Friday, March 20, 2015

The Peace Choir

Sahara Peace Choir 2010

Sing, O heavens, shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains,
O forest, and every tree in it!    Isaiah 44:23

The women come to sing.
In the cold and icy dark, we gather
to rehearse the songs of peace.

“I’m gonna lay down my sword and shield...”

Putting aside aches and pains, and serious ills,
we come to sing with that wee bit of faith,
that last urge somewhere hidden deep in the heart.

“Oh, if I could ring like a bell...”

The great Black Dome, the great mountain
hears them coming, the mountain heart leaping.

“a song of peace, for their land, and for mine...”

until we arrive, there at Black Dome’s feet,
to open our mouths and hearts for Her love,
leaving our homes with all our annoyances,
to sing, to wail, to cry out
for the world we can see, within reach.

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who publish peace.  Isaiah 52:7

Annelinde Metzner      

April 10, 2010

In 2008 we founded Sahara Peace Choir, blending the names of Sara and Hagar, the two lineages of Judaism and Islam.   In my poem are quotes from a number of our regular repertoire, as well as Bible quotes in italics.   We will be singing a benefit once more at Ten Thousand Villages in Montreat, North Carolina, this Saturday March 21, 2015.

Singing for an urban park 2014

Women singing change the world!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Dancing with Swords

Sword dancers, photo by Holly Baumgarten

It seemed like water was everywhere-
     the shimmer of scarves,
     the shimmy of womanly bellies, muscular and yet soft.
Skin billowing wave-like to the beats.
The dancer carried water upon her head,
     blessing us, blessing us, healing our ills,
     casting water upon the Earth for its deep magick.
The room grew quiet, and a dark-haired dancer emerged,
     black skirts and gold, black leather, pearls in her hair,
     and-  what’s that?
     around her waist and shoulder, a snake.
Dancing with her!  The snake in love with her,
     this watery undulation hers too,
     the power of the serpentine. 
Soft power.
And all at once it’s long ago,
     women gathering to share this,
     this movement, this joy, uniting us
     with our bodies, with our Earth.
The Goddess is here!  Six women dancing with swords!
There is such power...
And the Goddess says, “Do not forget me!”
Thousands of years have passed
     since Inanna first dropped her veils
     to the tune of the ancient modes, with santur, oud and dumbek.
“Do not be ignorant of Me,” She cries across the ages,
with the seven swords balanced.
“Be wise. Be aware.”

Annelinde Metzner

White Horse Black Mountain
March 12, 2015

This poem was inspired by "Stars of Jerusalem Garden," last night at White Horse Black Mountain.  Dancer and teacher  Mizilca has been gathering fabulous dancers and musicians at Asheville's Jerusalem Garden since 2001.  This art form was created by and for women, as a way toward health and self-knowledge, and it invokes in me a sense of ancient wisdom.

Snake dancer Logan Labbe Jarrel- photo by Don Talley

Seven veils dance by Claire Dima- photo by Don Talley

Golden Wings of Isis, Charlotte Louise-  Photo by Don Talley


Scarf dance by Logan Labbe-Jarrel, photo by Don Talley

Friday, February 27, 2015

Red Oleander


A salamander pale green as the new leaves of May
opens its orange lung-sac, brilliant, to the sun.
Three times at every pause!
In the breeze, red Oleander bends on her long stem, celebrating.
I am drawn down a quiet lane by the scent of jasmine
beguiling my heart, a path toward joy.
The dear Earth wafts up into me,
warm as fresh-baked bread,
filling my womb with Her love.
With my feet in the sand,
I pull Her love up into me,  to power my days.
Mother holds me tenderly, the mourning dove
in her palmetto-basket nest, giving, giving,
we Her babies, Her vast dream,
we Her future and Her now.
The black fin of a dolphin arises from the sea, 

ancient as days,
loving Her into the fathomless tomorrow.

Annelinde Metzner
Folly Beach, South Carolina

June 1, 2010


Shrimp bush

Friday, February 20, 2015

Moon Child Moon

On the night of the Moon Child Moon,
a warm February light paints each grateful tree
and settles on the forest floor.
Gazing into the white-glazed night forest,
I must not breathe.
I pause to wait for the silvery Moon Child Moon
to paint me, too,  with loving light.
I’ve nowhere to go.
I wear winter’s soft gown.
I will stop and root into the ground, 
silent as the next long tree,
waiting, wondering, patient.

