Morthava’s Kin are Dying

Morthava’s kin are dying,
and they cannot run away.
 
Wild and treed places
in California and Oregon,
Washington and Colorado,
fires burn from lightning strikes,
in Amazonia and Indonesia,
and months ago in Australia,
fires burn because man has set them,
either by careless stupidity or twisted intention
or by environmental changes
connected to human’s
insatiable greed for more and more.
 
Morthava’s kin are dying,
and they cannot run away.
 
Morthava Wellingtonia
is rooted in a special place in Bath,
recently she reached out in her
anger and grief
asking my why –
why are her kin all over
the planet burning?
 
Morthava’s kin are dying,
and they cannot run away.
 
I have no answer to offer this
tall, wise and deeply rooted one
whose shaggy bark and needled
limbs give comfort to humans
and a home to many others,
others we disregard, ignore, dismiss
because we cannot see them,
choose not to know
who live in all trees,
everywhere.
 
Morthava’s kin are dying,
and they cannot run away.
 
Her pain is palpable,
continues to be palpable,
as I open slowly to the cries
and challenges of my tree kin;
as I now allow myself to feel
a pain rooted literally
in those who cannot flee
the fires or the saws,
those whose resident
communities of others
have nowhere else to go,
for they are also rooted
with their tree hosts,
dependent upon the tree
for food and shelter,
as they have been for millennia.
 
Morthava’s kin are dying,
and they cannot run away.
 
No longer can I flee, either,
the truth that humans’
presumed and barely questioned
sovereignty over creation
and its domination
on the use, overuse, abuse
of every resource,
for some are told it was,
after all, put here for us.
 
Morthava’s kin are dying,
and they cannot run away.
 
Our wilful disrespect
for other’s habitats and the wild places
where our own distant kin,
let alone our kin among the other,
found a way of life, a way of being
that is now on the brink of ceasing,
our greed and our reckless disregard,
our selfishness, our arrogance,
place all of us and all
our other kin in danger.
 
Right now, Morthava’s kin are dying,
and they cannot run away,
some places it is happening already.

We see the flame burnished skies,
choking everything that lives within
the fires’ ravaging ranges
and well beyond – shock.

We read that rust furred orangutans
trying to find food when their
forests are gone are killed
for trying to survive
as their world disappears – shock.

We are told that if we cleared 
the leaves, dead trees and brush
off the forest floor,
so it would resemble a city park 
with as much biodiversity,
then there would be no fires – shock.
 
Still, still we resist what deep down
we know is that it will not be long before
we will all know what
Morthava’s kin know now,
that there is not running away,
we have nowhere else to go.

To avoid confusion, I should have noted (see Lorna’s comment below and my response) that Morthava is the name that particular tree gave me to address her. Usually, those names are kept between the individual tree and myself (in this case she also allowed me to tell my husband since it is a tree that is also special to him); however, this time given the magnitude and severity of the situation that direction/understanding was waived by the tree so that I could share her message.

Road Kill Speaks to Me

Yesterday, we went on a rare venturing forth to the Willow and Wetlands Centre no too far from us to get a couple of baskets. On the way, driving across the Somerset Levels we passed two creatures who had met their ends in road accidents. They were both young animals in their first, and sadly, last year.

We came across the badger first, in the middle of the road. The energy/spirit of this poor creature was still hovering around the carcass. As we came towards it, she gave me her name. This often happens and, when it does, I know that there is a service that I can perform. Using her name, I gathered her energy/spirit and together we went to the portal for badgers entering the Summerlands. Once there I made my request known, to open the way for her to cross through. The portal opened and arrayed before us were numerous Badgercestors who called to the young one and welcomed her to the badgercestral sett. I nodded my thanks and I returned to the car where I had been sitting and which had moved on.

Not long after we came upon a squirrel. This one was harder as his energy/spirit was resentful and angry, his energy was running around his mangled body chittering and scolding as his tail swayed in the wind on the roadbed. This one I called to me and quietly told him it was time to move on. That’s when a terrible grief and sadness came upon me. He stopped being angry and became still. Then his sadness broke like a storm. He lamented that he never got to live his first autumn, never got to build his own drey, never got to cache acorns, never got to plant a tree.

