Friday, April 21, 2017

I Have Sworn to Protect Her






"Healing" giclee by Autumn Skye Morrison




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


As I turned the page to "December 2015" in the We'Moon wall calendar, I came upon an excerpt from my poem above, with fabulous art by Autumn Skye Morrison.  You can see her wonderful giclee, "Healing," as well as other art pieces at her website here. 

     I send out my poem once more as a prayer, to add to so many others, for divine wisdom to come through.  Prayers especially for those traveling to the Climate March in Washington DC to speak out on behalf of Her and all of us.  May we all protect our Earth, our beloved Home!!   May we love Her more and more each day!!




Delaware River, Margaretville, New York
  






Sacred mound, Blowing Rock, North Carolina


















Thursday, April 13, 2017

Praise House






Praise House on St. Helena's Island, South Carolina



Blessed with a tour of the Gullah homeland,
St. Helena’s Island, where freed slaves
were given each ten acres upon emancipation,
we wander with Robert Middleton, our guide.
He names each place:
“This is Frogmore, this is Scott, this is Land’s End,”
as we pass from one wide-open community to another.
The Gullah people love color,
and the old frame houses, even the trailers,
are painted yellow, pink and blue.
“Everybody here is one family.”
Robert, on his ten acres,
gave a homeplace to each of his children.
“I can holler to ‘em from my front yard.”
Down a long oak-lined road we ride to its end,
where Robert says, “and here’s the Atlantic.”
People come to walk on the stony beach,
and swim when the tide goes out.
“They’d bring the slaves here in a boat,
and just unload ‘em,” he says.
All that grows here is African:
the okra, the tomatoes, the fruit.
When the white owners “skedaddled,” after the war,
land was left to the weary slaves,
and freedom, the first in the nation.
At the Penn School, two white women came
to live up on a little dirt road,
and brought reading and writing, forbidden in enslavement,
for children so eager
they’d walk six miles to school in the rain.
“We teach the young people not to sell their land,” 
says Robert,
a legacy of Penn School’s wisdom.
Gazing into the deep, lush woods lining the roads, I ask,
“Did you ever heal with herbs here?”
“Used to,” says Robert, “we had all we needed.
Didn’t need no doctors.
Life-everlasting tea with lemon,
sassafras, pine gum, elderberry and garlic.
My grandma cured a snakebite with frog blood!
Just stuffed it right in there,
and bound it up good.”
The last stop on our tour,
the white clapboard Praise House,
the last one, preserved by the side of the road.
Every community had one.
“We’d go there to solve our problems,” says Robert,
“trouble with the young ‘uns, money disputes, conflicts.
We’d go to the Praise House so as not to call the law.”
I peer in the window of the tiny house,
a pulpit and four wooden pews.
“Robert, was there praise here too?”
“Sunday nights, Tuesdays and Thursdays,” he says,
when it was too far to walk to church.”

Step it, step it, step it down.  Remember me.
Step it, step it, step it down.  Remember me.
(a ring play of the Gullah children.)


Sing, shout, circle and step.
The praise house.

Annelinde Metzner
St. Helena's Island, South Carolina


    I met Robert Middleton at Penn Center on St. Helena's Island, South Carolina.  This is a place rich in history, where a school was created for local Gullah children, which was forbidden during slavery times.  It became a center of the Civil Rights movement and is now devoted to the history and culture of the island.  I am very honored that my chapbook, This Most Huge Yes, including this poem, is going to be offered at their bookstore. 
      I ended this poem with a song, in italics, which I learned as a music teacher, part of the musical legacy of the Sea Islands.



Robert Middleton, with Sue Ann Metzner



"Here's the Atlantic"




Live oak tree with Spanish moss



Penn Center