Friday, June 27, 2014



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

Nantahala Forest
October 29, 1995

Now in June with the rhododendrons blooming anew, I thought of this poem and Holle, the Northern European winter Goddess for whom Holland is named.  I composed a song for Holle for my songbook, "Lady of Ten Thousand Names."  It sounds like snow falling!

Holle makes it snow

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Price Lake

Peter Metzner, circa 1994

Don’t even have to look over my shoulder
to know the two poplar trees are there
where we hung our hammock one day like this,
Peter and I, long ago.
Don’t even have to creep along
under the rhododendron
to know that morels are growing there, and Indian pipes,
and if you creep further, the lake,
The lake! that on a starry night shimmers,
stars to the tenth power, moving, glistening,
and maybe even a moon.
Don't even have to lift my head
to know the mountain laurel blooms, millions upon millions,
with all their geometry,

the pink, and the white,
and how they float as they drop to the shimmering lake.
Is that the wee branch that gurgles by,
that gurgled by our tent then, by Peter’s big self and I,
he crashing out solid on the hard earth, snoring,
me, the princess, dragging foam pads and pillows,
and Peter taking them over in the morning?
In the tent, his pocket, and my pocket,
wrist watches and eyeglasses,
the setup and the takedown as smooth as water.
And out there, above us, Grandmother.
Did She know?  did She know?
Did She watch, Her patient self, 

or even pick him out for Her own,
one of those long-ago days, him so young, so fine,
an Aztec prince, perfect for the sacrifice?
Was danger hovering over us like a million laurel flowers-
could everyone see it but us?
Or should we remember- energy?
Power, ancient and cool as cats,
that burst forth as the joy we had in each other,
so young women would say, “You come alive together,”
unusual as that was for mother and son?
Old, old knowing that filled our days,
welcomed the world, overcame pain,
old knowing that never dies.
We came with it, we leave with it,
we live this way still, Peter and I, at home everywhere,
glimmering like stars, like fireflies,
the rosy energy of Grandmother’s arms
carrying us, carrying us still.

Annelinde Metzner
Price Lake
June 2007

This month, my son will have been gone for ten years.  I make a pilgrimage every year to Grandmother Mountain, where I have many memories of being with Peter.

Price Lake and Grandmother beyond

Peter's soul portrait made by Arline Boyce

Peter playing recorder, circa 2003

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Rainbow Kites

Kite reels in India

Evening at the beach,
six of us sing with delight, pouring ourselves into the surf,
Aphrodite’s lacy foam blessing us.
Two turn back to home, because today, just this day,
this Sunday June evening full of light,
is the perfect day for wind.
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 unceasing surf,
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 unsuspecting families pass by hand in hand,
walking together on the warm sandy Earth.

Annelinde Metzner
June 9, 2014

Guatemalan kite

Chinese kite

Rainbow kite

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I Have Sworn to Protect Her


I have sworn to protect Her!           
Miracle blue-green jewel of all the worlds,
ancient blue mountains, vast golden deserts,
hummingbirds in the jewelweed,
black bear in the raspberries.
I speak for Her!
I howl for Her!        
I howl, “Beware!”
to you who remove Her sacred mountaintops
torturing her body to get at Her coal.
I howl, “Beware!”
to you who go deep within her mineral layers,
scraping away at her core
for your own gain.
But no one gains by this.  She feeds us all.
I have sworn to protect Her,           
this day that She needs us,
when even Her vast blue-green oceans, teeming with life,
are tainted with blood, the black oil of power and greed.
This is the day, this is the hour.
She, long-silent, awaits our voice.
The signs of Her anger are everywhere:
desert, flood, tornado, wildfire, earthquake, typhoon, tsunami.
I howl for Her!             
I love my Earth as my own body!
I have sworn to protect Her!

Annelinde Metzner
July 31, 2011

With the news that the North Carolina legislature has set in motion the approval of fracking in our state and in our mountains, I'm posting this poem which I composed in which I honor Her and swear my allegiance to my precious Earth.