Greenmen

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Greenmen

I already have a greenman:
Old Oak-face, patient and wise.
But this one is younger, merrier:
Birch leaves dancing on a spring breeze.
And though he speaks of mysteries,
They are younger too, from the forest edge
And do not threaten the novice
With dark tales of the deep places
At the very roots of the world.
I will hang this one in the hall,
To greet people, meet then where they are
And seek to draw them deeper.
There is a fragrance of leaves
That hangs in the air
And marks the path more surely
Than any written signpost

The Shaman’s Drum

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The picture above is from an exhibition at the British Museum late last year. The drum is that of a sixteenth century Sami shaman, and is made of a birch bowl carved from one piece with a reindeer hide stretched over it. The paintings on it are thought to be a record of some of the journeys into the Otherworld made by the shaman.

The hair on the back of my neck stood on end when I walked into the exhibition. This drum had been sung to life and it was still singing in the glass case.

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This picture is of one of my drums; it’s made of Alaskan birch, carved into a bowl out of one piece of wood and the skin is elk hide. Inside there are feathers, seeds, herbs and stones that rattle when you move the drum. It’s a mini replica of the Grandmother Drum, the immense cedar drum made for the Grandmother Drum project in Alaska(this drum is seven feet in diameter and sounds awesome) and is about fifteen inches across.

I first started using a drum to meditate with about 12 years ago and I would highly recommend it. Even if you don’t journey in the classic sense, the beat of a drum is very therapeutic. It calms you when you’re upset; it energises you when you’re low.

The drum is said to be the shaman’s horse, taking him/her to the Otherworld.

Where will mine take me today?

For Sandie, a poem

For Sandie, a poem.
 
Spring came in the back door;
Tendrils of green sweetness,
Damp earth and cut grass
Flowing in on a cool breeze.
I'd expected Winter still;
Braced for the blast
Of frosty, sterile air,
I stood and sniffed.
Few signs were there;
The trees stood naked,
Twigs bare and hard,
No swelling of their buds.
But I could smell Spring,
Hear her in the birdsong,
Feel her in the moving sky
Where pink and blue mingled
With rain-soaked grey.
Winter, go home now:
The battle is lost
And Spring is winning.
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I wrote the poem above for my friend Sandie, who lives in Detroit, and who finds winter as depressing as I do!!

 

Dark Waters

Dark Waters

 

My own darkness rises to meet me:

As close as my own shadow and as dark.

No charm, no talisman, no prayer,

No kind words, no good intent,

No strong will, no firm purpose,

No amount of intellect or wit

Can even begin to save me.

Like a wall of water it rolls onward

Vast and unstoppable as the tides

That wash the shores each day.

The water fills my ears near to bursting

And I hold my breath as long as I can.

As I breathe out one final time,

Beyond the rushing waves that cover me

I’d swear I can hear whalesong.

Tree Mandala

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I had a time some years back where I experimented drawing mandalas; well, sort of mandalas. I would meditate for a while and then begin to draw. I’m not an artist at all, and doing these drawings was about freeing something inside me, rather than trying to capture an image or scene. I’d been thinking about trees, obviously, and their place in my life, when I did this mandala.

I used the same design to paint on a medicine shield that now hangs in my study.  I know it doesn’t look like any tree on earth, but then it wasn’t intended to!

Beachcomber

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Beachcomber
 
The shores of sleep last night
Were not of soft white sand,
Strewn with intriguing driftwood,
Magical wave-smoothed rocks
And shining wine-coloured weed
Cast up from the deep.
No. The shores of sleep last night
Were strewn for miles
With the wrecks of dreams,
The hulks of hope
And fragments of fantasies,
Lying like beached and decaying whales.
Some looked whole and entire
Till I peered through portholes
And found them empty, no more than shells.
I would be a beachcomber,
Gathering material for my work
As I patrol this shoreline,
But I cannot work with this.
I will wait till the next storm
Washes the strand clean
Of cast-up wreckage
And leaves me with the flotsam
I can fashion and transform.

Snowdrop’s eye view of Spring..

 

 

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I had to get down on my tummy for this shot, bum in the air, and the soft mud seeped into my jeans and coat.

I have no idea what anyone would have thought, had they seen me but no one was about to see me pratting around trying to get a good photo.

The temperature today was maybe six or seven degrees above freezing but it felt like spring had sprung and there’s no going back now, whatever the weather throws at us…

Can I just say, “Yippeeeeeeee!”

Hate mail…

I’ll never understand people. Never, not till I live to be a hundred and ten.

Today I just had my first hate mail sent to this blog. The spam catcher got it but I check the spam as sometimes it can be over zealous, and I was a bit shocked.

I won’t bother saying what they said, but it’s clearly by some mindless juvenile, who is probably doing the same to everyone he/she can find. The barmiest thing is they gave a link to their blog to prove how much better it was…Obviously no intelligence whatsoever; or wanting to pick a fight.

I hit that most useful of buttons: delete.

But it’s left me baffled about people again. It takes effort to bother sending mail of any sort so why send hate mail? It seems utterly counter-intuitive to me.

It goes back to the idea I wrote about in Love and Hate: love and hate are not opposites at all.  I suppose I should be flattered that he/she bothered, but I’m not. I’m saddened and a little irritated.

Oh well!

Dangerous Age

Dangerous Age

 

I’m at a dangerous age:

Too old to be young,

Too young to be old.

Women like me straddle extremes,

A foot planted squarely on each.

I might do anything:

Run away to Bali,

Find adventure or a vocation,

Or stay home, learn bridge

And buy a shopping trolley.

I’m not done being young yet;

I’m not ready to exchange

My running shoes for slippers,

I’m not ready to cut my hair,

Colour away the silver threads

And save up for Botox.

I’m at a dangerous age:

Are you ready for this?

 

A treasure to share

 

I’d like to share a treasure I found last week( my first week of blogging) that I think may be new to many of you. I’ve been so pleased by my new visitors here and want to thank everyone for coming by and what better way than by introducing you to a blog I think is very special and that I think just about everyone will enjoy. So when you get time, have a look at the following address:

http://retiredeagle.wordpress.com

Fabulous photos and very interesting words!