Saturday, November 26, 2016

Just Friday









(a spontaneous poem from the beach)

It’s forty-five degrees, and the water feels even colder,
But I splash in the foam like Aphrodite, 

even though I’m almost sixty.
And I’m NOT SHOPPING.
A kite is suspended in the sky,
so much wind that no one at all is holding the string,
and it stays suspended for hours,
and the kite is NOT SHOPPING.
A child builds palmetto fronds into an altar in the sand,
a  child NOT SHOPPING.
A boy out in the ocean paddles by on some board,
paddling along in the ocean, 

looking for all the world like Jesus,
and certainly Jesus would not be shopping.
Two dogs whirl around each other ,
joy sparking off of them like the flash of Venus in the night,
like the Pleiades in the dark moon night,
and today is just Friday, and no one is shopping.

Annelinde Metzner
Isles of Palms, South Carolina

November 25, 2011















Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tell a Woman












Tell a woman that, deep inside,
deep in her heart, where no one can see,
she holds the flame that lights the world.

Tell a woman that no one can ever extinguish that flame.
Not anyone,  be he bigger than her, stronger than her, 
faster than her, angrier than her, 
drunker than her, more convinced he is right.

This flame is our secret, all women’s.  We are born with it.
With this flame, we work two jobs while raising three kids,
and we give them piano lessons.
With this flame, we cross oceans
so our children can grow up strong without stigma.
With this flame, we nurse our elders, 
and our young ones too,
often at the same time, 
keeping an eye on bill payments,
scrounging for food and rent.

Tell a woman she has a huge bright flame 
ready to flare up in her heart,
and she’s not alone.   We all have one,
we who walk tall, and we who are under the thumb,
we who speak here now, and we who have been silenced,
we all share this flame, it’s an eternal flame,
it’s hot, and it’s brilliant, and it never goes away.

Tell a woman, this is our birthright, this is who we are,
we, the women, the people of the womb,
who carry the world, who yearn for love and honor,
who, somewhere deep inside, 
will never be denied, will never give in.
Tell a woman, this is who we are, 
all of us aflame, all of us women,
all of us carrying that precious fire
that guides our days, 
that reminds us of what this life really means,
that shows us its light and tells us how to move,
how to be, how to turn, how to love each day.

Tell a woman, she has a pure flame deep in her heart
that can never be extinguished, that cannot be pushed under,
that can never be broken, 
that does not bleed away,
that cannot be raped or beaten down,
that can only rise higher, 
that flares up within us,
and with each step brightens, and lights our way,
brighter and brighter, as we see our flames
more clearly, more loudly, more assuredly, more proudly,
all of us gazing at that brand new day,
not much longer now, just on the horizon,
when we look at a woman and know,
with her light, she leads the way.

Annelinde Metzner
January 15, 2013

I wrote this poem in 2013 for an event called "One Billion Rising" envisioned by Eve Ensler and celebrated around the world.  This event, and my poem, were created to bring women together to know their own power, and to break the chains that bind us.
      Here are a couple of photos from the event.


Myself reading at "One Billion Rising"




Listeners at the event













Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Eaters of Death






Artwork by Maria Silmon which appears in We'Moon with my poem




Scarcely a day’s rain 
and the white mushroom emerges jubilant
above the crackle of dry leaves,
opening wide to the light.
On the broken branch, the “dead” branch,
the lovely jade of Bushy Beard lichen, usnea strigosa,
grows riotous, joyful for this moment,
green flowers alien and graceful, exquisitely turned.
The dying tree hosts lichen of all colors,
shapes and textures rivaling Picasso or Matisse.
This is Death in the forest!  What ecstasy!
This is one end of life’s continuum,
one tip of the see-saw, wheeee! 
“We gobble up Death, it’s our specialty,
it’s where we love to live.
Give us Death and let us create,
regenerate, revive, renew!
We’re eaters of Death, alive once more,
and eager, eager for YOU!”

Annelinde Metzner

December 29, 2013

It has only been a week between poems, and this is my poem featured on page 162 of the We'Moon Datebook, 2016.  I was inspired by lichen growing on dead trees, and seeing how in nature we witness regeneration constantly.  There is death, but it is a renewal, just one small part of the never-ending life cycle.  I liked putting in the sharp bite of a reminder that we, too, are part of the cycle.


