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.

(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


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

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


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.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Thank you, Hillary

Hillary Clinton from CNN

A deep relaxation, an exhalation, a gratefulness,
knowing you have been there to represent us,
you, a woman, the mother of a woman,
the daughter of a woman, one of us.
Hillary, you inspire us, with your bravery, your clarity,
your firmness, your discernment on the world’s stage.
High up in the echelons, you represent us.  Thank you.
Traveling, traveling, in ease and in strain,
you spoke of Malala and Inez, all our brave women,
at one with our great community, this world.
Hillary, without fear, you went feet first
to the most dangerous places in the world.
Yes, we share your pain, our pain,
we born with a womb, our badge of courage,
our births that say the way will be rough,
the climb uphill all our lives.
We born with a womb, and from a womb,
our daughters, our mothers and ourselves,
know from birth that we must be strong,
we must know our minds and love our bodies,
we must speak for ourselves when our Hillaries are gone,
remembering her and teaching ourselves,
going on, for their sake, for Malala and Wangari,
for all the women who show the way,
to live strong and free, to move as we choose,
to be what we are, to be.

Annelinde Metzner
December 7, 2012

I wrote this poem of deep thanks to Hillary Clinton in December of 2012, after listening to her speech on Human Rights at Dublin City University in Ireland which you can listen to here.

Hillary Clinton from ABC

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Farm Kitchen

The farm kitchen in 1992

Cups and cups hang from hooks,
plates of every color and design in the cupboard,
enough for a field full of neighbors some hungry noon.
Rafters and ceiling a greasy black
even now that the big wood stove is gone,
flavored of pancakes and kuchen,
Sunday chickens and potato soup.
A ladle and a dishpan over the sink
where the cold, clear water gleams to the taste.
On the table, flour, salt and sugar flow,
foods that keep and stretch
and fill the belly to last all day.
Mice scurry across the floor
and hop up on the big table
to gawk at the evening game-players,
forgetting themselves momentarily
and then startling to the squeals.
Foot baths on the step, warm and sensual,
makes you feel clean all over!
In the morning, the aroma of coffee,
and a child’s dreamy inheritance
of the never-empty pot,
abundant evermore.

Annelinde Metzner

Catskill Farm
July 13, 1992

  The old farmhouse, circa 1860, in the Catskills is just about gone now due to age and recent vandalism.  But the memories and mysteries I learned there from the deeply shared culture of our immigrant family will remain with me forever.  I give thanks for all I carry with me from this place. As with immigrants in all times and places, we knew that we must love and take care of each other in order to survive.

Farm upstairs bedroom with Mom's old vanity

Detail of barn construction

Farm house wave

Brother and sister, Martha and my dad Rudolph

Enjoying a beer on the front lawn

Friday, July 8, 2016

In Love with the Rooted Earth

Small rainbow, Black Mountain

When people see rain, 
it’s “get the umbrella,”
“cancel the game,”  “close the window,”
“my new hairdo!”
When rain comes to the wild grasses
they lay back like expectant lovers,
Gopis awaiting Krishna,
and it’s just the sky changing.
Just the gray massed clouds 

becoming dragons and mermaids,
fragrant with the next field over,
jolly with surfeit of love.
And the Gopi grass hears one, two,
three splats on the head of the drum,
and then party!  It’s Krishna, gaining momentum,
entering like the mayor in the small-town parade,
rolling in rain like the ship had come in,
drunk,  timeless,  out-of-grass-body
and in love with the rooted Earth.

Annelinde Metzner

July 9, 1992

Marsh rain

Blue Ridge Mountain rain

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Looking Glass Mountain in the rain

‘Way down in the valley below,
     the rush of Little Pine Creek
     is full of mystery, portent.
She is warning us, analyzing what we do,
     a wise woman full of the lessons of history,
     if we will only listen.

Nearby in the tree tops,
     the rain is a sheet of sound, pointillistic,
     as each leaf receives a drop.
In the woods in the rain, I am rewarded,
     gratified, satisfied,
     hearing Mother’s great bountiful “enough for all.”

