A collection of poetry, forthcoming!
Originally shared on a private online poetry journal with subscribers, from June 2016 through January 2017
Each poem in this collection comes fresh from my physical journal pages (with a bit of editing of course!) and my best efforts to enact poiesis in my life as the verb (from the Greek) that it truly is—to do or to make; a doing and a making aligned with the doing and making of the wiser, older, beyond-human world. Of the way things are. Of alder trees making leaves. Of rain making pools. Of thrushes making eggs. Of time and tectonics making stones.
As the poet Robert Bringhurst writes in his essay Poetry and Thinking, “When words do what blossoming apple trees do, and what stars do, poetry is what you read and hear.” And in his The Silence That is Not Poetry, “In writing a poem, as in building a boat or fixing an engine or mapping a river or treating a broken heart, we give ourselves to something else, which is not us. To do so helps to make us whole.” Poetry is beyond language, but it uses words to allow the embers of being to kindle through us, that we might gather them in our pockets and warm ourselves with the remembrance that all things are in us, and we are in all things.
In Old English, the word for poet is scop, connected to the Old Norse skald, with the implication of both seership and also the verb scapan, which also means to shape, to create, to form. To scope the shape of things that are. I offer these poems to all of you as my humble journeyings down the path of poiesis, scampering after the caravan of the Green Language, a term used among Renaissance alchemists and mystics to refer to the Language of Birds, which was thought to be a divine and mystical tongue in which all true knowledge could be articulated.
Here is a sample of the first poem shared on A Green Language, and its accompanying film!
All day the lost marsh grasses move under the wind
across the headland hills you can see wet ground
by the green and dance of what grows there, bending like light.
All day the wind comes in from the ocean the waves
are white and what has not moved in me since daybreak
goes loose at last across the hills. It smells of sea
and the little feathered artemisias and
I can see that the way I have been weeping all day,
tears that are also from elsewhere from before I
was born from the stars shifting in orbit from the
memories the red ground holds, it has taken me
here to the grasses and the wind who have made way
a new floodplain in which to remember that I
have never been alone. The song sparrows are feeding
their children and the wrentits have called this one
span of marsh and brush home since the beginning of time
and wind like this, the kind that moves everything
is also turning over the surface of the sea
pulling up what is cold and full of nourishment
from far below so that the seals with their black eyes
will live to see another winter. The world is
changing under our hands. I do not know how long
the winds will blow in spring but meanwhile the grasses
they have never been so beautiful and so green, so
heavy-headed, bending with seeds and the weight of the sky.