Sunday, July 31, 2016

Voices of Gaia

Wood Thrush

Wood Thrush

I weigh the same as three pennies
and I navigate by the stars
in my nighttime migration
from Cape May to Mexico.
I need six million square miles to breed
and to winter.
I need DC and Baltimore to be my deep forest
that I might call to your heart
from where I perch beyond your sight
as you venture out to the edge of the dark.
Listen to my soul’s call,  and love me,
that I may be near you when your hungry heart
yearns to drink in my song.

Florida Panther

Florida Panther

I won’t show you my face.
Dawn and dusk, cool nights,
I slip out and observe my succulent prey,
and I may be watching you!
I stretch out cool under saw palmetto
letting Florida sun bake and buzz and bleach,
but I move like lightening when evening falls,
and in the peripheral shadows of your dreams
I’m stalking you, too. 

Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale

Through acres of ocean space
I chant and sing and rage,
call and declare.
I remember my songs over months and years.
I remember and change and improvise
and evolve my songs
like Miles Davis in the night.
I am the archivist of the ocean,
and, man, I comment on you.
I’m sure you don’t know this,
but decades from now we will sing your tale.
Where I can’t breathe my ocean,
where my babies die,
I record it all and remember what you do.

Redwood tree


We are older than you could ever imagine.
Sequoias, tallest living beings in the world,
wide and massive as a house.
One thousand insect species reside in our branches,
accustomed to the altitude
and evolving on their own.
I’ve watched the world move and change
for over two thousand years,
seen glories and follies at human hands,
seen birth and death and growth and decay,
and you want to drive your damn car
through my trunk!

Annelinde Metzner
July, 1992 from "Voices of Gaia"

Reviewing my poetry of the past thirty years, I came across a collection from 1992 called "Voices of Gaia," in which I speak in the voices of a dozen endangered species from the plant and animal world.  While I was directing the choral group Womansong, we enlisted our friends and families to help present a powerful performance beginning with these poems, and adding dance, improvised music and spoken word.
      I will post more of these poems over the next few weeks.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Thank you, Hillary

Hillary Clinton from CNN

A deep relaxation, an exhalation, a gratefulness,
knowing you have been there to represent us,
you, a woman, the mother of a woman,
the daughter of a woman, one of us.
Hillary, you inspire us, with your bravery, your clarity,
your firmness, your discernment on the world’s stage.
High up in the echelons, you represent us.  Thank you.
Traveling, traveling, in ease and in strain,
you spoke of Malala and Inez, all our brave women,
at one with our great community, this world.
Hillary, without fear, you went feet first
to the most dangerous places in the world.
Yes, we share your pain, our pain,
we born with a womb, our badge of courage,
our births that say the way will be rough,
the climb uphill all our lives.
We born with a womb, and from a womb,
our daughters, our mothers and ourselves,
know from birth that we must be strong,
we must know our minds and love our bodies,
we must speak for ourselves when our Hillaries are gone,
remembering her and teaching ourselves,
going on, for their sake, for Malala and Wangari,
for all the women who show the way,
to live strong and free, to move as we choose,
to be what we are, to be.

Annelinde Metzner
December 7, 2012

I wrote this poem of deep thanks to Hillary Clinton in December of 2012, after listening to her speech on Human Rights at Dublin City University in Ireland which you can listen to here.

Hillary Clinton from ABC

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Farm Kitchen

The farm kitchen in 1992

Cups and cups hang from hooks,
plates of every color and design in the cupboard,
enough for a field full of neighbors some hungry noon.
Rafters and ceiling a greasy black
even now that the big wood stove is gone,
flavored of pancakes and kuchen,
Sunday chickens and potato soup.
A ladle and a dishpan over the sink
where the cold, clear water gleams to the taste.
On the table, flour, salt and sugar flow,
foods that keep and stretch
and fill the belly to last all day.
Mice scurry across the floor
and hop up on the big table
to gawk at the evening game-players,
forgetting themselves momentarily
and then startling to the squeals.
Foot baths on the step, warm and sensual,
makes you feel clean all over!
In the morning, the aroma of coffee,
and a child’s dreamy inheritance
of the never-empty pot,
abundant evermore.

Annelinde Metzner

Catskill Farm
July 13, 1992

  The old farmhouse, circa 1860, in the Catskills is just about gone now due to age and recent vandalism.  But the memories and mysteries I learned there from the deeply shared culture of our immigrant family will remain with me forever.  I give thanks for all I carry with me from this place. As with immigrants in all times and places, we knew that we must love and take care of each other in order to survive.

Farm upstairs bedroom with Mom's old vanity

Detail of barn construction

Farm house wave

Brother and sister, Martha and my dad Rudolph

Enjoying a beer on the front lawn

Friday, July 8, 2016

In Love with the Rooted Earth

Small rainbow, Black Mountain

When people see rain, 
it’s “get the umbrella,”
“cancel the game,”  “close the window,”
“my new hairdo!”
When rain comes to the wild grasses
they lay back like expectant lovers,
Gopis awaiting Krishna,
and it’s just the sky changing.
Just the gray massed clouds 

becoming dragons and mermaids,
fragrant with the next field over,
jolly with surfeit of love.
And the Gopi grass hears one, two,
three splats on the head of the drum,
and then party!  It’s Krishna, gaining momentum,
entering like the mayor in the small-town parade,
rolling in rain like the ship had come in,
drunk,  timeless,  out-of-grass-body
and in love with the rooted Earth.

Annelinde Metzner

July 9, 1992

Marsh rain

Blue Ridge Mountain rain