Friday, August 18, 2017

Be strong, Mama

Sacred mound

The little hemlock where I left your ashes
     is so new this May!
The wee green nubs have appeared on each branch,
     the ones Elsie loved in her bath.
The tree made of you and me!
In this holy place,
     right by the Sacred Mound,
     the oaken guard, so tall,
     is just beginning to leaf out,
     for here in the High Country, it is Spring.
Around our two trees, I cast small stones,
     offerings for the Mother we so adore.
Onyx, tourmaline, and last, turquoise,
     to nourish our roots with love.
It is busy here, this Memorial Day,
     people passing by,
     as you would have enjoyed.
At my feet, not strawberries ripe and red,
     but the newest blossoms, close to the ground,
     never giving up.
Ahead of me in the field, boneset,
     blessing me in the wind,
     calls, “be strong, Mama, be strong.”

Annelinde Metzner
May 27, 2017

       This poem was written at the place where I left my son's ashes, a day after his birthday this year.

My son Peter

Portrait of Peter by Arline Boyce

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Magic Pouch

Meinrad Craighead, "Enclosed Garden"

I have released my magic pouch.
Fathom this- the miracle sac nestled in my abdomen
where spirits come to Earth and find their destiny.
This wondrous space that grows exponentially
to accommodate a new human being!
I have released my uterus!
Here I am to honor you, oh alchemical gift,
carrier of the species, deliverer of DNA.
Oh place of pure regeneration!
Miracle tubes where fertilization occurs;
Ovaries, hatchery of the round perfection of femaleness,
oak-split egg basket where my mother and grandmother
held me tenderly too;
cervix, precious tunnel that, entranced,
widens a thousand times for human birth.
Oh wine-sac, imbued with love,
Oh world gift, numinous as the stars,
womb of all creation,
meeting place of divine spirit and blessed flesh,
welcome center for all our souls.
With this release I honor you, magic sac,
locus of intense and sexual feeling,
dark cave I have loved and honored all these years.
Woman’s divine chamber
which we must guard from violation,
our own and our sisters’,
which we pray for and protect
throughout our lives.
Sanctuary and cauldron of mind, spirit and flesh.
In letting you go, I hold you up,
I see you now for what you are.
I prostrate myself before you.
Oh womb who has made of me a shaman,
as all women are!
I have offered my body for the incarnation of souls.
If women deem it right and good
for all of us and for ourselves,
we will usher in a life.
Oh magic sac that made me
a conduit of the divine,
I hold you now in my open palm,
acknowledging your perfection,
astonished as, like a butterfly just emerged from its cocoon,
I open my hand and let you go free.

Annelinde Metzner

October 26, 2015

     I'm reposting my poem "The Magic Pouch" which I wrote two years ago for my uterus.  I had just undergone a hysterectomy and I wanted to honor this miraculous organ which is central to and emblematic of womanhood.  The poem is now part of the We'Moon Datebook for 2018, full of women's writings and art. It's on page 99!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Magdala, Tower

Mary Magdalene by Brother Robert Lentz

Magdala, Tower, Queen of my days,

You are not Spirit, not Ether, not Will ‘o the Wisp.

but flesh and blood, a woman like me,

and my teacher.

I see You in burgundy-red, the Blood-Root flower,

the Wake Robin, deep red trillium of the mountains,

the royally curled and woody flower of the Spicebush.

You are so real.

And when You walk on Earth,

the steps of Your beautiful feet are firm.

Priestess, daughter of Isis,

Well-trained in lore and wise,

how I crave the touch of Your oil upon my face.

MM is here!  Mary Magdalene,

here for Her own millennium,

and the voice You bring has no shame in who You are,

who we all are, Woman, strong, deep,

burgundy-red and sexual.

You walk in the power of the Sacred Night,

here to walk wherever You must,

through Love, through Transformation,

unto Union with the Divine.

With Your powerful arms

and Your dark-red hair glinting like amber,

You guide us all through these darkest of days.

Mary Magdalene, You stand grounded

even as we hang in torment,

with Your strong and womanly Priestess arms

ready to carry us through.

Annelinde Metzner
April 17, 2012 

I'm reposting this poem in honor of Mary Magdalene on Her feast day, July 22, 2017.

Mary Magdalene by El Greco

Mary Magdalene by Carlo Dolci

Medieval Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene by Carravaggio

Mary and Jesus stained glass in Scotland

Sunday, July 16, 2017

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

      I found this poem from 6 years ago to commemorate the passing this week of Lula Moon, the swimmer in the above photo, who swam across the wide river and back in honor of our celebration.

       For the eighth year this year, my choir, Sahara Peace Choir, along with the Wild Bodema Drummers, will celebrate Oshun and all rivers in a concert, "BLESSINGS ON THE RIVER," on Saturday August 19th, 1 to 4 PM, at the Friends Meeting House, 137 Center Avenue in Black Mountain.   This will be a benefit for Bounty and Soul, distributing free healthy food and health and cooking classes to people in the Swannanoa Valley.  
      We will cast popcorn on the Swannanoa River, carrying our wishes of health to the fresh waters of the world. 

