Sunday, August 2, 2020

Mid July

That orange-yellow light,
baking through the outrageously overgrown 

plethora of green,
laughing, ecstatic with the miracle of photosynthesis.
It's mid-July, such an overabundance,
such an all-out fling, a gala of green.
I know it's not long until we fold in again towards Autumn.
But I will stay here!  I will be here, now,
here and now,
where delicate pink lilies bask on the water,
dragonflies zoom with great abandon,
sycamore tosses me her peeling bark,
frogs grunt and croak in the cattails,
singing with all their might,
where berries ripen oh-so-slowly.
A leaf drops, and the water responds,
ring upon ring upon ring.
I am happy in the heat and the mid-July sun,
listening to the tumbling creek,
not needing to be anywhere but here.

Annelinde Metzner
Nels' Pond
July 17, 2020

Monday, July 20, 2020

The Rainbow Kites

Photo by Mike Wheeler

Evening at the beach,
six of us sing with delight, 

pouring ourselves into the lapping waves,
Aphrodite’s lacy foam blessing us.
Two turn back home, remembering, 

because today, just this day,
this windy June evening full of light,
is the perfect day for kites.
Two bright rainbow kites, one short, one long,
unfurl into the sky as if born there.
Higher and higher, released and released
by loving hands on the strings,
the brilliant tails whip and flutter,
exulting in freedom, 

at home in Oya’s winds.
We loll in the warm waters,
washed inland and out 

in the undertow’s slow rhythm,
leaning on one elbow, head tilted to the sky,
as the evening sun and the two kites
vie for our attention.
I remember my son, 

whose kite this once was,
and there he is, 

visiting these beloved women,
laughing, untethered by string.
For that moment, we connect, 

the kite and the spirit,
the wind and the women lolling in the surf.
The rainbow kite snaps its tail 

and shouts with joy
for this windy day,
as families pass by, hand in hand,

the sun setting slowly in the surf.

Annelinde Metzner
Folly Beach
June 9, 2014

The Beach Babes

Rainbow kite

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Love in the Time of Rhododendron

How does the Goddess appear to us
     this July, lush and rich,
     a woman in Her prime?
The rhododendron blooms are everywhere,
     laughing in their largesse,
     delicate and powerful,
     tiny and huge.
The Goddess is everywhere,
     but in the blooms of the Rhododendron,
     She is vastly Herself,
     each bloom exquisite,
     more and more of them.
More than you think possible!
High and low in the forest canopy,
     down close enough to touch-
She is here!
She is with you.

Annelinde Metzner
July 2, 2020

Friday, July 3, 2020

Tree Mother of Africa

Planting trees with the Green Belt Movement

“I’m a child of the soil,” says Wangari.

“I don’t think you need a diploma to plant a tree.”

The women learn.  They plant trees.

Teaching one another, nurturing the seedlings,

brown arms reach deep into the brown earth,

anchoring the eroding hillsides with tiny saplings.

Thirty million planted!

On the faces of rural women in Kenya, there is hope.

“I have a new dress, and I can eat!”,  says one.                                                 “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Each seedling is watered from hand-held tin cans. 
The new forest grows,  the soil stabilizes.

Animals begin to return.

“Deep in the roots,” says Wangari, “we are planting the seeds of peace.”

After thirty years of planting, nurturing and growing,

Wangari gets the Nobel Prize.

“I’m a child of the soil.”

And isn’t that you and me?         
Aren’t our own brown hands there, planting, waiting, mothering,

knowing all our futures are in the thin new stems, their bending and giving?

“You must empower yourself.  You must break the cycle.

You are planting hope in your life, and for your descendants.”

Wangari steps out on the Oslo balcony with her prize.

The streets erupt in ululation!

This is how we heal the Earth.

This is how we heal the Earth.

This is how we heal the Earth.

“Let’s plant trees!”

Annelinde Metzner
April 2008

Wangari Maathai

Dr. Wangari Maathai (1940-2011) was a brilliant environmentalist and activist who founded the Green Belt Movement. She was responsible for planting 52,000 trees in Kenya.  With her life's work, Dr. Maathai drew focus to the needs of the African environment as well as its women. 
       Dr. Maathai is featured for the month of July on the We'Moon Wall Calendar.
       Listen to my poem, "Tree Mother of Africa," read by Becky Stone with Sahara Peace Choir providing the ululation!

