a Tui in the rain


your black body lands on the green

sunlight strikes
and you flash emerald, turquoise and bronze
white-ruffed like an Elizabethan prince
outrageous elegance in this suburban garden

you pluck a purple berry from the Māhoe tree

I imagine …
you keep a ball of soot and sap tucked under your wing
and on rainy days like these you bring it out
spit berry juice over it and knead it into paste with one clawed foot
ready to make your mark

if I held my hand still
would you slip your beak into my skin
and ink your name, engrave a permanence
a sign of allegiance for the nights when you are hidden in the trees

I imagine …
writing a sonnet to your dark beauty
while I compose, you shriek and chortle
you fill your belly with violet pearls
your white bib staining amethyst
before taking wing to sing oblivious in the secret wood

©clairegriffin2017

quiet rain

in the still morning
quiet rain works its way
down through the branches
one drop embracing another
until heavy enough
to slide off edges and drop from buds
to fall to the green beds below
shaking leaves awake

the bush comes alive
as each small union of sky-tears
leap toward the earth

 

©clairegriffin2017

seedling messages

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If this be the secret runic alphabet of plants – what message does this seedling tell …?

Off and on today, I’ve found myself fascinated by shadows and reflections.

Today is a day of sun and wind and I’m staying inside to play with the light, and to read about the dark places. I’m choosing where to sit carefully – I need the light and warmth. I don’t want my thoughts to be swept away in the cool spring wind, so I’m keeping windows closed.

I saw the shadows cast by this tiny seedling, and I started wondering about runes and secret alphabets and the messages we might discover.

Next step – to consult my book of runes.

Some of the shapes look similar to:

runes

 

gebo – partnership, a gift
• union, partnership – but remember to retain separateness in unity
• the interplay between the conscious and the unconscious (very pertinent since I’ve just started reading about myth and psychology and Jungian archetypes)
a gift of freedom from which other gifts flow

uruz – strength, manhood, womanhood, a wild ox
• termination and new beginnings, life energy released in a new birth
• positive growth and change – may involve passage into darkness, opportunity disguised as loss
• the wild ox carried heavy loads – learn to adapt to the demands of a creative time – humility is called for – learn how to serve

nauthiz – constraint, necessity, pain
• dealing with severe constraint – including the limitations we cause ourselves
• identifying our ‘shadow’ areas (there’s Jung again), including the weaknesses we project onto others – the message being to work with the shadow – recognise challenges as opportunities
• restraint is required – reconsider plans – restore balance – take time to put right the relationship with the self

algiz – protection, sedge or rushes, an elk
• transition, time of new opportunities and challenges – the message being to control emotions during this time
• the protection of the warrior is like the rustle of grass, the horns of the elk – keeping space open
• be mindful, observe, don’t try to escape life through denial

(“The Book of Runes” by Ralph Blum, 1985)

So – what messages were the seedlings giving me?

This is a time of beginnings and opportunities, but not without challenge. Explore your inner and outer self, the conscious and unconscious. Be honest about what you’re experiencing, and be prepared to face the challenges without denial, accept success with humility.

Who knew tiny seedlings could know so much?

©clairegriffin2017

 

 

I never knew

I am lost in your hunger

I have bowls full of honey and figs
salted caramel, dark chocolate, and cherries
but I don’t know what to offer you

its no good showing me your hands
or your bright blue eyes
or the curl at the corners of your mouth
they don’t tell me what you need

your hands are soft, your fingers long
skillful, gentle, strong
they don’t show me what you need to touch
that you want to roughen your skin
with dirt and wood and stone
these hands caress, they gift forgiveness
I never knew
they wanted to be held

your eyes are blue
deep set, astute
they are restless and curious
scanning for beauty and the next new thing
they don’t show me that you want to see
the familiar, and the new, grown old
these eyes can cross a room
they share your soul
but I never knew you wanted me
to see them closed

and I can’t trust your mouth
to tell me what you need
all fullness and laughter and easy smile
you speak of honesty and truth
you’d rather your words hurt me, than lie
you appear to question fearlessly
I never knew you trembled before each answer
I never knew you needed more than promises
kissed into your hair
I never knew you needed to bite through
the skin of devotion
that you needed me to bite back

hold out your hands
that I might take them in mine

close your eyes
that I might watch you sleep

show me your teeth
that I might know what to feed you

 

©clairegriffin2017

summer prayer

out of time / out of place

drenched in sun
heat soaks into skin
warms the blood, reaches bone
flesh swells, hair bleaches

this is no drying, endangering fire
this is lifeforce
entering, awakening

days of sun repeat

beginning to trust
each night will turn to light and heat
blue sky endless
breeze just enough to cool the skin

fat bees fly past, heavy with pollen
cicadas call, birds call
sheep call and answer

the wind finds voice
whispering through tall, pale gum trees

my silence and life’s song
under the summer sun

out of time / out of place

tuning in to nature
ready to respond
ready to become
let the wind move
through me
find your voice
in me

I am open
to the world’s will
and every bug and bird
and bud and tree
and river, rock, and mountain
move in me.

©clairegriffin2017

This was written just after xmas when staying at an old farmhouse for a few days over the summer in 2011. I had been lying out in the sun, reading a book on journaling, in that state when you’re searching for something but you don’t know what it is. I was looking outside myself – I hadn’t yet learnt to look within – but I was getting closer…

This is one of those poems that came very quickly – all except one word. I was stuck on the word that needed to sit after ‘rock’. I puzzled over this off and on – then left it for ages. Its interesting that its now (after settling on Rimutaka for my mihi just a couple of weeks ago – see the previous poem “the heart of this hill”) that mountain seems to fit perfectly. 

Either just before or after I wrote this, I went for a walk along the dusty gravel road – and as I walked round the bend that led slightly uphill – I had a sense of, a desire for, everything to be white. Almost the sense of wedding the land – sinking into, and becoming one with, the land around me. I remember thinking that if the sun was to vapourise me in that very moment – I would be content.

27 December 2011 – completed 16 September 2017.