Thursday, April 5, 2012

SpaceTime Maternal


Pachamama


Space Time Maternal

She watches, cat-eyed, resting each palm
upon a lioness, hawk upon her shoulder
bridge between the worlds, guardian
of the dead, mother of the unknown.
She gives; sky rain, cloud 
and corn, laughing children,
the woman within who beckons,
the women without who tend,
her milk, her blood, her spirit, her infinite time.
She asks little—a stronger arm, a tribute of flowers
a kiss of music, a few
words burned on her blue flame.

There is life behind her dancing
and so the harvest comes.

She stands guard over the people
gazing across burnt centuries
encircled by fearing forms
far futured from her
but her children still and sees
the endless games of self
rolling inward, a diseased ocean
poisoning itself beneath a dead moon
digging and lying for what they can rape
the strong arm only raised to grab,
the quick spurt of seed,
the slow goodbye.

There is soul behind her working
and so the sun still rises.

She gives much, but to serve her
they must give more, 
abandon the illusion
that there are women other than she
purpose other than hers
plans that can counter her
divine chaos.
But those who give nothing
gain nothing
from the pride they keep.

There is mind behind her movement
and so the claw comes down.

They fight with a cold flame
the darkness of their own making
the darkness beyond any making
and when the fear is great
call on her even when her name
has been forgotten.
From between her thighs she answers them
with life ongoing, ever constant, 
mice in the shadows, hawk on
the wing, making the circle
until the time she
is abandoned.


There is death behind betrayal
and so the earth goes dry.






February/April 2012


Ankara Muzeum B19-36

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Kerry's Challenge:The Oral Tradition 





Process Notes: I've interpreted Kerry's challenge rather liberally, and my poem assumes that an oral tradition back into antiquity is speaking in continuum to modern ears.I've blended various aspects of three goddesses at least in this, the Native American World Mother of the Inca, primarily a fertility goddess,  and the Anatolian Mother Goddess figure found at archaeological excavations at Çatalhöyük in Anatolia,Turkey, a Neolithic settlement dating from 7500 BC about whom nothing is really known, but thought to possibly be an ancestress of Cybele, Greek and then Roman mother goddess,fond of all things and places wild, who among other attributes, had both a eunuch consort(Attis) and eunuch priesthood.




Header Image: Pachamama By Quechua Culture [Public domain], 
Footer Image: seated Female Figure,Ankara Museum By User:Roweromaniak (Archiwum "Roweromaniaka wielkopolskiego" No_B19-36) 
via Wikimedia Commons



22 comments:

  1. I had chills as this unfolded, after the slow goodbye, the soul that keeps working. The twist of the spiral is painful, but on she goes. I love especially thinking of the thought that there are women other than her, as an illusion. This poems works very well for me, as a timeless evocation of how we are connected, and how hurting anything or anyone on the planet harms us all. Great work.

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    1. Thanks, Ruth. I'm glad that sense came through, as this was rather a confusing one to write--product of reading a bunch of different myth details, trying to fuse them to the central idea of the planet and her wayward children. That verse I think grew out of the Cybelian preisthood, men who adopted the feminine in attire and habit(as well as becoming eunuchs)and who had a sort pf bacchant orientation.

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  2. Hi Joy--this is certainly a great poem for the prompt (and without the prompt). Such wonderful word play - encircled by fearing forms
    far futured from her, the spurt of seed business with the greed, the sudden and so vivid appearance of the (humble) mouse--great rhythms too, and urgency.

    One question I had relates to punctuation - something that, as an attorney, I tend to get hung up on. It really decreases as the poem moves along. In some ways this reads like a beating drum, the language and clauses getting faster and faster, although there's a little confusion too (for a literal reader) like me, particularly in the stanza about the women and the purpose and the divine plans--I feel like in that one it would be helpful to give us at least an extra period--maybe after "chaos." I don't know--you have the capitalized "But". (This is the kind of thing I fixate on, and maybe it's the effect you want--there is certainly an urgency about it--I felt that in that one place it seemed more problematic, but I am not sure.) K.

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    1. Thanks, K. I write with no punctuation at all, then edit some in. I was asleep on my feet when I posted this and it has very little post-writing revision. I did think that section didn't needs as much--the first stanza I stuck in a bunch of commas because it was confusing without, but I agree, if I'm going to capitalize But, there should be a period on the sentence before it. Glad you enjoyed and were still able to make some sense out of it.

