Friday, October 17, 2014

Malala's Birthday Speech





Malala Yousafzai at the UN Youth Assembly



Malala’s Birthday Speech

“In the name of God, the most beneficent, the most merciful...”
          Malala Yousafzai in her birthday address to the UN Youth Assembly, July 9, 2013

 
A pink lacy shawl frames her dark hair and determined face.   She is sixteen!
Confident and convivial, she commands the podium in front of the world’s leaders.
Sixteen!   Malala has survived a gunshot at close range,
on her schoolbus in Pakistan,
a target of the Taliban for speaking her strong mind.
She has survived!

“Respected elders, and my dear brothers and sisters,  Salaam Aleichem.”

 
She fingers her delicate shawl, bequeathed from Benazir Bhutto,
one woman to another, a gift of strength

from across time and beyond the veil.
 
“This time, we women will do it for ourselves.
Thank you to God, for whom we are all equal!
I speak so that those without voice can be heard.”

 
Her mother wipes away tears.
Men in suits stare, making space in their consciousness for Malala,
for this empowered young woman who has enraptured the world.

“Weakness, fear and hopelessness died.
Strength, fervor and courage were born.”

 
The room breaks out in emotion-filled applause.
Imbued with ahimsa, forgiveness and non-violence,
her strength uplifts us all.


Annelinde Metzner

July 18, 2013




























Friday, October 10, 2014

Three girls





Hawkscry clouds



In the back field above the apple orchard,
fern-scented, the pasture low-cut,
ancient boulders humming distantly at the edges,
we three girls, sixteen, giggled on our backs,
under the cloud-strewn summer sky.
They left us alone.  Who cared?
That blessed juncture when children are free,
past the need for guardians, but still not grown,
they could care less where we were, what we thought,
high on this mountaintop in early June.
We were carving ourselves a place, three girls.
The world held no leads,
“woman” meant not too much,
not a wide space, anyway,
and choices seemed so irrevocable,
not too far into our future.
But they left us alone, blessedly,
with the bulbous clouds changing shape each minute,
never remaining long with, say, an apron and a skillet,
but becoming, say, a witches broom, a magic mirror,
a scarlet dragon, or nets of silver and gold...
On a blanket in the high field,
we formulated no words,
but hourly worshipped the Queen of Change,
our future, and Hers, and maybe all women’s:
metamorphosing, shape-shifting, adjusting, changing,
altering ever so slightly and poof! a new vision,
carrying this blessing like a textbook in the sky,
the soft fern-scented lessons of nature’s giving.


Annelinde Metzner
July 16, 1995
Catskill farm

I'm posting this in honor of myself as a girl, for my Sisters of that long-ago time, and for all the world's precious young women in honor of October 11th, the "Day of the Girl."





Balsam clouds




Grandmother clouds




Grandmother clouds














Saturday, October 4, 2014

Autumn Samba



The bite of fresh compost,
sharp leaf mold in the wind.
Goodbye to the galax,
farewell to the creeper,
“Adios” to the chokecherry vines.
It’s the majestic farewell,
the queen’s farewell.
It’s delicious, it’s numinous, it’s forever!
This is the goodbye of no tears but the rain’s.
Goodbye as relaxed as Guernseys in the alfalfa,
as relaxed as three women in a hot tub.
It’s goodbye, never more be seen,
and it smells like Paris perfume.
It lifts the feet. It’s Fred Astaire.
It’s a lilting “adieux.” It’s bagpipes.
It’s all the cousins waving.
Orange, red, a fandango,
it’s forever, it’s the end,
and if you twirl and spin your way down,
you’ve got the idea.


Annelinde Metzner         September 2001

Listen to Annelinde reading "Autumn Samba:" 

The poem "Autumn Samba" appeared in the Autumn 2011 issue of Goddess Pages edited by Geraldine Charles. 


