An ode to a barn cat

This world can be so cruel.  Some lives are harder than others, but there is blessed ignorance to distract from the cruelty.  Who will weep for an unknown cat, taken by the predators that roam the adjacent woods? There are so many other seemingly more important things to bear our tears and weigh down our shoulders.  But I will weep for the unknown, those of short and insignificant existence.

The subject of this essay is a tattered, long-coated stray-cum-barn cat.  I named her Persephone, and she was a nuisance, a stray, to anyone but me.  To me, she would shyly approach and beg to be rubbed.  I would occasionally get a meow of greeting out of her, though she gave voice only rarely.  She slowly integrated into the cat ‘herd’, but was always a loner.  Before lowering her guard enough to let me welcome her to the house, she was ragged and pregnant, giving birth last February to 2 misshapen stillborn kittens.  I don’t care what species you are; many animals are ingrained with a sense of duty and affection toward their offspring, and to not have that come to fruition can cause heartbreak across the species barrier.

It took months, but Persephone eventually came to trust me, and while she maintained the inbred fear of nearly everything, she opened up to my affections quite beautifully.  She blossomed in a way I can wistfully appreciate, because I saw her struggle to overcome her fear every day in a way we can only hope to achieve.  She would run away nearly every time I opened the door, but in the end, her love and desire to be touched overpowered her fear and she would run up to me to rub on my legs and let me pet her as long as we both needed.  She never offered to bite or scratch (except the time I took her to the vet to prevent anymore unfortunate pregnancies).

I may be the only being alive that feels sorrow at her passing, but I write this essay in ode to her short existence.persephone

Persephone, may you know no more fear.

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You break with Love

There comes a time when you must let it all break, let it all out.  Our bodies, our minds, can only hold so much.  Dear one, you are full to the brim with passion, lust, and desire for life.  And we can hold so much, and let our passions keep us so strong for so long. However, we are finite creatures, and so it must happen that you must let it out when the call comes to do so. The illusion that we must remain steadfast throughout our whole lives, with everything that envelopes us, is just that, an illusion.  When the time is right, pain comes through like whiplash, and even as I see you break, so too do I see you, in a wholeness all its own, contain all the pieces to be used again when you are ready for re-building.

You may not understand what it is that causes you to break.  You may feel your passion burn you red-hot, and your wound is a Holy one.  You may rage, and ravage, and snap and growl.  You may moan, and keen and wail.  You may silently withdraw until your own red-hot soul comes to cauterize the wound.  When your soul does come, She’ll bring Holy water to bathe your ragged bits.  She’ll tenderly mold all those pieces you’ve been holding onto, white-knuckled, back together.  She’ll open your most tender areas and show you how tenderness is a blessing and a healer.

When you are whole (again and as always), your once muffled heart will beat clearly again. The rhythm of your heartbeats will regain its steadfast nature and will once again push you onward, gently allowing you to fall in tune with the tempo of the earth.

And so, the cycle goes on.  You’ll rise, and fall, and rise again.  The sensual nature of the Universe will caress you inside and out, and always keep you safe.  You belong to this world, and this world belongs to you.  Don’t ever forget.

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Where ecstasy meets uncertainty

The ache is real, in a way that life never really is.

I hardly understand why it all happens the way it does.  I am a servant to the way it all comes together, not really knowing what happens, or why or how.

The certainty of life eludes me, and I notice, with a wry smile, how the laws of attraction wriggle their way into my life, settling in with a soft sigh.

Every time I think it will be different, that I can do it right this time, I see the forefinger of the Universe waggle in front of my face, and I find my way into the heart of a book that proclaims some gibberish about energy and how our creative minds create things without us even really knowing it.

Inevitably, I find myself closing the book with a sigh, and my heart contracts painfully as I glance at the solidity of the world around me.  Hard tree trunks give way to soft soil, invisible winds tell me that nothing I read carries any weight in the deep, indigo inner parts of my body.

By day, I stand in front of multiple bodies sitting in a classroom, preaching at them all the things we must do to save this earth. Inside, though, I know that nothing really matters. The full weight of the convictions I blow into their ears, like fairie dust, only boomerang right back to me, as if to say I have it all wrong.

Every day I hear the same lines, surround myself with the same truths, those velvety truths that I am sure mean no real harm (even though someone, or something, is always harmed). Oh, nothing is really meant at all. Truth keeps finding ways of making itself known, and must often sneak its way through the minds and hearts of human beings. What boldness, what clever manipulations weave themselves through eyes and ears and hearts.  Those soft hearts, oft forgotten by those who carry them.  Soft bodies, dented by the weight of lifelines unfolding, and bent under the weight of lives unlived and unrealized.

