Thursday, April 10, 2014

Florida Masquerade

What a disguise She has!
Cars honk, interstates criss-cross,
golf courses manicure each square inch of land.
Shopping malls and theme parks, parking lots,
What a big charade!
But turn away just once,
just once turn away from the clamor
toward the quiet lanes.
Look up!  A bald eagle settles in
high in the branches of the live oak over your head.
A gopher turtle clambers on its bony legs
right across the road.
The alligator floats, seeming so gentle,
back and forth, back and forth across the lake.
The ineffable scent of orange blossom fills the air,
suspending all one’s notions of what is and what should be.
The ibis, straight as an arrow,
flies to her nest with a fish in her beak.
Good going!  You have seen beneath Her disguise,
Our Florida, our flowered land,
our fountain of ever-renewing youth,
our paradise.

Annelinde Metzner
Gainesville, Florida
March 30, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

Ix Chel in my Window

Ix Chel, Mayan Goddess by Katherine Skaggs

Goddess of the Moon!  Ix Chel,

translucent and ever-changing weaver woman,
creator, destroyer, healer,
Lady Rainbow,
sleek jaguar of stealth and grace,
how you awaken me each morning!
Long before the sun’s rise, now in early Spring,
you are there, Ix Chel, in my window,
sparkling bright mystery upon my sleepy eyelids.
I pull the blankets up to my eyes, and give gratitude,
oh most lovely Woman of the Isle of Women!
Before the day begins, you awaken me tenderly,
fresh from dreams, half asleep.
“Remember me!  I pass here each night,
I touch your forehead with my luminous beauty,
I bless you, I reach for you,
I am Ix Chel, your sister,
gracing you once more
with my lightest spark of transformation
and truth.  I only ask
that you receive me gladly.”

Annelinde Metzner
March 21, 2014

Read about Ix Chel's role in healing among the Maya at the wonderful website of Dr. Rosita Arvigo.  Mayan women in ancient times were required to make a pilgrimage in honor of Ix Chel (pronounced Ee-shell) to Cozumel, her sacred island, twice in a lifetime, at first menarche and at menopause.  Healing arts and midwifery were taught there.  The Spanish referred to the island as "that infamous place of idolatry."

Ix Chel by Susan Seddon Boulet

Ix Chel from the Dresden Codex

Ix Chel at Isla Mujeres

Mayan women praising Ix Chel (photo by Michael and Jennifer Lewis)

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Forsythia in March

It’s March, unpredictable March.
Still bundled in our woolens,
the temperature plummets to freezing.
But today, here beside the bold creek,
the earth is burgeoning, bursting,
redolent with the rich smell of humus.
Dear Mother, our Gaia,
what will You give us this time, this year?
The earth seems to be expanding,
a yeast bread under my feet,
pregnant with possibility,
full of the unknown.
Anything can come of this!
Inhale deeply, and wait,
for She has much hidden in Her store.

Annelinde Metzner

March 15, 2013

Quince in March

Rhododendron, Nature's thermometers, beginning to open

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Singing at St. John's

Southside Cemetery   Photo by Patty Levesque

The Elder Choir sang the old songs, the treasured phrases,
the melodies sung and sung again, familiar as old shoes,
the elders in small rows filling in the harmony with ease,
opening hearts and letting song arise.
“How did you feel when you come out the wilderness?”
Each offers the song most beloved,
and Deacon Love at last is begged
to come forward with his favorite, “Travelin’ Shoes.”
He rises, ninety-two years old, with a little help from his wife,
sets his muscles ready,
and grins at the audience: “It’s OK to dance in church.”
His travelin’ shoes take off, up and down the aisle,
as amazed at himself as we are of him,
with his arms spread wide, ready to fly,
one more day on this Earth, singing, praising,
one more day of dancing.
And all at once, the elders from beyond,
from the hills and woods of mottled headstones nearby,
from out of the briars of the Asheville Colored Cemetery,
from the glorious heavens, they come with their starry crowns.
“No more weepin’ and a-wailin’.”
They sing with us too, the ancient ones,
those buried as slaves, in pain and hard labor,
they sing with us in glory.
“Soon I will be done with the troubles of the world,
troubles of the world, troubles of the world...”

all of us going home to be with God.

Annelinde Metzner
March 6, 2014

Recently a wonderful singing was organized by Cathy Riley and Olivia Metz at St. John "A" Baptist Church in Asheville, adjacent to the historic Southside Cemetery.  The moving old spirituals of the Elder Choir graced us with their power and beauty.   Here is a sound sample from the day:

Gravestones    photo by Patty Levesque

St. John "A" Baptist Church   photo by Marilyn Ferikes

Photo by Marilyn Ferikes

Friday, February 21, 2014

Grossmutter Comes Flying

Metzner family, circa 1921: Elsie, Bruno, Alfred, Sophie, Rudolf, Martha (left to right)

A wind that could tear off shingles

whips over the ridge all night,

leaving a sky clean and blue as an Alpine lake.

The last few leaves cling low to the maple trees,

the newly bare tree tops scraping the sky.

The sound of an ax chopping wood comes up the hollow.

