Three fires within 5 miles, two fires cutting off escape, the wind of fear finally abated, I walk with a friend through the char of aftermath. How quickly spurious shifts can untwist old growth. We note a distant glint of green even as sun glowers overhead. Walking through 500 acres of burnt trunks and limbs without leaves, not daring to touch the rough of what is left, we are the delicate ones, the chastened. (c) Gudrun Mouw August 25, 2015
Sometimes, when the body is exhausted,
everything else seems more alive,
the smallest breeze awakens pores;
ears hear what is normally not heard,
and consciousness roams like an errant child
towards a nearby meadow after this morning’s deer.
Sometimes, when there is nothing more
to say or do, a vast field spills from my head
as if to receive native seeds–
lupine, hummingbird sage
and monkey flowers.
Sometimes, content not to go anywhere,
long trails unfold, and my feet tingle with heat
as if engaged on a hike into the unknown;
then, past, present and future collide
as though on holiday.
July 4, 2015
Except for a small candlelight, darkness
hunkers around me like the pit
into which I could easily fall.
Instead, I stand legs far apart, arms raised,
shoulders released, breath moves up. Pointing at
opposing walls, shooting through my fingers,
I can almost see
the electric charge that awakens my cells,
creating an outrageous lift to reach out against
the downward curve of night.
(c) Gudrun Mouw
April 8, 2015
1. He Returns His sound surrounds me, and it is lovely that aimless thoughts do not need to be my friends or my enemies. The red-headed woodpecker searches for soft bark, and I do not have to wait for something else. 2. Rain at Last I move stone and sand around the water-logged walkway. I welcomed the rain. and now I welcome sun. The nature of opposites brightens my neighbor the forest without apology. 3. December Moon After the rain, a clear night shines full moon against the early dark. I open the driveway gate for you. Quickly, a cloud surrounds the white circle with rings of gold.
A quote sent to me via one of my students:
Personalities are born once.
A mystic many times….
I am not Shams Tabriz,
But a light within his light.
The poem reminds me of my teacher who passed over a decade ago. His light continues, and is the same within us all.
I still remember the strong scent of rose when Gurudev, unexpectedly leaving his assigned seat, sat down beside me at a movie premier. Earlier, I had been asked to wait, for a time, before I entered the theatre, finally, just before the room went dark, my name not having appeared on the list. I was later than I wanted to be; embarrassed, I sat far in the back.
To Gurudev, Again
88 years you walked the firm
and the soft
through space thicker than water.
Your father called on your gift
for the rhythm and dance
You planted seeds unknown to me
a tree of gratitude has grown.
November 24, 2014
Poets such as Gerard Manley Hopkins and Emily Dickinson have appealed to me for the metaphysical nature of their work, their innovative use of language and spirit of independence. I admire in Sylvia Plath’s poetry what has been called her “control of intolerable pain.”
Theodore Roethke’s grandfather was a Prussian, as was my maternal grandfather. I was born in the home of my grandparents in East Prussia, and when I met the poet Kenneth Rexroth in the 1970s, he said that my poetry was very “Prussian.” At the time, I didn’t get what he meant by that. However, when I review Roethke’s work, I am still drawn, as I was from the first, by his wry approach to nature as a great clarifying force.
Discovering the mystical poets such as Kabir and Rumi was very exciting for me. They both have the quality of being refreshingly irreverent and, at the same time, intensely spiritual. I find that these mystical poets’ ability to describe the strange and awesome world of ecstasy to be a continuing source of inspirations.