Wangari envisions the future

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Flame Azalea

Appalachian native flame azalea

Flame Azalea  

At the top of the long grade,
through the rhododendrons and flame azalea

abloom in a bower,
I arrive at Grandmother’s side, yet once more.
“Depend on me,” she has been calling, 

from many miles away.
I step nearer. Tears fall.
Not another soul appears, here where crowds have been.
I circumambulate Her, dragons in the air,
Star magnolias blooming. 

I am here, I am here with Her.

At my little campsite, not a soul.
I fill my bottles with icy water and eat my lunch.
Not a soul but a big brown beetle in the bath.

I travel on to the church of the Lady,
Our Lady of the Hills, 

and am blessed with the talk of the gardener,
the magenta blooms of rhododendron so high,
encircling the bell tower, chiming on “one.”
Inside, quiet, lights and candles, and it’s Spring!
On the kneeling pads, at the pulpit,
lily-of-the-valley, iris, rhododendron, phlox.
Our Lady’s church blooming inside and out.
She gives me Her shy glance, holding the child,
and She is saying, “from pain blooms love.”

And finally here, by my son’s bones
mockingbirds raucous with things to say twitter all around.
I leave Bridgid’s cross, an offering to the trees.
My toes revel in the sweetness of wild strawberries.
The cattle are out on the sacred mound, 

under the apple tree,
new calves scampering to be with their moms.
Sweet the sun burns the scent into my being.
The flame azalea, bent by winter’s fierce storms,
reaches out to me in all shades of opening.
“Keep growing, Annelinde!”, they call. 

“There is still more.”

Annelinde Metzner

Grandmother Mountain
May 25, 2011

Every year, I return to Grandmother Mountain, near Blowing Rock, where I remember my son.  This poem is in my chapbook, "This Most Huge Yes."

St. Mary of the Hills

No festival

Lake Eden, site of the Lake Eden Arts Festival in spring and fall

By the festival of the Nine Lakes, Lake Eden,
all is quiet.
No drummers wailing.
No grooves.
The wind blows, each night getting colder,
and all is quiet.
The grey fuzz of a gosling floats by with its mom,
the flock honking across the lake,
or at the sandy beaches.
No tents, no food trucks.
All is quiet.
Even the memories are cleared away,
Black Mountain College, the world-renowned teachers,
the egos, the intellect.
All is quiet.
History too has faded away.
O blessed reset of human life!
A chipmunk sits long on a stump,
eyeing me fearlessly.
Sunlight glistens on the lake,
no cries, no laughter.
Coming back to zero, breathing deeply,
letting it go, dropping all baggage.
Breathe.  Sigh.
Be silent but glisten like the wind on the lake.
Your breath, your being is enough for now.

Annelinde Metzner
Lake Eden
May 9, 2020

Lake Eden sky

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

April in Sandy Mush

Cabin in Sandy Mush

I save the world by loving Her.
April in Sandy Mush, the new green apple leaves,
so soft, each flutters a different way at the slightest breeze;
the butterfly, fresh out of the cocoon,
careening downhill, already a crackerjack
at navigating with her iridescent wings;
the blackberry blossoms, full of themselves,
wide open to the hungry and meticulous bees.
The air is filled with buzzing things, 
delirious with the sun’s warmth.
Even a cloud floating high seems to smile with delight.
It is true, I know, someone crouches somewhere in a room,
cut off from the world,
fervently praying that the next gunshot, the knock at the door,
does not come his way.
I know somewhere, a mother walks miles for a jug of water
diverted from her village to sluice the mines.
I know the world will end, or so they say.
But Gaia exhorts me, “Look at me!  Take notice!
For you I have perched these roses on their stems,
for you I bring the striped grasshopper  to set beside you,
and the wild turkey walks, stately, through the woods.
Are you listening yet?   For you, four wide-eyed deer
come to gaze at your body while you sleep.”
I cannot ignore her, I cannot turn away.
It is my job to love Her, and She is vast,
and long, and wide, and huge;
I save the world by loving Her, 
and in this way, She saves me.