So tell me, just what am I supposed to do with it all?  I have no place to tuck all the truths of the world into.  I can’t just open my heart as if it were an accordion, and expand it with loving, yet hard-edged truth.  No, I suppose I myself must fold myself into the spaces of these truths. I must try to fit myself between the corners of redemption and release,  or find the small opening where  ecstasy meets uncertainty.  Here, here is where I shall stay until the time when it all falls away.  For sometimes, the safest place is where you least expect it.

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An Understanding

Tonight, I have reached an understanding.  I have finally understood the phrase, ‘home is where the heart is’.  In fact, I saw my heart in physical form, and even heard some of its elusive whispers.  I saw it in my horse (who happens to be the physical manifestation of a part of my soul), as he burrowed his head into my chest.  I saw my heart in him as we stood silently breathing together, my head pressed into his cheek, his whiskers tickling my chin.   I saw it in my ever-present barn cat companion, Camille (Camilla-bean) as she trotted up meowing her affection, ready to accompany us on an evening stroll through the pasture and woods.

I heard the whispers of my heart in the not-too-distant cricket chorus, playing an evening serenade.  I heard it in the breath of my horse, and the lowing of the neighbor’s cows.  I felt the peace of my heart in the chilly late summer air, and the feel of grass and soil beneath bare feet.  I felt the joy of my heart in the head-to-tail petting of the cats, and the soft warmth of the horses necks.

I will carry this understanding with me, tucked into the spaces between breath and heart, to be saved for a day when joy and peace are far from me.

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Down the Rabbit Hole of Thought

Muses are a funny thing.  They come, they go, they flit, they tease.  Sometimes staying for awhile, more often than not (in my case anyway), they leave a soft impression on my heart before dashing off somewhere else.  Tonight’s muse encouraged me to write with absolutely no agenda.  To let ‘er rip.  And so I write, watching the cursor move across my screen, waiting to see where She desires me to go.  And where does She always take me? Into the heart of love.  Love like brandy, searing across throat and stomach, warming me from the inside.  Love like fire, snapping and crackling and caressing the night sky. Love like lemonade, tart and crisp and utterly refreshing.  To this, I always return.  Not knowing the how or why or the where of it.  But just knowing that Love resides in the most unlikely of places.  Love can come to me in the guise of heartbreak (which inevitably shows up in the middle of the night), but heartbreak must be explored with caution.

Heartbreak for our species, for our planet.  Heartbreak for the growing pains, pains we all must undertake.  My heart bleeds, my heart cries, my heart bows down to the Divine plan that pulses ever onward with each collective beat of the heart of the Universe.  Every instance where sorrow finds its way to the core of me, it tears me down.  Always at night, when my defenses are worn down from exhaustion.  When I am at my most vulnerable.

Vulnerability, the state of being open, empty, hesitant, and wary.  Few dare to admit to their vulnerability, because to be seen as ‘weak’ is to be seen as a failure.  Who wants to be thought of as a failure?  But, truly, the weak shall inherit the earth.  For in that weakened state, we invite truth and grace to make an appearance, if you can hold that vulnerability in any awareness at all.  Vulnerability is a wound, and when you are unaware of your wounds, if you do not tend to them, you may let in infection instead of graceful healing.

But holding your wounds in awareness allows you to control how and when they heal. Awareness opens your wounds up to Love, and so we come full circle.  For it is either Love or Fear which reside in your body.  Can both be held in equilibrium?  I do not know.  But I’ll tell you where to start- by being aware.  Remain vigilant, and the secrets of your Self will be revealed to you.

It’s interesting down which path of thought a muse can take you.

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Winter retreats, and I find my writing voice again

I haven’t written on here in a while.  I thought maybe my muse had gone on vacation, but further inquiry has left  me to believe that I’ve just been stagnant in regards to my creative thoughts.  I usually undergo a flurry of writing activity during the wintertime, as the weather and the landscapes awaken my sleeping creative genius.  I’ve certainly felt the silence of the frozen landscape beat a tune within my heart (a love song of snowy interludes) many times this winter, but my days and nights have been spent composing exams and lectures instead of poems and thoughtful essays, with no energy leftover to devote to my writing.  I shall break that stagnancy with a short poem about winter’s retreat (I don’t think it’s a proper sort of poem, it is just what decided to come out.  Which makes it proper enough):

I have gotten used to the silence of the daybreak, broken only by my own footsteps and softly whinnied ‘good mornings’ as breakfast is delivered, hay spread across the ground with hands that freeze if left ungloved for too long.

