Lost and Endangered Species

Yesterday was Endangered Species Day. Here is a poem I wrote for the occasion two or three years ago. Perhaps some of the endangered ones are not all with us anymore:

Ritual for the Greeting of the Lost and Endangered Ones
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

Before you cross the threshold,
remember to greet the guardians of the place.
Step to the center of the circle.

Stand still and silent,
watchful and waiting.
Close your eyes and you will feel them all about you:
soft breath, whiskers and feathers,
cool sinuous scales and rough bristles,
hints of movement like the whispers in a dream.

Turn to the east, to the birds, to the wing-folk,
turn to the flying ones, feathered and beaked ones.
Feel the sky darken as Passenger Pigeons fly over.
Hear the maniacal bark of the Laughing Owl,
the whistles and chuckles of the Carolina Parakeet,
the caw and the clamor of the Hawaiian Crow,
the deep distant drumming of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker.
All these, the People of the Wind, gone now. Gone.

Turn to the south, to the mammals, the fur-folk,
the ones who run with the fire of the sun in their blood.
Here is Celia, last of the sure-footed Pyrenean Ibex.
There, standing silently like shadow,
the West African Black Rhino.
And there, sliding down the riverbank,
the Japanese River Otter.
This one, the Eastern Cougar, stealthy as dream.
That one, the Formosan Clouded Leopard.
All these, the People of the Fire, gone now. Gone.

Turn to the west, to the fish, to the fin-folk,
turn to the gill people, swimmers and divers,
the people of moist places, the people of bogs.
That sleek gentle head over there in the water
is Baiji, the dolphin of the Yangtze River.
There is the fluke of the Atlantic Gray Whale.
Shimmering in the cool depths,
the Blackfin Cisco, the Galapagos Damsel,
the Blue Walleye, the Gravenche.
In the swamps and the wetlands,
Holdridge’s Toad, Golden Toad,
and the Cape Verde Giant Skink.
All these, the People of Water, gone now. Gone.

Turn to the north, to the reptiles and insects,
turn to the cool ones, the scaly, the earth people.
Larger than a boulder, there is Lonesome George,
the last of the Pinta Island Tortoises.
There, in coils, like a great rope,
the Round Island Burrowing Boa.
This lizard–the Jamaican Giant Galliwasp.
The Lake Pedder Earthworm,
the Polynesian Tree Snail,
the Rocky Mountain Locust.
All these, the People of the Earth, gone now. Gone.

And wandering in brilliant circles and meanders
in the sky about us, but not yet within the circle,
bright orange butterflies, the Monarchs,
and Honeybees, droplets of sunlight
zipping through trees. And others, too, not yet gone–
the Pangolin and Mountain Gorilla,
the Hawaiian Monk Seal and the Island Fox,
the California Condor and the Amur Leopard.
All these, the next in line, the ones on the brink.

As you step out of the circle,
look to the air above you,
see the Bald Eagle wheeling on the wind,
the Peregrine Falcon diving toward earth.
See the Wolf, the Bison, the Bobcat.
These are the ones who stood on the brink,
who wandered back to the woods and the wildlands,
who walked away from that veil and returned.

Now we must shift. Now we must change.
Now we must make a new way.

Will You Answer the Call of Love?

A shadow is a kind of reflection.

Today’s Prompt is to write a correspondence poem. Mine will be about the elemental correspondences with the cardinal directions.

In the east, the birds are singing the day awake,
the breezes whisper through the branches,
and all the bells are ringing.
Inspiration flies in on golden wings.
Weave, spin, and cut the threads
with a two-edged blade of finest silver.
What is being born in you?

To the south, the sun is burning,
and that which came to you as woven light
begins to kindle and flame up.
Life force surges all around you,
and you feel your own fires rising.
Nurture the burning within you.
What is calling you to dance?

In the west, the creeks and brooks
tumble over stones and sand and clay,
on their way to rivers and bays and oceans.
Now is the time to listen to your heart,
to flow with the feelings that stream
through you and around you.
What is the message of your heart?

To the north, the wolves are howling,
where caves are hidden in the boulders.
The roots of things travel fathoms deep,
and earth is a solid base for your footsteps.
Your body is your home, and you must tend it,
listening for echoes from within the earth herself.
What holds and supports you?

Move to the center and feel the spirit swirling,
the place where wind and flame,
water and stone meet and quicken,
where animating breath meets life force,
where heart meets head, and stone becomes flesh,
and the Beloved calls you to Become.
Will you answer the call of Love?

