Sunday, April 06, 2008

That Clean Knife

It's a bit odd to blog about ripeness in April; normally one thinks, as the poetess did, of ripeness beginning in September and continuing on through October. The Mother, not the Maiden.

But this afternoon, I came home from work and sat in my car to watch a v. gravid mother mourning dove sitting on my grape arbor, directing the almost frantic papa dove as he lifted and flew with a v. large stick, up onto the arbor, to place it just where she wanted it, on the arbor, where for the four Springs that I've lived here, these doves have made their nest. Once the stick was safely in place, I opened my knitting bag in the car, culled lots of yarn scraps from G/Son's red, white, and black pirate sweater, and walked over to a spot a few feet from the arbor. I scattered the yarn scraps on the ground (this is not DONE in suburban Arlington!) and said to the anxious doves: "Here; this is for you and your baby. Good luck with your nest." That was my worship for the day, my ritual, my daily practice. Once I was inside, papa swooped down and gathered up a long black strand. That was my benediction for the day, my blessing, my sign that I am still and indeed a part of Mother Earth. And the only word that I could think of, looking at her bird breast sloping with such deep beauty into her bird belly, was: ripe.

And, it's a bit odd for a witch, who celebrates poetry at Imbolc, in February, when we honor the Goddess Brigid, patroness of smithcraft, and pregnancy, and poetry, to be celebrating national poetry month in April, even though April is the "official" month for poetry. But any month, in truth, is a good month for poetry. Here's one from Roger Housden's Risking Everything: 110 Poems of Love and Revelation


Ripeness is
what falls away with ease.
Not only the heavy apple,
the pear,
but also the dried brown strands
of autumn iris from their core.

To let your body
love this world
that gave itself to your care
in all of its ripeness,
with ease,
and will take itself from you
in equal ripeness and ease,
is also harvest.

And however sharply
you are tested --
this sorrow, that great love --
it too will leave on that clean knife.

~ Jane Hirshfield ~

(The October Palace)

(This picture shows the peony shoots just now emerging directly beneath the doves' nest. So the doves nourish these peonies and make them healthy. And that reminds me of a wonderful Mary Oliver poem:

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open ---
pools of lace,
white and pink ---
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities ---
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again ---
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?)


1 comment:

Marylou said...

Thank you, that was beautiful. I always describe myself as spiritual but not religious. I know I commune with all creatures great and small but this post made me realize that the dryer lint I put out the other day for the birds to use in nests was a way to worship.