[Poetry] – Deity Dwells Within

I was digging through some of my older poetry – and I came across this particular poem. Now, my memory is not what it used to be, but if I recall correctly – I wrote this poem – with the awesome Lisa Tamara – when I was on leave in the United States from my time in Germany with the United States Air Force. We both worked on this online through a local BBS, if I remember. To be honest, I do not have a lot of my older poems – so when I stumble across these older works – they are cherished memories that I enjoy reading through – and remembering the creative process that gave birth to them.

Deity Dwells Within
3 Jan 1994
written with Lisa Tamara

Throughout the ages
Of limitless time
Man has wondered
And looked to the sky

In times of crisis
When needs arise
Man has prayed
Staring to the sky

For unanswered prayer
Such shaken faith
Man curses the Gods
Shaken fist to the sky

Such selfish desires
Unfettered pride
Man seems never
To look inside
We are merely a reflection of the potential
for Deity dwells within us all…

Reaching My Bardic Crossroads…

My Poetry Journal
My Poetry Journal

Writing has never been a big part of my life. I remember having so many problems trying to get thoughts out of my head and onto paper for class after class. In high school, and in college – I have had paper after paper returned to me with remarks such as “needs revision!” and “poorly written!” scrawled in red ink across that first page, along with a grade well below the grade I had wanted.

I can literally relive many of the times where I spent hour upon hour researching a topic for a paper, writing outlines, and rough draft after rough draft. Trying to find ways to shoe-horn quotes from “proper” sources to back up what I am trying to say in my papers. The techniques I developed, I try and pass on to my own students – knowing full well, that they will typically either ignore me, or develop their own methods for doing such writing. Yes, writing has never been my forte’.

Then again, I have events in my life that happen – that remind me that I am full of shit when I make that statement. This past week, just such an event occurred in my Life. Earlier in the year, after some cajoling from those that actually know I write poems, I entered my poem “Lone Wolf: The Innocence in Snow” in a Creative Writing Contest for my college. Early in March, I received a phone call telling me that I had won an award for it and confirming that I could make the awards ceremony. I had figured that I had won an Honorable Mention in the category. When the category was announced, my name was the last one called – First Place. I was literally shocked over it. But that was not the end of it. There is also a prize for Literary Excellence in Poetry as well – sort of a “best in show” award, that is given by the English department of my college. It is the very last award of the ceremony. My name was called for that too. That was Friday. It is now Sunday, and I am still in a state of shock.

But that state of shock has forced me to sit back and think about my writing. I remember writing a short story for my English teacher in my junior year of high school. The assignment called for a typed assignment, with a specific font, a specific margin, a specific minimum word count. I did none of that. I wrote the story the night before class – on notebook paper, handwritten, single-spaced, and on both sides of the paper. The story was about a young man named Timothy Pulthorne, who is listening to Black Sabbath’s song “Black Sabbath” on his walkman (yes, that’s how dated the story is – I wrote this in winter of 1982). While listening to the song, he contemplates the lyrics and how the writer has consigned his soul to Satan. At the end of the story, he opens his eyes to find Satan standing at the foot of his bed, smiling with a contract in one hand, and a pen in the other. Despite not turning in the assignment in the correct format, I received the highest grade in the class for my “creativity”. I remind you, I went to an all-boys Catholic school – so the topic was a bit risque’.

So, I am forced to reevaluate my perspective on my writing. Somewhere, deep inside me, is someone that can write – someone that can write material that touches and reaches people. Yes, deep inside me – there’s some kind of Bard. And I have been denying my abilities with the written word for quite a bit of my life. Its time I stepped up and faced the facts where that is concerned. I have ideas of where to take all of this…I just need the time to sort out what is my naivety of the entire process, and what is currently possible. Somehow, I have reached a crossroads I have never realized I was headed towards – but its a crossroads I would inevitably reach. Time to have a sit…drink a cup of tea, and wrestle with where to go from here. Besides, its always fun to sit at the crossroads – there’s a lot of interesting people to see and meet….

 

[Poetry] Lone Wolf: The Innocence in Snow

Lone Wolf: The Innocence in Snow

The cold breeze through the fog-frozen window
Announced the arrival of the snow
From yesterday evening’s gray cloud cover
That shrouded the pale moon’s eye in the night

She squealed with joy at the sight of snow
The marvelous play-doh of Winter’s dress
She quickly dressed and was outside in a shot
I followed behind at a much slower pace

Standing on the porch, I watched her
Dancing and laughing in the white blanket of Winter
Making snow-angels against the embankments
Her tender face colored with a rosy chill

I watched her smile carefully through it all
Trying to burn that image into my mind
Remembering each line in her cheeks
The way her hair fell across her eyes

Smiling back, I laughed with her voice
As it twinkled with a gentle sound over the hills
A sound I wanted to remember intimately
Before I would leave her tonight

Try as I had to remove us from the outside world
The war that raged beyond our sight had followed us
It was no longer something I could avoid
It was no longer something we could run away from