Autumn leaves at our feet











Friday, September 26, 2014

Sacred Swim

Lula swims the French Broad




Here on the banks of our own river,
here in the divine Blue Ridge,  the French Broad,
here where we gathered to worship Her, Oshun,
Mother of the River,
here in our town, and here too
in Nigeria, Osogbo, sacred to Her,
we gathered by the river, to sing, to drum,
to dance our love for Her, for each other,
for the beauty of the day, for the golden honey,
for the rippling waters of our river, and Hers,
we came to be Hers, to live our lives with Her,
at our own river, the French Broad, and for all the rivers,
for the Oshun river, for the Mekong,
for the Mississippi and the Yangtze,
we came to sing, to pray, to call out to Oshun,
and yes!  to swim,  lover of the river,
immersing in Her, feeling Her currents,
as so many of us watched and swam along,
together as one, one with the swimmer,
and Oshun, Her ripples, Her currents,
Her smooth stones, Her coolness and warmth,
one with the birds and the leaves falling,
the offerings we cast upon the water,
one with she who swam all the way,
all the way and back again,
with us, with all of us, loving Her,
loving our Lady, swimming with Her,
swimming for the love of Her.

Annelinde Metzner
Blessings on the River
August 26, 2011


Above is a photo of Lula Moon, who was inspired to swim across our French Broad River, during our celebration of the sacred day of Oshun, Ifa (Nigerian) Goddess of the River.

      Oshun is a Yoruba orisha who reigns over love, intimacy, beauty, wealth and diplomacy.
For the second year, inspired by priestess Yeye Siju Osunyemi, along with the Wild Bodema Drummers and the Mother Grove Temple of the Goddess, my choir, Sahara Peace Choir, has helped celebrate Oshun and all rivers, and supported the Oshun Grove, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Osogbo, Nigeria, where the people celebrate Oshun on the same day.  


For more information on the Ifa religion, follow this link to "Soul Seeds" by Rev. Anthony David, a UU minister in Atlanta, Georgia:  Soul Seeds




Yeye Osunyemi and others in prayer by the river


By the River                       

I returned to the riverside park,
the day quiet,  a few dry leaves blowing,
the river glassy, more like a lake really.
The lovely park which is all river, all Her,
Her power and majesty manifest,
just some grass and a sidewalk
plus Her, the River, magnificent.
There in the quiet by the tree of seven stems,
not a shred remained, but the memory of all this,
Oshun holding us gladly, still gazing and singing on the shore.
The voices chiming forth Her name,
the drummers and the drums,
the priestess bowing right to the ground,
the dancers, the smiling families,
the babies held high,
the worshippers offering their golden honey
for Her, for Her they moved to the river’s shore,
for Her they poured out their golden love,
their needs, their pain.
For Her someone doffed her clothes
and swam to the other side!
We gathered there by the river,
in the name of love and no more war.
We called out loud to Oshun,
for joy, for water, for our lives,
and She sings there still, calling back to us,
remembering our names.


Annelinde Metzner
Blessings on the River, Woodfin Riverside Park
September 15, 2010 











 

Friday, September 19, 2014

What She Is










We live in small spaces, working, eating, sleeping.
Do we know what She is, really?
How, in Arizona, She explodes up from the ground
into mile-high red rock, the Cathedral, the Hands,
or She implodes far down into Her own belly,
displaying Her inner self without secrets,
silent, awesome, vast, powerful, infinite?
Or how She riles Her cold Pacific, 
daily washing the Western shore,
turquoise and lapis, 
boulders thrown like pebbles hither and yon,
sea weed and sea lions rejoicing,
whales diving and blowing air as they pass year by year?
North, how She sets forth giant trees,
so wide and tall that each is a world,
each a life for a thousand species, 
Her silence immense and eternal?
And how Her blood, Water, 
crashes over rocks through Colorado,
worshiped by the Hopi, drop by drop,
measured enough to grow corn on the dry mesa
or wild enough to scrub the arroyos clean again?
Do we see how wide She is, how vastly new?
Do we gain that joy She intended for us,
privileged as we are to be Her guests?