Usnea Strigosa
 























Friday, October 28, 2016

The Way



We'Moon Datebook 2016 with art and poetry by women

The way the young apprentices, full of hope,
count seeds at Vandana Shiva’s farm.
The way the thin, nervous girl, damaged by war,
throws back her head and sings.
The way Wangari Maathai taught us
to plant trees in tin cans,
making Kenya green again.
The way the women of Sahara Peace Choir come to sing,
envisioning a green city park under the tar.
The way Lisa Shannon laughs in the face of violence,
running for her sisters in Somalia and the Congo.
The way two round women rise to dance,
their hands gesturing aloft,
constructing a future of wonder before our eyes.
The way a shimmering ray of sunshine
cuts through the fog and lands at our feet.
We meet in Love, in Honoring, and in Passion!
We create a new world,
as the old world breaks down all around us,
and we just let it.
This is the way.




Annelinde Metzner

July 9, 2014

Right now, for the week of October 24th, 2016, my poem, "The Way," is featured in the We'Moon Datebook.  I am so happy and proud to have three poems included in this wonderful anthology of works by women.  
     In this poem, I have a world view encompassing strong women from all over the globe such as Wangari Maathai (deceased now) of Kenya and Vandana Shiva of India.  Their brilliant and tireless work for women and the planet is shaping the future for all of us.  
     And, the small daily acts of women you know, nearby, in your own neighborhood.  Thus I include Sahara Peace Choir of Asheville, which I direct.  This photo is from a singing demonstration at our basilica, to help lobby for more green space instead of a parking lot!



Vandana Shiva developing and protecting heirloom seeds


Wangari Maathai (1940-2011) organizing reforesting in Kenya


Sahara Peace Choir singing for green space in Asheville









Saturday, October 15, 2016

Autumn Fullness




Gathering Catskill apples


Such abundant richness!
Apples ripening, apples of Avalon,
every grain at its fullest,
amaranth, oats and wheat.
Milkweed pods, ready for Monarchs,
about to burst open and float away.
Goldenrod flowers bend on their stalks.
Blackberries, raspberries for the bear’s delight.
There is no coolness yet, no frost,
but still, we are storing away,
all living beings, storing away,
aware at some level of the icy cold to come.
Autumn! Why have I not seen your fullness,
your round abundance, your gifts?
Seed after seed on the underside of ferns.
Burrs clinging to our clothes.
Dragonflies dip and soar across the field,
bees and hummingbirds gorging.
Oh, round fullness of Autumn!
My mouth opens:  feed me.


Annelinde Metzner
September 1, 2015





















Sunday, September 25, 2016

What the Mountain Says










Some days I can tell what the mountain is saying.
Light plays against each leaf, so close
I could hold the mountain here in my hand.
Cloud shadows pass over, giving homage.
The tall mountain ash quivers in the wind,
a girl new to womanhood,
shining light back at the mountain.
The pokeberry spreads gloriously
at the base of the mountain,
mirroring its shape like a cool lake.
The cat and kitten tumble and scurry,
joyous to live by the mountain.
The locust tree holds her long arms perfectly still,
to frame the mountain in beauty.
I feel the mountain only in my heart.
The mind can hear but not know.
The mountain's heart speaks to my heart,
but her meaning is deeper, from the womb.
Perhaps I bleed some of the mountain into the ground.
Perhaps she pulls me into her, 
making me die, making me be born.

Annelinde Metzner 
July 1995












Monday, September 12, 2016

Love for the world





Balinese dancer


I watch the dancer, one arm framing her face,
one hip drawing upward in the belly’s rhythm.
The dance of mature women, Raqs Sharqi,
born of the sensuous music of the Middle East.
Her hips pull us into infinity,
an inward-outward shout of beauty and desire.

In Cameroon, babies learn music
while strapped to Mama’s back.
Coming of age, boys leap high,
beaming with the village’s newfound respect.

In Bali, the gamelan orchestra cues the dancer
with clangs and thumps,
the bodies telling stories of monsters and gods,
each movement of eyes, and fingers, and feet
a perfectly timed posture of sacred geometry.

Oh humans, oh, humans, can’t you love all this?
Can’t you love the way we’ve created the world,
each culture born of each unique place,
and each of us expressing in our own way?
Doesn’t this beauty tear at your heart,
that everywhere we draw up our Earth’s strength
through our feet, through our hands,
and we thank Her with leaps and turns,
ecstatic to be stretching our bounds?

Oh people of our Earth, can’t you love all this?
The exquisite mudras of Bharat Natyam,
nuances of the courtship of Radha and Krishna, her love?
The kibbutz youth, leaping to dumbek and flute,
‘til joy bursts like fireworks from the chest?

