Monday, January 3, 2011

The Still

The Still

The heads of grain are waving
   under the sickle sun,
     the sun gathered and brought
across the hill to the shed
in the deep woods.

A copper pipe above a boiling vat
  where sun dissolves into a heady spirit. 
Siphons tube it drop by drop each drop
and carry it from fire to air
to throat
to float the head.

In the deep woods
  a root wanders out from the trunk
  beneath a mat of leaves of self
       wanders on and joins itself upon the next
'til every tree in the forest is one
and breathes with one breath.

The autumn and the spring rain
is falling, cells growing
 pebbles living under streams of drops,
   seeping into cracks and flowing
   drop by drop each drop
until they are the sea.

Heat and time
  draw forth the drops to puffs
      to chains of vapor
to clouds and fronts and cyclones
   and fog and mist and
rain again.

Two eyes gaze at two others
   mirrored back a thousand times
      and forward ten thousand
eye by eye. Tongue by tongue
a voice is singing in ten languages
   a thousand same songs.

I pick up the instrument
  and you play.
     A baby sleeps a child listens a woman smiles
and an old man sings along
with feathers on perhaps
or a cigar.

Drops distilled of flesh and spirit tubing
  from one life to another
     back far into another drop of being,
forward far and down, dropping down
to where we stand quiet
 waiting to drink.

    October 2010

Posted for One Shot Wednesday at the inimitable OneStopPoetry

To whom much thanks for featuring me today, and thanks to all who've emailed me, tweeted, or come by to check out the site.

Image: Distillation, by Roxy Paine, photo by Sheila Griffin, courtesy wikimedia commons


  1. you take me back to the hills of Kentucky, then back further to another land - where smiles were melted in firelight and fog required a different kind of warmth...thank you...bkm

  2. I thought the world started when I got here? No?

    What a mind you've got, taking a moonshine still and making it, and the surrounding trees, and the people nearby, a metaphor for timeless connection and continuity. And everything, from where I sit, IS definitely blurry. What's IN this stuff, gal? ;-)

  3. There was a warmth to this stillness...

    What a unique and amazing view this is, hedgewitch...

  4. What a gorgeous and unexpected journey you've taken us on!

  5. Oh I love your work. I keep saying that, but seriously, it is filled with such a natural magic that becomes more addictive with each read through. Never stop.

  6. I cant even find words for this one except that I LOVE it. And I agree with Adam...addictive.

  7. Down, dropping down to
    Where we stand quiet
    waiting to drink

    wow - this is beautiful - the liquor wouldn't even be needed (think i would cut the last line and leave it open..just a thought..) yes - we're waiting to drink - and i just had a glass of excellent hedgewitch this one joy ann

  8. Thanks, my friends.

    @Claudia--I've been rewriting this one all day. I like your idea-- that line was even stranger earlier--it's been giving me trouble since the beginning. Snipped. And better, I think.

  9. "I could drink a case of you" and the breath that breathes flows from here to there from you to me from root to tree and tree to tree. My god, you're amazing! Loved it. Gay @beachanny

  10. I so love "til every tree in the forest is one and breathes with one breath" - so beautiful! - and the singing of "a thousand same songs." So haunting, Hedgewitch. My heart is feasting on everything I am reading this afternoon. This is a very rich read.

  11. Visiting from One Shot. This is lovely. You weave your words beautifully.

  12. This is so beautifully written and I love the pic too. Wishing you a great week.

  13. Such a feeling of 'oneness' with nature in this piece. I'll be returning to read this again.


  14. Beautiful One Shot and what a fantastic piece of art.

  15. Always such a fascinating read. Very nice.

  16. You've distilled some nice images here from an unusual subject. Nice work. Hope you weren't driving while you wrote this.

  17. So well-crafted, innovative--thanks so much for sharing.

  18. Thanks all. Your feedback is always very welcome, and we all know the time and energy it takes to make these rounds is considerable. But the poetry makes it worth it.And those that wander through just cuz they like to read my stuff: (Sherry,bkm,MZ) you r teh coolest.

    @FB You don't want to know.

    @ Adam: well I'll have to stop at some point, but not as long as I'm sucking air--you can revive me with some beans and toast if I start to fail.

    @Gay my favorite Joni Mitchell song--thanks for liking my horticultural stanza.It's actually more or less true, and called root-grafting.

    @Talon--finally, not a sad poem!

    @MonkeyMan--I know--I wish it wasn't in Noo Yawk City--I'd go see it.

    @rToady No, totally disgustingly sober. I'm flattered you found anything in this reflection piece--your own work is in another dimension, and excellent.

