Morning Labyrinth Contemplation

For those of you with me for a while, know I love labyrinths. They really are good places to do a walking meditation and contemplation. Just walk it and see what shows up. Clarity. This labyrinth is at Sugar Creek Bible Camp in the beautiful driftless (unglaciated) part of Wisconsin where I meet some fun ladies annually for a crafty, chatting weekend. Enjoy the poem.

Sugar Creek Bible Camp labyrinth
Morning Labyrinth Contemplation

Weaving my steps
into a life fabric,
a compact circle, cycle
looping in and out of ancestor lives
and deaths
and rebirths.
Walking miles in a small universe
held by the land
and love.

Pausing in the middle
contemplating the walk in 
and the walk out.
Nothing is tragedy
only movement,
change yet not new.
All comes back to the same space. 

Around a corner
facing another direction,
another loop,
another corner
facing North again.
All directions forward
and repeating
North South East West
Birth Life Death Rebirth.
We will tread this long path again
in the form of our progeny
Forward and repeating,
weaving their steps
with our steps
Walking eternal miles
in the small universe. 

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Fifty Kinds of Cheese – Iceland

Capturing a bit of that great sarcastic Icelandic humor in this fun little poem. In case it is not obvious, “foss” is Icelandic for “waterfall.” Enjoy!

Iceland pride poem pic

Fifty Kinds of Cheese – Iceland

“Fifty kinds of cheese
and they all taste the same.”
“The best cheese in the world.”
Iceland pride
of land
and craft.

We owe the sheep
for settlement survival
and our warm wool sweaters.
(They really do wear their sweaters.)
Warm in the cold and wet.

Seems like fifty waterfalls too
Foss, Foss, Foss
and hot spring spas
to warm the bones
Geothermal treats
including the tomatoes.
Hot Spring powered greenhouses
Cucumbers with every meal.

Coffee and cake
Iceland hospitality
and national sweet tooth
driven by hard work
and lots of books.

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Six Senses in Iceland

We need more than just itinerary poems to describe Iceland. The gift of a poet is that we use all our sense when immersed in a place. Enjoy the poem!

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photo:  Kerið crater

Six senses in Iceland

Fingers drawn to yarn
Walls of yarn
from local Heritage sheep.
Air crisp
unsullied by “civilization.”
Waterfall mist on my face
skin blooms young.
Hot spring immersion
hint of sulfur source.
Chocolate enhanced by licorice.
Butter and sea salt on crusty bread.
Lamb with terroir
taste of place
cooked so rare
it melts between the teeth. 
Quiet its own sound
sound of profound dark.
Happy bleat of sheep
and Icelander greeting
góðan dag.
Wind protesting against anything it hits
in whistle and whine
missing the trees that used to play. 
Colors of moss and herbs
autumnal rich.
Cinematic landscapes
plunging depth of crater and gorge.
Folded mounds
Trolls turned to stone.
Lava land and mountains
fire from earth’s core.
Sea of leaping waves
rideable blue
draws the eye 
and ancient wandering soul.
Spirit connection to ancestors
Viking spirit lives on
tempered with Celtic calm.

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Iceland Golden & Woolen Circle

My first time to Iceland, and certainly not my last. It was a pleasure to travel with Understand Iceland tours and University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point Adventure Tours. Each evening, I wrote our day’s itinerary and adventures in poem format. To feel the whole trip, all five days are in this one post.

Iceland a magical place of connecting to my ancestry (Norse and Celtic) and thus understanding the origins of my values, talents, style, spirituality, and way of seeing the world.

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Photo: Harpa Concert Hall

Iceland – Day 1 – Reykjavik – Meeting the Group

I slid onto Iceland
this sunny day,
a city day to shake the hand
of the Viking thread.

Colored corrugated townhouses,
stoic cheery,
windows propped open
to let out earth heat
and in sea-softened air.

The space shuttle church
injects organ hymns
directly to heaven 
through pipes of passion.

Punk lunch
magic potato salad
creamy on the tongue
with squash “meat”
and mushroom accompaniment
under cherry blossoms.

Harpa concert hall
diamond faceted ice cube
collecting solar love
casting honey-combed light-webs.

Solfar fishy sculpture
beached ashore
bow first
trident tail high
Vikings returning with plunder
or maybe buzzing tourists
around the skeletal spectacle.