It was so terribly sad to hear all this regret wrapped in such small quivering bundle of energy/spirit. Using the name he gave me I finally scooped up his energy/spirit and carried it to the squirrel portal to the Summerlands. Following the same procedure as with the badger, I called to the Squirrelcestors who bid him forth to them with gentle calling. They assured him he had a place in the squirrelcestoral drey and the that there would be tress to plant in the Summerlands, for that is what squirrels do there.

As I removed myself from these experiences, I offered thanks that I am able to offer this small service to the little furred and feathered ones who lose their lives on the roads, thanks I am granted to know their names and use them to help them move on. I record all of these names and at Samhain remember them.

Late in the Afternoon

Late in the afternoon,
sitting in a shady garden spot,
watching the bird feeders,
it seemed like Heathrow
with all the swooping and gliding
in for landings on the perches.

The little ones,
flittered and swiftly darted
from and to the small protective tree,
before making off to a farther bush
carrying their dinners of
sunflower hearts
to nibble away in peace.

I counted eight different
kinds of tits and finches,
missing the robins, blackbirds,
corvids, woodpeckers, collard doves,
and wood pigeons
who also frequent the feeders
or scrounge the ground beneath.

What struck me most
in the stillness and silence
of the late afternoon
was being able to hear
the beating of their tiny wings,
single birds fluttering,
the soft whoshing and wha-wha,
not so different except in
volume to that of swans
flying overhead or geese.

In the distance,
swooping almost beyond
the range of seeing,
the swifts chittered
swished through the sky,
and a lone buzzard rode
the thermals in lazy arcs
as the evening began
slowly gliding to steal
the late afternoon’s warmth
and herald the ending of another day.

The Lammas Fire

The Lammas fire now
will ever hold
the energy and memory
of my Wyntre Cat.

It was so appropriate
that on day of Lammas last year,
and done all unknowing
by those at the pet crematorium,
a fire was lit for you
to free the final ties
that might still have bound you
to this life
though you had five days
earlier you bravely
sauntered through
the Pearly Catflap
and met your catcestors
who led you to their feasting hall.

The Lammas fire now
will ever hold
the energy and memory
of my Wyntre Cat.

On the anniversary
of your crossing over
Purfling Cat spent part of the day
snoozing in the spot outside
where you died in peace,
though she was not there
and could not have known
by any marker of our understanding,
a tribute though, I wonder,
which gave me comfort
that long sunny afternoon.

The Lammas fire now
will ever hold
the energy and memory
of my Wyntre Cat.

I have more than once
shed tears for missing you,
your murmming, merranging and neowwing
the loss of which has left
a strange silence in our lives,
which your two sisters
have not seen fit to fill,
as I give thanks
for the eleven years
you graced my life
and gave me your companionship.

The Lammas fire now
will ever hold
the energy and memory
of my Wyntre Cat.

 Wyntre Cat whole cat

Right Now

Right now,
this very second
both as I write these words
and as you read them
political, social, cultural
structures are being undermined
and destroyed.

We know not what we do,
for it is occurring
with little thought
as to what will replace them,
once the flames fanned by
discontent, frustration, anger
have abated and what we
once knew rests in ruins.

Those demanding changes
do not appear to have a path
forward through rubble
beyond the demand that
the status quo is no longer
tenable and what has been
must not continue.

So . . .

So . . .
Why is it so difficult to remember the days
before they all began to blur together,
the days before the lockdown,
the days before mandated isolations,
the days before we would not go
out to the beach,
out to the nature reserve,
out to lunch,
out to be with friends?

So . . .
Why is it so difficult to remember the days
when we took freedom of movement for granted,
when we took going to the shop unmasked for grated,
when we took being anywhere at any time for granted?

So . . .
Is this some sort of mental or psychological mechanism
to shield us from the challenges
caused by the abridgement to movement,
caused by the rampant running of an indiscriminate virus,
caused by the wondering what life will look like in the future,
or if it is even possible to imagine future any longer
the way it had been before
the knowledge that Covid-19 will not be the only contagion,
the knowledge that our fruits and vegetables harbour microplastics,
the knowledge that our planet is virtually beyond redemption?

So . . .
I sit and ponder
what it used to be like when so much of this was out there,
but I just didn’t realise how bad some of it was,
and that it is getting worse.

