Sunday, February 28, 2021

Southside Cemetery

 

 

Gravestones in Southside Cemetery, Kenilworth, Asheville NC

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. 
 
  

Southside Cemetery in Asheville, NC











Saturday, February 20, 2021

What She Is

 

Grand Canyon 2003

 

We live in small spaces, working, eating, sleeping.
Do we know what She is, really?
How, in Arizona, She explodes up from the ground
into mile-high red rock, the Cathedral, the Hands,
or She implodes far down into Her own belly,
displaying Her inner self without secrets,
silent, awesome, vast, powerful, infinite?
Or how She riles Her cold Pacific, 
daily washing the Western shore,
turquoise and lapis, 
boulders thrown like pebbles hither and yon,
sea weed and sea lions rejoicing,
whales diving and blowing air as they pass year by year?
North, how She sets forth giant trees,
so wide and tall that each is a world,
each a life for a thousand species, 
Her silence immense and eternal?
And how Her blood, Water, 
crashes over rocks through Colorado,
worshiped by the Hopi, drop by drop,
measured enough to grow corn on the dry mesa
or wild enough to scrub the arroyos clean again?
Do we see how wide She is, how vastly new?
Do we gain that joy She intended for us,
privileged as we are to be Her guests?

Annelinde Metzner
Cross-country road trip

August, 2003 



 

Turquoise and lapis Pacific



The Cathedral, Sedona AZ


Tall trees, Northern CA










Friday, February 12, 2021

This 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.
Dickenson, 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
Wildacres, North Carolina May 2011




 




Elsie picking wildflowers









Thursday, February 4, 2021

Run toward your creative life

 








Run toward your creative life with all your might
even when, and even because, tears stain the very surface,
the fiber of your creative being.

Isn’t this your truest self?
Isn’t this a pristine beach,
more wild than winter, more vast?

Doesn’t the joy breath of your inner life
smell fresher than new-washed cottons hung in the air?

When the long day finally ends,
and I come close to the inner self,
I pull back the veil.


Annelinde Metzner        

June 6, 2006





























Thursday, December 24, 2020

Coming Back Christmas

 

Christmas at Phoenix Cove


One must leave one’s mountains
one must descend early in the day
through ice and snow, fog banks,
ripped up trees and branches helter-skelter,
one must leave one’s silent warm cabin on Christmas
and descend through the trees
down the long grade in fog, way down.
One must leave one’s silent cabin full of fire, full of sadness,
silent, remembering,
on Christmas one must come to family,
come down through the trees 
while smoke curls up through the woods,
come down to help old Tante by her stove,
down to a place with children, with messes,
with pots and pans helter-skelter  in Tante’s kitchen,
where there will be singing and jigs playing,
“Ihr Kinderlein kommet” and the Crist-kindl,
chocolates in tree branches and sooty fingers,
the old stove that pops and moans,
family groaning around the table,
with resentments, accomplishments, aches and pains,
medicines and red wine and forgotten addresses,
all of us elbow-to-elbow, hunters and hairdressers,
poets and plumbers,
day-to-day survivors making do.
One must come in a hurry on Christmas,
come gladly to the loud rooms of one’s family,
full of judgments and kind advice,
full of wariness and unspoken joys.
One must remember to leave one’s quiet warm cabin 
full of sadness
and come down each Christmas, be pulled ma
gnetic 
 to let one’s heart warm again unbidden,
with no plan, just you, and nothing else.


Annelinde Metzner
December 25, 2005
Phoenix Cove 




Star the Cat in the snow
















Wednesday, December 16, 2020

My grief, my 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
Black Mountain

August 23, 2014

     Grateful that this poem will appear in the We'Moon Datebook for 2020, and I will feature it this Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Swannanoa Valley. 
  (Update-  this poem appears this week, December 14 to 18, 2020.)




Boys practice drumming in Cameroon



Dancers on an Israeli kibbutz




Raqs Farqi, belly dancer





Bharat Natyam dancer of India playing Krishna's flute










Saturday, December 12, 2020

La Reina de America

 




Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, all photos by Sylvia Ponce