Annelinde Metzner 
Hawkscry  April 13, 2012

Many thanks to William Stanhope for allowing me to write at Hawkscry.

Listen to Annelinde reading "I save the world by loving Her":

Sandy Mush farm in April

Dogwoods at Hawkscry

Sunday, April 19, 2020

At Nels' House

All clayworks by Nels Arnold

I visit Nels' house, more than a year
     since we said goodbye and let her go.
It's early Spring, the not-yet-green mountaintops
     peeking through the almost-bare trees,
     fiddle-head ferns just uncurling in their astonishing way,
     maple leaves so new and soft, 

     I can barely feel them to the touch.
I knew you would never be gone.
Around the house I go,
     through your beloved gardens,
     in every surprising nook and cranny
     some clay work you brought to life with love.
How you envisioned your infinity garden, a figure eight,
     made of moss, still thriving!
A mysterious woodland staircase, and a beckoning path
     up through the woods to your daughter's home.
Ages and times blend together as I climb the trail.
You are there in the old house, raising your children,
     "Look, look there!"
     finding some new art in each day.
I knew you would never be gone.
I turn a corner of your house,
     past your clay studio glowing with your energy,
     and take a deep breath.
Here is a circle of humankind,
     all of us seated, contemplating seashells,
     a circle, yes.
A circle where each is equal, everyone's thoughts matter,
     children and elders gathered 'round,
     a small circle, a magic vision of our future
     you left for us.
Each of your works so human, bending, curving,
     voluptuous, scarred, aged, brand new,
     "I want movement!," you would say.
And here you are everywhere, because someone so alive
     has an energy that lives on, that never dies.
In all the beauty of this Appalachian Spring,
     here you are, Nels, saying "Look!  Look here!'
     offering this world cupped in your potter's hands,
     as you have ever done.

Annelinde Metzner
Bishop Cove
April 17, 2020

Fiddlehead ferns

Stairs to the woods

infinity garden

Maple leaves

Nels Arnold

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Johanna's Labyrinth

Johanna's Labyrinth

Big winds the other night!
     forty miles per hour,
     and today the labyrinth's sand paths
     are gilded with branches and twigs,
     offerings of our Mother.
I begin my walk through the winding paths,
     gathering the brittle birch twigs as I find them,
     stopping every few feet to add to my armload.
Sunshine glistens on the offering-stones.
A mild Spring breeze, a zephyr,
     stirs and twists the prayer flags in the trees.

("I like yer towels," said my neighbor Flonnie,
     at my nearby home in Reems Creek,
     as she settled on my porch beneath Tibetan flags.

I step around the labyrinth, picking up twigs,
     depositing another armload on the pile.
This is familiar, this service, this quietude.
I am an old monk in a Spanish cloister,
     sweeping leaves on a day just like today.
I am a young novice, breathless with anticipation,
     planting lavender in Sappho's garden.
I am a nurse's aid in a New York hospital,
     washing out my mask for the hundredth time.
My footsteps ground me, slow me, connect me.
Dakinis appear in the clear, clean, almost cloudless sky.
My footsteps kiss the earth.
Oh, to be alive this day!
     each footstep giving thanks.

