Poetry of Space, Place + Time Poems
CAJAS | ECUADOR
I lost myself in you,
your shadowy mists,
your icy falls.
The wild winds blow + whistle –
this magical, haunting land
of Mother Mary sightings.
Your desolation a perfection so full,
greens of so many subtle
varieties never seen before.
You pull me out of and into
out into this wild wind,
this hungry, untouched wind.
A desert of mountains so
perfectly empty –
so perfectly full.
Most pass through your peaks
and crags with a careful
eye on the guardrail.
I am seduced to throw
myself off your edges
as I count your hundreds
I long to be dust, wind,
moss upon your perfectly
To be absorbed into your
changeless face of
shadow + light.
I will rest here.
I will soar here.
I will become permanent here –
melting into your wind –
worn rocks with face
turned up to the kiss
of your mist.
This poem was written on a car ride through El Cajas National Park in Ecuador. It is a section of the countryside closest to the high mountain town of Cuenca. The elevation is 13,550 feet/4,310 meters, and it features 270 lakes and lagoons. They look like pieces of broken mirror scattered all throughout the flanks of the mountains and valleys. The back road where this poem was written is apparently a little sketchy to drive; it is said that there are bandits, so even Ecuador natives tend to stay away, but all that was experienced on the road was absolute quiet except for the voice of the wind. It is a truly magical place on Earth.
BHARAT KALEIDOSCOPE | INDIA
You are not fixed.
Impossible to capture,
your escapable essence
darting away –
a flash of silver
in the impenetrable
perennial dusk of the deep sea.
Pop of shocking electric orange –
stacked fruit amidst
the faded piles of trash.
Exotic hawks wheeling
above impossibly packed
Shrouded figues wrapped
like corpses dumped
at the beneficent feet of
Totally different –
it has never felt so new and so old,
so completely alien.
Peacock feathers float by
like some strange dream.
like sand slipping through
you refuse to be pinned
Your center –
a hidden machine in a box spinning on one corner
like a cyclotron –
explosive power as yet
How can the sacred and
profane exist like this?
Everything seems divine –
the starving dogs,
the street children layered
in years of grime, white
teeth flashing like headlights,
the professional meditating
next to the pile of trash,
the boy pissing at the bus stop.
You are so polluted, but
so different from the twin villages outside
Guayaquil on the road to Cuenca
where the garbage is just garbage
and the starving dogs are tragic.
a kaleidoscope that won’t
Fire from friction,
jewelled colors in improbable
Constantly changing –
an energy in whirling motion.
Pinwheel winds and the
most profound inner
silence ever known.
A messy, chaotic, exotic
party cocktail of microbes and saints.
Drink down the cocktail,
inhale the noise,
lose yourself to the crazy carnival,
and the boundaries fall away.
In the seductive dust and
in the melting piles of
garbage that almost
beg for virgin hands to
plunge in up to the wrists,
in the celebration of
secretion and elimination
and all that is human
in glorious oblivion –
We are one with All,
All are One.
Impossible Bharat Kaleidoscope,
you will remain elusive –
just beyond the fingertips
of understanding –
until the last sighing of breath,
and as my eyes widen
in my final moment,
I will look upon your face,
and I will know you.
Written while riding a bus from Delhi to Agra, India
22 COUNTRIES + 22 GROOVES
We’ve travelled the world of 22 countries –
Alaska the only unvisited blank spot on our US home map –
and we’ve ended up here.
blissfully at rest.
For how long, who knows?
But so far, so good.
We’ve got grooves tracking through this land.
Not deadening ones of rote repetition
of rote repetition
of rote repetition
of rote repetition
that saps the soul of adventure.
Good ones of expectation
etched in the vinyl –
shaped into the vista of a favorite song on a beloved record,
mapping a completeness we didn’t expect to find here.
A treasure map of territory
hidden from view in plain sight.
If people knew,
everyone might be here.
We’ll keep it a little secret, then,
But, actually, no.
Not in this land
of the inclusive spirit,
the welcoming arms,
the feisty fighters for all that is fair,
so we’ll share the map of the grooves
and ask the world in.
