Friday, July 12, 2019

Prayer for the Wood Thrush

On this exquisite New Moon of May,
the Wood Thrush has returned, exuberant, virtuosic,
casting its heartbreaking riffs 

into the eager ears of the woods.
All nature sounds with her, in its bones, in its sap.
All of us are freed with her freedom.
All of us are catapulted into new ways, new paths,
vibrating down to the quivering spirals of our DNA.
Welcome, darling brilliant wee singer!
Break up for us the frozen overused ruts
that form our cold winter thoughts, our stiffness.
Push us one more step forward into joy.

Annelinde Metzner

May 13, 2010

I search for the sound of the wood thrush, deep in the woods each summer.  Its sound lifts me like no other.   Here is a video and recording of the wood thrush.


Friday, July 5, 2019


Ladino Singer, artist unknown

The three musicians on the stage-
     the Trio Sefardi,
     music of the Jews of Iberia.
Forced out of Spain in 1492, they spread to the diaspora,
     France, Morocco, Turkey, Yugoslavia.
Drifting deep into the Ladino songs,
     I blink and I'm walking a cobblestone street
     in my Medieval village.
Children kick a ball, carry bread dough, fetch water.
     I wave hello and I hear it! 
     I hear the music!
On the village square, three musicians play,
     the lute, the daff, the rebec,
     chanting songs of love and history.
A single word comes to me,
     full, full, full of tears and longing: convivencia.
Hundreds of  years of music and peaceful coexistence,
     Muslim, Christian, Jew,
     here in these cobblestone streets of Spain,
     France, Morocco, Egypt,
     these ancient Mediterranean lands
     where all the faiths lived comfortably, side-by-side.
Enjoying each other, living, thriving,
     the oud, the lute, the guitar,
     loving their common language, music.
     living together in peace.

Annelinde Metzner

June 7, 2019

    In one of the oldest synagogues in America, we heard the Trio Sefardi perform ancient Ladino (Jews of Spain) songs during the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC.  Listening with tears in my eyes, I relive the time of convivencia, a word coined in the Middle Ages in Spain and Morocco, before the expulsions of 1492, when Muslim, Christian and Jew shared cultures and lived peaceably side by side. 

Trio Sefardi at the Spoleto Festival

Daff (frame drum) school

Spanish guitarist, Renoir

School of Daff dance

Monday, July 1, 2019

Highlander Fire

Highlander circle of rocking chairs

"You can't padlock an idea," said Myles Horton,
     founder of Highlander School in 1932.
A place that loved the people,
     looking for the inner core,
     that fire that moves us all
     in the face of domination, injustice, white supremacy.
Here is the quiet circle of chairs,
     rocking, rocking,
     even today shouting the words
     of those who gathered here-
Rosa Parks, Pete Seeger, Septima Clark, Martin King.

"Ain't You Got a Right to the Tree of Life?"
     went the old Sea Island song.
Singing!  To unite our spirits, to strengthen us,
     to make our vision clear.
Learning to connect ourselves, to organize,
     teaching literacy in the far reaches of the land,
     voting rights, equality, how it feels to be free.
Not long ago, March 29th, a fire
     burned down the front office,
     White Power signs painted on the ground.

This is not the first time, and won't be the last-
     but who has the fire, really?
Vicious liars who hate,
     or those who carry the fire within,
     burning, burning
     with the desire for us all to be free?

Annelinde Metzner
June 20, 2019

      On March 29, 2019, White Supremacists burned the main building of Highlander Center, New Market, Tennessee. 
     I took a workshop at Highlander Center in August of 2006 and was agog at the famed circle of rocking chairs where many plans of the civil rights movement were first envisioned.
Trainings were done, hearts were strengthened, and this still goes on today.
     May Highlander continue to help us all, as it has for almost a century!