Annelinde Metzner

April 11, 2020

Twig pile


Prayer flags

Labyrinth and house

Monday, April 6, 2020

The Egg

Pysanky eggs

The egg, elliptical, luminous, whole,
separate, indivisible, complete,
nexus of life, invisible, unspoken,
unnamable ancestral pearl of power,
chosen one: you are my pride, my treasure.
I nurture and guard you with all my life,
a green dragon whose jewel lies hidden
in the humming recesses of her dark-red cave.
I share you with the mammals, and the fish too,
the birds, amphibians, insects, snakes:
our common inheritance, our common being.
All of us, whether we fly or swim,
trot, slither or leap beyond our height,
we all love you the same, and commend you
with lifetimes of attention and lavished care.
There are others, too, ferns and firs,
and maybe fruits, too, our cousins
guarded within the muscled trunks
of our rooted green sisters who grow in the Earth.
There they pull from the black nutrition
the crystals of power, the amino molecules,
fuel from which you radiate light
in fruit, in flower, in ovule, in shell.
I feel you well, with every moon,
through thirteen moons in every year.
You arise and make yourself plain,
crown jewel in the parade of our homeland,
flowering, intoxicating, odoriferous, fecund,
temple priestess of life everlasting
in burgundy velvet, concealing and beckoning.
It is easy, and not easy, to court you, egg,
and find you whole, enthroned in all life,
at once at the center and imminent in all things.
It is easy, and yet to properly seek you,
one must have peace, and presence, and life,
abundant life, and love without question
that leaps into the future, many times ones own height.
I bought a dozen of you today,
to boil you and color you, an essence, a symbol,
a ritual item more real than words
and you’re everywhere, among baskets and bunnies,
colored and white, foam and fluff,
and children’s hands under the bushes.
It is Eostar, your long-ago day
when Russian mothers baked you into bread,
and Czech mothers painted you for hours,
and my own ancestors walked for miles
to gather you one by one from afar,
all of us looking to the reborn world,
the flyers, the creepers, the unfathomable sea-swimmers.
These eggs are ours, our hours, our years,
the perfect pearls of our lives.

Annelinde Metzner
March 19. 1989

       My German family had many deep memories of gathering and dying eggs at Easter.  In the Slavic countries there is an ancient tradition of Pysanka, engraving eggs with wax as protective charms for the house.  Read some fascinating history of pysanka here.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Be Ready

The Swannanoa River

Walking by the Friends Meeting house-
     so many memories!
So many songs we have sung to the river,
     our Swannanoa,
so many dances done.
So many prayers prayed, visions seen
     amongst the people gathered there.
I climb over rocks to the creekside.
I touch the water, I'm "going to Water" **
     and I bless my tired and ginger face with icy droplets.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you....."
     I say as I walk,
     over and over and over.
A hawk glides by, calling my name!
     "thank you, thank you, thank you...."
A titmouse comes to sit on the angel's head
     its orange side-stroke glowing in the sun.
"Be ready, be ready,
     be ready for the new...."

Annelinde Metzner
March 27, 2020

**Regardless of the season or weather, Cherokees would go to the river to pray and submerge themselves. In fact, the word for “going to water” in the Cherokee language is interchangeable with the words for bathing and submerging. (The daily ritual was also why the native people thought the Europeans, who didn’t bathe as frequently, were dirty.) A ceremonial dip in the river was thought to wash away illness and bad thoughts. Cherokees bathed at the new moon, and upon returning from war, men would go to the water to purify themselves before re-entering the community.  

“The old Cherokees would wade out waist deep just after daybreak and throw the water over their heads and say, ‘Wash away anything that may hinder me from being closer to you, God.’ And then they would add their own intentions — for a good life, or for a good relationship with brothers or sisters. Seven times, they would throw the water over themselves. Or, they would duck in the water seven times. And when they got out of the water, they had to look into a crystal — likely a quartzite crystal found in geodes — and if it was inverted, pointing down, then they had to go back and do it all over again.”

Quote by Freeman Owle, article by

Susan Stafford Kelly, "Our State" magazine, 11/21/2016 

See the whole fascinating article here.

Friends Meeting house in Black Mountain, NC

Lenten roses

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Woods Walk


The tiny beings of the woods are emerging now,
trillium, phacelia, dwarf iris, bloodroot.
Already the wee birds sing their hearts out
early in the almost-light morning.
I am still practicing my walking,
putting behind me surgeries, removals, replacements,
uncertainties of heart and blood.
The high bank of the little creek
is crowded with rhododendron,
eager as I am to bloom this Spring.
"We see you, dear Sister, welcome back!"
they call to me, roots, leathery leaves,
brown and twisted limbs,
each one a dancer in an exquisite corps de ballet.
I walk the narrow path, a prodigal daughter,
the sky among the naked branches
not yet leafed out.
The ancient fairy beings emerge from the forest floor
almost overnight.
"Oh," I pray,"surprise me again, oh Forest,
again let each of my steps and turns
shock and delight me.
Surprise me each day with your newness."
My prayer on a woods walk.

Annelinde Metzner
March 18, 2020

Trout Lily



Mossy tree

Woods walk