This poem was written and selected for publication in Burlington Beat in an edition dedicated to celebrating the City of Burlington, Vermont. The first part tells a bit of the tale of arrival and landing in Vermont after a lifetime of traveling to 22 countries. The second part features a hand-drawn map and accompanying “legend poems” charting some favorite routes and spots in Burlington and surrounding areas.
PINE OVER CLIFF | VERMONT
Among the diminutive ones,
you roar –
Over cliff of rock,
you become mighty ponderosa,
I imagine Buddha –
then Christ –
sitting under your majesty.
Lost, and found,
in the heavens.
A tiny touch of heaven,
Dixie Ponderosa Pine.
Anchored in this ground
towering over this red cliff
of this small rock
surrounded by this ocean of stone.
A still life harmony
transformed into mighty moving weather.
Elfin conifers, towering trees.
You stand at the center,
axis of the world.
This poem was written to accompany an MFA project exhibit by Words + Art founder, Mary Wemple. The assignment was to write a poem about the experience of planting a tree (planted especially for the exhibit). The Poartry Project had just designed and planted a Japanese-inspired garden that includes 7 new trees. We chose to write the poem about the little Dixie Ponderosa Pine.
SECRET HOKKU | ARKANSAS
Morning rush is sun
Rising over rock vista –
to kiss dark away.
Ancient boulders crouch
Clinging to majestic cliff,
Poised to take flight.
They wait still, so still –
When no one looks, they take wing
And tell their stories.
Sun, I fly with them
As orange gently tears dark
And color deepens.
Last dark gets darker –
Cold night soft-banished by fire
Lighting mountain top.
Deep glow turns to blaze
As valley unfolds herself –
Boulder flings off cliff.
TWILIGHT PEAK | COLORADO
Exhaustion blurring our vision,
we almost drifted off the road
as we rounded the turn
on first of its kind.
A glowing peak,
so filling the sky,
so almost out of the range of our sight,
so still, so quiet, so alive,
it literally caught the breath
and kept it there.
Glowing electric white
against the darkest, deepest blue-purple
the world could see,
Twilight Peak surprised
in its total solitude.
Hidden in the curves,
stealth over Durango,
invisible on the map,
so unexpected, it made me tear.
As we stopped in wonder
in a dangerous way
on a curve that no one would
travel that late at night,
A shooting star –
massive, almost in front of the car,
filling the window –
literally seemed to hit the road
not 30 feet away.
Impossible to understand or process.
In all our travels,
we had never experienced
our breath stolen away.
A HOLIDAY PARABLE | ADIRONDACKS
“Mr. Mayor, I must protest!”
“How, now, Madame Supervisor? What’s your interest?”
“Tis not enough that the Redcoats try to take over the post?
Now, we must abide this golden storm to play the host?”
Quoth the Mayor, “Of what storm do you speak, M’Lady?”
“Dear Mayor, are you truly serious? Do you not witness behaviors most shady?!
Dear Sir, how can you not see the clouds of unruly Golden Crown usurpers –
Small, yet mighty, even nudging out the Redcoats!? We must defend our borders!”
The Mayor, a peace-loving public servant, pondered deeply beneath his black cap.
“Hmmm. Hahhhhh. Ahhhhhh, I see!”, upon which realization he delivered himself a slap.
“My dear lady, I have been busy filling the town coffers and, truth be told, my copious belly
as with my age, I feel the cold much more and my frigid muscles, they do quiver like jelly.
In my narrow focus and the many years of peace,
I do believe I have become soft and accustomed to ease.”
“As Territory Supervisor, I must be aware of our borders.
The Redcoats, whilst newish, have caused minimal disorder,
but these Golden Crowns are too much and must be disposed!
To you, Sir Mayor, I must insist, What dost thee propose?”
“Oh, Mr. Mayor, Madame Supervisor, down here, down here!
I know I am young and inexperienced and not your peer.
But I could not help but overhear your quandary.
I question the dilemma in the midst of our plenty.
Have you conversed with the Golden Crowns?
