Friday, December 28, 2012

Coming Back Christmas

Christmas at Phoenix Cove

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 

Star the Cat in the snow

Friday, December 21, 2012

Joyous Yule!

Praises to the return of the Sun!
Now on this Solstice day,
Suspended, awaiting the Earth's glad turn,
No farther will we stray.

Praises to the warm, dark Earth!
Our mother, our nourishing home.
Safe She keeps us, and well indeed
Wherever we may roam.

Praises to the singing of songs!
Beloved signs of life.
We gather together in joy and love,
And release all strain and strife.

Annelinde Metzner
December 21, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012


Ada plays her recycled violin

“We don’t throw away people either.”
A town built on a landfill,
the people of Cateura, Paraguay spend their lives each day
sorting out the last usable bits in the trash.
The water, the air, all are poisoned with waste and runoff.
Here, Szaran and Favio taught the children music.
On a cello made of an oil can,
Bebi, age 19, smilingly offers the ineffable beauty
of the Bach cello suites.
“When I hear the violin, I get butterflies,
says Ada, age 13.
“I don’t know how to explain it.”
Drying out old flour sacks,
and following the garbage trucks,
the people make a few pennies to survive.
“You can’t have a violin here.  
It would cost more than your house.”
And now, an orchestra of children,
the children of the landfill town,
an orchestra of instruments reclaimed from the trash.
“My life would be meaningless without music,”
says a girl, as delicate as the strains she picks out on the strings.
How this world is cruel, unkind, unjust,
and full of miracles!
“We don’t throw people away either.”

Annelinde Metzner
December 14, 2012

Watch some of the Cateura children in the Landfillharmonic here

Bebi plays the cello made from an oil can

A girl from Cateura plays her violin

Friday, December 7, 2012

Love Cannot Be Silenced

Sister Kathy Sherman, composer

The sisters were stunned, angry and confused.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious,
a voice for most of the nuns,
had spoken its beliefs-  health care for all,
concern for the poor in their care.
The Vatican fathers condemned the nuns
for their “radical feminist themes.”
For focusing too much on poverty!
On economic injustice!
Who is the Christian here, who practices the Way?
Whose feet are out on the streets,
side by side with the poor?
Two days after the condemnation,
Sister Sherman felt a song coming,
on the wings of the spirit dove.
“Love Cannot Be Silenced,”
she heard, and wrote it down.
“It never has, it never will.”
She sang for her sisters at supper,
and they felt the spirit dove too.
The people emerged on the streets of Iowa and Illinois,
everywhere the sisters had reached their hands in love.
Thanking them, defending them, the hands and feet of Christ:
Rise up, sisters, rise up!
“God Bless the Sisters,”
Holy fire in their eyes!

Annelinde Metzner

December 7, 2012

Click here to listen to Sister Sherman's song, "Love Cannot Be Silenced," and to see protests from all over the US.

Read more about Sister Sherman and the LCWR here. 


Friday, November 30, 2012

High on the Sacred Mound

In the bare grey branches of the apple tree
     high on the sacred mound,
the Goddess.

In the patches of pure white snow,
     still lying deep in the grass despite all day’s sun,
the Goddess.

In the twists and turns of the fallen tree
     reaching back into the Earth,
the Goddess.

In my hand putting pen to paper,
     gloved and warm in the bracing sunshine,
the Goddess.

In the curve of the Earth above the mound,
     where land ends and deep space begins,
the Goddess.

In the last butterfly,
     still hunting merrily for blossoms in the cold air,
the Goddess.

In my lungs, deep and warm under layers of clothing,
     inhaling this sweet and precious air,
the Goddess.

Is there anywhere She is not?
Doesn’t She know us in every way?

In the profound quiet of this November day,
     halfway to winter, the pure air on my skin,
     I have Her, I’m with Her, She moves me,
     She impels me to live for Her passionately,
my Queen, my Goddess.

Annelinde Metzner
November 9, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

This Fire Blazes

This Fire Blazes

This fire blazes, crying “I will defend You!”
My mother, Earth, I will defend you
      when greed fouls your waters with black oil,
      when ignorance and pride leak radiation into your soil,
      when desperate fear invents “fracking”
      to rape you deep down to your core.
This fire arises in me, crying “I will defend You!”