We honored our Great Mother,
Queen of the Americas,
filling the largest stadium in Charlotte with our joy.
There She was, emblazoned with gold and light,
Her joyous followers gathered in love.
The people danced, children and elders,
sturdy young men leaping and stamping,
bright colors flashing.  For Her!  For Her!
Quietly She gazed as group after group
paid homage to Her with their dances and their prayers.
The men sang, the musicians played.
Tears streamed down my face.
“This is my world,” my soul was whispering,
my roughed-up soul, who had seen such deceit,
my soul who had come face-to-face so recently
with disrespect, violence, viciousness and lies.
“This is my world,” She whispered to me,
pouring from my face in tears,
tears of recognition, relief, remembrance.
Empress of the Americas!
Flags of all colors, North, South and Central,
paraded the aisle with a flourish and a spin, for Her.
Children gazed in wonder, 

shiny black hair beribboned with color.
A man with Her image on his poncho, Juan Diego!
Ready for the North Carolina cold.
“Que Viva la Reina de America!” (Viva!)
“Que viva la Morenita Virgencita!” (Viva!)
Tears on my face, my soul leaping, 

the parade continued before Her,
teenagers with boxes full of roses,
young men leaping, feathers flying,
all for Her, and there She is smiling,
my soul weeping, all of us cheering,
a glad returning to this night for Her,
for all of us, for the beauty of the world,
for the healing,
La Reina de America.

Annelinde Metzner
Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
December 12, 2016







Aztec dancers




School children perform for Her










Carrying Her in a procession









Sunday, November 22, 2020

Water

 

 


 

The graveyard is still, still,
    the quietest I've ever seen.
The Day of the Dead has been and gone,
    and I am here, belatedly bringing flowers.
Slowly the oaks have released their leaves, one by one,
    but Mama and Daddy's names greet me plainly,
    unhidden by the crinkly brownness.
I bring the pure white Christmas flowers,
    and the blood red.
Suddenly I'm pouring out my soul,
    thanking them, remembering them,
    revealing myself, and weeping.
How I miss them!
Their struggles, their troubles, pervasive as my own,
    all of us on this path called Life.
I sit for a spell nearby.
One leaf falls,
    one bright yellow butterfly, all alone,
    zooms by my cheek.
And then water!  A spigot up from the ground,
    fresh, cold water, never before seen here.
I wash my face three times in the icy coldness
    and hold my face up to the November sun.

Annelinde Metzner

November 21, 2020

 

Mom, Dad and niece Emily

 

Mom, Dad and my son Peter

 

Family on the Catskill farm



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Grandmother Oak Speaks

 

 


I climbed the steep dirt road
    behind the old farmhouse,
    the back slant of the roof caving in
    from snow, winter, neglect,
    bricks falling from the chimney.
There I was! in the land of the Fairies,
    the majestic Grandmother oak appearing to my left,
    bending gracefully to the sky.
To my right, my nephew's hunting camp,
    target practice set up,
    and a grill ready for the fresh meat.
I turned back to my Grandmother,
    moss rising greenly from Her massive roots,
    ferns bowing reverently at Her feet,
    Her huge old grey body bending gracefully
    up to the wide-spread branches high above.
I gazed upon Her, and a sparkling city
    rose from Her roots in front of me,
    translucent, silvery, rainbow.
"Let Life be what it is," I heard,
    imagining conflict, sadness, despair.
    The power of these Fairy beings astonished me.
"We promise always to do what We do."
Hands raised, long we exchanged energy.
I touched a small double oak near to me,
    through its own body sending great thanks.
I turned down the hill, bowing,
    and left. 

 

Annelinde Metzner

September 5, 2019

Catskill Farm















Sunday, November 1, 2020

The Dark Goddess in Autumn

 

 

 



Hekate stirs Her cauldron,
     and no one knows what’s in it!
Bits of this and that,
     leaves, worms, cast-offs of all kinds,
     body parts, fears, worries and doubts,
     missteps, blind alleys and yes! a little blood.

Into the dark goes your last-ditch effort,
     your best attempt, your wishful thinking.
     Hekate stirs for you all your crap
     back into the pungent stew of all being.
Toss something in! It’ll end up there anyway:
     miscalculations, hopes and dreams.
Hekate may add a song,
     a howl or a hoot or a bark or a scream,
     eye of newt and toe of frog,
     She cares not!  Doesn’t give a damn.

It’s Her job just to stir the pot,
     break it down, boil it down,
     transforming, regenerating,
     down to the next thing, compost for the new.
And YOU?
Sleep, and get ready for change.
 

Annelinde Metzner

Asheville, November 1, 2014

Hecate is the ancient Greek Goddess who represents the wisdom of the Crone, the Elder.  She will meet you at the crossroads where she waits for travelers, accompanied by her dogs, owls and wolves.

