this imaginal space – draft pt.viii

there are nights when you are invisible
and imagining where you are when the sky is dark
is the beginning of all our fireside stories
while I wait in this imaginal space
I shift beyond the tangible
into realms of intuition and myth

darkness turns to light
and every time you return you affirm my trust
the endless cycle of renewal is the beginning of love

 

©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)

winter wind – green gods

winter wind
blows in from the north
bringing mist and cloud
to lie low over the hills

and as the wind shifts
green gods are revealed

the thin mist is swept apart and
mythic trees step forward
out of ancient times
to stand for a moment
in the present

before the wind turns
and they walk back into the past

© Claire Griffin 2016

the visitor

fantail1-223

the decision had recently been made to leave
but the heart was torn apart, and still struggling to accept it
standing alone in the centre of the square kitchen
the inside light was subdued and everything quiet and hushed
bright afternoon sun shone outside, the back door stood wide open

a fantail entered
flew silently around the room
and then calmly back out the door

it felt as though time had slowed to a standstill
barely breathing I turned following the bird as it circled the room
feeling both highly aware and slightly stunned
recalling the meaning given to visitations like these
but still, welcoming it, feeling chosen
aware of what I was seeing, how incongruous it was,
and what I was sensing
space and time expanding with every wingbeat
then contracting as the bird left
snapping back to the pace of a heartbeat and the blink of an eye
the wild world had crossed the threshold,
had stepped in to my time and space to be present with me
it was an affirmation, a reassurance

and ever since
I’ve kept the door open
the thin veil pulled aside
an open invitation
and ready for my own departure

 

© Claire Griffin 2016

photo by: D. Mudge
image sourced from : http://www.doc.govt.nz/

 

the earth shifts

The earth shifts –
moving
she stirs to wake me.

This air I breathe –
is your breath.

This land I walk –
is your body.

All that time away,
the image of this land burned
on the back of my eyes.
I saw nothing –
but through the after-image
of mountain, lake, forest, river, sea.

Here now, whole again,
to read the map of my land
to walk my own path.

                 I would be one with you.

© Claire Griffin 2016

We had an earthquake last night –
and I remembered this poem,
written after the first earthquake I felt
after my return to NZ from the UK.