The skies cried their frozen tears again
Their soft flakes of sorrow filling the air
Laughing she ran through the opening
Trying to catch them on her tongue

Such a scene of innocence before my eyes
It would be wiped away in a few days
Replaced by the horrors that awaited me
Where mankind had it’s own nightmare

I will miss my snow-covered mountains
The backdrop for her laughter
The canvas of her innocence
I only pray she will understand why

The Gleaming Moments

Looking over the lineage of our lives
Peering over the scattered wreckage
Of friends long since passed
Relationships detonated, decayed and past
Peering through the detritus that remains
Are the gleaming moments we remember

A drink shared with our friends
Thanksgiving dinner offered to “orphans of distance”
Birthdays celebrated at Taco Bell
The movies we all sought momentary refuge in
And the secrets of our ribald moments
Those gleaming moments we remember

A suicide here, a car wreck there
Cancer striking another, a friend dying overseas
Passing away silently in sleep
There are so many ways to count the ways they leave
And even more ways that they touch our lives
In those gleaming moments sometimes dimly remembered

Free Skies

It only takes a few moments to complete
To set aside your electronic devices
To turn off the television sets
And leave your cell phones on your desk

Step outside the doors to your homes
In the dark of the evening night
Under a sky filled with the stars
All within the fences of your own yard

Stop speaking, don’t whisper, stand still
Surely, a car will drive by in a whoosh
But ignore that momentary intrusion
And drink in the sounds of the night

Yes, you can hear the train’s horn
Singing a lonely song in the distance
And the jet aircraft far overhead
But there’s more that you are missing

The birds settling down into their nightly routine
Chattering their idle talk in a nearby tree
The bark of the dogs in the neighborhood
Announcing where an intrusion is taking place

And once all that calms down and slides away
The quiet of your suburban neighborhood
Still contains the whispering soundtrack
Songs of the night that you don’t hear while you sleep

Once you catch the quiet rhythm of the Night
Look up above and marvel at the Sky
The twinkling, shining stars struggling to be seen
Through the manufactured light of Mankind

Now, do the same – but head out into the areas beyond
Outside of the concrete and steel cities
Stand in an open field or out in a forested area
Look up and see – the skies are the same

Clearer for the lack of man’s attempt to tame the Night
The evening and night sounds a little sharper
Stare upwards into the stars, listen to the sounds
And marvel at the feeling of those Free Skies

If I Could Only Speak Crow…

If I Could Only Speak Crow…



Every moment I look up
They arrive from elsewhere
Beating black wings
The crows are here again

They bring shiny bits
Buttons, twigs and string
Like small offerings
Brought to their Gods

I know they are messages
Sort of like Emails
Meant to bring meaning
With their offerings

Some messages are clear
Others, well, not quite so
Regardless of the clarity factor
They continue to arrive

What are you trying to tell me?
What does this blue button mean?
Why the yellow strands of yarn?
If I could only speak Crow…

Ready to Start It All Again

Each morning the sun greets me with His soft mellow hues
Peeking down on the world below, full of wonder and mystery
Watching as the birds flitter through the light blue skies
The color of a set of robin’s eggs, resting gently in a twigged-out home

Sitting on the back porch, watching in dumb-struck awe
I watch the world awaken from its night-long slumber
While another part of the same world gets ready to pack away
For another day full of dream-filled slumber, until the Moon comes back

A cup of coffee in one hand
A plate with cheese-filled blintzes in the other
My day begins anew with a feeling that anything is possible
Provide enough physical effort connected with awe, and amazement

Some days start with sunlight
Others may start with rain or the occasional snow
Driving me back into the shelter of my kitchen
To stare at the world from behind the panes of glass

Each day provides my new start – fresh steps upon my Path
And every afternoon gives me a chance to change
Adjust my goals with the realities of the unfolding day
To achieve what is possible, and set aside what cannot be

By evening my day will be completed, and what is completed will be
I look back on the opportunities I had and exalt over what’s done
And try not to lament on what has not achieved that end
Remembering, tomorrow is the start of another set of steps

And finally, I find my pillow to toddle off to my own worlds
My own lands of enchantment, where my mysteries come to Life
Where I hear the laughter of those I’ve never met
And bask in the presence of those who have already slipped beyond

…and just before the dawn, I awake a-new – ready to start it all again

28July2012

Defining My Paint

Defining My Paint
By Robyn Birchleaf
20Jun2012
Some have called me a “progressive”
Others have said I’m a hippie
But none of them have any idea
Of the person I truly am
Some have called me a “Pagan”
Others say I’m just strange
Others claim me to be “of Satan”
And say I’m truly damned
Others have said I’m kind
That I’m thoughtful and caring
But even these terms are merely labels
Just the surface of what defines “I am”
Labels are merely outlines
Within a paint-by-numbers scene
Where the colors match the numbers
The lines are there to define and shape
I’m not a color in that paint-by-numbers scene
No one should be defined in such a way
Boundaries paint such a dull picture
No matter how one can push and scrape
Boundaries, definitions, labels
All amount to nothing more than name-calling
A way to demean an individual or group
While smiling sweetly in their face
That’s not a world I prefer to be a part of
That’s not the way I live my life
I’ll wear their labels but not their definitions
I define who I am, I decide what makes me
…and all of that is non-negotiable