This fire defends the world’s women,
      when a seventeen-year-old is publicly beaten
      for wearing pants under her burka,
      when five-year-olds are bred for slavery and prostitution,
      when women cannot count upon a safe night’s sleep at home.
This fire arises, crying “I will defend You!”

This fire defends the Goddess.
      Exquisite one, source of all Life,
      within our Earth and within our Bodies,
      Giver of Love and Abundance, holder of Power,
      I am your warrior!
      Not on my watch will You be the harlot,
      the evil witch eating children.
      As we once were burned for Your love,
      so our Fire will restore You,
      Your warmth, Your brilliance,
      Your Fire.

Annelinde Metzner

August 20, 2011

Listen to Annelinde reading "This Fire Blazes" at our concert, "Lady of Ten Thousand Names" on August 18, 2012.   CDs and DVDs are available- click the BUY tab!

Click on BUY tab to purchase a CD or DVD of "This Fire Blazes"

Friday, November 16, 2012

The bone drum

Peter Metzner

The bone drum                                                    

On my living room floor sits the Bone Drum.
One Christmas, long ago,
my bright flaming son Peter,
all of seventeen,
brought home this gift for me.
A slit drum of wood, meticulously carved
so that the rounded joints of the bone
play tones!  One side minor,
one side major, all interlocked,
drawing the player into a numinous soundscape
of warm, rounded maple.
In another room, in a small wooden box
are little bones, tiny pieces of bones
too big to burn in cremation’s fire,
all that’s left of my bright flaming son.
How this world is a mystery!
My bone drum speaks from my living room floor,
calling, calling,
saying, “Play me! I am not just pieces of maple,
polished and pretty.
I will carry you with my magic tones
beyond and beyond and beyond.”
My son’s bones sit in their tiny box, calling to me too.
“Fly, Mom, fly!  We are not just bones! 

We are so much more.
We rise like the Phoenix in orange and gold.
From this one tiny point, this bone, this life,
we expand, we dissolve into everything!
We are everywhere, Mom, do not forget,
Augra was right, I’m the drum, I’m the tree,
I’m the eyes of a child, I’m a doorway.”
Out of this amalgam of minerals and ash,
borne from the shape of bone and drum,
we fly, we fly, we sing!

Annelinde Metzner
November 16, 2012

The bone drum

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jubilation in Kenya

At 3 AM, I awake, remembering the day,
and turn on the radio.   Jubilation in Kenya!
Barack Obama has won again, in the USA,
Kogelo village’s own “greatest son.”
A night of dancing and ululation
has given way to a bright morning,
more dancing, more of this joy.
“He has the knowledge to love all people,”
says Mama Sarah Obama, the president’s step-grandma.
“He doesn’t have the knowledge of division.”
Sitting patiently together, watching the results come in,
the people lift their plastic chairs in rhythmic celebration.
“I am beyond joy!” says one.
“God chose Barack, it is his time,” says Mama Sarah.
“I had full faith and confidence he was going to win.”
Laughter and jubilation, confidence and joy.
Schools close for the day, a giant feast is planned.
“Obama cannot forget us.”

Annelinde Metzner
November 13, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I cannot grasp Her power

Hurricane Sandy from satellite

Beneath us, quiet as it is, this power
links directly to my heart.
Fresh, cool, down in the layers,
the emerald, the sapphire:
the power of the mountains is with us, everywhere.
Today, as if posing for a portrait,
She is holding still, so still,
holding each branch forth with her immense grace,
available to us, almost shy.
The mountain, enshrouded today, is retreating in heavy fog,
head in the clouds, really.
She is seen, and She fades.  She is seen, and She fades.
As for me, I’m but a puppet, magnetized,
a whirling skater upon a mirror,
a slave to Her power.
Autumn and Winter, Spring and Summer,
pulling the Moon, and being pulled,
She turns so slowly, so beyond our ken,
each minute shift is an avalanche on Denali,
a hurricane in Cuba, a rock slide in Tennessee.
I cannot grasp Her power.
Now and then, a turn in the path, a change in the weather,
and I glimpse the mountain’s power, the ageless magnetism.
I feel Her pulling my eyelids down at night,
pinching me to leap for joy in the day...
but She is so far beyond me to know,
I am only here to witness, to glimpse and guess,
to be propelled through my life, a leaf on the wind,
at the mercy of Her grace.