My uncle’s spirit is chopping wood, a chore that’s never done.

The ancient and everyday repetitions of labor-

splitting firewood, canning fruit, 
patching clothes, knitting hats-

the ancestors nudge us, saying “listen to the wind!”,

reminding us to keep moving, prepare for winter.

No tender admonitions here!

Grossmutter comes flying over the trees in a vision,

braving vast expanses of the sea,

four children, one just a baby, wrapped in her skirts,

my father pushing out from her embrace

to gaze beyond the ship’s deck to the New World.

“Fly!”, she says to me. “What holds you back?

None of us know what that first step will bring.

It is your Grossmutter in the spirit world and I tell you-

the world changes shape with every step you take.

Just go!”

A russet maple leaf lets go, and spins out of sight.

Nana appears.

She has thrown off her rose-colored apron

and put down her wooden spoon.

She is twenty-five, pin curled and all brand new,

eyes opened wide.

“Granddaughter, yes, go!  With each step,

the world rearranges itself before you,

a Rubik’s Cube, a house of mirrors.

Take that step!  As we live and breathe,

other souls live and breathe too,

and arrange their lives to respond to you.

Step into the dance! The music you call,

and the next, and the next under your gaze will fall.”

At this she spit-polishes her new red shoes,

steps on board the trolley car,

smiles wide at the driver,

and spins off into the skies.

Annelinde Metzner
October 28, 2009

Today I'm once more honoring my Tante Elsie, pictured above with my father Rudolf, uncle Alfred, aunt Martha and my grandparents, Sophie and Bruno, shortly before their arrival in America.  This weekend Elsie is celebrating their arrival date, February 22, 1923, when the family arrived in New York City, reuniting with father Bruno and sister Martha who had come earlier to pave the way. 

My maternal grandmother, Louise Soldano (Nana), who appears in the second half of the poem!

Elsie today in her winter hat, at one hundred years old.

Please leave a comment here below!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Canada Geese Return

Even though the world is harsh,
violence on the rise,
the rich hoarding, the poor suffering,
the children forgotten or worse,
the villages dormant,
the neighbors unconnected by smile or kindness,
still, the Canada geese land on the lake,
bending their long necks down close to the Earth,
their beautiful necks black as a moonless night.
Still, the Canada geese come to our lake,
just a stop on their way,
the whole brilliant Earth in their travel path,
a vision deep within their bones that carries them here,
a shared vision requiring nothing,
deeply at one with each other in all their bones.
“Land here, eat all you can,
be ready for the next great snow and cold.
Traveling, traveling, on and on,
‘til we can nest once more.”
Though the world is unraveling,
the majestic geese have landed,
with the elegant curve of their black necks
bending to our Earth, here by the side of our lake,
here, here, here.

Annelinde Metzner
Lake Tomahawk

February 12, 2014

Read about Canada Geese at National Geographic and see the goslings!!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Purify me

Let me be humble in Your presence,
Your mysteries, my precious Goddess.
Let me be humble.
In Your pristine silence, in Your crystalline sacred energy,
let me bow my head and gather stillness,
gather stillness into my heart,
so that oneness, connection is all I feel.
Let me find You everywhere!
Let me walk beside Your golden manifestations,
as if beside a deep pure lake,
surrounded by silent mountains.
O my Mother, take my breath away!
Purify me now, make me ready, open me.
Leave me expectant, my heart on fire,
knowing You and Your divine energy
lay just around every turn.
Lead me to you, oh my beloved Mother,
lead me beside Your still waters.
Let me await, pure enough to see,
to feel You everywhere
as You lie golden before me.

Annelinde Metzner
Folly Beach
June 10, 2013

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Incredible Edible Todmorden

Garden in Todmorden, UK

“The industrial revolution came... and went.”
Thus begins the story of Todmorden, England, the little town that could.
Food grows free for the picking, everywhere,
at the police station, the fire house, the schools.
Yum, yum!  Fresh and free, festivals and street fairs,
recipes traded from around the world.
All grown here or right nearby.
“Everyone’s got to eat,” they say, and so they do!
“The time to act is now.”
Creating a world truly nourishing, for their children,
for us all.
Food production begins in the garden of every school,
vegetables, chickens and fruit trees.
“The joy of connecting people is fabulous.”
Training the young people to grow food and market it,
small sustainable jobs where despair and depression had been.
In every nook and cranny, an apple tree.
“Go ahead, take some, it’s free!”
Poultry raising, bee keeping, dairy.
“You just have to give a damn about tomorrow.”
Dear little Todmorden, voting for life with all your being,
keep those three plates spinning in the air!

Annelinde Metzner
November 4, 2012

The foundation of the philosophy of Incredible Edible Todmorden, England, is to keep these three plates in the air: community, education, and business.