For more information on the Ifa religion, follow this link to "Soul Seeds" by Rev. Anthony David, a UU minister in Atlanta, Georgia:  Soul Seeds

Yeye Osunyemi and others in prayer by the river

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 


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Full Moon on Saint Helena's Island

Branches of the live oak

Utterly silent in the night,
     the long, twisted arm of the live oak
     reaches almost to my window.
I know that, in the day,
     a red-bird builds her nest there
     from bits of Spanish moss,
     chirping at each new piece
     she reclaims from the tangles.
But deep in the night, nothing stirs.
We are far, far from the world.
The sun has set over all the West,
     red and glowing,
     the West with its petty arguments,
     its power plays, its pissy lies,
the West of the patriarchy,
     dying pitifully like the sun.
The West is a vast, big ol’ mistake
     that’s sputtered out like a candle flame.
Silent. Silent.
The big ol’ moon moves imperceptibly.
The tree branches cast fantastic shapes
     across the ground, yellow and grey.
An owl hoots three times.  That’s all.
I gaze out the window,
     listening for the sea.

Annelinde Metzner

April 7, 2017

Marsh on Hunting Island

Grandmother tree at Ifetayo's house

Egret rookery

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Four Deer

Bells at Hawkscry

Napping in the sun at Hawkscry,
    one of those scrumptious naps, turned on my side,
    hip pressed against the Earth,
    once in a while opening one eye
    to the wonder before me in the sun,
    -dogwood, poplar, oak, all new, all Spring!
I fall back into a timeless snooze.
At once I become aware of a rustling behind me,
    a busy-ness.  Someone is passing here!
Slowly I turn myself over, and behind the shed,
    easy, careful, stately,
    four deer step, wide-eyed, unafraid of me.
I turn, eyes wide too, to soak in this wonder.
Four deer!  in the woods, where none had been.
Three step along slowly, regarding me gently,
    and I them, as they move slowly up the mountain.
One of them, suddenly strange, leaps up and gallops ahead,
    snorting, loud, a warning:
    “She is human. Beware!  They can hurt!  They can hurt!”
And, despite all the noise, the frantic ruckus, the fleeing one,
    the three does stay, regarding me, at peace, sisters.
Just me here, lover of Gaia, full of awe.
Heedless of the panicked one, they step, graceful,
dancing with me, with our eyes,
a Sabbath of respect.

Annelinde Metzner

June 2012

My writing cabin

Hawkscry apples

Hawkscry sky

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Daddy in the garden

Daddy and me in our Elmhurst backyard

The tiny garden plot, beyond the clothes lines,
‘way in the back behind our brick row house,
growing up in Queens;
that warm smile he kept just simmering,
his delight in the rows of multicolored lettuce;
the long wait for tomato’s fruiting,
pinching and shaping the plants along the way;
I was drawn to my Daddy like a magnet
and the soft earth between his hands,
both of us getting that zing of delight
as he showed me how to drop seeds in the ground 

one by one,
and cover them up with my little fingers.
We might find a fat worm!
I’d watch it expand and contract along my palm,
the worm striving for release,
me caught up in wonder.
On chubby toddler legs, I’d stand mesmerized
by the tightly-closed buds of peonies,
watching the ants, symbiotic,
traversing the globes ‘round and ‘round,
held in that open and welcoming space
of Daddy’s warm-hearted smile.

Annelinde Metzner
June 17, 2017

Admiring the beautiful vegetables in the Black Mountain Community Garden, I could suddenly hear my father's exclamations of delight, the brilliant colors, the flowers. I had to honor this aspect of our relationship for Father's Day, a mutual adoration of the Earth.

Black Mountain Community Garden veggies


My son Peter with carrots!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Homage to Water

Rattler Ford

Water will flow to you, lucky blessed Human
      straight down the mountain, clear, crisp,
      almost white with coldness on a July day.
      You can drink this!
Water will flow for you, fortunate one,
      over rocks worn beautiful with the
      eternal wearing-away,
      the rush and gurgle, the pounding of water
      unending, abundant, all-powerful.
      You can bathe in this!
Water will run through your arteries and veins,
      dear blessed one,
      making all your body sacred, connected,
      healed in itself, and in each other.
      You live because of this!
Here we are, Human, on our blue-green Water Planet,
      spinning through the galaxy, evolving over eons,
      because of Water, Water!
Touch Her to your forehead, your most sacred places,
      blessed one.
Greed must not come near Her!
Never attempt to control Her!
In every blade, in every vein,
 in every rock and stone, we share Her.
Do homage to our most beautiful, singing Mother,