 


 











Sunday, August 16, 2020

She Speaks in Thunder

 

 

Rain over Looking Glass Mountain

 
In the high, cold mountains I feel Her power.
I don't exactly feel safe.
"I care only about your Spirit," She calls
as I humbly enter Her queendom.
Under me, ancient solid rock.
Above me, grey clouds bowing to Her as I do.
All around, the dark woods, the evergreen forest,
deep and unfathomable.
Something in me relaxes, gives thanks.
I do not speak Her language, I only feel it,
acknowledging Her antiquity, a power beyond my ken.
I walk gingerly through the halls of Her realm.
Far in the distance, She rumbles Her thunderous song.
A guy on a motorcycle comes by,
breathless and sweating with fear.
"That was the scariest thunderstorm I've ever been in.
I thought I was hearing the voice of God."
He shakes his head, unsure he would survive.
On my way home, I glance back one more time
at Her high mountain realm,
grey-black and shaking with thunder.
She has given forth an egg, Looking Glass,
A gift made of stone.

Annelinde Metzner    July 26, 2020 

 

 

Looking Glass


 

  





 

Friday, August 14, 2020

Brandywine


Brandywine Tomato

I was after the Holy Grail, so delicious I could taste it.
The golden August sunrays pierce the green canopy,
the air smells sweet,
and I was looking for the perfect tomato!
Mostly bred for shelf-life and good looks,
it seems even the most earnest backyard tomato gardens
fall short when it comes to flavor.
But it's Brandywine time at Joe and Debra's farm!
A garden lovingly tended on the mountain's south side.
Years of stewardship has married them to their soil.
A juicy compost pile in the middle
of the garden whose very design and evolution
is a collaboration with the Goddess.
Debra lovingly croons to the bees,
never taking honey from their sanctuary.
And in this Paradise grows the Brandywine!
Joe has saved seed over decades,
nursing and tending the plants,
and here are the rosy, almost-magenta globes,
bursting with juice and yes! tomato flavor.
He sits me down to a tomato sandwich.  Oh ecstasy!
Two slices of toast, Duke's mayo of course,
salt and pepper at the ready.
Joe slices the fat Brandywine right into his palm.
I'm so ready! I've heard the siren-call
of that big precious ruby
all the way to this mountain aerie, high up on Ballard Branch.
Debra congratulates me, and we all give thanks,
that I asked for and got what I wanted.
I take a big bite, juice squeezing out everywhere,
and I no longer try to contain
my low moans and long, sweet-tart slurps.
The August sun warms my arms
near the niche of the Holy Mother.
Oh Brandywine, how we give thanks!

Annelinde Metzner

August 11, 2020


This is a poem of thanks to friends and farmers Joe and Debra Roberts who foster a whole lot of beautiful plants!


Joe, Debra and Tomatoes




Joe under the squash vines.


Madonna in Her new spot built by Joe









Thursday, August 13, 2020

All We Ever Are

 

 

 

 

                                        

Thousands of years, we have found ways to live
integrated into Earth life, warm, colorful,
artistic, joy-filled, unique to each place.
Each corner of this perfect globe
has its arts, its languages,
its people ingrained in the life of that place,
seeds sprouting in native soil.
Yes, we were born for this!
A daily life of magic, of ingenuity,
creativity, days spent unearthing
the gifts of our soul’s being.

Now I hear, “protect yourself,
shield yourself, be on your guard,”
warnings that seem to make sense for these times,
a natural response to the ugly, the unwarranted,
the cruel, the violent, the unjust.

But here I sit beside the quiet waters,
life still churning within me,
joy bubbling up from nowhere,
and I am on notice:
“I am coming,” She cries,
“and you will see...
Soon I will bring the spring flowers to bloom,
the migrating birds to return to your window.
Regenerate! is My call,
all you who are heavy laden.
Rebirth is our watchword, all we ever are.
Look to the East with Me,
the bright burst of sun in the sky,
and call out to Me with your urgent voice,
your ancient joy and pleasure,
with all the pure love you can wield.”

 Annelinde Metzner

 

The We'Moon Datebook for 2021 has just arrived.  In it, on page 169, is an excerpt from this poem, "All We Ever Are."  I thank We'Moon for featuring my poems and those of creative women from all over the world.

 

Rhododendron thicket
 
 

 

Creek near my home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Mid July






That orange-yellow light,
baking through the outrageously overgrown 

plethora of green,
laughing, ecstatic with the miracle of photosynthesis.
It's mid-July, such an overabundance,
such an all-out fling, a gala of green.
I know it's not long until we fold in again towards Autumn.
But I will stay here!  I will be here, now,
here and now,
where delicate pink lilies bask on the water,
dragonflies zoom with great abandon,
sycamore tosses me her peeling bark,
frogs grunt and croak in the cattails,
singing with all their might,
where berries ripen oh-so-slowly.
A leaf drops, and the water responds,
ring upon ring upon ring.
I am happy in the heat and the mid-July sun,
listening to the tumbling creek,
not needing to be anywhere but here.

Annelinde Metzner
Nels' Pond
July 17, 2020