Reykjavik
translates smokey city
of Leifur Eiríksson,
of Norse expansionists
toting Celtic wives
to settle this wild, vacant land
of the midnight sun
invaded by Midwest knitters
hoping for Northern Lights.

 

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Photo: Gullfoss

Day 2 The Golden Circle

Reykholt south
Whitehouse guesthouse
Gather morning walk
on a hot spring errand

for steamed lava bread
golden syrup richness
our breakfast
shared.

Skálholt Cathedral
Mosaic 3D Jesus welcomes travelers
with open arms.
Morning Benedictine ritual
sung in Icelandic touched by Latin.
The twelfth century bell rings
amidst abstract storied windows.
Lists of bishops
buried behind the wall
a saint,
a stone coffined priest who made it rain,
the reformation priest
who beheaded his Catholic rival and sons 
just out of church sight, 
the commandment loophole
less tragic than the bishop’s daughter
who fell in love with her tutor
made to vow chastity,
a vow made to be defiantly broken,
a love child conceived. 

Eco village Sólheim|
Troll garden
tasting Borage flowers
Admiring art of disabled residents
loom, thread, yarn, clay and wood
and elf houses. 

Friðheimar tomatoes
hot spring fed
on knitted vines
from greenhouse
to our soup plates
under a mountain of bread
and butter
and cucumber
floated with plucked basil.

Faxi falls
where sheep 
herded out of the highlands
are separated by farm brands
by happy, singing farm hands
beer in hand. 

Onto Gullfoss
famous double falls
for selfies galore
and to walk off bread calories.

Geysir counting minutes
to jump for joy and photo
laughing in the sulfur mist.

Icelandic treats
to prime our appetites
Licorice chocolate experience
with a quick glass of wine. 

Mika lobster salad
with white chocolate cheese dressing.
Restaurant of Polish immigrants.
Talking of Icelandic horses
grown fat on sweetening grass.

Guesthouse time
to actually knit
waiting on the hope of Northern lights
while munching Needham Maine treats,
coconut potato chocolates.
Kaleo music videos passed around.
The hot tub fills
as knitting is set aside.

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Photo: Icelandic Sheep wool

Day 3 – The Woolen Circle – Local Farmer

Breakfast together
Long table
Excited chatter

Forestry talk.
Iceland was forested before settled.
Three trees native
willow, birch and mountain ash.
Working to reforest
with stout tree varieties. 

Wool gallery Ullarverslunin
Knitting design
Yulelads wool clad silly santas
the window peeper,
sausage steeler,
Skyr steeler,
and trickster
sharing the old schoolhouse
with Viking kiln made
jewelry and pottery artist.

Town of Selfoss
gift shopping
Bags of chocolate bars,
lava salt and licorice candies.
Time for a coffee stop
Lunch Chicken herb salad
at Matarlyst restaurant.

Shopping break
waterfall
silty tumbles
Urriðafoss
Trout waterfall.

Uppspuni Mini Woolen mill
Horseshoe elf houses 
among the chickens.
Hulda “the hidden” 
Shepherdess
Wool miller
Heritage Icelandic sheep wool
on Canadian machines
separator, carder, spinning and plying
Tactile tour
Soft was the rose and milk blend,
Stink free seaweed and wool blend
Pass on the dog blend.

Secret Lagoon
oldest hotspring spa
pre-wash your furry parts
Float on noodles
in the stone walled pool
surrounded by dragon breath hot vents
and elf houses in lucky threes. 

Sheep round up
Go-pro video by Einar
“Ho ho” I see da sheep
“The lambs go to the grinder”
“It’s all about the drinking”
well and the tradition of
sorting the sheep
herded down from the highlands.

Finally the knitting
(and snacking)
begins
Experts and novices
no click clack “Grandma skill”
and still no Northern Lights
singing “when I’m 64.”

 

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Photo: hand dyed, plant dyed Icelandic wool yarn

Day 4 The Woolen Circle Hand Dyeing Workshop

Iceland food talk
Icelanders were poor
but they had the sheep.
Lamb’s blood and fat sausage
kept “fresh” in a barrel of sour whey.
Meat soup tradition. It stretched lamb supply.
Hákarl putrefied shark 
had to be desperation food. 
Lamb smoked with dried sheep dung
for Christmas.
Thin fried cakes
cut with designs
from a time when flour supplies ran low.
Census taker, Saga collector
made porridge of coffee beans
after drinking coffee with the Danes
started coffee culture that flourished.