Oh humans, oh infinite diversity,
aren’t you breathtaken, aren’t you amazed?
don’t you treasure each other, for the vastness
of what, together, we are?

Annelinde Metzner

August 23, 2014
Black Mountain





Boys practice drumming in Cameroon



Dancers on an Israeli kibbutz




Raqs Farqi, belly dancer





Bharat Natyam dancer of India playing Krishna's flute










Friday, September 2, 2016

I Am With You








No one can talk me out of the hurt he caused me.
                                                 -The Stanford Rape Victim


Brava, brave one, hurt one, raped one.
Voice this loudly, with all the power you can summon!
Brava, brave young woman of Palo Alto,
“Stanford Rape Victim” the only name we know.
But you speak, you voice this loudly!
Your deposition twelve pages, single-spaced,
letting us know, letting the world know,
letting the court know
what he did to you, what they all did to you.

“You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me,
      and that’s why we’re here today.”

 
Raped behind a dumpster after a party, unconscious,
pine needles and dirt rubbed into your body.
Painstakingly you described the ordeal.


At the hospital- 

       “a Nikon pointed right into my spread legs...”
the immediate aftermath-  

        “I didn’t talk, I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep...”
the aftereffects-  

       “I didn’t want my body anymore.  I was terrified of it.”
the news media-  

        “By the way, he’s really good at swimming.”
 
Brava, brave one, voicing this for us all!
Your profound work, your deposition
is out on the table for us all,
for young men and for young women,
now at last out in the open, the vividness of your truth.

After a physical assault, I was assaulted with questions
      designed to attack me, to say, 

            “see, her facts don’t line up.”
 
You gave this back to the world, saying “chew on this!”
and we have. We hear you!
The world will never be the same,
never again to doubt your truth and your pain.
The world has changed.  There is no turning back.

I can’t sleep alone at night without a light on.
  I have nightmares of being touched when I cannot wake up.

 
Brava, strong one, give it voice! 
Spare the world nothing of your truth!

And finally, to girls everywhere, I am with you.
      On nights when you feel alone, I am with you.

 
I bow in thanks, a thousand thanks, to you, victim-no-more.
For the sake of girls, the next ones and the next,
you gave of your all, you gave us your truth,
the screaming depths of your pain.
Brava!




(All quotes in italics are taken from the deposition of the Stanford Rape Victim,  reported in Buzzfeed, June 3, 2016 by Katie Baker.)


Annelinde Metzner

July 2016




Here Is The Powerful Letter The Stanford Victim Read Aloud To Her Attacker  (click here)

A former Stanford swimmer who sexually assaulted an unconscious woman was sentenced to six months in jail because a longer sentence would have “a severe impact on him,” according to a judge. At his sentencing Thursday, his victim read him a letter describing the “severe impact” the assault had on her.



On Thursday, Turner’s victim addressed him directly, detailing the severe impact his actions had on her — from the night she learned she had been assaulted by a stranger while unconscious, to the grueling trial during which Turner’s attorneys argued that she had eagerly consented.
The woman, now 23, told BuzzFeed News she was disappointed with the “gentle” sentence and angry that Turner still denied sexually assaulting her.
“Even if the sentence is light, hopefully this will wake people up,” she said. “I want the judge to know that he ignited a tiny fire. If anything, this is a reason for all of us to speak even louder.”

Friday, August 26, 2016

She's Still There




Grandmother in the blooming rhododendrons


Poison ivy blisters our legs,
bugs get in our eyes, under our tongues,
it rains on our best notebooks,
it’s too hot-
and all the while,
even as we scratch and slap and spit,
Grandmother lies face up in the sky sun,
arms spread in the daisies
and the blood-red myrtles,
nose in the clouds,
inhaling and exhaling our lives,
breathing our lives throughout the millennia,
infusing stone with the spark of stars,
singing mystery into the hollow spaces
where the thousand things
daily vanish.

Annelinde Metzner
July 1, 1994




Recently at a retreat at Wildacres, I reviewed my many years of poetry composition and came across this one, one of my first "love songs" for Grandmother Mountain, known popularly as Grandfather, whom I experience as an ancient, wise, feminine presence, grounding and offering energy to the Earth with Her arms outspread.




Grandmother's View of the world



Daisies



Wreathe of abundance at St. Mary of the Hills


Grandmother in Her glory from the Blue Ridge Parkway










Friday, August 19, 2016

Voices of Gaia III











Gray Wolf

I have a silver-furred clan.
Grandmas and nephews
and cousins twice removed.
We keep each other in line
and we survive
here in the cold reaches of Canada
down to Minnesota.
We raise pups and talk,
howl and roam,
and when I twitch my eyebrow
at what I hear you say,
why, my heart is reverberating
in a wild dance with your soul.