Trick or Treat

We got a late trick or treat start, so I didn’t get the obligatory photo in their costumes (we’re going to make them dress up for a photo shoot today or tomorrow), but here’s a pumpkin carving photo. Barn shadows are stunning in these autumns afternoons.

Gratitude of Resistance Seven:
This national ritual of blessing the children. That’s really what it is. Yes, it’s too much candy. Yes, there are sometimes pretty bloody images. Still, what we experience as a family every year on Halloween is genuine neighborliness. People sit out on their porches and smile at children, give them treats, tell them how great they look. And we folk who come from dark country roads into well-light towns are always welcomed as neighbors. This is my vision of America. We ought to have more door-to-door holidays.

May we walk in Beauty! Won’t you be my neighbor?

Honest Anger

Gratitude List:
1. Grocery Shopping with Jon. It felt sort of like a date.
2. How things come together sometimes when they seem like they won’t, and how that space of uncertainty is often where the magic comes seeping in.
3. Rituals of healing
4. The power of stories. We watched Nanette last night. Hannah Gadsby has some of the most powerful reflections on the importance of story that I have ever heard.
5. Hot Tea on a chilly evening

May we walk in Beauty!

Seeking a Homeland

Handsome Sachs in a sunbeam. He has recently acquired the nickname Gunther.

“We are all of us seeking a homeland, even though we have only seen and embraced it from afar. We are all of us strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” —Frederick Buechner
Love is not something you do; love is Someone you are. It is your True Self. Love is where you came from and love is where you’re going. It’s not something you can attain. It’s not something you can work up to, as much as something you allow yourself to fall into! It is the living presence of God within you, often called the Holy Spirit, or what some theologians name uncreated grace. You can’t manufacture this by any right conduct. You can’t make God love you one ounce more than God already loves you right now.” —Richard Rohr
Danielle LaPorte: “You might have to face your own sadness and empty places as you wish for an other’s sadness and emptiness to be lifted. You will have to acknowledge your interconnectedness, which is particularly difficult when you are moving on. You will have to face your disappointment head on — and what you see might burn your eyes.”
“Love is where you come from and love is where you’re going.” —Richard Rohr
“I have two daughters.
Their names are Memory and Loss.” —Beth Weaver-Kreider (after Eavan Boland)
Rob Brezsny:
“You and I and everyone else in the world talk to ourselves constantly. The conversation is mostly silent and covert, however.
As a result, we get away with abusing ourselves; we assail ourselves with mean thoughts that we’d be far less likely to fling if we actually spoke them aloud.
Now might be a good time for you to break this bad habit. In fact, I’m going to officially declare that it’s Speak More Kindly to Yourself Season.
For best results, shun the usual telepathic communion with yourself. Instead, say every word aloud as you carry on your dialogues.”
Terry Tempest Williams. from Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert:
“I write to make peace with the things I cannot control. I write to create red in a world that often appears black and white. I write to discover. I write to uncover. I write to meet my ghosts. I write to begin a dialogue. I write to imagine things differently and in imagining things differently perhaps the world will change. I write to honor beauty. I write to correspond with my friends. I write as a daily act of improvisation. I write because it creates my composure. I write against power and for democracy. I write myself out of my nightmares and into my dreams. I write in a solitude born out of community. I write to the questions that shatter my sleep. I write to the answers that keep me complacent. I write to remember. I write to forget….

I write because I believe in words. I write because I do not believe in words. I write because it is a dance with paradox. I write because you can play on the page like a child left alone in sand. I write because it belongs to the force of the moon: high tide, low tide. I write because it is the way I take long walks. I write as a bow to wilderness. I write because I believe it can create a path in darkness….

I write as ritual. I write because I am not employable. I write out of my inconsistencies. I write because then I do not have to speak. I write with the colors of memory. I write as a witness to what I have seen. I write as a witness to what I imagine….

I write because it is dangerous, a bloody risk, like love, to form the words, to say the words, to touch the source, to be touched, to reveal how vulnerable we are, how transient we are. I write as though I am whispering in the ear of the one I love..”

