Friday, March 10, 2017

Frozen Lake

The lake is frozen over!
Embedded in her surface,
branches and fallen sticks,
heads-up like ancient monsters.
Walking, walking,
I exclaim over the green softness
of the laurel leaves in the icy cold.
What a world!
I raise my head and call
to the wood thrush,
to her deep song, canto hondo,
which she carries with her across the world.
“Come back!  Come back! 
I await your beauty!”
I bend to the ground,
entreating the first purple of Spring,
the many petaled Dwarf Iris,
little ancient one of the forest,
embedded on the lake’s bank.
I await you!  Sleep until you’re ready,
‘til the new buds burst forth from the dogwoods,
‘til the bear cubs tumble wide-eyed from their den,
‘til Spring warms and thaws our hearts again.

Annelinde Metzner
Hidden Lake
January 26, 2013

It's March of 2017, almost Spring, but snow is expected this weekend.  The hints of Spring are all around.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Run toward your creative life

Run toward your creative life with all your might
even when, and even because, tears stain the very surface,
the fiber of your creative being.

Isn’t this your truest self?
Isn’t this a pristine beach,
more wild than winter, more vast?

Doesn’t the joy breath of your inner life
smell fresher than new-washed cottons hung in the air?

When the long day finally ends,
and I come close to the inner self,
I pull back the veil.

Annelinde Metzner        

June 6, 2006

Sunday, February 12, 2017

At the labyrinth

Light Center and Labyrinth

Ever, ever, She pulsates, warm beneath our feet,
our Mother the precious Earth.
Will She ever let us go?
Warmly She sings to our hearts,
“Love, love”, for all to hear,
for our walk, for our breathing, for all our being.
We are all just puppies in a pile,
one against another, opening our mouths
to find Her sweet teats right near.
Warmly She holds our hearts, with infinite love,
because we are Hers, we are of Her choosing.
In the wind I hear Her sighs, content,
as the day comes to a close.
Shyly appears the Moon, Her lover,
in immense beauty,
to spend the night at Her side.

Annelinde Metzner
Light Center
May 23, 2010

Spent a few hours today in the warm February sun, meditating and listening to the quietness of the Light Center in Black Mountain.  Spiritual seekers and world-weary beings are welcome there, 24/7.  
    I also love to play their piano!

Dome front with Peace Pole


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Festival of Fez

Drums in Fez, Morocco

I cannot hate these people
who opened their doors to me,
who opened their country to me,
Morocco, 2002.
Hate is the impossible word.
All I felt was love...
Children running to see us
on our climb through the olive groves
to the shrine on the hillside of the Holy City.
Our walks in the impossible labyrinth of Fez,
families at their creative work,
a father, a son embroidering,
a copper engraver tap, tap, tapping
amid the ever-present cacophony of the medina.
That word does not fit here,
in this Moroccan sacred society,
the call to prayer five times a day,
the ablutions at the ancient fountain.
The music I stumble upon,
the poet and the oud player in the riad courtyard,
among  the roses and the laughing children,
the fado singer in the museum gardens,
the women of Chechnya chanting.
Never will I hate these people,
my family of Man,
the young woman painting my hand with henna.
There is this place in my heart 

where hate can never be.

Annelinde Metzner
Fez Festival of Sacred Music
February 4, 2017

I was blessed to attend the Fez Festival of Sacred Music in Fez, Morocco in 2002.   Carolina Day School, where I taught music, honored me with a two-week tour of Fez and Marrakech run by Sufis who welcomed me as part of their spiritual practice.
     The political atmosphere in the USA at this moment , 2017, forms a huge cultural dissonance with my experience in this welcoming and highly creative Muslim country. I wept as I wrote this poem, because this chasm is unbearable.

Boy holding embroidery thread for his father

Father embroidering, Grandfather standing nearby

Three generations at a Sufi issawa, an all night music ceremony

Portuguese Fado singer in a museum concert

Chechnyan women's singing ensemble

Getting henna painted on my hand at an Issawa

Olive groves near the shrine of a saint

Tree of Life tiles at a pottery

Saturday, January 28, 2017

I save the world by loving Her

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 

April 13, 2012

Friday, January 6, 2017


Glass rosette from 16th Street Baptist Church, Alabama


(“We Have Seen,” from the poem by Natasha Tretheway)