During the heart of winter, the only time the breath is truly considered is when the water vapor freezes in a crust on your upper lip, and every indrawn breath crackles across your lungs to remind them that they still have to work, even in unpleasant conditions.

But now, the morning is a time of exaltation.  Coatless is the new cool, a cold is considered as a herald of significant weather changes, and sometimes I get in my car and drive it off right after starting it. Just because I can.  But I will feel bad about that for at least another few weeks, because it is still a wee bit chilly early on and the car doth protest too much.

I stand outside well into the evening, daring the night to push me inside.  It dares, and I resist, in a sweater no less (while my warm barn coat seethes with jealousy inside).   I take a few extra minutes to scratch the horses, and though my hand comes away covered with the first of the spring season’s shed of hair (which will inevitably find themselves attached to my face and clothes), I smile.  Because Spring is on it’s way, giving Winter a laugh and a gentle push out the door.

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Blessed Be

I had forgotten about this poem I found a few years ago.  I just spent an agonizing 15 minutes trying to find it, not remembering anything about it except the words ‘blessing’ and ‘glass’, and the general idea of the poem.  Somehow, I found it (I’m still not sure how, seeing how there are lots of poems out there about ‘blessings’).  You know how you might try really hard to remember something?  There are clues as to what you’re trying to remember at the forefront of your brain, but you’re still blocked from complete remembrance?  And then, all of a sudden, it clicks into place.  I love that feeling, almost like a wave rushing over your brain, smoothing out the wrinkled spots from trying to remember so hard. Anyway, here’s that poem I searched so hard for, by Jeannette LeBlanc.  It seems to sum up life quite well:
Blessed be the long, slow slide into desire. The swift plunging wound to the heart. The bleeding out onto the kitchen floor.

Blessed be the fierce of want and the howl of despair and the swan dive of surrender.

Blessed be the indignation of right and the never more naked of wrong.

Blessed be your strong smooth body and your roadmap of scars and brittle bones that give way under the weight of lives unlived.

Blessed be the unmet passion, the relentless boredom, the absolute certainty of regret.

Blessed be the sweet laughter. The hard fuck. The bitter fight. The soft of impossible forgiveness.

Blessed be the restless seeker.  The relentless urgency. The unanswered call.

Blessed be the giving up. The hope unraveled. The void at the end. The clenched fists and the desperate grasping and the way it all slides away when the time comes.

Blessed be your trembling breath and your strong knees. Blessed be your siren song and your briny tears and your frantic prayer.

Blessed be your violin body, your electric hipbone, your staircase ribs.

Blessed be your slaughtered dreams and your cynical projection. Blessed be your fire of initiation and your ritual of comfort. Blessed be your secret shame. Blessed be your whispered confession. Blessed be your primal roar.

Blessed be the rejection. The hollowed out, disregarded heart. Blessed be the end of the rope, the absence of expectation, the way it all gives way, eventually.

Blessed be the blood and guts and gore of it all.

Blessed be the emptiness of lust and the brutal havoc of love and the way peace grows in between cracks in cement.

Blessed be the dirty street corner hustle and the pretty surface of things and where they meet in the most sacred center.

Blessed be the harsh divinity. The winged flight. The salt skin. The symphony of lust.

Blessed be the holy and the worship. Blessed be the sacred mother. Blessed be the faithless edges. Blessed be the ritual of liturgy and agnostic faith.

Blessed be the profane and the provocation. Blessed be the solitary pilgrimage and the long journey home. Blessed be the one who contains herself.

Blessed be the truth that demands reckoning, and the goodbye that wrenches long held secrets from behind closed lips.

Blessed be the sucker punch bruises. Blessed be smooth slide of sun behind the mountains. Blessed be the wise desert and the pounding sea.

Blessed be the sweet swell of words. The silent spaces between bodies. The ragged sigh of breath on bone.

Blessed be the poet and the poem and the one between them who has no words of her own. Blessed be the plagiarism, the thievery,  the rash disregard for origin, the gratitude for the beginning of things.

Blessed be our free fall into destiny.  Our slow burn. Our consuming fire. Blessed be the breaking and becoming. Blessed be the ugly. Blessed be the sweet sin. Blessed be the rage. Blessed be the grace.

Blessed be. Blessed be. Blessed be.

In the end, all words are just another way to say Amen.

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