Click here to keep up with the ever-growing doings in Todmorden, England, the little town that could.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Forgiveness of Snow

The Forgiveness of Snow   

Three days of deep snow.
A pillowy meringue has met each branch,
has danced with the meadow grass,
has floated into each niche, soft and hard,
until today in the final sun
all is brilliant, brilliant.
Walking, there’s an insulated hush
so in the cove, each argument, each compliment,
each complaint and daily praise
is gone now, as if never been.
A forgiveness in this, the starting anew.
Each white pillow says, 

“I’m forgetting the car crash,”
“I’m forgetting the toppling of trees,”
"I’m forgetting the soldier’s fire, 

and the theft of a village’s water.”
Each six-faceted flake encapsulates
something of those horrors,
something of the looming offensiveness of this life.
“I contain your great grief,” calls the brilliant snow,
“and don’t I make a pearl?”
Over there by my fence-post is some mother’s wailing grief.
Over there in the white-trimmed fir tree
is the diesel exhaust of a thousand semi trucks.
This morning in the quiet, quiet,
I know what forgiveness is.

Annelinde Metzner 

Phoenix Cove       
February 13, 2006

Friday, January 17, 2014

Saule, Saule

Saule, Saule, pretty Mother,
Shine on me with all your might!
Come and shine in through my window.
Warm me with your Winter light.

Saule, Saule, lovely Daughter,
Touch my bed and curtains white.
Wake me with your joyful singing.
Brighten my heart through the long, cold night.

Annelinde Metzner
January 17, 2014

      Saule (Sow-lay) is the Latvian/Lithuanian Goddess of the Sun.   I welcome Her warmth in January when we need Her so much!   Learn more about Saule.
     An ancient Goddess of the Sun!   Marija Gimbutas spoke about her:  Because Lithuanian is the oldest extant Indo-European language, it is thought that the Baltic mythologies hold clues to the original beliefs of the people.  But scholarly convention has it that the Indo-Europeans worshiped a sky father embodied in the sun.  Whence, then, this powerful sun mother? Marija Gimbutas, herself Lithuanian, believed Saule to be an Old European Goddess of that woman-honoring culture that preceded the Indo-European invasions.

19th-Century image of Saule

Watch some of the ancient traditions followed in the contemporary Latvian celebration of Ligo at the Summer Solstice.  Bonfires, hair wreaths, bunches of ferns and oak leaves, songs, dances and fun!  Songs for Saule, called Daina, are loving and intimate, as if sung to one's own Mom.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Our Jewell

Sally Jewell, 51st US Secretary of the Interior

Sally Jewell, our Jewel, 51st Secretary of the Interior,
climber of mountains, kayaker, CEO, mother of two,
(“if anyone can do it, Sally can”)
is giving us back our CCC.

Creating work for our young people, women and men,
planting trees, repairing trails, hacking away invasive plants,
good work for our unemployed, work with great meaning.
Connection with the land that feeds the soul.
Thank you, Sally Jewell!
Already securing a million bucks for the corps,
she has her eye fixed on twenty.
“I was scared of animals.  Now I’m an animal freak,”
says Keisha Alvarenga, feeding a raptor with a gloved hand.
Clear vision!  Let’s hear it for clear vision!
Sally Jewell, our Jewel, don’t stop, move clean and true
to this great goal, our Conservation Corps
for the twenty-first century, our youth back at work,
our veterans back at work,
a hundred thousand jobs!
for our Mother, our Earth, our home.

Annelinde Metzner
Black Mountain, North Carolina

Read this interview of Sally and Keisha from NPR, January 9, 2014.

Click for pictures of the 21st Century CCC in New Jersey.

Sally Jewell climbing Mt. Rainier with five women at sunrise

With the founders of

Learn about GirlTrek.  Take a walk.  Join a movement!

Sally Jewell in her kayak

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Eaters of Death

Bushy beard lichen, usnea strigosa

The Eaters of Death     

Scarcely a day’s rain 

and the white mushroom emerges jubilant
above the crackle of dry leaves,
opening wide to the light.
On the broken branch, the “dead” branch,
the lovely jade of Bushy Beard lichen, usnea strigosa,
grows riotous, joyful for this moment,
green flowers alien and graceful, exquisitely turned.
The dying tree hosts lichen of all colors,
shapes and textures rivaling Picasso or Matisse.
This is Death in the forest!  What ecstacy!
This is one end of life’s continuum,
one tip of the see-saw, wheeee! 
“We gobble up Death, it’s our specialty,
it’s where we love to live.
Give us Death and let us create,
regenerate, revive, renew!
We’re eaters of Death, alive once more,
and eager, eager for YOU!”

Annelinde Metzner
December 29, 2013
Meher Baba Center

Read about the 20,000 edible forms of the lichen usnea.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Solstice Water

Solstice Water   
“Forever, forever,” her message,
clearwater spring on Winter’s first day.
Not much light on December twenty-first.
Just the cold, cold quiet of Earth herself,
the illusion of faraway distant Sun,
a long, slow creep back to warmth.
Like a cave, a burrow, is the Winter solstice.
The water almost a paradox,
the bright gurgle like warm brown toes in summer.
This water bears ice,
a layered armor for crawfish and trout,
a dare for the shoes of mittened children.
But the singing call of the spring is not summer’s giggle,
as though only ice makes clear her deeper meaning.
“Forever, forever,” gives she her power,
her presence, her patience, her sustenance, her steadfastness,
right next to cold death, like a mittened hand,
ready for us all.

Annelinde Metzner

December 24, 2001