Housing the circle of chairs

Mural on the main building

Highlander Fire, March 29, 2019

Civil Rights class

Circle with Guy and Candy Carawan, song collectors

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Vine Basket

Path on the ridge

I come for the wind.
At the high edge of Craggy Mountain I stand,
leaning in and rocking back as the wind rolls upward,
tender jewelweed and high nettles all around,
high ridges beyond and beyond.
Today on the mountain, looking west,
away from words and clash of minds,
away from the confounded jangle of yay or nay,
of human will forever at odds,
the wind rises miles and miles up the hollow.
I stand with no questions, with only my self.
I am four years old and someone is washing me.
There is nothing here but the wind,
and I stand naked as I’m able.
Faithfully She bathes me, Her touch firm and tender, 
thorough with years of practice,  
until naught is left but the hum, the drone
of Mother God and Her vine basket,
leaning toward me
with Her absentminded lullaby.

Annelinde Metzner
February 4, 1990

"The Vine Basket" performed at "In the Mother Grove" 2009

    Listen to "The Vine Basket" read by Deb Scott and Becky Stone at the performance, "In the Mother Grove", 2009.   Dance by Helen Hollifield.

    You may purchase "In the Mother Grove" as a CD or DVD on the "Buy" page of this blog.   Thank you for supporting the work of Annelinde Metzner.

Where the wind blows

My vine basket

Friday, May 24, 2019

Sara La Kali

Sara in her chapel

Sara la Kali                                                     

On May twenty-fourth, your feast day,
Romani people in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
pilgrimage to be with You, 
dark Daughter, Sara la Kali.
Immersed in the mystery of the candle-lit chapel,
the people come and come and come,
men in black leather, long-haired women,
ordinary people moved by Your being.
Mournful, passionate with Your love,
a woman’s voice, low, sings with longing for You.
Sara la Kali, You arose here from the sea,
fresh from the womb of the Goddess and God,
carrier of the sang real, holy blood and grail.
They arrive in a hush to kiss Your cheek.
Layer upon layer they dress You in finery,
promises of blessings to all of us in need.
And then on this day, You come out into the world!
Men in black on fine white horses,
colorful flags held high in Your honor,
wade far out into the raging waters,
awaiting Your passage back to the sea.
Sara!   If we had known of You,
Sara, passion of the two great beings,
Sara, love child, Magdala and Yeshua,
where would we be today, our Kali,
our Kali of Europa, born to us all,
and in the white and rushing waters,
swept away.

Annelinde Metzner
June 14, 2012

Today is the feast day of Saint Sara, beloved by all Gypsies, especially in this place where Mary Magdalene was said to have come ashore after escaping from the Holy Land across the Mediterranean.  Feel how every year, the waters roil up when Sara la Kali is brought to the sea.  I view Sara as the daughter of Jesus and Mary.  Some say there is a long lineage there, the "Sang Real," the Sangraal, or to paraphrase, the Holy Grail.

Experience the Feast day of Saint Sara, May of 2008, here. 

Worshipping Sara by the sea

Sunday, May 5, 2019

The Sky in May

I know there are stars,
     galaxies, worlds,
     nebula, planets and moons,
but in this sky, this green, green day,
     there is only wonder.
Only the unknown in this all-embracing blue,
Gazing at Her blueness, I hear Her tales,
     Her ancient wisdom, Her deep knowledge,
     but in a language I do not know.
I am a child at Grandmother’s knee.
Here is the air, filling us with breath,
     everywhere, like the water we swim in,
and yet in the sky of May,
     even as we feel Her
     in the tender winds upon our skin,
there is a magic, an enchantment,
     oh! that our very home, the air,
     is so beyond our ken.

Annelinde Metzner
May 24, 2014

Thursday, April 25, 2019

As Spring unfolds

Wake Robin, blood red Trillium

As Spring unfolds    

As Spring unfolds, thousands
     of newest buds light up like flames
     upon each dogwood branch, each twig.
Thousands!  All lit from within,
     chlorophyll newly opened like a babe’s emerging crown,
     lighting up green on the tips of each twig.
In the woods, the newest Solomon’s Seal
     curls open, leaf by leaf,
     near the unfurling spiral of the fiddle-head fern.
As if to say, “I’m flowing once more,”
     the bloodroot, each leaf a different shape,
     sprouts white despite its sanguine roots.
The Trillium is back!  aware, proud of Herself
     and sure in Her threeness.
Birds in pairs sing all the day,
     impressing one another,
     bedding down in their newly assembled nests.
The Mayapple spreads wide its umbrella,
     dozens and dozens on the forest floor,
     waiting for us, waiting
     for our joy to join their ecstasy.