Annelinde Metzner
July 31, 2011

Price Lake

The Atlantic

Mountain Light Sanctuary

Delaware River, New York

Friday, May 26, 2017


Photo by Ruth Rosauer

I can’t translate this!  I can’t write it!
It’s spring, my eyes dilate with an ongoing delight,
no end, no end!  Ah me!
Still in April bare grey trees remind me that this is no dream,
this everyday, this every new day-
The cherry blossoms, first to bloom,
then scattering in breeze, reminding of snow,
and now today, lush and greener by the hour,
intent on producing sweet red fruit.
Every day, every day, no end!
The hummer’s return, a long, long drink,
fitting for one returned from Guatemala!
Welcome, wee warrioress!  Battle on!
And then, ecoutez!  Welcome the wood thrush,
her deep multilayered melody guiding me back.
Welcome thrush!  Welcome me!
I can’t translate this, I can’t write it.
My eyes dilate, hummers buzz, 

and the chickadee not two feet from me,
cocking and cocking the wee head, 

seeming to want my finger for a perch.
A bluebird, shy as Spring’s first new,
and cardinals, and goldfinch!  A riot of color!
I can’t translate this, I can’t write it!
Along the banks of the river, red bud, 

misnamed in her purple gown,
paints filagrees in the forest canopy, 

here there and everywhere,
suspended in a perfect ballet, sucking my breath away.
The new dogwood, still clinging to green,
not yet ready for the full openness of total white.
I can’t translate, I can’t write.
Pale yellows and greens creep tenderly up the mountain,

a turkey buzzard gliding on the thermal winds.
A great peace relaxes me all along my spine,
up to my tippy-top. 

My eyes dilate, for the everyday of this,
it won’t go away, tomorrow and tomorrow, 

hooray and hooray,
here’s my world come back again, 

this day, this day, this very day.
Annelinde Metzner
April 21, 2005

    I had a wonderful surprise yesterday- in the mail were my brand new copies of "These Trees," a book of photographs by the talented Ruth Rosauer, which includes the above poem and photo, on page 73!
    There are twenty poets represented in the book, and many pages of Ruth's gorgeous photos and commentary, plus identifications of the trees.
     Copies of the book are available at Ruth's website,

Thursday, May 25, 2017

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

Friday, May 19, 2017

For my Grandmothers

Grossmutter and my uncle Alfred

Grossmutter Comes Flying                                                       

A wind that could tear off shingles

whips over the ridge all night,

leaving a sky clean and blue as an Alpine lake.

The last few leaves cling low to the maple trees,

the newly bare tree tops scraping the sky.

The sound of an ax chopping wood comes up the hollow.

My uncle’s spirit is chopping wood, a chore that’s never done.

The ancient and everyday repetitions of labor-

splitting firewood, canning fruit, 
patching clothes, knitting hats-

the ancestors nudge us, saying “listen to the wind!”,

reminding us to keep moving, prepare for winter.

No tender admonitions here!

Grossmutter comes flying over the trees in a vision,

braving vast expanses of the sea,

four children, one just a baby, wrapped in her skirts,

my father pushing out from her embrace

to gaze beyond the ship’s deck to the New World.

“Fly!”, she says to me. “What holds you back?

None of us know what that first step will bring.

It is your Grossmutter in the spirit world

and I tell you-

the world changes shape with every step you take.

Just go!”

A russet maple leaf

lets go, and spins out of sight.

Nana appears.

She has thrown off her rose-colored apron 
and put down her wooden spoon.

She is twenty-five, pin curled and all brand new, 
eyes opened wide.

“Granddaughter, yes, go!  With each step, 
the world rearranges itself before you,

a Rubik’s Cube, a house of mirrors.

Take that step!  As we live and breathe,

other souls live and breathe too,

and arrange their lives to respond to you.

Step into the dance! The music you call,

and the next, and the next under your gaze will fall.”

At this she spit-polishes her new red shoes,

steps on board the trolley car,

smiles wide at the driver,

and spins off into the skies.

Annelinde Metzner 
October 28, 2009     

     This week was the birthdays of both my grandmothers, Louise and Sophie, May 15 and 16.  I've meditated on what they were like in their youths, and both gave me advice.  A strong immigrant family, depending on our love for each other to tough it out together, and their advice is, "keep going!"

Nana, my Mom, and brother Richard
At Sophie’s Grave                                            

At your grave, Sophie Katerina,
my bare feet planted in the grass
where your small body lay turning,
wild thyme purple, pungent at stone’s edge-
I run my finger inside the “T” of our name.
Rough, mottled, unpolished marble,
pocked and weather-worn, hiding nothing,
I too stand like the stone,
feet planted, hands open,
nothing to hide, absolutely nothing.
These ancestors have seen it all-
my subtleties of behavior, my quirks like their own,
my choices, my desires, my impulses known and unknown.
”Go on”, I hear her say, 
”Go on, all I’ve done is to stand behind you,
singing girl, speaking girl,
we’ve come this far, now go on.”
I stand silent as if all had been said,
as if I were ready for the next thing,
as if my head rested on her knees,
her tender rough hands in my hair.

Annelinde Metzner      
July 1994 

Myself in the old farm kitchen

The Farm Kitchen

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

Mom and myself around 1958