POND WALK Pond blinks, red-rimmed under October cloud-glare, as landscape begins to change. Or that is just eyes grown used to gritty air. But here, freely, widely do the encircling, while water shines or clears of sun-leaves, ripples, swans’ feet. Pass a wine-stained, blood-stained, love-stained vine winding a tree, a melancholy, a potion. Yes and no. Leaves know only their going, not the pacing of minds. Sit on a stone embedded by water. Pick up driftwood birch with its dark inscriptions, but look elsewhere. Hear the greens crackle behind you. Pond wind fans bright, cold coming fire.
Nuances of shape and color when the summer pinks fade are just as beautiful as the variations of autumn colors arriving. Flow out, flow in. Nature offers changing Creative gifts, and we offer our attention in return.
Photos by Me.
With sincere thanks to the gardeners of Pond Street in Jamaica Plain, MA for the artistry of their abundant gardens and their wish that passersby have pleasure.
After a six-day heat wave, any thoughts for an essay-like post are bobbing around my head like semi-cooked pasta. But the poetry is enough of a practice to have things to share.
I think these are two parents and their two fledgling cormorants at Jamaica Pond (Boston), and I’m always thankful to have them in my day. This poem was inspired by a beautiful online-gathering talk “at” the Greater Boston Zen Center.
Bird and Fish
The cormorant intent, curved,
sharp, sewing surfaces:
diving that stitches the city
edges, the open spaces, my faithful
circling of water.
It sometimes arises with
a sliver of fish,
silver arc of gasp that cannot
live, but eaten, still shines
in the wide net of bird.
One day one dive,
one sudden reappearance, with
this, long body of a trout, caught
with unrealized skill, but now, what, so wildly
not to be swallowed. A fish unaware
it lived in water, too blinded now,
too bitten, too big not to pull
both of them under again. Cormorant
then bathes and flutters back
to quiet floating. Fish will be fish
below, being one of those
too much to enter
the gate of bird. Cormorant will eat
later, even later stand with wet wings
offered open to the air. Fish may
remember when water was something
that could be left behind, that would
release. But it may not.
I take pleasure in sharing Creativity I encounter. in our brimming-over world. A couple of things about doing so occurred to me recently. One, I have some lovely photos of local gardens I am just too lazy to sort out of my phone albums. Two, Everyone and their neighbor’s second cousin is putting Creative Work online because we have to, and although the reasons are awful, the results are often wonderful. And three, I’ve never really put my own Creative Work on my own damn blog. Maybe 2020 is the year to let that hesitance fade into the past with a lot of my former way of living.
Actually, I’ve been writing as steady practice, and I’ve been growing. In earlier heydays of my poetry, there was an intellectual quality to the way I handled language and ideas. Buddhist practice has made me want to let go of that type of hard work, to see what happens when I am more embodied and present in the moment as a writer. Yeah, and vulnerable and open, and all that stuff…
The thing is, it’s working, and I like it. I still falter, as I did with a recent poem that originally had a fixed end point and a prettily written lecture to get it there. Turns out it really is a woefully and wildly personal poem , and I’m letting that happen now in the revision, and it’s like riding surf without a boogie board.
So I will share some of my recent work here. Although I have been published in both journals and anthologies, it’s a somewhat big step to put this here without the ringing approval of a poetry editor’s acceptance.
This is a poem I wrote for an artist friend when she shared on social media that her tough feelings about our times were hampering her Creative energy. I hope it brings some uplift. And yeah, I’m going to link you to her work, of course. It is her poem, after all.
Bears in Bad Times
Antique brown bear observes bad times from a shelf,
ears wide, silent, but flourishing its bronze ribbon,
a bohemian tie. Imagine evening, a half-dressed
painter, youthful and intent, the room’s view
a damp canvas, the sky’s blue hour rising.
Another artist, red and green in woods
elsewhere, is photographing bears. Her
bird feeders strain and sink beneath mounds
of starved gravity with long tongues
intruding. Every type of refuge now
seems hollow of all but emptiness. Yet
companions appear, right over there—
the bearings we have lost, the kind bearing
of chaos and grief, and creatures,
too, who are constellations.
Thank you for the inspiration and for your beautiful jewelry, Jen.