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    2. Ha. Well, I did enjoy and made a lot of sense. I've just got punctuation drilled into me--though I'm not that great at it. But I am very in favor of its use for my own work because I use a lot of enjambment, particularly in formal poetry, sonnets, villanelles and such, and I don't want the reader to stop at the end of each line. I am concerned that if I don't highlight the stopping places they will always pause at the line end, or not know when to, etc. It is particularly important with something like a villanelle when you are trying to mix it up a bit to give some direction through periods or commas (I think.) Otherwise it's all just so tada tada tada. k.

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    3. Of course, your work is not so tada tada tada plodding to begin with, so doesn't matter so much. k.

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    4. See, my philosophy is that the line break functions instead of a comma--a natural pause for the eye, but then, the joining to whatever follows is still there, more subtly than a comma, so you can read either way. I like the ambiguity. I put commas and periods only where I want a full stop. But I take your point about form poetry--it often is hard to enjamb and expect the reader to flow along smoothly without a good dose of punctuation. And thanks--I don't think I'm good enough at meter for the tada tada stuff, so that's more luck than skill. ;-)

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  3. nice hedge....enjoyed the read, but got to bolt out the door...will be back in a bit for a more thorough comment....have a great day!

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    1. No sweat man, you did a million comments the last two days--take it easy.

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    2. There is life behind her dancing
      and so the harvest comes

      is the first place this grabbed me...i wonder if all or any gods feel the same as they look down on their creations...maybe even wonder where they went wrong in these games of self...

      love the almost prophetic end to this as well...the world running dry, ironic that MIT predicted today the next major recession from shortage...

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  4. I was reading about Aruignician culture of the Upper Paleolithic the other day, and the point was mad that the emergence of the symbolic deities (like your tubby Venus, above) coincided with the hardest, most vicious glaciation of latter human experience. The clime where these Cro-Magnons flourished became impossibly packed in winter ice. Fat was the sole key to survival, lots of it, as a food source and most vital well of life. So the natives packed on the pounds in the summer and fall, gobbling as much as they could. Why wouldn't a door to survival look like that woman? And the mythology of life -- of enduring -- is larded with a thick symbolic matrix that a freezing starving mind can wrap around and feed on as the great winter passes. You draw it out so elaborately and comprehensively here, the primal deity who's bourne is both behind and (maybe) forward, as we remember the myths and find nourishment in them to keep on keepin' on. The three two-line stanzas are perfect buttons for each stanza and wind the poem entire. We know now the magnitude of what we've lost (that "betrayal"); in a raped environment, the days can only burn. Is there no way back to a happier future? - Brendan

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    1. It was the implacable look on her face that got me(probably due to erosion, but still) She was found in grain stores and shrines with a food element so your premise sounds very valid. They aren't even sure if she was a goddess, or just a charm for fecundity as you say, but she has...a presence...that went with my thoughts here. I think there's a way back, but it means service and surrender to the planet's needs, and you tell me how likely it is that 'the strong arms' will follow it.Thanks for reading B, and sharing your thoughts.

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  5. loved how you separated the verse with two lines... really gave a punch to the progression of the piece

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  6. I got excited just looking at the pics, and reading the process notes. Now off to read the poem :)

    These words tap in to the primal rites of womanhood, back in the day when the world was matriarchal and centred on the fertile womb. So much has been lost over the centuries, which you show so effectively in this piece. As I was reading, I thought of certain music videos, wherein young girls are pawning their goddesshood for cheap thrills. It's good to be reminded that feminine reverence was once a way of life.

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    1. Thanks Kerry--I haven't read yours yet, so as not to influence mine, but I look forward to it as I love what you're doing with your Africa series.

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  7. There is soul behind her working
    and so the sun still rises.

    So many lines in this echo after reading. These two in particular. The whole poem kind of wraps around me as it builds. Then, about 2/3rds in, it unwraps, sits beside me, and wants its presence to just be felt.
    Excellent, soulful writing. Thanks for posting it!

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  8. Wowzers, this is a tale well told. Riveting, in fact. "a diseased ocean poisoning itself beneath a dead moon"........so apt it makes me shiver. "the slow goodbye" and earth going dry at the end. Fantastic writing, Hedge. Whew! Love your process notes too.

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  9. Liberal interps are generally the very best kind.

    <has never birthed any babies. ~Mary

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  10. A cautionary tale indeed. I especially liked

    "But those who give nothing
    gain nothing
    from the pride they keep."

    Truer words were never spoken.

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  11. Well written Hedge. I specially like the first stanza but these lines resonate with me:

    She gives much, but to serve her
    they must give more,
    abandon the illusion
    that there are women other than she
    purpose other than hers
    plans that can counter her
    divine chaos.

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  12. Nicely done. It truly does serve as a warning.

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg