all your being,
keep those three plates spinning in the air!

Annelinde Metzner
November 4, 2012

I'm reposting this poem which appears on page 120 of the We'Moon Datebook this year, 2019.

The foundation of the philosophy of Incredible Edible Todmorden, England, is to keep these three plates in the air: community, education, and business.

Click here to keep up with the ever-growing doings in Todmorden, England, the little town that could.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Prayer for the Wood Thrush

On this exquisite New Moon of May,
the Wood Thrush has returned, exuberant, virtuosic,
casting its heartbreaking riffs 

into the eager ears of the woods.
All nature sounds with her, in its bones, in its sap.
All of us are freed with her freedom.
All of us are catapulted into new ways, new paths,
vibrating down to the quivering spirals of our DNA.
Welcome, darling brilliant wee singer!
Break up for us the frozen overused ruts
that form our cold winter thoughts, our stiffness.
Push us one more step forward into joy.

Annelinde Metzner

May 13, 2010

I search for the sound of the wood thrush, deep in the woods each summer.  Its sound lifts me like no other.   Here is a video and recording of the wood thrush.


Friday, July 5, 2019


Ladino Singer, artist unknown

The three musicians on the stage-
     the Trio Sefardi,
     music of the Jews of Iberia.
Forced out of Spain in 1492, they spread to the diaspora,
     France, Morocco, Turkey, Yugoslavia.
Drifting deep into the Ladino songs,
     I blink and I'm walking a cobblestone street
     in my Medieval village.
Children kick a ball, carry bread dough, fetch water.
     I wave hello and I hear it! 
     I hear the music!
On the village square, three musicians play,
     the lute, the daff, the rebec,
     chanting songs of love and history.
A single word comes to me,
     full, full, full of tears and longing: convivencia.
Hundreds of  years of music and peaceful coexistence,
     Muslim, Christian, Jew,
     here in these cobblestone streets of Spain,
     France, Morocco, Egypt,
     these ancient Mediterranean lands
     where all the faiths lived comfortably, side-by-side.
Enjoying each other, living, thriving,
     the oud, the lute, the guitar,
     loving their common language, music.
     living together in peace.

Annelinde Metzner

June 7, 2019

    In one of the oldest synagogues in America, we heard the Trio Sefardi perform ancient Ladino (Jews of Spain) songs during the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC.  Listening with tears in my eyes, I relive the time of convivencia, a word coined in the Middle Ages in Spain and Morocco, before the expulsions of 1492, when Muslim, Christian and Jew shared cultures and lived peaceably side by side. 

Trio Sefardi at the Spoleto Festival

Daff (frame drum) school

Spanish guitarist, Renoir

School of Daff dance

Monday, July 1, 2019

Highlander Fire

Highlander circle of rocking chairs

"You can't padlock an idea," said Myles Horton,
     founder of Highlander School in 1932.
A place that loved the people,
     looking for the inner core,
     that fire that moves us all
     in the face of domination, injustice, white supremacy.
Here is the quiet circle of chairs,
     rocking, rocking,
     even today shouting the words
     of those who gathered here-
Rosa Parks, Pete Seeger, Septima Clark, Martin King.

"Ain't You Got a Right to the Tree of Life?"
     went the old Sea Island song.
Singing!  To unite our spirits, to strengthen us,
     to make our vision clear.
Learning to connect ourselves, to organize,
     teaching literacy in the far reaches of the land,
     voting rights, equality, how it feels to be free.
Not long ago, March 29th, a fire
     burned down the front office,
     White Power signs painted on the ground.

This is not the first time, and won't be the last-
     but who has the fire, really?
Vicious liars who hate,
     or those who carry the fire within,
     burning, burning
     with the desire for us all to be free?

Annelinde Metzner
June 20, 2019

      On March 29, 2019, White Supremacists burned the main building of Highlander Center, New Market, Tennessee. 
     I took a workshop at Highlander Center in August of 2006 and was agog at the famed circle of rocking chairs where many plans of the civil rights movement were first envisioned.
Trainings were done, hearts were strengthened, and this still goes on today.
     May Highlander continue to help us all, as it has for almost a century!

Housing the circle of chairs

Mural on the main building

Highlander Fire, March 29, 2019

Civil Rights class

Circle with Guy and Candy Carawan, song collectors

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Vine Basket

Path on the ridge

I come for the wind.
At the high edge of Craggy Mountain I stand,
leaning in and rocking back as the wind rolls upward,
tender jewelweed and high nettles all around,
high ridges beyond and beyond.
Today on the mountain, looking west,
away from words and clash of minds,
away from the confounded jangle of yay or nay,
of human will forever at odds,
the wind rises miles and miles up the hollow.
I stand with no questions, with only my self.
I am four years old and someone is washing me.
There is nothing here but the wind,
and I stand naked as I’m able.
Faithfully She bathes me, Her touch firm and tender, 
thorough with years of practice,  
until naught is left but the hum, the drone
of Mother God and Her vine basket,
leaning toward me
with Her absentminded lullaby.

Annelinde Metzner
February 4, 1990

"The Vine Basket" performed at "In the Mother Grove" 2009

    Listen to "The Vine Basket" read by Deb Scott and Becky Stone at the performance, "In the Mother Grove", 2009.   Dance by Helen Hollifield.

    You may purchase "In the Mother Grove" as a CD or DVD on the "Buy" page of this blog.   Thank you for supporting the work of Annelinde Metzner.

Where the wind blows

My vine basket

Friday, May 24, 2019

Sara La Kali

Sara in her chapel

Sara la Kali                                                     

On May twenty-fourth, your feast day,
Romani people in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
pilgrimage to be with You, 
dark Daughter, Sara la Kali.
Immersed in the mystery of the candle-lit chapel,
the people come and come and come,
men in black leather, long-haired women,
ordinary people moved by Your being.
Mournful, passionate with Your love,
a woman’s voice, low, sings with longing for You.
Sara la Kali, You arose here from the sea,
fresh from the womb of the Goddess and God,
carrier of the sang real, holy blood and grail.
They arrive in a hush to kiss Your cheek.
Layer upon layer they dress You in finery,
promises of blessings to all of us in need.
And then on this day, You come out into the world!
Men in black on fine white horses,
colorful flags held high in Your honor,
wade far out into the raging waters,
awaiting Your passage back to the sea.
Sara!   If we had known of You,
Sara, passion of the two great beings,
Sara, love child, Magdala and Yeshua,
where would we be today, our Kali,
our Kali of Europa, born to us all,
and in the white and rushing waters,
swept away.

Annelinde Metzner
June 14, 2012

Today is the feast day of Saint Sara, beloved by all Gypsies, especially in this place where Mary Magdalene was said to have come ashore after escaping from the Holy Land across the Mediterranean.  Feel how every year, the waters roil up when Sara la Kali is brought to the sea.  I view Sara as the daughter of Jesus and Mary.  Some say there is a long lineage there, the "Sang Real," the Sangraal, or to paraphrase, the Holy Grail.

Experience the Feast day of Saint Sara, May of 2008, here. 

Worshipping Sara by the sea