Annelinde Metzner
Cross-country road trip
August, 2003 


Listen to Nels Arnold reading "What She Is" at a performance of "In the Mother Grove" in 2009:









Thursday, September 11, 2014

The sun comes slowly











It’s morning in the forest,
the sun coming in slowly, ray by ray,
bright yellow, burning through mist over the treetops.
I bathe in the new rays, lit up yellow,
each leaf and blade slowly warming, warming.
As Saule’s generous light sinks deeper,
deeper into my bones,
I want to move, write this poem, start my day.
How simple are the needs of this world!
Stoneflies pop up from the ground,
a bumble bee floats to the next blossom.
I float too, in this rich, fresh air,
wanting to breathe deep, to get it all,
to be saturated with this sweet coolness,
cleansing my being.
How simple, how easy are the needs of this world!
The rays of the sun, the generous Saule,
the ever-rushing freshwater creek.
Saule gives of Her abundant light.
I move my hands to this page.
This is all we need, every one.

Annelinde Metzner
Rattler Ford

August 15, 2014














































Thursday, August 28, 2014

My grief, my love for the world







Balinese dancer




I watch the dancer, one arm framing her face,
one hip drawing upward in the belly’s rhythm.
The dance of mature women, Raqs Sharqi,
born of the sensuous music of the Middle East.
Her hips pull us into infinity,
an inward-outward shout of beauty and desire.

In Cameroon, babies learn music
while strapped to Mama’s back.
Coming of age, boys leap high,
beaming with the village’s newfound respect.

In Bali, the gamelan orchestra cues the dancer
with clangs and thumps,
the bodies telling stories of monsters and gods,
each movement of eyes, and fingers, and feet
a perfectly timed posture of sacred geometry.

Oh humans, oh, humans, can’t you love all this?
Can’t you love the way we’ve created the world,
each culture born of each unique place,
and each of us expressing in our own way?
Doesn’t this beauty tear at your heart,
that everywhere we draw up our Earth’s strength
through our feet, through our hands,
and we thank Her with leaps and turns,
ecstatic to be stretching our bounds?

Oh people of our Earth, can’t you love all this?
The exquisite mudras of Bharat Natyam,
nuances of the courtship of Radha and Krishna, her love?
The kibbutz youth, leaping to dumbek and flute,
‘til joy bursts like fireworks from the chest?

Oh humans, oh infinite diversity,
aren’t you breathtaken, aren’t you amazed?
don’t you treasure each other, for the vastness
of what, together, we are?

Annelinde Metzner
Black Mountain





Boys practice drumming in Cameroon



Dancers on an Israeli kibbutz




Raqs Farqi, belly dancer





Bharat Natyam dancer of India playing Krishna's flute










Saturday, August 23, 2014

Snowbird






Felicia Florendo, Eastern Band Cherokee, dances at a pow-wow



Evening, and the thick drone of cicadas blankets our sleep,
punctuated by twitter of titmouse and woodpecker’s call.
This is Snowbird, the redolent Appalachian home
of the ancient Cherokee, four thousand years here,
Kituah, and home still to this Eastern band,
escaped from forced relocation, the Trail of Tears, 

and hidden away.
This air, this mystery,
mountains so old, each stone a book,
and this Cherokee spirit everywhere,
matriarchal home of the clans:
The Deer, the Wolf, the Bird,
Wild Potato, Red Paint, Blue Paint, the Twister.
Here still, the native speakers, knowers of the old ways,
medicine keepers.
Who danced here, who dances still,
who finds the bloodroot and the sassafras,
a plant for every illness, as was told?
The tears of the Ancestors nourish each step.
This fresh creek, cold as January on this August day,
places me in that ancient era
when bird and bug and bear and I were one.
Cherokee!  I give thanks
that your spirit suffuses this place still,
your love, your surefooted knowing,
your oneness with this mountainous Motherland,
our home, thank you!  Our home.

Annelinde Metzner
Santeetlah Creek

Graham County, North Carolina


Snowbird Cherokee

Snowbird is different from other Cherokee communities, and the absence of tourism is only one way in which Snowbird is different. Most studies of the Eastern Band have focused upon the traditionalist Big Cove community of the Qualla Boundary. Yet, Snowbird has a higher percentage of both fullbloods and Cherokee-language speakers than Big Cove or any other Eastern Cherokee community. Snowbird also has a high percentage of native craftsmen and some Indian doctors with a knowledge of medicinal plant. The reservation lands are scattered into individual tracts of land along Snowbird, Little Snowbird, and Buffalo creeks, not consolidated into a huge land mass like the Qualla Boundary.