Annelinde Metzner
February 4, 1996

Friday, February 6, 2015

Blindsiding into Baghdad

Fearful woman of Ukraine-  Getty images

I putter along the highway, in my own world,
and squeak! an eighteen-year-old hotshot with his dad’s Camaro
whips in front of me with an inch to spare.
I dare to pull into the left lane and in an instant
an SUV wide as a freighter, higher than my rooftop,
plants itself at my rear bumper
as though I had trespassed on its private turf.
It’s as if they didn’t know the car’s sides
are solid as Origami puffballs,
mostly plastic, a few thin supports,
just enough frame to get the car off the lot.
You’ve got your wheels, and off you go,
weaving and straining for speed,
thinking of Dale and some boss who cursed you,
never the masses of twisted metal,
the strewn and extruded body parts
you’ve seen lying by the side of the road.

High school recruiters know this.
The tender-faced boys of seventeen, barely shaving yet,
Moms still patting their shrugging shoulders
as they leave home with a bag lunch,
seventeen but already bored,
bored to tears with life as it is, the same girls, the same books,
the same horizon as flat as the future,
the same parents, the same nothing-to-do, forever and forever.
The almost-little boys at the recruiting table,
soft inside as Easter chocolate,
eye the M-16 rifles and the Hum-Vees, seeing the future there,
anywhere but here,
forgetting what they’ve heard of ambushes, booby traps,
amputees waiting hours for treatment,
mustard gas, nerve gas, depleted uranium.
You careen down the highway in your gossamer Camaro
and suddenly the day comes, you’re off the plane,
heat smacks you in the face, dust rolls in,
and a weapon’s on your shoulder, your little piece of power.
Boredom and terror, boredom and terror.
One hundred a week wounded in action,
home again with no health coverage, or no home at all.
You sit for hours playing cards
with guys from some other godforsaken town like yours,
loud rock and hip-hop to remind you of who you were.
Long after the uranium exposure, babies are born
anophthalmic, no eyes at all.
Napalm, another WMD, melts human skin in Fallujah.
But everybody run!  You’re out on the streets,
kicking down doors with one hard boot.
You aim past women with babes in arms,
grandmas and grandpas cowering in corners,
and back outside through terror-lined streets.
Your buddies holler you back, and it’s quiet, a retreat. 

Music plays, supper comes.
You have no idea where you are.
This is not Kansas and your best buddy is gone.
Careening through Baghdad, they fold like Jettas.
No one asked; never a frame for this.
You were heading for what?   

The screaming women?  The blood?  
The mangled babes? The spitting rage?  
The broken and endless days?
The tender flesh, once so shiny, fresh as dew,
blindsides into Baghdad, wishing you knew.

Annelinde Metzner

March 9, 2005

Hearing about the consideration of sending arms to the Ukraine, I remember how it was in 2005 with war escalating in Iraq.  

Ukraine elder

Demonstration by feminist group, Femen in Kiev

The shock and grief of war.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

I Choose This Dream

Skilled and highly trained,
     a team of angels heal my heart,
     working, working, hyperattentive,
     for five long hours.
I am asleep.
As consciousness returns,
     slowly, slowly,
     like an ice floe shifting
     in tiny increments from sea to air,
I am dreaming three dreams.

I am a cowgirl!  It is sunny,
     the bright oranges and yellows of Arizona
     highlighting the tall Saguaro,
 and I’m singing with my pals around a fire.
The second dream- where is this?
     My son is here, so many loved ones
     surrounding me, circling, beaming,
     many hands lifting me, light as gossamer,
     in a cradle of support.
And the third dream, subtle but insistent,
     sliding wheels, clicks and bams,
     elbows its way into my cognizance.
Recovery room nurses are moving about,
     focused on my vital signs.

Somewhat bemused, a bit ambivalent,
     I recall an ordeal is over.
My surgery is done.

This is a dream of a well-trained woman
     applying pressure to close my open wound.
This is a dream of a young nurse, father of two,
     tenderly checking on me each hour.
This is a dream of a wide-windowed room
     looking to Mount Pisgah in the golden, fading light.

I choose this dream!
Can you believe it?
I choose this dream of comical bluejays
     turning somersaults ‘round the too-small feeder.
I choose this dream of laughing friends
     bringing soup, fussed-over for hours.
I choose this dream of a soft hand
     holding mine in the darkest night.
I choose this dream of sleep- whose room is this?
     filled with the smiles of the Goddess.

