On Poetry and Past

The full moon shines down on us
as I teach you to recline on the water.
I make sure your mouth
never falls below the surface
where the leaves
drown in the moon.

“If you kiss the moon,
it will always be there,”
floating upon the water
where we lay,
hoping never to fall into the moon
but holding on to it
with our mouths.

Hello all! Things have been going so well in our little household, and it’s all been quite the whirlwind. Just before yule, and all in one week, my sister got a pretty big raise, I was hired by a new dance company that I’m bursting with excitement about, and Gent, after six months of unemployment since graduating, was hired by an architecture firm, and today is his first day as an architect. I’m really proud of my little family.

Just after that, we went back home to Alabama, which was a week chock full of nostalgia and family. My Dad had spent the last year cleaning out the upstairs where my sister and I used to live, and had made a pile of things for us to go through to decide what should be kept and what shouldn’t. I found a pile of my old journals, including a journal of poetry I had thought I had lost (including all of the poems included in this post) when my last computer died. But I was ecstatic to find I had handwritten them all. And as I read through them, I was shocked once again to find how I have been a pagan under the surface all my life. I wrote that poem just over a year before I converted. There were others there with a pretty distinct pagan sensibility to them that I just hadn’t ever noticed before. Of course I’m a pagan and always have been–my art has always reflected it.

In fact, the first dance piece I ever made was about the rain. I had noticed that all of my poetry was about the rain, and I had one of my first meaningful interactions with nature while standing in the rain one summer while I was lonely. I watched the raindrops falling on the road, and it was as if the pattern of splashes was coming down in its own language to tell me I wasn’t alone, and to wash away my tears with the tears of the sky.

The rain pulls my tears
down
to the black road,
pools in puddles,
write words of
enduring loneliness
with swift,
white splashes.

The rain dries my tears.

After I made my rain dance piece, it was only a month or so before my conversion.

Our visit continued on, and I got along with my mother better than ever, it being the year anniversary of my outing myself as a pagan. She made a few snide remarks, but otherwise things went pretty smoothly. It was strange to be back around my family and Davin’s for the first time since we’ve been living together full time. It was strange to have him sleep in my bedroom back home all night without a single comment from anyone about how we shouldn’t do that. It was strange to go back to my bedroom with its purple walls covered in paintings of fairies and a wall collage of photographs from high school, to see the pictures of Davin and I in our first inklings of love, to see old friends I no longer keep up with, to see all the things that used to matter to me to which I can no longer relate, like my obsession with ballet and my preference for leotards and pointe shoes, and to see little things left behind, little foreshadows of my future as a pagan dancer: the candles, the flowers, the fairies, the books about nature. And, of course, the book of handwritten poetry.

If only…

These sheets formed the ceiling
of an ocean, protecting our eye-contact
within these endless waters,
and the morning sun shined through ice sheets
instead of window glass and woven cotton,
while still joining your eyes inside mine,

then

your tentacles could hold me to your mouth
until all of the ice on earth melted and
only
the sun left my eyes.

And then it was time to drive home, but Holda had taken control of the Northeast, so we were forced to stay an extra day in Alabama, watching the first white Christmas they’ve had in decades while our own home in Philadelphia was left covered in a foot of snow. Usually when it snows in Philadelphia it rains in Alabama. And so we left our parents at home in the South with the rain and the at-best-once-a-year snow flurries and came home to our second winter in Philadelphia, hoping that this winter will be less snowy than the last, but unlike rainy Alabama winters.

Moving Out

For my father

One winter morning
I watched my father make breakfast
as I told him my dream
of the snow that covered the rainfall, stopped it.
He hugged me when I finished,
and the rain
began to make stripes on the window.
Snowfalls make spots–
not here, only farther,
where dreams become real to me.

Now, the rain is a dream,
only falling where my father and mother
can’t fall in the snow.

When I dream of snow,
make me rain, father.

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One thought on “On Poetry and Past

  1. It is amazing how religion and beliefs work sometimes. You may believe in something long before you consciously realize that you do. For instance, within your poetry, which you wrote long before you became a pagan, you have expressed beliefs of nature and your relationship to the world with perhaps as much or at least equal eloquence to how you view religion and nature today. I find this to be absolutely fascinating, because it begs me to ask if it you that chooses your religion or is it your religion that chooses you?

    I personally do not know the answer to this, but would love to hear your musings on this subject. I have found that I am very firm in my true beliefs. I am saying my “true” beliefs because, as I have grown, my beliefs seem to constantly be shifting or modifying in efforts to understand in title and language what I have maintained as a “true” belief since I was a child. As a child, I would believe and see the world in a particular way, and I did this just because it felt right. It was never in effort to conform to regulated religious norms or definitions; it just was.

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