Friday, February 24, 2012

The Most Huge Yes

I must have been four years old, out for an armload of wildflowers
-daisies, mallow flowers, phlox.
Elsie and I sat on a rock  to rest in the shade of the gnarled apple tree.
“Oh World, I cannot hold thee close enough!” cried Elsie, my Tante,
and on and on, poems by memory,
astounding my young ears with the bigness, the width of life beyond my ken.
Dickinson, Heine, Goethe, Millay,
-all fair game to Elsie’s keen mind and deep delight.
What is the world? She answered for me,
just a hint of what was to come, what could be, beyond the now.
I gazed at her above me,
and walked home with her, my arms full of flowers,
my little hand in hers.
And now, many years have passed.
My Tante is ninety-seven, but still, poems sprout from her lips,
and she, with her searching mind, evokes them from me as well.
“Prithee, let no bird call!”
We happen into a field, wild with flowers,
daisies, phlox, a wild quilt of color.
Thrice we return, picking armloads of wildflowers,
holding, holding, ever loving this life, unwilling to let go.
This divine charge we accepted so long ago
just to love this, just to live this,
eyes wide as daisy petals, enveloped in earthly scents,
knee-deep in colors,
just this most huge Yes.

Annelinde Metzner
May 2011

Listen to Annelinde reading "The Most Huge Yes":

Tante Elsie at ninety-seven

Elsie’s garden

Drove up to Elsie’s garden, my head in the radio,
counting measures and checking 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, I belong.

Annelinde Metzner
April 2006

Friday, February 17, 2012

Looking Toward Tibet

Samdo Kunga, Tibetan mother and daughter, photo by Phil Borges

Mindfulness brings compassion.
Looking out across the plains at seventeen thousand feet,
white clouds turning, turning into Tara, into Milarepa,
here on the plains where your people have crossed the icy turf
again and again throughout the ages,
welcomed with tea and kindness at every neighbor’s tent,
how do you bear to see trucks rolling in, laden with asphalt?
When you are four years old,
and you journey for days with Mother
to see a wonder, a sacred dance
on the monastery grounds,
monks in brilliant colors dazzling your young eyes,
music beyond imagination, the cymbals, the horns,
how could you ever live in a cement block house,
bored, tired, hungry and lost,
forgetful of all the nomad you ever were?
When one has arisen at dawn with the sound of the wind,
a thousand years of holy incarnations spinning madly in the cloud shadows,
mottling the faces of the high mountains nearby,
and you bundle up and say a prayer, giving thanks for all this,
your past, your people, your medicine, your sacredness,
how can there ever, ever come a machine to quarry the mountain down,
to beat the knowledge out of you, to herd you into silence?
Mindfulness brings compassion.
Tibet will never die.

Annelinde Metzner    
August 2008

See more of the Tibetan photography of Phil Borges here.

Experience a powerful Tibetan ceremony performed in Bodha Gaya, India.

Watch as Tibetan activists rappel off Arlington Bridge in Washington, DC, to hang a banner proclaiming, "Tibet Will Be Free" in February, 2012.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Southside Cemetery

Gravestones in Southside Cemetery

Here is a mottled chunk of rock, set upright.
Here is one a foot tall, miraculously erect
amid the ancient stones and helter-skelter mounds
of this hallowed place.
Who is buried here?
What dark-skinned family climbed the long, lamenting hill
into the woods
protected by Jesus, for just a moment left to themselves?
How did they steal an hour or two
for this hallowed day of farewell to the dead,
finding an unmolested path safe for their black skin?
One can hardly walk today, the ground is so jumbled,
where, one upon another, the generations
were welcomed upward to the holy realms.
Some came with enough for a name on a granite slab,
a date or an epitaph.
And who placed the ragged, natural stones,
proudly standing upright over centuries?
Here are those who came enslaved
and died servants still.
A farmer, a laborer, a maid,
beloved in the hearts of family and friends,
anonymous as these standing stones
in the unmoving world around, so hard, so cold.

Annelinde Metzner
March 2008

(Photos by Patty Levesque)

Click here to read about the work of China Galland in resurrecting "Love Cemetery" in Texas.   Watch the video exploring "our collective shadow."

Southside Cemetery in Asheville, NC

Friday, February 3, 2012

Dragon Mountain

Moving over the mountains,
          there are powers bright as dragons,
traveling, traveling, up and over.

The air is never still.
          The power flows.
We can only sense it.

Only a knowing, a sensing,
          a shining at the summit,
arching over us, unceasing.

The mountains are never still.
          Over her skin, the power is moving,
the dragon traveling, timeless, shining.

Annelinde Metzner
April 12, 2010

Sam's Knob near Black Balsam