Meadow Browns & Bumblebees

The merry dance of meadow browns
continues unabated
rising in clouds of delicate wings
fluttering amidst the blossoms.

Foxgloves are the refuge
of the bumblebees who
can only sneak a sip of these nectars,
and claim the catmint,
for their usual haunts
of oxeye daisies, scabious and red campions
are full of other feeders.

The summer sun calls these
delicate creatures forth
in profusion this year
bringing a smile
and gladdening the heart.

Meadow Brown and Oxeye DaisyMeadow Brown and ScabiousBumblebee and FoxgloveBumblebee and Catmint

THE GIFT OF RAIN

The air is perfumed
with the gift of life-giving rain.

The earth is moist
with the gift of life-giving rain.

The plants are restored
with the gift of life-giving rain.

The evening’s feathered choristers
sing thanks for the gift of life-giving rain.

As the clouds separate
into clusters of golds and greys,
parting to allow the night blanket
to cover the land in its velvet
full moon softness,
the place I call home
goes into the hours of darkness and rest,
refreshed and renewed.

It was long in coming
and after the arid days,
I welcome the gifts and blessings
the rain bestows upon the land.

Tooting My Own Horn

This is a slightly different blog, because I’m sharing places to find my writings that others have published.

Recently, The Deep Music: Offerings for the Awen was published. This is an anthology containing three of my poems, previously unpublished, and a short essay. You can order it here.

The jacket blurb reads:

‘This anthology is a collection of the writings of contemporary awneyddion. Those who have have heard the deep music, followed its call to Annwn, where the awen is breathed into them by the gods, and returned with their own songs.’ The other contributors include: Greg Hill, Catriona McDonald, Angharad Lois, Bryan Hewitt, Lorna Smithers, Cat Heath, Rhyd Wildermuth, Charlotte Hussey, Kevin Manwaring, Hazel Loveridge, Sithearan NicLeoid, Lia Hunter, and Hilaire Wood.

Last week, a story of mine,’The Unexpected Bearer’, was published in the Spring 2020 issue of Shorts Magazine [it’s free]. Just click on the magazine and it opens.

These are the first of my writings published by others in a long time, and it’s been very gratifying see both the book and magazine.

My Twenty-One-Year-Old Self

My twenty-one-year-old self looks down on me,
watching from the wall across from my bed,
as I sleep and waken,
follows me around the room,
leaning out from her canvas home,
curious and enigmatic.



I wonder sometimes what she thinks
of the life I have made in the forty-six years
since she was painted,
a time and a life committed
by brush, oils and skill
to be a wedding present from my father,
when according to him at the time
I looked like everyone and no one,
too young with too little of life lived
to make my features have
the unique signature of self
only time can grant.
 
Sitting here with her looking down on me now,
on the anniversary of that marriage
which failed after a quarter century,
I wonder what will happen to her
when I am gone,
I who leave no descendants,
no one who would want a portrait of me;
but I shelve these musings
choosing instead to wonder
about the life I’d be living now
had I not changed my name,
not been divorced two times,
gone to university at eighteen
instead of thirty-five,
not answered the call to leave
the religion of my birth
as well at its country.
 
For I can see shadows of those other lives
lived surely in other places,
and perhaps on other planes,
from that which I inhabit now,
lives with descendants perhaps
to carry her forth along
with my genetics.
 
I look at her watching me
perceiving no judgement 
sensing no disappointment,
feeling no regret,
rather there is acceptance,
without resignation and the acknowledgement
life has its twists and turns,
that there are eddies and still pools
in the flow of time as well as
raging torrents pushing one onward,
for the trajectory of being is complex,
and the algebra of the heart
and the trigonometry of the soul
remain mysterious.
 
What I make of the life
I have created for myself
by the paths I have taken,
the doors I have either entered or closed,
the decisions and choices I have made,
whether with my heart or with my head,
whether wise or foolish,
each have led me here
to a place my twenty-one-year-old self
there and then could never have imagined,
where my sixty-seven-year-old self
here and now can have a silent conversation with her,
with that me, any time that I desire,
and in those moments find a sense
of continuity transcending there and then,
where place and time
no longer matter for in the flow
of being all are one.