Annelinde Metzner
Black Mountain
April 17, 2014

Monday, April 1, 2019


Redbud flowers and bee, photo by Ruthie Rosauer

I can’t translate this!  I can’t write it!
It’s spring, my eyes dilate with an ongoing delight,
no end, no end!  Ah me!
Still in April bare grey trees remind me 

that this is no dream,
this everyday, this every new day-
The cherry blossoms, first to bloom,
then scattering in breeze, reminding of snow,
and now today, lush and greener by the hour,
intent on producing sweet red fruit.
Every day, every day, no end!
The hummer’s return, a long, long drink,
fitting for one returned from Guatemala!
Welcome, wee warrioress!  Battle on!
And then, ecoutez!  Welcome the wood thrush,
her deep multilayered melody guiding me back.
Welcome thrush!  Welcome me!
I can’t translate this, I can’t write it.
My eyes dilate, hummers buzz, 

and the chickadee not two feet from me,
cocking and cocking the wee head, 

seeming to want my finger for a perch.
A bluebird, shy as Spring’s first new,
and cardinals, and goldfinch!  A riot of color!
I can’t translate this, I can’t write it!
Along the banks of the river, red bud, 

misnamed in her purple gown,
paints filagrees in the forest canopy, 

here there and everywhere,
suspended in a perfect ballet, sucking my breath away.
The new dogwood, still clinging to green,
not yet ready for the full openness of total white.
I can’t translate, I can’t write.
Pale yellows and greens creep tenderly up the mountain,
a turkey buzzard gliding on the thermal winds.
A great peace relaxes me all along my spine,
up to my tippy-top, my eyes dilate, 

for the everyday of this, it won’t go away, 
tomorrow and tomorrow, hooray and hooray,
here’s my world come back again, 

this day, this day, 
this very day.

Annelinde Metzner
April 21, 2005

This poem and the above photo appear in "These Trees," a beautiful labor of love by Ruthie Rosauer, who photographed trees all over the United States. There are sections on bark, seeds, fruit and leaves, as well as the whole body of trees, and poems are scattered throughout.  Her work is available at

Dogwood blossoms

Friday, March 22, 2019

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.

Boys practice drumming in Cameroon

Dancers on an Israeli kibbutz

Raqs Farqi, belly dancer

Bharat Natyam dancer of India playing Krishna's flute

Friday, March 15, 2019

Shiva Ratri

"Maiden, Mother, Crone" by Tamara Adams

Call and response.
I slip into my alpha waves.....
     "Om Namah Shivayah, Om Namah Shivayah..."
The simple joy of being together
to eat and to make music unto the Gods.
Near me, singing and praying,
two of my healers, my caregivers,
my priestesses who, a year ago,
came to me, fresh out of surgery,
and spent the night.
     "Om Namah Shivayah....."
Seven women came, healers all,
spending the night or the day,
changing my bandages, bringing me food,
going for me wherever I could not go.
So huge their kindness, so heart-felt,
unquestioning of my needs, my vulnerability.
My protectors, my priestesses!
     "Om Namah Shivayah...."
Feeling held and grateful,
I rested, at peace, much loved,
at one with my time on this Earth.

Annelinde Metzner
March 5, 2019

Recently I was blessed to attend kirtan (Hindu chanting) with two women who generously assisted me after my surgery in June of 2018.  I felt so loved, even a year later!
     Thanks to Tamara Adams for the beautiful art above.
     Below is an image of Shiva, the God/Goddess honored by a special day called Shiva Ratri. This aspect of the god is called Shiva Nataraj, the Lord of the Dance, who sets the world into motion each day with the rhythm of his rattle.