What split-second Someday will take me from here?
I choose this dream today, and give great thanks.

Annelinde Metzner
After atrial fibrillation ablation
February 1, 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015

Winter Moon

Trees bare at the edge of the ridge,
scraggly, December, full of secrets.
Cold Moon rises, barely there among branches.
She shocks me!
“Come out of your house!,” She challenges me.
“Breathe my bare cold.
Clean and direct I’ll fill your lungs.
Come out of your comfortable house.
I want you now!”
With that slap from the big Cold Moon
I’m made to remember.
The white pull of Her glow tugs hard
at some treasure I’ve been hiding.
Gazing into the white-glazed night forest
I pause for the Moon to paint me, too,
with cool Winter’s light.
For Her, I am what I am, nothing more.
The days go and go and go,
bright and noisy as ever,
but within me, as in dreams,
She demands my attention,
tripping me up,
no matter how well I hide.

Annelinde Metzner
December 21, 1995

My home in Phoenix Cove where this poem was written

Friday, January 9, 2015

Run toward your creative life

Cabin window at Hawkscry

Run toward your creative life with all your might
even when, and even because, tears stain the very surface,
the fiber of your creative being.

Isn’t this your truest self?
Isn’t this a pristine beach,
more wild than winter, more vast?

Doesn’t the joy breath of your inner life
smell fresher than new-washed cottons hung in the air?

When the long day finally ends,
and I come close to the inner self,
I pull back the veil.

Annelinde Metzner      

June 2006

Lagoon at the Baba Center

Pine cones

Piano at Wildacres

Sand dune at Ocracoke

Friday, January 2, 2015

Clouds across Ocracoke

Swiftly, darkly moving,
nothing impeding,
clouds move dramatically over Ocracoke,
beautiful spit of an island
‘way out here, twenty four miles out to sea.
These clouds move, they move darkly,
grey and white,
powerful and overwhelming over the little village.
The clapboard houses and flooded streets
are quiet, quiet
as the clouds move as they will.
I feel our farawayness, our immersion,
I feel the clouds moving over the vast sea,
over Ocracoke, over me,
we a village of beings unnoticed
by the clouds,
darkly, swiftly moving.

Annelinde Metzner

November 28, 2014

Ocracoke is the most southern of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, reachable only by ferry.

Friday, December 26, 2014

New Year's Gathering

Candle circle at Hawkscry, New Year's 2012

         “Come, come, whoever you are,
          wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving.”

We come New Year’s day, to Sandy Mush,
that Shangri-la, quiet always, but quieter still, this January day,
the rapeseed fields lying fallow, waiting for Spring’s yellow,
the old dogs and the old farmers beside their wood stoves.

         “Ours is no caravan of despair.”

And it isn’t!   Many old friends, one behind the other
to get there for sharing warm food and warm regards,
to share births, deaths, all the new, all the new.
The caravan shifts on the leaf-layered road,
and one tire goes ‘way out over the abyss.
“Stop the car!” and everyone hops out.
What to do?  But a neighbor has a come-along.
This has gone on before, so many times before,
at the end of a long dirt road, where we are our own future,
it’s only us, and what we can do,
stuck on the road in winter.
Twenty arms and hands, a dozen brains
ponder and work, trying this and that,
pulling here and tugging there,
until, voila!  the van is free with its big load,
a wheelchair and four eager passengers.
We’re free!

            “Come yet again, come!”  

Arriving up at the top of the road,
laden with food and one more good story,
we eat, hug, regale and gather around the flames, lighting candles for the world,
for our futures and all peoples’, 
for making it one more day in this body.
Out to the woods to dance beneath the grey, bare trees,
for Allah, for God, for the Goddess,
and to remember, as grey winter clouds lumber gloriously across the sky,
we are all here together in this.
We are all one.

          "Come, come, whoever you are,
           come, yet again, come."       (all quotes from Jelaluddin Rumi)

Annelinde Metzner 

January 4, 2012

Many thanks to William and Jane Stanhope for sharing their beautiful land in Sandy Mush, North Carolina for my writing, my spirit and my peace of mind.  

Listen to Annelinde reading "New Year's Gathering" here.