Here on the screened-in porch in the rain,
     the taps on the tin roof go deep,
     settling into my soul.
The soft gentle beats are the Goddess’ finger patterns
     moving down my spine, reminding me
     of the heart-stirring journey that began all this.

The black crow glides across the white sky,
     crying, “raining, it’s raining.”

Annelinde Metzner
May 29,2016
Little Pine

Catskills rain

Betsy's Little Pine cabin


Friday, June 24, 2016

The Platter of Dates

Moulid An-Nabi, dates

The Platter of Dates                               

This is the Holy Month of Ramadan,
a time to dwell on Scripture, and to pray.
Heaven is wide open.
A time to fast all day ‘til the sun goes down.
I remember, touring Morocco,
our gala nights of dancing and singing,
the Sufi Issawa.
Praising God all night long.
The repetition of the chants, call and response,
the hypnotizing movements of the body,
the long, slow, beckoning solo,
pulling us into each song.
As we danced and sang, young people
roamed the floor with platters of dates,
assuring we would not faint in ecstasy.
Today on the radio, a Muslim woman
remembers her father’s store in New York,
owned by Muslims, staffed by Jews and Hispanics.
At dusk, everyone broke the fast together!
She carried a platter of dates,
to break the fast with all who would partake.
This is the world of possibility.
This is the soft bed of my dreams.
The platter of dates at dusk,
the smiles and thank you’s all around,
the long sacred days devoted to God,
the oneness of our holiness, all one, everyone.
The touch of a soft scarf against my neck.
The generous hand of a young woman,
her platter of dates.

Annelinde Metzner
June 19, 2016

On a trip to the Fez Festival of Sacred Music which I made in 2002, we were honored guests at a Sufi Issawa, a religious gathering in private homes, usually lasting all night, featuring (loud!) music, singing and dancing in honor of Allah.  It was mesmerizing and unforgettable.
     I was extremely touched by the memories of a Muslim woman of her childhood in New York, sharing a platter of dates to break the fasts of Ramadan.
    May we all remember our Oneness!

Sunday, June 5, 2016


Flame azalea

Angry men carry guns
and everywhere they shoot.
Enraged, they shoot,
carrying away women, children,
everyday innocent people.
Far from feeling remorse,
they shout all the more,
proud, swollen with hate.
“We should all carry guns,” they cry,
meaning them, or men like them,
as if this world had somehow slighted
the muscular, the Caucasian, the loud.

If you are not afraid, you are somehow tired,
hearing of these senseless acts
day after day after day.
Like the bully on the block,
they take all the attention,
voracious for your gaze.

Thousands of years, we have found ways to live
integrated into Earth life, warm, colorful,
artistic, joyfilled, unique to each place.
Each corner of this perfect globe
has its arts, its languages,
its people ingrained in the life of that place,
seeds sprouting in native soil.
Yes, we were born for this!
A daily life of magic, of ingenuity,
creativity, days spent unearthing
the gifts of our soul’s being.

Now I hear, “protect yourself,
shield yourself, be on your guard,”
caveats that seem to make sense
for these crazy times,
a natural response
to the ugly, the unwarranted,
the cruel, the violent, the unjust.

But here I sit beside the still waters,
pen in hand,
life still churning within me,
joy bubbling up from nowhere,
and I am on notice:
“I am coming,” the Goddess cries,
“and you will see...
Soon I will bring the spring flowers to bloom,
the migrating birds to return to your window.
When did men, beautiful men,
turn themselves into weapons?
Why do they worship the gun, and forget Me?
Regenerate! is My call,
all you who are heavy laden.
Rebirth is My watchword, all we ever are.
Look to the East with Me,
the bright burst of sun in the sky,
and call out to Me with your urgent voice,
your ancient joy and pleasure,
with all the pure love you can wield.
Then human flesh will soften again
and guns will speak for us no more.”

Annelinde Metzner
January 30. 2016

 On June 2, 2016, the country and the world observed its first "National Gun Violence Awareness Day."   The watchword was "Wear Orange."  I am letting the beautiful native Flame Azalea wear the orange for this post.