  19. the shine captiol is the next county over...but this seems a spirit more distilled...smiles. beautifully said...i'll take a sip

  20. You simply amaze me with your selection of subject matter...and then, without fail, you deliver:

    "A voice is singing in ten languages
    A thousand same songs."

    I love the humanity you have instilled in this piece, and have given rise to new voices. This
    is certainly an unorthodox poem and that makes your challenge even conquered, my friend.

    Thank you always for visiting my site and for your encouraging comments. May your year be one of peaceful tranquility and may your heart always be...still. (Sorry, I could not resist)

    I love the picture too...put bark on the still and it resembles an old oak tree with branches crawling across the hillside.

  21. Exquisite thoughts, very well written! clever and very powerful, i love it and it is taking me places..*clapping my hands*
    i must admit the topic is definitely a challenge to treat,yet you handled it with so much beauty!

  22. I've read this four times, so much to find in this poem. I loved it.

    "In the deep woods A root wanders out from the trunk".

  23. Wonderfully figurative poem,...I love the poetic style you've used, and the marvellous personifications.
    'To where we stand quiet
    waiting to drink.'

  24. I love the journey here, it really works and the rhythm is great, thanks!

  25. I hope the line's not too long - I'm thirsty!

    Nice One Shot!

  26. so the "moon shines" on you here...yeah i know a "pour" joke...was a great feature btw...and as always wonderful poetry to share with OSW..cheers pete

  27. What an interesting poem! You can take dirty diapers and make a poem out of them....LOL!

    I once fell into what was once an old still...the pipes, copper, etc. were removed, but that damn hole was still there. LOL! And not covered over with leaves, filled was evidence of old time moonshine makin'.

    Some absolutely beautiful lines and imagery in this poem.

    Lady Nyo

  28. Those wires, the verse...very interesting...

    Here is my one shot:
    musical whirlwind

  29. The comments should alone tell you how good this is, nice work done here

  30. Fascinating lines that take this in so many directions. Though all so well thought, I love this line in particular > "Back far into another drop of being" ~ quite an impact! Amazing! ~April

  31. I love the circularity of this poem. Excellent!

  32. hedgewitch, your words are beautiful.

  33. inventive, intense and gorgeous-- sense of things evolving, multiplying-- truly beautiful!

    love this:
    Two eyes gaze at two others
    Mirrored back a thousand times
    And forward ten thousand
    eye by eye. Tongue by tongue
    A voice is singing in ten languages
    A thousand same songs.

  34. A feeling, when shared by another, gives everything a sense of oneness.. doesn't it?
    There was something very warm and peaceful about this piece, hedgewitch... I felt very nice reading this poem..
    Wish you a very happy new year, my dear..

  35. Such a beautiful, comfortable flow - rested back into it while reading. Thank you. So many scrumptious bits, one: Til every tree in the forest is one
    And breathes with one breath.

    Love that idea.


  36. this was quite a if I were one of the drops. Really quite magical hedgewitch.

  37. Lovely metaphors of interconnectedness

  38. Stunning images that rise and fall and twist and turn and metamorphose into a universality of thought and song! And so crafted that no word of it is superfluous or unfit.

    Tongue by tongue/ a voice is singing in ten languages/a thousand same songs

    Each line for me to hold a breath. Thanks for enriching me with this poem, Joy! And you do deserve to be featured, to be singled out. I feel honored to know you.

  39. Many boatloads of thanking to all of you for your gracious and kind comments. I appreciate so much knowing what resonates, and that real human beings are reading these lines. From behind the screen here, sometimes it's hard to tell. ;-)

  40. great, vividly realized story-poem. excellent.

  41. I like your Wiccan/Pagan tone/themes, always did find that alluring and you play it well. Not done much, as opposed to Dark/Gothic cliched rubbish, for instance. 'sickled sun' very nice, but much of it is; happily the overall is the best part, as it should be, so you must have done a good job. Personally I'd drop the caps from beginnings of lines (bar following a period/full stop), but that's a taste thing I guess.

    Nice work

    Thanks for your supportive Tweets/comments etc

    Warmest Salad in a cold January

  42. Thank you, Steve.
    @Luke--Glad you enjoyed it. yeah--I never write with caps, or even much punctuation--it's just sort of a reflexive neatening up process when I edit due to going to school in the dark ages--ie, it's a convention and an old habit. I'm going to remove them in this one, as you made me realize it.

  43. This poem was very much "Alive". Your descriptive words brought much animation to the poem. Thank you for sharing.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats