Every summer I listen and look under the sun's brass and even into the moonlight, but I can't hear
anything, I can't see anything -- not the pale roots digging down, nor the green stalks muscling up, nor the leaves deepening their damp pleats,
nor the tassels making, nor the shucks, nor the cobs. And still, every day,
the leafy fields grow taller and thicker -- green gowns lofting up in the night, showered with silk.
And so, every summer, I fail as a witness, seeing nothing -- I am deaf too to the tick of the leaves,
the tapping of downwardness from the banyan feet -- all of it happening beyond any seeable proof, or hearable hum.
And, therefore, let the immeasurable come. Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine. Let the wind turn in the trees, and the mystery hidden in the dirt
swing through the air. How could I look at anything in this world and tremble, and grip my hands over my heart? What should I fear?
One morning in the leafy green ocean the honeycomb of the corn's beautiful body is sure to be there.
~ Mary Oliver ~
Goddess only knows how many times I've blogged this poem, but it's the perfect Lammas poem. The final time that I blog it will be when I die -- it's one of three poems specified in my will to be read at my death.
Lammas is the feast of the first harvests. In February, we were starving and all our discipline went towards not eating our seed corn. Now, for every seed we saved, there are four tomatoes, three ears of corn, and, apparently, hundreds of zucchinis. (I love you, R., and I love your zucchinis.) Lammas is about how, if you persist, even when, especially when, things seem dark and horrible, things get better. The flip side of Lammas is about how, even when the sun shines brightly all day long in cloudless blue skies, even when there's gazspacho and pesto coming out the wazoo, even when you've eaten so many blackberries that your tongue is stained, you should put away as much as you can for February. My mother used to can food from her garden and August, for me, is inextricably bound up in steamy clouds of tomato juice and blackberry jelly and peaches, in the sudden "pop" that a Mason jar lid makes when the seal, that will protect the food from bacteria until you open the jar in winter, forms, in the feel of hundreds of skinned tomatoes and peaches passing through your hands in order to nourish your family. No. I didn't appreciate or enjoy it at the time -- it kept me from reading -- but that's what August means to me now, even though I haven't canned a thing in years and years and years. But tomorrow morning, I'll harvest herbs and hang them up to dry.
May your Lammas be a time of feasting, of enjoying whatever bounty your life has led you to create. May you have a true Lammas dream this evening and may you wake up tomorrow crystal clear about what it is that you need to put aside for the coming Hunger Moon. Let the immeasurable come. Let the unknowable touch the buckle of your spine. Let the wind turn in the trees, and the mystery hidden in the dirt swing through the air. How could you look at anything in this world and tremble, and grip you hands over your heart? What should you fear? One morning in the leafy green ocean the honeycomb of the corn's beautiful body is sure to be there. It's something to remember during the deep, dark Februaries of the soul.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."