Annelinde Metzner
June 1992 "Voices of Gaia"
















Key Deer   
                                                       
I am a solitary being
even among my own kind.
I step with caution from the mangroves
and the hardwood hammocks,
expecting the open meadow,
finding instead the fast machines on asphalt
who run us down so heedlessly.
I step carefully and alone
through silver palms and mulberry
observing without comment
the passage of time.


Annelinde Metzner
June 1992 "Voices of Gaia"














 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Sunrise in the forest



Water from the East



Sunrise in the forest- water from the East.
More and more beauty breaks into my awareness!
Sunrays slant through, yellow-green in the mist.
Moisture drips from the high branches, drop drop drop.
A boulder’s hollow space makes bass sounds in the creek.
Five trees on the island listen to this cacophony all year long!
Overhead, Perseid meteors zip zip zip.
I take a seat at the theatre of my imagination.


Annelinde Metzner
Mountain Light Sanctuary





View from my cabin






















Thursday, August 4, 2016

Voices of Gaia II





Prairie smoke


Prairie Smoke      

Flower of the grasslands
unfurling pink plumes
in dry, inch-thin soil.
Geum triflorum.
The wind blows gently through my sweet feathers.
Shamaness, mistress of illusion, shape shifter.
I grow in soil but cast a spell of mist,
drift like smoke.
Now you see me, now you don’t.
I’m never where you expect me to be.
I may grow into your consciousness when you least expect it,
misty flower of the grasslands.


Annelinde Metzner
"Voices of Gaia"  1992




Field of prairie smoke






Karner Blue butterfly

Butterfly   
                                                                 
On the Midwest prairie
the bright-spotted Regal Fritillary
dines on a banquet of violets.
Wild lupines feed the Karner Blue
next to a runway at the Saratoga Airport.
Bay Area elfins will lay eggs
only when the sun is bright and the air calm,
succulent sedum nearby.
Yes, we are regal, the Butterfly Queens.
We richly deserve your admiration.
We are finicky and difficult.
We require a wild garden paradise.
You may keep your dull sameness
and live without us.


Annelinde Metzner
"Voices of Gaia"  1992






Regal Fritillary

Here are two more from my collection of poems in the voices of endangered species, called "Voice of Gaia" of 1992.















Sunday, July 31, 2016

Voices of Gaia





Wood Thrush

Wood Thrush

I weigh the same as three pennies
and I navigate by the stars
in my nighttime migration
from Cape May to Mexico.
I need six million square miles to breed
and to winter.
I need DC and Baltimore to be my deep forest
that I might call to your heart
from where I perch beyond your sight
as you venture out to the edge of the dark.
Listen to my soul’s call,  and love me,
that I may be near you when your hungry heart
yearns to drink in my song.




Florida Panther

Florida Panther

I won’t show you my face.
Dawn and dusk, cool nights,
I slip out and observe my succulent prey,
and I may be watching you!
I stretch out cool under saw palmetto
letting Florida sun bake and buzz and bleach,
but I move like lightening when evening falls,
and in the peripheral shadows of your dreams
I’m stalking you, too. 





Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale

Through acres of ocean space
I chant and sing and rage,
call and declare.
I remember my songs over months and years.
I remember and change and improvise
and evolve my songs
like Miles Davis in the night.
I am the archivist of the ocean,
and, man, I comment on you.
I’m sure you don’t know this,
but decades from now we will sing your tale.
Where I can’t breathe my ocean,
where my babies die,
I record it all and remember what you do.




Redwood tree

Redwood

We are older than you could ever imagine.
Sequoias, tallest living beings in the world,
wide and massive as a house.
One thousand insect species reside in our branches,
accustomed to the altitude
and evolving on their own.
I’ve watched the world move and change
for over two thousand years,
seen glories and follies at human hands,
seen birth and death and growth and decay,
and you want to drive your damn car
through my trunk!


Annelinde Metzner
July, 1992 from "Voices of Gaia"


Reviewing my poetry of the past thirty years, I came across a collection from 1992 called "Voices of Gaia," in which I speak in the voices of a dozen endangered species from the plant and animal world.  While I was directing the choral group Womansong, we enlisted our friends and families to help present a powerful performance beginning with these poems, and adding dance, improvised music and spoken word.
      I will post more of these poems over the next few weeks.