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

blue

thoughts on the colour blue

I think of water
salt and fresh
rain and wave
spring and snow
I think of tears

the sea is blue
the sky is blue
lakes and rivers and
your eyes are blue

what else?

on my windowsill
my tea caddy, my teapot, a vase
and nestled deep in memory
your willow pattern plates
your cornishware jars
and my eyes and Billy’s eyes
and your eyes
all blue
all together
in a small dark wooden house

blue is the colour of love
and I lose myself
in its deep waters

now, in my garden
there grows borage and thyme
lavender, sage and rosemary
ajuga, hydrangea, lobelia
and delphinium
for years now
I have been cultivating
food for the belly and the eye
for the heart and the soul

it all comes back
to our eyes
the windows to our souls
and all the earth’s water
the eyes of this land
and our blue planet
seen from space
as if the universe was watching
holding one eye closed

©clairegriffin2017

 

 

 

 

 

torn apart

12.02am was a lesson in humility
who am I
to think the earth
could feel my pain
and make the heavens
weep with me

she is not a reflection of my emotions
she is her own sovereign being
and last night she tore herself apart

there is a fury
she has held in check
grief she has suppressed
pain she has denied

last night
all was unleashed
pent up energy released
her heart broken open
and spread before us

there is a madness in her rage
she rends her clothes
and tears her hair
she breaks her own body
and lays it at our feet
she has become a distorted, twisted thing

my beautiful country
you have torn yourself apart
what are you telling me?

we may be homeless
she is broken
we may be confused
she is broken
we may be distraught
she is broken

it may be her only way
to shake free from us

my beautiful country
you have torn yourself apart
what are you telling me?

she has called on her power
the wild pulse of life
to tear open her own skin
to bleed rivers enough
to flood the land
and lay bare the truth

she is not gentle
she is not kind
she is a wild thing
who tolerates us

she is more Lillith than Eve
she is Papatuanuku grieving still for Rangi
she is Persephone rising after slaughtering Hades
she is Mis raging in the wilderness

she is telling us
she owns her body
she owns her pain
and she can cast us off
in a heartbeat

©Claire Griffin 2016

And then came this… just when I was in the heady space of imagining the significance of a rare astronomical event… On 14 November a 7.8 earthquake hit.

I had to face my sentimental wishful thinking, my need to personify the earth as a beneficent mother. She is not a reflection of my emotions. She is her own sovereign being, and this morning she tore herself apart.

The previous poem was put on hold, and this seemed so much more appropriate.

darkness

there is a darkness gathering
beyond the hills
below the trees
behind my eyes

I hear the shadows calling
the night birds
the dark stars

all the oldest elementals
stand together

this is our last chance
to bend
or else be broken

© Claire Griffin 2016

 

This was written a month ago, late at night, just before sleep. I’d been feeling low – and at first I thought the “darkness” referred to that. But as I wrote, I realised I was thinking of the environment, and imagining/sensing a mythic awakening of primal forces standing just out of sight.

I think there’s a connection to “winter wind – green gods” written a month earlier. Perhaps that imagining had naively called something forth, and they did not step back but were still standing with me in my subconscious.

That low, dark feeling stayed with me until the last couple of weeks. I’ve been reading about archetypes, hero journeys and the “shadow” (Jung) – and I’m wondering if the darkness I felt can be explained by some of this. I’ll keep reading. And while I’ve called this poem “darkness” – and I was sensing a warning while I wrote it, as if we were all being put on notice – somehow now I feel hopeful. (It was just after writing all this that I discovered a movement called “TreeSisters” and their initiative to plant a million trees https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcDKjS5gIbM – I think this helped.)

Anyway, this dark mood has lifted now – that might be due to spring’s arrival, blossoms and light and birds circling the house. 6 October 2016)

a deeper impression

my body holds me close to the earth
I’m grounded, weighted
no risk of losing myself
of being overlooked
of drifting away

when I was younger
I was insubstantial
innocent and inconsequential

oh, but I could dance

I could lose myself in the music
it would carry me and I could fly

now walking leaves a deeper impression
air moves to give me space
leaves bend but may not straighten

my body has caught up with my mouth
full and curved
but it is heavy now, and its harder to fly
my hands the only slender thing about me
as they dance across the page

I am present, barefoot
feeling the wild pulse of the earth
light passes over and around me
my shadow stretches and contracts

gravity is drawing me home

 

© Claire Griffin 2016