Have you supped with the Redcoats?
Have you consulted with our neighbor towns?
Have you crossed over the rivers and moats?
‘Tis the holiday season, the time to share,
‘tis the time to welcome if others’ cupboards are bare.
‘Tis the time to succor the weary traveler to rest his bones.
‘Tis the time to throw doors open to all of our homes.
After all, all we have is thanks to the care of others,
so I would share our wealth, if I had my druthers.
If the feeder becomes empty, what we have becomes moot
and as the Redcoats and Golden Caps, we would needs follow suit.
So in this time of snow, why not give what we horde
and distribute out all that by custom we have stored?
I have seen that when our hearts we do allow to flow
and our vast and mighty riches we happily bestow,
The two-legs attend to our houses and stock them with seed
and we never find ourselves in a position of need.
With generosity, the Chickadee Kingdom then will be secure
and Cardinals and Kinglets will, in friendship, be more demure!
With plenty shared for one, multiplies plenty thus for all
and under this law of sharing, no kingdom then with fall!
This poem was written for a holiday event at an assisted living facility in the Adirondacks that used to be a tuberculosis sanatorium hosting many famous figures, many of them writers. It is a parable about the Law of Sharing and Abundant Exchange, which is one of the fundamental operating principles, laws and realities of the world of energy. When we give unconditionally for good with no expectation of return, the energy ecosystem responds abundantly. As it has been written, “For those who give all, all is given so they may give again.”
GUEST POEM | LIVING EARTH by ANI RAO
Emerald green sparkling leaves spiraling towards the sunlight.
Raucous laughter with the splash of water droplets.
Effervescent, fragrant, sentient, teeming with life.
What gay melodies the gentle breeze brushing brings through you, woodwind.
Breath is life.
Green and violet blossom-ing.
Let shine the light of day reflecting its splendours.
Love by many names are the colour of its dance.
Blue shimmering vistas,
Burning red sand cool to touch.
Grass clippings, lemongrass scent in the air,
Mud squelching underfoot the elephant’s toes, clay.
Kaleidoscopic life encased, enriched, brightened, harmonized.
Universal sound reverberating through the ripples of time and space and ethers.
Shape and organize ‘heaven’ and earth through your music.
Millions upon millions of cells synchronised in movement,
Chorus of singing, chirping, hissing, purring for connection and play.
Speed of the jungle, watch the leaping panther catch the sunlight.
Sonar, super sensing energy fluctuations.
Banded together family and friend their flags.
What splendour and marvel do you reveal of your world beyond the gaze of human eyes?
The strongest of the strong, carrying the weight of spirits in solidarity and bond, grain to grain.
Bending and reflecting light and sound.
Shapeshifter, master builder, smiling silently when talk queries the alive.
Solid as a rock, good as gold, silver lining.
Children of the Sun and Earth, spanning the arcs of distance and time.
Travellers by a riverbank catch eye of a pair of silvery scaled fish, singing a melody.
They hear the song — listening by ear, sensing its texture, seeing a vision — and to its musical notes they build a house.
Building then resting.
Remembering again the song and again building… finished.
For years filling the house with laughter and joy and dance and love and play.
One day returning to the spot.
They hope to hear those fish again.
By that very same spot they hear singing again, this time a different song,
Just as beautiful.
A fisherman singing and drumming on a water pot.
They hear the song — listening by ear, sensing its texture, seeing a vision — and to its musical note they begin building a house another.
A sphere alight on mission, co-trekking a path, ever in view of the watchful Sun.
Visioning, ahead a story of magical love.
Collaborating, co-creating, in production.
Composers, conductors, orchestra, directors, producers, camera persons, actors, technicians arrive on set, cast from across the cosmos and from within.
Lights, sound, camera, action!
Week of World Cooperation: 2019 March-Spring-Autumn Quarter
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Our Debut Voicing Art Book
Voicing Art: Poetry of Space | Place | Time
is now available!
Poetry inspired by works of art, the art of nature and the exploration of beauty, perception and insight through the cartography of the unseen.
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