Sunday, September 25, 2016

What the Mountain Says

Some days I can tell what the mountain is saying.
Light plays against each leaf, so close
I could hold the mountain here in my hand.
Cloud shadows pass over, giving homage.
The tall mountain ash quivers in the wind,
a girl new to womanhood,
shining light back at the mountain.
The pokeberry spreads gloriously
at the base of the mountain,
mirroring its shape like a cool lake.
The cat and kitten tumble and scurry,
joyous to live by the mountain.
The locust tree holds her long arms perfectly still,
to frame the mountain in beauty.
I feel the mountain only in my heart.
The mind can hear but not know.
The mountain's heart speaks to my heart,
but her meaning is deeper, from the womb.
Perhaps I bleed some of the mountain into the ground.
Perhaps she pulls me into her, 
making me die, making me be born.

Annelinde Metzner 
July 1995

Monday, September 12, 2016

Love for the world

Balinese dancer

I watch the dancer, one arm framing her face,
one hip drawing upward in the belly’s rhythm.
The dance of mature women, Raqs Sharqi,
born of the sensuous music of the Middle East.
Her hips pull us into infinity,
an inward-outward shout of beauty and desire.

In Cameroon, babies learn music
while strapped to Mama’s back.
Coming of age, boys leap high,
beaming with the village’s newfound respect.

In Bali, the gamelan orchestra cues the dancer
with clangs and thumps,
the bodies telling stories of monsters and gods,
each movement of eyes, and fingers, and feet
a perfectly timed posture of sacred geometry.

Oh humans, oh, humans, can’t you love all this?
Can’t you love the way we’ve created the world,
each culture born of each unique place,
and each of us expressing in our own way?
Doesn’t this beauty tear at your heart,
that everywhere we draw up our Earth’s strength
through our feet, through our hands,
and we thank Her with leaps and turns,
ecstatic to be stretching our bounds?

Oh people of our Earth, can’t you love all this?
The exquisite mudras of Bharat Natyam,
nuances of the courtship of Radha and Krishna, her love?
The kibbutz youth, leaping to dumbek and flute,
‘til joy bursts like fireworks from the chest?

Oh humans, oh infinite diversity,
aren’t you breathtaken, aren’t you amazed?
don’t you treasure each other, for the vastness
of what, together, we are?

Annelinde Metzner

August 23, 2014
Black Mountain

Boys practice drumming in Cameroon

Dancers on an Israeli kibbutz

Raqs Farqi, belly dancer

Bharat Natyam dancer of India playing Krishna's flute

Friday, September 2, 2016

I Am With You

No one can talk me out of the hurt he caused me.
                                                 -The Stanford Rape Victim

Brava, brave one, hurt one, raped one.
Voice this loudly, with all the power you can summon!
Brava, brave young woman of Palo Alto,
“Stanford Rape Victim” the only name we know.
But you speak, you voice this loudly!
Your deposition twelve pages, single-spaced,
letting us know, letting the world know,
letting the court know
what he did to you, what they all did to you.

“You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me,
      and that’s why we’re here today.”

Raped behind a dumpster after a party, unconscious,
pine needles and dirt rubbed into your body.
Painstakingly you described the ordeal.

At the hospital- 

       “a Nikon pointed right into my spread legs...”
the immediate aftermath-  

        “I didn’t talk, I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep...”
the aftereffects-  

       “I didn’t want my body anymore.  I was terrified of it.”
the news media-  

        “By the way, he’s really good at swimming.”
Brava, brave one, voicing this for us all!
Your profound work, your deposition
is out on the table for us all,
for young men and for young women,
now at last out in the open, the vividness of your truth.

After a physical assault, I was assaulted with questions
      designed to attack me, to say, 

            “see, her facts don’t line up.”
You gave this back to the world, saying “chew on this!”
and we have. We hear you!
The world will never be the same,
never again to doubt your truth and your pain.
The world has changed.  There is no turning back.

I can’t sleep alone at night without a light on.
  I have nightmares of being touched when I cannot wake up.

Brava, strong one, give it voice! 
Spare the world nothing of your truth!

And finally, to girls everywhere, I am with you.
      On nights when you feel alone, I am with you.

I bow in thanks, a thousand thanks, to you, victim-no-more.
For the sake of girls, the next ones and the next,
you gave of your all, you gave us your truth,
the screaming depths of your pain.

(All quotes in italics are taken from the deposition of the Stanford Rape Victim,  reported in Buzzfeed, June 3, 2016 by Katie Baker.)

Annelinde Metzner

July 2016

Here Is The Powerful Letter The Stanford Victim Read Aloud To Her Attacker  (click here)

A former Stanford swimmer who sexually assaulted an unconscious woman was sentenced to six months in jail because a longer sentence would have “a severe impact on him,” according to a judge. At his sentencing Thursday, his victim read him a letter describing the “severe impact” the assault had on her.

On Thursday, Turner’s victim addressed him directly, detailing the severe impact his actions had on her — from the night she learned she had been assaulted by a stranger while unconscious, to the grueling trial during which Turner’s attorneys argued that she had eagerly consented.
The woman, now 23, told BuzzFeed News she was disappointed with the “gentle” sentence and angry that Turner still denied sexually assaulting her.
“Even if the sentence is light, hopefully this will wake people up,” she said. “I want the judge to know that he ignited a tiny fire. If anything, this is a reason for all of us to speak even louder.”