Friday, February 1, 2019

Don't Live Here

Grandmother puppet by Lisa Sturz from "The Abundance of Mary" 2006 

Tourists buying postcards on Craggy Mountain never suspect me.
It’s always, “Time to get back in the car!”
just before my long, wild winds come up the hollow.
My winds always precede me.
Folks who have lived here long look for haints and boogers
when they feel me coming near.
But few have seen me. Maybe it’s my hair!
The chokecherry vines that form sort of a bouffant...
I love it when the berries ripen in autumn!
But few have seen me when I creep through rhododendron,
chokecherry and laurel for ornament.
I breathe the dark bass tones of the rhododendron thicket,
my skin like her bark, ancient, enduring.
My breath is in sync with her, unfathomable, unconquerable.
When you step into the dark places of the thicket,
your breath stops.
You’re whirled back to your own birthplace, before time began.
All over my hands are tiny red mushrooms,
rising from moss like a Mardi Gras village!
When you see my hands, you feel as though
you have swum up the bank of a rushing creek,
holding your breath until you emerge.
When you gaze into my eyes, my pupils fade into trillium,
blood-red blooms dangling at the rims, speaking in tongues.
My eyebrows are slow-creeping woolly worms, orange and black.
I float over the hills in a cape of Appalachian flowers:
Jack-in-the-pulpit, butterfly weed, flame azalea, bloodroot,
Indian pipe, chicory, pokeberry, cohosh.
My scent is of millennia of these green beings,
composting, seeding, bursting forth, decaying once more.
When you inhale my scent, you will remember your family.
Generations will array before you
in the distinct garb of your ancestors.
When you breathe my essence, you will fall and weep
at the millennia of lives willing to help you,
sponsor you, give you life.
I carry a staff of mountain ash. Don’t be afraid!
I won’t harm you! though my laughter alone
could squash you into the earth, mere compost,
cousin to the road kills, just another woolly worm.
My staff speaks of power, and that is what you fear,
citizens, tourists, quick-leavers, loud-builders, e-mail talkers.
In the landfills where I wander are your rusted bodies:
freezers, microwaves, last year’s computer.
Decades they require to rust or fade,
the plastic, the alloys, the silicon chips.
And I float to your door. I beckon you and your children’s children
when they wander too far from the flickering screen.
I speak of spice bush, yarrow, ginseng, jewelweed,
sassafras, Solomon’s Seal.
I pull you to the dark where you speak with your soul,
where life takes your breath away.
I make you pine for Life, scream for it.
I hold a mirror to this desire until all else is forgotten,
until you reach for life, until you’ll never give up,
until there on the forest floor we cry, together,
tears of joy.

Annelinde Metzner
September 1995

     I would like to dedicate this post and the gripping reading below, to the memory of my dear friend Nels Arnold.  Her presence at my concerts was unforgettable and timeless.
Listen to Nels Arnold reading  "Don't Live Here" by Annelinde,  performed at "In the Mother Grove" in 2009.  Grandmother puppet by Lisa Sturz from our 2006 performance, "The Abundance of Mary.  (photo above, Norma Bradley.)
      Both concerts of my music and poetry are available as CD or DVD by going to the "BUY" tab at the top of this page.

Nels Arnold performing at "The Abundance of Mary". 2006

Rhododendron thicket

Friday, January 18, 2019

Her Winter face

Her Winter face

She wears Her Winter face.
Cold, cold, cold and clear,
layer upon layer of skeletal trees
lead us up to Her summit.
This is a Bone Forest now,
the land of the Dead.
The air an oceanic indigo blue,
deep beyond knowing.
It is quiet, all quiet,
the people home by their quiet hearths.
She is powerful now, today,
showing Her Winter face.
The clear lapis sky and the unstirring air
offer no resistance to Her divine emittances.
She is in Her element, the Earth,
Her arms extended above Her,
giving, giving us of Her power.
My Grandmother, undisturbed,
goes about Her business, Her divine charge,
replenishing the Earth with Her energy.
Still, She smiles at me.  “Welcome, daughter,
dancing one, my beloved, poet and friend.
Take my warm love into your heart.”
I sit beside my Grandmother, basking in the sun,
grounded in Her giving,
at one with all my Earth.