Many brains, strong backs and a come-along.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Coming Back Christmas

my family at the Catskill farm, 1957

One must leave one’s mountains
one must descend early in the day
through ice and snow, fog banks,
ripped up trees and branches helter-skelter,
one must leave one’s silent warm cabin on Christmas
and descend through the trees
down the long grade in fog, way down.
One must leave one’s silent cabin 

full of fire, full of sadness,
silent, remembering,
on Christmas one must come to family,
come down through the trees 

while smoke curls up through the woods,
come down to help old Tante by her stove,
down to a place with children, with messes,
with pots and pans helter-skelter in Tante’s kitchen,
where there will be singing and jigs playing,
“Ihr Kinderlein kommet” and the Crist-kindl,
chocolates in tree branches and sooty fingers,
the old stove that pops and moans,
family groaning around the table,
with resentments, accomplishments, aches and pains,
medicines and red wine and forgotten addresses,
all of us elbow-to-elbow, 

hunters and hairdressers,
poets and plumbers,
day-to-day survivors making do.
One must come in a hurry on Christmas,
come gladly to the loud rooms of one’s family,
full of judgments and kind advice,
full of wariness and unspoken joys.
One must remember to leave one’s quiet warm cabin 

full of sadness
and come down each Christmas, be pulled magnetic
to let one’s heart warm again unbidden,
with no plan, just you, and nothing else.

Annelinde Metzner

December 25, 2005

My son Peter around 1995

My aunt Elsie at age 100

Friday, December 5, 2014

I Have Sworn to Protect Her

I have sworn to protect Her!           
Miracle blue-green jewel of all the worlds,
ancient blue mountains, vast golden deserts,
hummingbirds in the jewelweed,
black bear in the raspberries.
I speak for Her!
I howl for Her!        
I howl, “Beware!”
to you who remove Her sacred mountaintops
torturing her body to get at Her coal.
I howl, “Beware!”
to you who go deep within her mineral layers,
scraping away at her core
for your own gain.
But no one gains by this.  She feeds us all.
I have sworn to protect Her,           
this day that She needs us,
when even Her vast blue-green oceans, teeming with life,
are tainted with blood, the black oil of power and greed.
This is the day, this is the hour.
She, long-silent, awaits our voice.
The signs of Her anger are everywhere:
desert, flood, tornado, wildfire, earthquake, typhoon, tsunami.
I howl for Her!             
I love my Earth as my own body!
I have sworn to protect Her!  

Annelinde Metzner
July 31, 2011

On Sunday, December 7th, I will be reading this poem and others in honor of its release as part of the We'Moon Datebook 2015.  It's the first poem in the book, near the Winter Solstice of 2014.  I am honored!  An excerpt also appears on the beautiful December page of the wall calendar, with Earth art by Autumn Skye Morrison. 
     Susa Silvermarie will also be performing her poetry including "The Girl God" which appears in the datebook,  and two of my songs will be performed by the wonderful Kim Hughes.



Saturday, November 22, 2014

Just Friday

It’s forty-five degrees, and the water feels even colder,

But I splash in the foam like Aphrodite, 

even though I’m almost sixty.


A kite is suspended in the sky,

so much wind that no one at all is holding the string,

and it stays suspended for hours,

and the kite is NOT SHOPPING.

A child builds palmetto fronds into an altar in the sand,

a  child NOT SHOPPING.

A boy out in the ocean paddles by on some board,

standing straight up in the ocean, 

looking for all the world like Jesus,

and certainly Jesus would not be shopping.

Two dogs whirl around each other,

joy sparking off of them like the flash of Venus in the night,

like the Pleiades in the dark moon night,

and today is just Friday, and no one is shopping.

Annelinde Metzner

Isles of Palms, South Carolina

November 25, 2011

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Darkness

Crescent moon

Coming together here, we warm each other’s hearts in the darkness.

The Sun, far away, yearns to embrace us in Her warmth once again.

But this is our time to journey into the depths of the darkness.

This is the time to surrender and listen deep to our souls.

This is the time to close our eyes, slow down and be lulled by the darkness.

Our blessed Mother Gaia dwells within the darkness.

Inhale the song of Her soul, Her soil, Her dark caves, Her rich dark humus.

Mother Earth welcomes you into the darkness.

Walk with confidence, all people, walk safely into the darkness.

Let us love the night, the moon, the stars, the planets, the Seven Sisters high above.

Revel in this other half of our lives, the darkness.

The beauty of the dark earth, the darkness of skin, the dark curves of mountain roads,

The Seven Sister Mountains in their powerful darkness, presiding over Black Mountain,

Our dark blood, our Earth, our deepest selves, the darkness.

