Thursday, November 25, 2021



Mayon volcano, Philippines

is a kind of ash
that blows in volcano wind,
falling opal feather-scales hissed
off by fire-snakes that coil
their islands in the sea,
all we have left perhaps
of rocky miles of ore and gold
stacked heavy in earth's shadowbox
melting in pressured flux
spit out to lift a mountain
from the core. 

~November 2012
Reposted from 2012 for Thanksgiving 2021
at DVerse Poets 

Happy Thanksgiving to All 

 55 serpent feathers for  the absent g-man; grateful always
Shared under a creative commons license
Footer Image: rendering of Yaxchilan Feathered Serpent Diety, byEl Commandante
public domain, via wikimedia commons 


  1. Nice one
    Happy Thursday


  2. I really like the way this bites — very much.

  3. I love the idea of gratitude as ash, which of course gives fertile soil. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  4. I'm reminded of those lines by Rilke about stretching out yourself between the widest of contradictions so that the god may know itself in you ... Gratitude as firebeast residue - "opal feather-scales" -- a skin shed by the Ouroboros which vomited the world -- the mind stretches far to conceive. Giving back what shrieks? Do all fine things come this way? Is such violence a grace? Would a bottle of tequila help, or should we just go for the worm and be done with it? A tantalizing god, for sure, and a kickass 55.

  5. Soft as ash in a quiet moment, or cataclysmic and violent in a moment of profound relief, gratitude has its degrees just as other emotions do, and yet, there is a reason why gratitude has been called the aristocrat of emotions. Here, you have blown all those treacly "gratitude" poems we are served with each year high into the sky in smithereens. Well done.

    I am so glad you are keeping Galen's memory and the 55 alive, dear BFF.

  6. ". . . spit out to lift a mountain from the core." Lovely.

  7. A very powerful and thought-provoking analogy. Love it.

  8. Joy,
    Your words "coil" around me, "fire-snakes" themselves, showering "opal feather-scales" of gratitude for the seen and the unseen, at the core of our existence. In this short poem, you have mined gold, a heart of thanksgiving. Hope you are enjoying the Thanksgiving weekend.

  9. I love the cyclical nature of this poem, and the concreteness of it looking like the internal workings of a volcano spiralling upward. And then it all comes full circle at the end too with everything coming back to the earth then being expelled again. Gorgeous! My favourite lines:

    "of rocky miles of ore and gold / stacked heavy in earth's shadowbox".

    Not least the image of the hissing fire snakes coiling into the sea! You can just see them being disturbed by the earth's rumble.

    Happy belated Thanksgiving, Hedgewitch :-)

  10. I love the sense of power from the volcano, and tying that to gratitude is brilliant. Especially the end with moving the movement... but if we cannot move the mountain we might have to go there (like Muhammad )

  11. This is beyond powerful! I am especially struck by the image of "earth's shadowbox."💝💝

  12. This poem intrigues me. With so few words you have given me much to think about.
    I am especially drawn to the beginning, "Gratitude
    is a kind of ash" and the end, "spit out to lift a mountain
    from the core."

  13. I too admire how you paste a picture of ash adjacent to the word gratitude. which i suspect rhymes with platitude for a reason.

    glad to be back reading you. sorry to have been vacant. ~


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