Annelinde Metzner
Wildacres Retreat
October 29, 2009 

Grandfather Mountain in clouds


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Autumn Samba

The bite of fresh compost,
sharp leaf mold in the wind.
Goodbye to the galax,
farewell to the creeper,
“Adios” to the chokecherry vines.
It’s the majestic farewell,
the queen’s farewell.
It’s delicious, it’s numinous, it’s forever!
This is the goodbye of no tears but the rain’s.
Goodbye as relaxed as Guernseys in the alfalfa,
as relaxed as three women in a hot tub.
It’s goodbye, never more be seen,
and it smells like Paris perfume.
It lifts the feet. It’s Fred Astaire.
It’s a lilting “adieux.” It’s bagpipes.
It’s all the cousins waving.
Orange, red, a fandango,
it’s forever, it’s the end,
and if you twirl and spin your way down,
you’ve got the idea.

Annelinde Metzner 

Phoenix Cove       
September 2001

Thursday, October 18, 2012


America has a choice, and it’s black and white.
No woman this time, for President,
(but our time is coming soon.)
Even so, who loves the Woman?
Whom do you choose?
Which of the men loves hierarchy,
     loves to be on top,
     must be the top,
     feels entitled to own the world,
     to govern women’s bodies?
(And we know the World and the Woman are the same.)
America has a choice, and it’s black and white.
Which of the men loves and respects Woman,
     seeks what we think,
     knows our bodies are ours to govern,
     expects us to own power, the world over,
     meets us on the World’s stage as equals?
Who will champion us to love whomever we will?
Who will let the soft side rule, let Woman rule,
     and allow Love and Community to return?
Who would rather align the world by rank, with him on top,
     sanctioned by the wrathful god,
     narrowing and narrowing our choices until we all choke?
America has a choice, and it’s black and white.

Annelinde Metzner

October 18, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012



The hard wind tearing through the Nantahala Forest
is the big swift hand of Grandmother,
getting crumbs off the table, thoughtlessly,
readying for the next thing, washing clothes or serving soup.
In the hollow, under the cold wind, you are the crumb!
You may like it here, but you’re gone!
Loud and long the fierce winds howl through the deep forest.
She brushes Her hand, and ancient oaks crash, obedient to Her will.
The Rhododendron stands patient through eons and eons,
accustomed to the Grandmother’s whims.
Her brown and mossy stems meet and turn exquisitely,
solid, rooted, yet reaching for air,
a ballet on the brown forest floor.
Her leathery broad leaves are good for all winter,
each whorl of leaves a brilliant, fleeting thought.
They call this Rhododendron Hell:
Hell, Holle, the Holy, the One Who Lives Death.
Plants and animals die here, ecstatic
to feed Her, to become the next thing.
I, too, would die for Her, here at Her feet in the Nantahala Forest.
“Guten abend, guten Nacht,” sings Grandmother,
tucking me in as I dissolve into nutriment.
Here at Holle’s side, Her perfect whorls elegant,
I’d wash into dirt at the first icy rain, rejoin the family of all being,
sing the green songs of the ages.
Fierce winds tear through here, uprooting oaks.
I sleep at Her feet until whenever She needs me.

Annelinde Metzner

Rattler's Ford, Joyce Kilmer Forest
October 29, 1995

Saturday, October 6, 2012

To the City


We’re going to the City, we would say,
     all of fourteen and thrilled to the core.
My world, my growing up in New York.
Out in the boroughs, quiet, same,
     a drone’s life, just enough money to live.
But get on the bus, get on the train,
     and Eureka!  It’s Manhattan.
Up the subway steps and out into the air.
You never know what might happen!
Every step is an adventure, we learned,
     every street corner a new world,
     every turn opening a thousand possibilities.
Who will you be tomorrow?  Who are you today?
Wearing Nana’s old fur coat,
     dragging and torn, over my jeans,
     I scooted between moving cars, and up into the air.
Open, worlds!  Open, my mind!
What could be next?  The world my chocolate box,
     tripping up and down the streets,
     magic afoot in the City.

Annelinde Metzner
Larchmont, New York
October 2, 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Full Moon Over Rye, New York

Boom!  at four AM,
     truck tires slam over the ribs of the ramp
     to the interstate,
     crashing, crashing in their endless push
     to get somewhere.
Bars on the windows of my hotel room,
     as if some thief, agile as a spider,
     would climb up the walls
     to the third floor balcony.
Even in the dark of night,
     all is movement, life at full tilt
     in Rye, New York.
And yet, this night,
     as I creep out in the late-September cold,
     the Moon, white as a billiard ball,
     shines bright, disappearing through a curtain of clouds.
"My Moon is here!" cries the four-year-old.
     And She is!
As if this were some mountain hollow,
     the stars peep through, 'way above the glare of lights.
"You're home," says the Moon,
     pulling at me still, in Rye, New York.

Annelinde Metzner
Rye, New York
September 30, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

In September

In September the forest, green as ever,
is like a lover crooking her finger one last time.
She sways, she is still soft and green,
her Earth is still warm...
And somewhere unseen, on the other side,      

is the gray gargoyle Winter, the stone gollum, with a funny grin,
skipping rocks on the water, biding her time.

She comes up to me in the morning and
brushes a bony finger against my chin,
saying “feel this- remember me?”
The hairs stand up on my chin, and
I gasp at her unstoppable impertinence.
I shake her off and turn away, pretending she’s not there.
Up on the hillside, the maples and birch
sway, supple, green as ever,
singing their sweet seductive siren song of Summer.
Behind a slab of granite, Winter
points her bony stone finger
and laughs.

Annelinde Metzner

September 6, 2009


Friday, September 14, 2012

Grossmutter Comes Flying

Nana around 1923

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
Wildacres Retreat
October 28, 2009 

Listen to Annelinde reading "Grossmutter Comes Flying" during our concert, "Lady of Ten Thousand Names" on August 18. 2012.  (CDs and DVDs of the concert are at the BUY tab.)


Metzner family shortly after emigration to America

Friday, September 7, 2012

Coming Out from Under

Barack Obama at 2012 Democratic National Convention

for Barack and Michelle Obama

The people are coming out from under the pall of abuse.
Bad leaders, the worst, have us dizzy, tired,
unused to independent thought.
When our leaders are bad, we say “Is it me?
Am I dull and stupid, intolerant and unaware?”
The people have watched their tender firstborns
sent to war,  year after year,
to satisfy the unquenchable thirst for blood
of one bent solely on blind revenge.
We were not permitted to watch our sons and daughters
return home dead.
Maimed or incoherent, we housed them as best we could,
in the face of pure denial all around,
as their memories of senseless cruelty abroad
invaded their dreams.
The people, American people,
had to watch as their country
engaged in torture behind closed doors,
in a rule of no-law, where, like beaten children,
we all viscerally feared for ourselves.
The people have watched as loopholes emerged
in affairs of money,
banks developed the “liars’ loan”,
where you and I will lose our houses,
our jobs and all we have
just to let the government-sanctioned fat cats
keep their wealth and all their entitlements.
Like children who have seen all this,
like beaten women with nowhere to go,
we stumble now, still, unaware of the light,
as if light itself were too harsh to bear,
while deep, deep within, our souls know it’s time to sing.

Annelinde Metzner     
April 14, 2009

Michelle Obama at the DNC 2012

The First Family

Thank You's at the 2012 DNC

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Mass Hypnosis

Hurricane Isaac storm surge 2012

“They had dead bodies in the water, and dogs swimming by. 
 The water was up to my chin”.    New Orleans, August 2005

And here we are, American people,
dreaming ourselves along in a media-induced haze
where all of us are wealthy, dress snappily, style our hair.
Doesn’t all America speak like a Valley girl, like, like, like?

“They was women and children, little bitty babies on that bridge.  
 I went for water and it took me seven hours.   
When I got back my wife and five kids was gone.”

Do you know people so poor they never look you in the eye,
as if you were some apparition, too wealthy, to glib to be seen?
Does it take a giant storm, a spinning whirlwind of natural fury
to tear off the facades, to leave exposed our men and women,
our everyday people in their great numbers
who would have gone on voiceless, waiting, waiting,
until you and I could, at last, see ourselves there?

Annelinde Metzner
Hurricane Katrina
September 12, 2005

Hurricane Isaac flood 2012

Little girl at Red Cross shelter, 2012

Man overwhelmed, Hurrican Isaac, 2012