The Snowbird Cherokee Indian population of Graham County, about 380 people in 1980, has ancient origins, as does the rest of the Eastern Cherokee population. The Cherokees have probably been native to the southern Appalachians for at least four thousand years.* By the beginning of the historic period, the Cherokees numbered more than 20 thousand them one of the largest Indian nations in North America north of Mexico. They lived on land or held hunting territory in modern states: Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, the Carolinas, and the Virginias. The mountain and hill country offered varied resources for subsistence, and the Cherokees, through cultivation of corn, beans, squash, pumpkins, and other crops, as well as gathering, fishing, and hunting, achieved a highly successful generalized adaptation.

In an aboriginal Cherokee town, sweathouses, gardens, and rectangular, gabled, wattle-and-daub homes clustered around a square ground. On the west side of the square ground stood a council house, legendarily seven-sided, on a small temple mound. If the town were on the fringes of the Cherokee territory, it was probably surrounded by a stockade as protection from enemy warriors. The household was the basic unit of Cherokee social organization. As was typical of southeastern Indians, residence was matrilocal; thus a newly married couple lived with the wife's family. Legendarily there had always been seven matrilineal clans: the Deer, Wolf, Bird, Wild Potato, Red Paint, Blue Plant, and Long Hair or Twister. From the individual's perspective, 4 of the clans were most important: one's own (which was also one's mother's and maternal grandmother's), one's father's (which was also one's paternal grandmother's), and each of one's grandfathers'. While many people today on the main reservation are not aware of their clan affiliation, most Snowbird Cherokees are.

Cherokee religious and ceremonial life centered around seven festivals, many of them reflecting the interest in the annual cycle of farming. One of these festivals, the Green Corn Ceremony, persisted into the early twentieth century. Seven was a magic number to the Cherokees as evidenced by their seven ceremonies, seven clans, seven-sided council houses, and the seven sacred directions (north, south, east, west, up, down, and here).             Anthrocivitas post by Starbuck, 12-02-2010







Santeetlah Creek























Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The sky in May









I know there are stars,
     galaxies, worlds,
     nebula, planets and moons,
but in this sky, this green, green day,
     there is only wonder.
Only the unknown in this all-embracing blue,
     impenetrable.
Gazing at Her blueness, I hear Her tales,
     Her ancient wisdom, Her deep knowledge,
     but in a language I do not know.
I am a child at Grandmother’s knee.
Here is the air, filling us with breath,
     everywhere, like the water we swim in,
and yet in the sky of May,
     even as we feel Her
     in the tender winds upon our skin,
there is a magic, an enchantment,
     oh! that our very home, the air,
     is so beyond our ken.

Annelinde Metzner
Hawkscry
May 24, 2014





 Many thanks to Will and Jane Stanhope for giving me space to meditate on the air at Hawkscry.  Also the same to Betsy Murray for her beautiful Little Pine sky!
      Friends, you keep my spirit afloat.



Sky at Hawkscry





Sky at Little Pine










Friday, August 8, 2014

The Tulip Tree Flower








The marvelous flowering tree!
     the Tulip Poplar,
     liriodendron tulipifera,
     tall denizen of the forest,
     wide shiny leaves so full,
     riotous with movement and green,
and here on each branch, a tulip flower!
Imagine!  A flower orange and green,
     three sepals separate from it all,
     and the flower tropical with lushness,
     orange base a watercolor
     whirling into the bright green corolla.
This is the tulip-tree flower,
     magnificent being,
     and adding to the wonder,
     in late Spring,
     She casts Herself off in a flourish
     to land in perfect beauty at my feet.

Annelinde Metzner
May 24, 2014
 










    
    

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Story









The daisies bid me tell their story.
Clean as sun among mallow, at pond's edge,
all beauty, Oshun's delight. 