Annelinde Metzner
November 16, 2010

On Tuesday, November 18, I will be giving a reading along with two other poets, Antiga and Barbara Gravelle, which we're calling "The Dark Goddess in Autumn."   We will begin with this poem as a responsive reading.   I like to remember that the darkness is positive and beautiful, just one of the sides of life.

Here I am reading "The Darkness."

Purchase Knob double rainbows caught on webcam!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Don't Live Here

Grandmother puppet by Lisa Sturz from "The Abundance of Mary" 2006 

Tourists buying postcards on Craggy Mountain never suspect me.
It’s always, “Time to get back in the car!”
just before my long, wild winds come up the hollow.
My winds always precede me.
Folks who have lived here long look for haints and boogers
when they feel me coming near.
But few have seen me. Maybe it’s my hair!
The chokecherry vines that form sort of a bouffant...
I love it when the berries ripen in autumn!
But few have seen me when I creep through rhododendron,
chokecherry and laurel for ornament.
I breathe the dark bass tones of the rhododendron thicket,
my skin like her bark, ancient, enduring.
My breath is in sync with her, unfathomable, unconquerable.
When you step into the dark places of the thicket,
your breath stops.
You’re whirled back to your own birthplace, before time began.
All over my hands are tiny red mushrooms,
rising from moss like a Mardi Gras village!
When you see my hands, you feel as though
you have swum up the bank of a rushing creek,
holding your breath until you emerge.
When you gaze into my eyes, my pupils fade into trillium,
blood-red blooms dangling at the rims, speaking in tongues.
My eyebrows are slow-creeping woolly worms, orange and black.
I float over the hills in a cape of Appalachian flowers:
Jack-in-the-pulpit, butterfly weed, flame azalea, bloodroot,
Indian pipe, chicory, pokeberry, cohosh.
My scent is of millennia of these green beings,
composting, seeding, bursting forth, decaying once more.
When you inhale my scent, you will remember your family.
Generations will array before you
in the distinct garb of your ancestors.
When you breathe my essence, you will fall and weep
at the millennia of lives willing to help you,
sponsor you, give you life.
I carry a staff of mountain ash. Don’t be afraid!
I won’t harm you! though my laughter alone
could squash you into the earth, mere compost,
cousin to the road kills, just another woolly worm.
My staff speaks of power, and that is what you fear,
citizens, tourists, quick-leavers, loud-builders, e-mail talkers.
In the landfills where I wander are your rusted bodies:
freezers, microwaves, last year’s computer.
Decades they require to rust or fade,
the plastic, the alloys, the silicon chips.
And I float to your door. I beckon you and your children’s children
when they wander too far from the flickering screen.
I speak of spice bush, yarrow, ginseng, jewelweed,
sassafras, Solomon’s Seal.
I pull you to the dark where you speak with your soul,
where life takes your breath away.
I make you pine for Life, scream for it.
I hold a mirror to this desire until all else is forgotten,
until you reach for life, until you’ll never give up,
until there on the forest floor we cry, together,
tears of joy.

Annelinde Metzner
September 1995

Listen to Nels Arnold reading  "Don't Live Here" by Annelinde,  performed at "In the Mother Grove" in 2009.  Grandmother puppet by Lisa Sturz from our 2006 performance, "The Abundance of Mary.  (photo above, Norma Bradley.)
      Both concerts of my music and poetry are available as CD or DVD by going to the "BUY" tab at the top of this page.

Rhododendron thicket

Friday, October 31, 2014

Grandmother in October

Grandmother and Her clouds

I come to see Her, my Grandmother Mountain,
a pilgrim at Her feet, making homage throughout the year.
Today, in Her Autumn dress, 

maples already red-orange-yellow,
little touches of color everywhere 

among the dark firs and pines,
I come to see Her, and I breathe deep.
Still, still now, She is the pure ground, as calm as the eons,
even now as greed and domination rage in the world of men.
She lifts me. I’m Her toy.
She is so delighted to see me.
I giggle to be with Her, I’m a much-loved child.
Motorcycles roar by, boys holler at their games.
I gaze at my Grandmother, and She smiles,
loving us through the millennia,
sighing and inviting, a twinkle in Her eye.

Annelinde Metzner

October 5, 2014

Grandmother in October

Autumn from my back porch

Autumn from my front porch