Gratitude List:
1. Dreams full of cats. Tortoiseshells: fluffy ones, really short-haired ones, ones that are mostly white, with tortie spots, ones that have streaks of white here and there. Third night of animal dreams, each time remembering the dream because I am awakened by a small furry person licking my face or purring in my ear, or walking on my head. I think Thor is something of a Dream Companion for me. The first night he came to us, he awakened me from a nightmare.
2. A gloriously cool fall day
3. Going to the book sale and Steam-O-Rama with the family
4. Wise and compassionate friends who model thoughtful and respectful discussion
5. Layers. A glosa of a glosa. Harmonies with deeper harmonies. Fractalization.

May we walk in Beauty!

I Come, I Go

A quick trick rock stack.

For the month of November, I have decided to move my writing time to the time before bed. I will use my more wakeful mornings for the tasks of grading, use my more reflective evenings for writing and gratitude lists, and use the whole day to consider the poetry prompts at Robert Lee Brewer’s blog for the Writer’s Digest.

Today’s prompt is to write either a come or a go poem, or both.  Here’s my attempt, trying to get at some of the tension I feel when overwhelmed by lots of work, and unable to give the rest of my life the attention it requires. Composed in the shower.

I go, I come.
I’m gone, then home.

I’m home, My Dear!
Not there, not here.

My restless soul
is everywhere.

I try to rhyme.
The words won’t come.
There isn’t time.
My brain is numb.

I want to stay.
I want to roam.

I come, I’m gone.
I go, I’m home.

Gratitude List:
1. All the colors of the maples. The fires of autumn.
2. Shifting habits and rhythms and rituals. Changing it up to shake it up.
3. That sandalwood soap, so richly-scented and lathery and heartening.
4. Blessings. The real kind that people pass to each other.
5. Clear water from the spring, with lemon and lime.

May we walk in Beauty!


Filling in the tiny grave.

Our sweet little Afil Hamster died yesterday.  We are all sad.  I have known some pretty calm and friendly hamsters over the years, and Afil is probably the sweetest one I’ve met.  She would sit still in the crook of an arm to be petted.  When she was out running in her rolling ball, she was always underfoot, following the people feet around the house.  Rodents don’t look you in the eye in quite the way cats and dogs do–they don’t have time for that–but it seemed that Afil could stand the briefest moments of eye contact.

Jon laid her out on a bed of moss in a little box, and we buried her in the bare spot where the beehives were.  Both hives died over the winter, which is another great sadness, so it felt apt to put our little Afil there.  Children have a natural understanding of ritual and ceremony.  It shouldn’t amaze me anymore.  They knew what to do.  Plus, they like to dig, so there’s that.

Such a tiny creature, but she held such a big place in our hearts.  I’m going to miss those bright black eyes, and the little sneezy noises she would make when she woke up to get our attention, how she would climb up into her loft to wait for one of us to open her cage door and pick her up.

Gratitude List:
1. The small furry people
2. Rituals
3. Bees.  Bless the bees.  May other hives and colonies flourish.
4. Three yellow crocus.  Some years no yellow ones appear, and sometimes one or two.  This is, so far, a three-bloom year.  They’re a deeper gold than the sunny aconites.
5. The way you can see the sap rising in the trees down at Flinchbaugh’s Orchard.  There’s a new vigor and color to the limbs.

May we walk in Beauty.

Wait for the Story

2011 June 227

Today’s prompt is to write a ritual poem.  This is one of my favorite words.  I love internal preparations for sacred and holy moments.  Here is one pathway inward:

It’s a room that you enter, a space you create.
Settle your roots: down, down and deeper,
raising your branches out into starlight.

Breath first, the winds and the breezes,
scent of the morning, shelter of dawn,
many voices calling, whispering, singing.

Feel your fire rising,
energy lifting your spirit like flame.
Burn.  Let desire be the fuel.

The river flows through you, around you, within you:
quiet meandering, raging through rapids.
Gaze deep into pools for the answers you seek.

Stand firmly on earth.  Let it hold you and shape you.
Enter the cave which leads to your center.
Rock is your reason.  Soil is your mentor.

Enter the labyrinth, spiral to center.
You come to the crossroads, the meeting of pathways:
Rest in the shadows.  The story will find you.


Gratitude List:
1. Play
2. Work
3. Song
4. Art
5. Well-being

May we walk in Beauty!

Rainbow Dragon

Gratitude List:
1.  Powerful Community Rituals.
2.  Collaborative art (the piece below is one Ellis and I started several weeks ago and finished coloring today)
3.  Breathing in and out
4.  Courageous Discussion
5.  The way scent is connected to memory.

May we walk in beauty.

2013 March 168