A thousand forget-me-nots glory in Her, 
say "forget Her not,
     the Goddess of Beauty,
     beauty of all things."
And the impoverished exile, trudging roads,
counting children, hauling possessions, 

no home but her own two feet:
     Does she forget?
The bombing victim, glassy eyes staring from under beams:
     Does she forget?
Victim of annihilation, limbs fused at odd angles:
     Does she forget?
The slow pleasure of the eye for blue-white flowers,
the sailing swallow, the hummer's buzz,
Your worship, Lady Oshun, for whom all beauty is:
your worship is careful, time-consuming, slow.
You were born in a wide expanse of time, 

elegant jeweled Girl.
The exile by the roadside remembers
and weeps trails of tears for You.
In the minutes before death, the bombing victim remembers
and dreams long sweet-smelling dreams of You.
At her deathbed, the Hiroshima victim 

rides a chariot bedecked with roses,
floating in Your muscled arms, Aphrodite-Oshun,
to the blue-flowered lovers’ bower, from beyond memory.
And the daisies bid me tell their story,
powerful as they gleam by the hundreds,
basking in sun and bending in rain:
     that in these green beings is far more power
     than any steel bomb in the sky;
     that in the green gleam of everyday grass
     the power of life begins and thrives
     through millennia; through exile, torture, coup.
Though the government of countries 

change ten thousand times,
     the forget-me-not still crowds her blue joy
     into the puddled corners of Earth.
Time in plenitude to widely love Her,
     deep and sweet as the tongues of lovers.
Forget-Her-Not,  green beings of Earth.
Love Her beauty.
Love Her.



    Annelinde Metzner

    July 11, 1995
    Catskill Farm








Oshun, Orisha of rivers and fresh water









Friday, July 18, 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


    My poem, "I Have Sworn to Protect Her," has been chosen to appear in the 2015 edition of the We'Moon Datebook and also in December of the Wall Calendar.   In the spirit of this poem, Sahara Peace Choir, which I direct, will sing this Sunday July 20th to envision and help manifest a public garden and green space where now all is paved over.
      This will be at 6 PM across from the Basilica on Haywood Street in Asheville, North Carolina.
     "Goddess Bless the Grass!" is our theme, taken from the powerful song by Malvina Reynolds.



Sahara Peace Choir rehearsing for "Goddess Bless the Grass!"











         












Thursday, July 10, 2014

Evening Sonata










As the long winds of evening come,
the dove purrs herself to sleep in the barn.
In fading light the hawk spreads her wings,
catching more wind, more wind.
Her breath takes her higher, a wider flight,
big as night, old as dreams.
Seems every night, thunder plays with wind on the horizon:
orange, yellow, surprising shapes!
In the long winds of evening,
whispery wands of dandelion seed hold just a little longer,
on the edge of their big drift.
The sun mixes gray and green with night 

on this edge of the earth.
A blue paler and paler, and a lustrous streak of white,
the mountain “sundown”.
A play of sound like Brahms, rhapsodic, contrapuntal,
the changing paths of wind.
Voices cross the hills every which way,
searching for their dreams,  already going deeper,
drifting off into night.



Annelinde Metzner
Catskill farm
July 16, 1995
























Friday, July 4, 2014

The Forest Rejoices









Did you know that

the forest is rejoicing in you?

On the forest floor, this June,

Galax is blooming,

tall white candles lining the path

where you walk.

The rain, the plentiful blessed rain

has filled each lake and stream

and draped each stone and hard place

with brilliant green mosses,

each stone a small village of miniature trees,

small hopes.

For you, the air is cold and sweet,

redolent of the ferment of humus,

the lush bed of new life laid before you.

For you, the soft breeze on your tired skin

cleanses you of all your worries,

and overhead, fit for any blushing bride,

mountain laurel in impossible numbers

bloom in your lover’s bower.

Loving you!  Loving you!

Loving your being, breathing with you,

exhaling with each of your inhalations.

She welcomes and embraces each cell you offer here.

In the cold recesses of the wild deep cataracts

that pour out your welcome, layer upon layer,

the sun breaks through in rays, brilliant yellow-green.