Night-Time Contemplations

Night-Time Contemplations
10/7/2006
Sitting in the dark of my porch
Coffee cup in my hand
Pin-pricks of light on a dark canvas
Fill the night-time easel above me
My mind wanders through my history
Thinking back to loves I have lost
Friends whose memories remain
But their faces have faded with time
I’m reminded of how fortunate I’ve been
How great my life has felt over these years
Faded memories of my past gone by
Coupled with the sharper memories of the present
All the choices I’ve made over those years
Right or wrong; thought-out or spur-of-the-moment
Each choice has changed me little by little
Molded me into who I have become today
Each choice can represent a crossroad of sorts
A point where I made a conscious choice
Between one outcome or another
A blind stab in the dark at what was to be
Each choice has changed me over time
For better or for worse, I can’t truly say
But it certainly has formed who I have become
At least from the outside of who I am
Deep down inside, I’ve still not changed
I’m still the same individual I’ve always been
A little battle-worn over the years
But still the same core of what I truly am
Staring at the dark canvas above me
Admiring the dotted masterpiece in the heavens
I slowly drift into thoughts of “what if”
Dreaming of choices I wish I had made
—-
Written a long while back, “Night-Time Contemplations” chronicles a single night during a particularly depressive period of my life.  During that time, I faced many personal choices and was fearful that I had made some wrong-turns in my Life that I would never be able to fully-recover from.  So over the period of a single night, I sat up and watched the dark outside, thought over my situations, and wrote this particular poem.

As Promised

White snow-flakes fall from the skies
Covering the land in a wintry blanket
Setting the scene for a deep slumber
The death of the Sun is firmly in place

The icy winds push through my coat of fur
My isolation from my Pack on my mind
Continuing my quest in searching for the unknown
The rebirth of my life has only begun for me

Soon, the Goddess will kiss the land with her lips
Breathing the warmth of life back into the land
The cycle will continue into a time of warmth
The land’s rebirth will begin again as She promised

In the meantime, the snows of today bring memories
Memories fueled by this part of the cycle of Life
I sit and feel the warmth of remembrance
Of friends, family and loves long since past

…life will begin anew, just as the Goddess has promised

Skipping Stones Across the Sands of Time

Skipping Stones Across the Sands of Time
By Robyn Birchleaf
Written 9/8/94, 19:00
Upon the Paths of thirty-two
I walk where few will dare
Every darkened corner retains
Creatures of my wildest imaginations
Queen of Wands, Queen of Cups
Understand the Punishment
Comprehend the Knowledge
Friends left far behind
Have changed without you
Now only distant memories
You can never go home again
Four of Swords, Judgement
Within Fire is Mercy
The pain of Experience
Yields a lifetime of lessons
Unknown to your reason
Shaping, molding your destiny
Into something you barely know
The Hanged Man, Nine of Cups
Within Life there are Crossroads
Soon you will understand
“Why did I choose this Path?”
“Skipping Stones” is one of my older pieces of poetry, which I recently “re-discovered” in a digital file archive on one of my older systems.  I remember the time frame in which I wrote this – I was contemplating a change-over in my Spiritual Life from that of Wicca to just a Pagan path.  In writing this, I utilized a deck of tarot cards, along with the Rider-Waite text for interpretation.  While I may not have ascribed the exact meaning to the cards – I did take some of my understanding of how the card was answering my question from the symbology represented in the art work.
To bring this back to a truer perspective, I don’t normally work with Tarot…if at all.  Its not a medium that I particularly find useful in my own practice.  Here, I was attempting to utilize it as a writing aide…as an aside…Robyn Birchleaf is my pen-name for my earlier writings.  Fellow travelers from the Renaissance BBS back during this time frame (and even a bit earlier than that) will easily recognize the name – especially if they came to the Poetry forum located there.

Transitions

Transitions

by Robyn Birchleaf

03Jan12

Between the spokes of the wheel
I feel the turning
Each moment of the sun’s gentle passage
Through the trails of my day

I hear your whispers in my ear
Coyote and Crow
I know that each cycle of the Sun
Brings the transitions of which you speak

I hear your wings, Brother Crow
As you follow in the air
I hear the pad of your feet, Brother Coyote
As you track along the terrain

Both of you haunt my steps
Many speak ill of your coming
But I know what you signify on my Path
For each cycle of the Wheel brings Transition
…and you bring Mediation for that change

Under the Same Cloak of Stars

I care not what pigmentation your skin, hair or eyes are
Your political and religious points of view do not matter either
Your songs to the sun, moon,  and wind are different from my own
Despite these differences, in the end, we are all brothers and sisters
All here with our animal brothers and sisters
Living each cycle of the sun in our own way
Together under the same cloak of stars
—Robyn Birchleaf, 12/26/2011