Tag Archives: poem

The Green Tumbling Down

note: This poem was written some time ago, back in 2007. Partly due to a conversation about experiencing challenges in my life, the time of letting go and dying that autumn is naturally, as well as ALL the feeling that is so incredibly alive and stirred up at these times with everything occurring at this time, I looked for this poem here and realized I had not ever published it on Contemplative Fire. I wrote it years before I ever dreamed of starting a blog to share my poetry. I share it with you today. Deep blessings to you.

To remake oneself while the house
is crumbling all around you,
That is the finest dream there is:
to take to heart all that is true and real
by the measure which no one owns but you.

I had to climb in from the back side door,
someone else’s entrance, to save what I’d lost.
Even then the pieces no longer made sense,
others’ notions of decorum and amorous play
remained and needed casting out, a wild gesture,
which nearly cost my last ration of aliveness.

How can we take someone else’s word? A word is spoken,
a word uttered, is uniquely its own, cannot be held,
cannot be possessed: only given free rein within.
And yet I seemed to have made a house of words,
too often borrowed and put into service unawares;
no wonder this crumbling, going to pieces.

How to build, when instead those former structures
long to crack and spread under their weights,
the weight, the waiting in time? Let them. Let them.

So, I found myself riding the falling staircase
as it clamored to the ground.
I found myself, capacity clear and centered,
like riding a wave and knowing my own,
landing unscathed, vitrified, transformed.

I found myself abiding in a radiance akin to the sun,
a light burgeoning a peace like none of another’s making.
A peace that could only come with the calming
of the many internal storms, a peace harboring itself,
casting its wonder as lines to the shore,
the shores of partiality for this very heart.

This undoing in the making, the making in the undoing,
is rough business and not for the faint of heart.
Although it is sometimes arrived at out of exhaustion,
a half-heartedness from trying to fulfill another’s destiny,
from trying to fulfill a destiny other than one’s own.

Landing, finally, in my own body, my own corporeal soul,
that word that is the concrete refuge, the heartened wood.
I give the green arising of this vitality free rein, free reign.

 

15 January 2007
Fairfax, California
Janice Sandeen

Abacus (pantoum)

 

DSCN0900

 

Quietly apparent all that arises naturally as life

Synchronous arising no before or after only simultaneous

Yet counting on something passing clicking as if on an abacus

I draw out in the sand the footprints I leave behind as I go

 

Synchronous arising no before or after only simultaneous

Each day a counting from birdsong to bloom tender traces each

I draw out in the sand the footprints I leave behind as I go

To be washed clear, here the winds doing this work, a purification

 

Each day a counting from birdsong to bloom tender traces each

Drawing out that which has been dormant in other seasons

To be washed clear, here the winds doing this work, a purification

The counting as a momentary way of relating to the vast timeless

 

Drawing out that which has been dormant in other seasons

Gathering the sum of all the parts of what is a living precipice

The counting as a momentary way of relating to the vast timeless

This precipice, a burgeoning so fierce that it claims within it the calm

 

prompt: pantoum

27-30 April 2018

cc Janice Sandeen

Being Held Under: the dream (pantoum)

Sleep and the torment of undifferentiated events occurring and reoccurring

Crying out to the nursemaid that appears, an invented character –not an ally

Furiously I dig into depths of sediment made (up) of eons before and still to come

Anonymous things cascade as their very formation, epic some, insidious others

Crying out to the nursemaid that appears an invented character, not –an ally

Sure that help must come, as sure as previous layers settled Once Upon a Time

Anonymous, things cascade as their very formation –epic, some insidious, others

Remaining unresolved, thus acting as antigen, both antagonist and protagonist

Sure that help must come, as sure as previous layers once settled upon, a time

Repeating itself once again, yet the faces and objects take on different colors, shapes

Remaining unresolved thus acting as, antigen both antagonist/protagonist

Clambering to the ungraspable source, the surface –life support, of which there is none

Repeating itself once again yet the faces… and objects take on different colors, shapes

What mystery this puzzle that takes itself so resolutely magnificent in its diffuse distillations

Clambering to the ungraspable, source the surface, life support of which there is –none

Better than waking (up) dreaming –only to recognize the once hidden throngs effervesced

 

Thank you to the Richmond (CA) Poet Laureates Daniel Ari, Rob Lipton, and Ciera Jevae-Gordon for the writing prompts this past month during National Poetry Month. 🙂

[This poem is a pantoum, “a Malay repeating form, written in quatrains, in which the second and fourth lines of each stanza become the first and third lines of the next one.” –from p. 195, The Poetry Dictionary by John Drury, ©1995 Story Press; Cincinnati, OH.]