Annelinde Metzner
November 9, 2012

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Wind Drum

The shaman elder in Greenland weeps and sings into his wind drum
as his Mother, the Big Ice, sacred site of millennia,
shrinks away to dwarf Her former self.

We sing, we cry for Her loss.

In Bangla Desh, rice farmers build their homes on stilts
to avoid the big floods, the rising salty brine
leaving the ancient nourishment of the rice fields
unfit to farm, cakes of salt where rich humus once was.

“We did not cause this!” cry the people, at the extremes of the world,
and at Her center.
But the cause is here, the origin right here,
a gigantic failure of imagination
causing nuclear reactors of eleven billion dollars each
to arise where we might be catching the wind,
where we could be reaching for the sun.

Fukushima’s lessons are set aside,
as if “it couldn’t happen here,”
forging on blindly in a way we know just doesn’t work.

The shaman elder in Greenland weeps and sings into his wind drum.
Here, right here, is where the beautiful world tilts toward meltdown,
here where our children too
will one day scratch the soil and weep,
where we’ve gone too far, where She turns her back and goes,
where this one precious Home shrugs us off like pests,
and turns Her face once again to the rich beauty
we have forgotten to see.

Annelinde Metzner
Fukushima Memorial
March 8, 2012

Listen to Annelinde in a reading of "Wind Drum:"

Click here to hear and see the elder Angaangaq sing with his wind drum, accepting the wisdom of Mother Ocean beside the brilliant ice of Greenland.

Angaangaq singing into his wind drum.

Glacier in Greenland

Monday, December 31, 2018

The Falling Away

December, the biting cold creeps under our shirts and stays.
All of us have given away whatever we could spare.
Brown and crackling leaves, sheets of bark,
molted feathers, old skins,
To the Earth they go!  and we
pull the thick covers around us, and wait.
It’s decaying time, the winter of the year,
the dry and the old falling away to our beloved Earth.
Time to wait, time to gaze,
fix the eyes in the far distance,
fall inward, and dream.
The cypress, old and long dead,
resonates hollow to my knuckles.
She gives away, layer upon layer,
falling down and reaching up with pointed fingers of  bark,
falling more beautifully with each wind, each snow and rain.
And what am I left with when the rain and snow
tear away at me, leaving only what She will?
What fingers do I use to point with grace 

to the blue cold of the sky,
as to each thing I bid farewell?
When the Earth herself is pure, deep, black ice 

down to the roots,
have I what it takes to hold, to wait,
to dream of the deep, and to dream of the turning,
to know what comes next, to hold back, 

to inhale, watch and wait,
let the falling away and the icy stillness
make me more simple, more pure, more austere,  

more beautiful every day?
In the long stillness, seemingly endless,
is there a cell in me somewhere reveling 

in the new spring rain,
the moisture of someday,
the lush rich humus waiting to open beneath our feet?

Annelinde Metzner
December 2008
Meher Baba Center, SC

Here is Annelinde reading "The Falling Away."

Thursday, December 6, 2018


Mountain Laurel

Midsummer sun on raspberry,
the spiced scent of fern, the color of red clover.
There is no better place, 

no holier ground than this.
And what is near you? 

What grows by your door?
How you longed to be here, 

those nine months in the quiet room,
all suspense and expectancy, 

a few noises and bumps.
Your first aroma, new to breathe air, 

was luscious as this:
raspberry, fern, Mother’s blood, 

her milk, her musky skin.
The vision came and went as you gazed.
Here today, 

it’s new green berries tight as Chinese soldiers,
apple leaves against July’s blue,
and darker in the shade, 

the mysterious abyss.
That first day, Mother’s soft face came and went,
and each gaze another joy,
a bit of the immense puzzle 

you came just to experience.
With hunger and thirst, with tongue and lips,
our loudest “yes!” we sing.
Draw to your heart the new life, 

the new places of each day!
Draw into your soul the warm flesh of being, 

her musky skin, her colors.
She is not going to disappoint you.

Annelinde Metzner
July 10, 1995

Below is my reading and piano improvisation of "Rebirth" from my 2009 concert, "In the Mother Grove."