Thursday, December 21, 2017

Winter Solstice 2017: The Under Realm

Winter is the time when everything returns to the earth, when the energy burrows deep into stone, pools in tree roots. Down in the cold realms of the dead, everything begins to transform, change. 

The shadows from the realm of the dead like to walk among us in winter. They slip into this world through the seams in stone, cracks in old boards, old snake holes. It is easier for them to blend in during the long nights when even shadows possess shadows. 

They like to feel the cold stone beneath their exposed bones - but they always leave deer and bobcat prints behind, to fool us (sometimes a bobcat is a bobcat; sometimes a bobcat is a spirit from another realm).

I like to think that the dead take on the roles and masks of the creatures and people who fill our dreams. They play whatever part suits them: a man in a Stellar's Jay headdress and wings, a pedestrian in a busy asylum corridor, a teacher monitoring an endless exam, a woolly rhino thundering across the winter desert, a car that has no brakes, a potted plant in a dusty office…

When I think of the winter solstice, I think we have entered a long dream. Dream and reality merge. Which is which? Are we sure we knew the difference before?

Winter Solstice: The Under Realm 

(a work in progress)

A rusted water tank on the side of a hill,
forgotten. Cold gathers beneath it.
                    I tap the side: emptiness taps back.


Cartilage of a guitarfish inside a cloud,
cloud inside the Stellar Jay's eye, Stellar Jay
     inside last night's dream: echoes
                                               of the coming dark.  


A woman slumps on a curb, counts her change,
     repeats the pattern of words in her head:
     conspicuous sedition, sorrowful mechanism,
     reason for the season, reason for the treason…

Someone has forgotten something,
                                                left something out.
She is making the connections that need to be made.


What is silence? The sound of iron, traveling
sun to sun, feeding off pale light.

What is stillness? How black branches weave
the songs of the dead into a red horizon.

What is time? The loneliness of the dead rabbit,
roadside, waiting to step into its own shadow.


Shadows settle on the stones,
       scattered among scrub juniper. They watch
a man with Stellar's Jay head and wings
           pick up a pebble, hold it to the sky.
They can see the fish cartilage folded inside.


Breath hangs in the air: water and salt.
Breath hangs in the air: earth and unwanted thoughts.
Breath hangs in the air: fire and a raven's feather, lost.
Breath hangs in the air, then dissolves.


Last light disappears into the water tank.
All shadows merge.

Light in the Dark.
Dark in the Light.

Have a Strange and Beautiful  

(Solstice blogs from the past, along with poems,
can be found by hitting the "Series" tab above)

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