I put down my fork, pancakes all eaten,
at Denny’s that early September morning.
A few moments to gaze at Smithsonian Magazine,
brought along to fill my time
waiting for breakfast to arrive.
“We Have Seen,” says her poem, Natasha Tretheway,
printed white upon black on the pages
beside the twisted glass rosette preserved from 1963.
Her poem: the debris, the shattered wrecks,
the firetruck moving away;
the martyred girls, four girls!
Babies, waiting for Sunday school to begin.
Their faces and Jesus’, mangled beyond recognition.
How Frederick Douglas pushed himself into the public eye,
knowing that photography, in 1873, must show us the truth,
ready or not.
I gaze across my plate at Denny’s,
reaching for my coffee,
eyes filling with tears.
Those four little girls...
I gaze around and wonder: will I weep right here?
Is it at last the time
to let the tears brim over?

Annelinde Metzner
September 6, 2016

The photos in September's Smithsonian Magazine are of objects on display at the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC.  I was moved to tears by the photo above of one of the only pieces of stained glass left after the bombing of 16th Street Baptist, a gathering place of the Civil Rights Movement, in 1963. This is the church where four little girls were killed as they waited for Sunday school to begin.

Frederic Douglas ambrotype, 1855-1865

Shawl given to Harriet Tubman by Queen Victoria in 1897

Monday, January 2, 2017

Elsie's Garden

Tante Elsie in her gardening hat

Drove up to Elsie’s garden, my head in the radio,
counting measures and checking musical forms.
I raise my eyes just to park and...
Jolted into Eden, an ecstasy of brilliant color, 

like a cold slap. I’m awakened.
These Irises (the eyes?) are a queen’s purple, 

a ransom of gold,
fringed, bearded, double ruffled about their delicate mouths,
waiting lush as Sheba.
Lemon yellow bearded coral, glacier white fringed,
with a calligraphy of magenta.
Rust-red and egg-yolk yellow.
I gain my breath, and big tears, here at Elsie’s garden.
Tante, at ninety-two, fosters this ecstasy of color,
and scent of peony, double, triple, magenta, snow!
Knowing I must go knock and enter at the door,
I breathe deep, remembering, 

remembering the grace of my DNA,
the colors, the purple, saying “This is me,”
coming off the highway.  

“This is also me”, my old Tante in her garden,
pulling a true miracle of flowers from the unsuspecting soil,
back in the dirt where we belong.
This is me. I weep, I love, I remember.

Annelinde Metzner

April 2006

Feeling gratitude for my Tante Elsie, who nurtured so much life in me by living to the fullest herself.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Coming Back Christmas

Tante Elsie

One must leave one’s mountains
one must descend early in the day
through ice and snow, fog banks,
ripped up trees and branches helter-skelter,
one must leave one’s silent warm cabin on Christmas
and descend through the trees
down the long grade in fog, way down.
One must leave one’s silent cabin 

full of fire, full of sadness,
silent, remembering,
on Christmas one must come to family,
come down through the trees 

while smoke curls up through the woods,
come down to help old Tante by her stove,
down to a place with children, with messes,
with pots and pans helter-skelter in Tante’s kitchen,
where there will be singing and jigs playing,
“Ihr Kinderlein kommet” and the Crist-kindl,
chocolates in tree branches and sooty fingers,
the old stove that pops and moans,
family groaning around the table,
with resentments, accomplishments, aches and pains,
medicines and red wine and forgotten addresses,
all of us elbow-to-elbow, hunters and hairdressers,
poets and plumbers,
day-to-day survivors making do.
One must come in a hurry on Christmas,
come gladly to the loud rooms of one’s family,
full of judgments and kind advice,
full of wariness and unspoken joys.
One must remember to leave one’s quiet warm cabin 

full of sadness
and come down each Christmas, be pulled magnetic
to let one’s heart warm again unbidden,
with no plan, just you, and nothing else.

Annelinde Metzner

December 25, 2005
Phoenix Cove

I wrote this poem in 2005 one year after my son passed away, and we had been hit by two hurricanes in Autumn.  I am honoring my wonderful ancestors who have passed into the spirit, and I thank them for how they taught me to love life every single day.

My son Peter

Friday, December 16, 2016

La Reina de America

Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, all photos by Sylvia Ponce

We honored our Great Mother,
Queen of America,
filling the largest stadium in Charlotte with our joy.
There She was, emblazoned with gold and light,
Her joyous followers all 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, for Her.
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

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.
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