She pours out her joy, yes,

she crashes into the black pools,

just for the joy of being here,

just for the joy of you.  

Annelinde Metzner
June 14, 2009

In Asheville, I am offering a poetry workshop entitled "Gaia Speaks Through Us" at the beautiful OM Sanctuary.   This poem embodies what I try to convey with my "poetry en plein air" way of writing.


Galax on the forest floor








Dwarf iris










Friday, June 27, 2014

Holle







Holle

The hard wind tearing through the Nantahala Forest
is the big swift hand of Grandmother,
getting crumbs off the table, thoughtlessly,
readying for the next thing, washing clothes or serving soup.
In the hollow, under the cold wind, you are the crumb!
You may like it here, but you’re gone!
Loud and long the fierce winds howl through the deep forest.
She brushes Her hand, 

and ancient oaks crash, obedient to Her will.
The Rhododendron stands patient through eons and eons,
accustomed to the Grandmother’s whims.
Her brown and mossy stems meet and turn exquisitely,
solid, rooted, yet reaching for air,
a ballet on the brown forest floor.
Her leathery broad leaves are good for all winter,
each whorl of leaves a brilliant, fleeting thought.
They call this Rhododendron Hell:
Hell, Holle, the Holy, the One Who Lives Death.
Plants and animals die here, ecstatic
to feed Her, to become the next thing.
I, too, would die for Her, 

here at Her feet in the Nantahala Forest.
“Guten abend, guten Nacht,” sings Grandmother,
tucking me in as I dissolve into nutriment.
Here at Holle’s side, Her perfect whorls elegant,
I’d wash into dirt at the first icy rain, 

rejoin the family of all being,
sing the green songs of the ages.
Fierce winds tear through here, uprooting oaks.
I sleep at Her feet until whenever She needs me.


Annelinde Metzner

Nantahala Forest
October 29, 1995



Now in June with the rhododendrons blooming anew, I thought of this poem and Holle, the Northern European winter Goddess for whom Holland is named.  I composed a song for Holle for my songbook, "Lady of Ten Thousand Names."  It sounds like snow falling!
















Holle makes it snow










Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Price Lake





Peter Metzner, circa 1994



Don’t even have to look over my shoulder
to know the two poplar trees are there
where we hung our hammock one day like this,
Peter and I, long ago.
Don’t even have to creep along
under the rhododendron
to know that morels are growing there, and Indian pipes,
and if you creep further, the lake,
The lake! that on a starry night shimmers,
stars to the tenth power, moving, glistening,
and maybe even a moon.
Don't even have to lift my head
to know the mountain laurel blooms, millions upon millions,
with all their geometry,

the pink, and the white,
and how they float as they drop to the shimmering lake.
Is that the wee branch that gurgles by,
that gurgled by our tent then, by Peter’s big self and I,
he crashing out solid on the hard earth, snoring,
me, the princess, dragging foam pads and pillows,
and Peter taking them over in the morning?
In the tent, his pocket, and my pocket,
wrist watches and eyeglasses,
the setup and the takedown as smooth as water.
And out there, above us, Grandmother.
Did She know?  did She know?
Did She watch, Her patient self, 

or even pick him out for Her own,
one of those long-ago days, him so young, so fine,
an Aztec prince, perfect for the sacrifice?
Was danger hovering over us like a million laurel flowers-
could everyone see it but us?
Or should we remember- energy?
Power, ancient and cool as cats,
that burst forth as the joy we had in each other,
so young women would say, “You come alive together,”
unusual as that was for mother and son?
Old, old knowing that filled our days,
welcomed the world, overcame pain,
old knowing that never dies.
We came with it, we leave with it,
we live this way still, Peter and I, at home everywhere,
glimmering like stars, like fireflies,
the rosy energy of Grandmother’s arms
carrying us, carrying us still.


Annelinde Metzner
Price Lake
June 2007

This month, my son will have been gone for ten years.  I make a pilgrimage every year to Grandmother Mountain, where I have many memories of being with Peter.



Price Lake and Grandmother beyond




Peter's soul portrait made by Arline Boyce




Peter playing recorder, circa 2003