Dry Winter Spring

dry skin dry winter

it’s been a dry season

coming to the surface now

 

hot air balloons rise in the distance

spring is here and

no mud in sight, clean shoesdry winter spring

 

cracked lip cracked skin

all those years, parched

and homeostasis still

 

this season is this one, now

part of the whole, of the All

perhaps a bouquet of choices

 

among what is choice-less

looking below the surface

and beyond the markers of time

 

and where I stand, sitting

still or actively creating

amidst it all, amidst all

 

As the All, the all that I am

cannot help but be that

dry skin, cracked lip

 

paired dance, two step three

forward back, circling

hot air rises, takes up wing

 

single piano melody and cadence

joined by a symphonic chorus

that I see all around me

 

Another season will be

will be what it is then

even now that season emerges

 

Apparent in ways not yet visible

the tear running down the face

surfaces after long held heart

 

Cracking a smile has other allies

even if only there under the skin

opens out and then returns quietly

 

like a breeze scattering seeds

that would otherwise reside

close in, close by where they fall

 

singing of loss beneath the breath

keeps the flowers ready to blossom

their scent barely contained and rising

 

crispness of air, spirit, sight, and earth (heart)

such ways sing brightness of their own

elegy only for nostalgia alone

cc Janice Sandeen ~ Arroyo Seco, NM

 

Brightness Spectrum

The day seemed brighter than usual in the most uncanny of ways.

The creek could be heard flowing and the flies and bees buzz

was also heard more clearly than usual. But amidst all of these patterns,

there was something else fractured and marred beyond

any usual glimpse of what life could be or look like.

 

There was the stimulation of things unknown,

which is always there for the taking or playing with ~

but today it was more like the unknown of the unknown.

Unknowing squared. It’s not quite like a double negative.

Unknown and more unknown is just the unknown.

 

It may seem odd to ask, “what do we know

about the unknown?”–but it’s precisely that

kind of question that is needed at times.

 

The words tick on like seconds on a clock,

like bees returning to the hive,

like water flowing ever down, down, down.

 

The words themselves are sometimes the only clues

and today those clues are: brighter, fractured,

marred, stimulation, unknown, uncanny,

double negative, and even a few yet spoken.

 

If I could grind up these words to make a pigment

to paint with, these would be music more than color,

the music of thunder, the shudder of forces of nature

coming into contact and then departing or dispersing.

 

How could anything as broken as fractured stimulation

become the clue to some of the greatest mysteries of being?

How could something as uncanny as a double negative

serve a higher cause than the brightness of a day?

 

How fortunate to be inside the Rubik’s Cube of sound itself

such that even sound follows a brightness spectrum.

But there are days such as these.

 

Janice Sandeen ~ 26 March 2017

written while virtually “attending” the writing jam w/Daniel Ari

spoken at The Spoken Word Open Mic in Taos, NM @ SOMOS

Outlines

As I sit here it becomes clear

I need to create an outline

for a poem

that is ready to be written

 

Funny how a poem

can seem to need an outline,

to mark out everything

it could and would say

 

i) All That Is

ii) What now is becoming Known

iii) What is no longer necessary

iv) Reversals of figure/ground

 

Perhaps it is the space

between outline and poem

that I’m really interested in,

the visible reaches between

 

Wondering, will anyone else

see what I see there/here

as I map out the bridging

between seen and unseen?

 

Good thing I’m prepared for this step:

my new footwear is designed

for multidirectional levels of grounding

in body/mind/spirit and beyond

 

I have socks with holes in them,

but wait, these are black holes

and wormholes, as time disintegrates

& even temperature is refigured

 

Pants are no longer restrictive

nor all they were once worked up to be;

who wears the pants when domination

and control crumbles all around us?

 

Keep your shirt on (or not) but

find your colors amongst the

rainbow, as well as infrared

and ultra violet ~ all fluid light

 

Speaking of light, the naked eye

sees so much more than once upon a time,

marrying the inner eye & embarking

together, seeing expansion everywhere

 

The outline becomes omnidirectional

Just as time becomes No Time

Things are no longer what they seem

It is now easier than ever to Let Go

inhabit inhabiting

I have been so

inhabited

with thoughts

about what

many others

are thinking and have put forth

that, in effect,

I have stopped

thinking.

 

As this

recognizing,

may I newly dawn,

as the sun does

when blanketing the ground with light,

as music

pervading this inner space

and beyond.

~

I am

content

to dwell

in and as

the cracks between

the world-as-we-know-it.

 

The gaps

are teeming with life

hardly once recognized.

 

I am

this life

and this life responds

within itself

as itself

and in concert

with itself,

even while teeming

as chaos.