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?)
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 . . . ."