Kerið crater
collapsed cinder cone,
rim walk photo ops,
rule breaker drone pilot,
red volcanic rock,
mountains in the distance. 

Flag colors
Red fire under the earth
White glaciers
Blue mountains and sea
Icelanders serious about flag flying
Fly on your birthday
until midnight
The most beautiful flag in the world.

Hespa
Guðrún owner and teacher
Dye colors marked social class
Purple for Pope,
hard color to get.
Blue for kings and Vikings
dyed with Woad 
before Indigo came to Europe.
Red for wealthy upper class
made from Iceland lichen
Upper Middle-class green
and common man natural wool
or gentle “moss-colored” clothing.

Harvest roots spring or fall
when plant is dormant.
Berries and flowers
the colors quickly fade.

Boil our dye pots
Lupin root and leaves, 
rhubarb root, spruce cones, 
dock, meadowsweet,
cochineal dessert bug hot pink, 
and madder root burgundy dye. 

Compare unaltered
to ammonia dipped
and copper sulfate dipped.
Orange onion skin dyed,
chartreuse from cow parsley.
Acid for stronger color
Alkaline to brighten.

Town of Eyrarbakki
Refurbed historic houses
of many colors.
One of the first settlements
Museum Byggdas-afn Arnesinga
Port town
Sail to America during mini ice age.

Us “hardy souls”
on the windy beach
Admiring seaweed
Commenting not a likely port.

Farewell dinner
Ginger Bellinis
Cod in cream sauce
and molten chocolate volcano cake.

Pack our bags
cram in all our treasures
CPR compressions 
to smash down the yarn
thought we’d go to bed early
oh no sat up chatting. 

 

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Photo: Law rock at Þingvellir

Day 5 – Depart the Golden Circle

Bring down your bags
after breakfast

Photos in front of our guest house
and the Grayline bus with Maggie.
Good bye to Herdis.

Onto Þingvellir
where Icelandic chieftains
assembled at the annual Alþing
to discuss laws,
pass judgements
and execute a few
Men hung
Women drowned.

Last lunch together
including a walk to see a giantess
then drop everyone but me
at the airport.

Meet Sigga in her and Maggie’s home.
A condo full of art, family photos
sewing machines and yarn.

Icebar experience.
Don oderific coats and clean gloves.
Blue curacao drink
in an ice cup.
Take photos with the ice sculptures
Bow of a longboat,
Ice throne flanked by nippled nudes.
Carvings behind the walls
Intricate Freya naked on a horse,
Trollish bent old woman
Gollum like.
Sword fighting Vikings.
Sitting on ice benches 
Covered in sheepskins
until we were cold enough.

Walk downtown Reykjavik
to our restaurant
Exploring government buildings
Gardens with art.
Gender and sexual orientation 
art installation
Giggling at the hairy legged characters.

Apotec former apothecary for dinner
where Olie the newspaper seller
would hark his wares each morning
Now a fancy restaurant
serving delicacies from sea and land.
Rack of lamb
“posh fries” with truffle oil. 

No Northern Lights
as we made our way back to the car. 
Drop me at my rented studio
send off with hugs
and farewell until next time. 

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Bellies Meet Earth

What a good time watching my belly dancer girlfriends (Wild Trillium troop) perform at Stoney Acres community support agriculture farm last night. We always run into people we haven’t seen in a long while when we go to stone fired pizza night at Stoney Acres. The lively music, colorful costumes and talented shakin’ hips were the perfect entertainment on a beautiful summer night outside. Enjoy the poem and find a belly dance groups near you.

Stoney Acres performance July 2022
Bellies Meet Earth

Earth births forth abundance
Peppers, tomatoes,
roaming chickens,
and wandering squash
undulating under watch
of sun and moon
and steady farmer hands.

Bellies undulate in dance
toning our soil
of mothers connected to mother
earth our home
our stage
our gathering place.

Rhythm of drums
rhythm of hips
rhythm of air, earth, water,
fire and spirit

all culminated in pizza.

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Oh What a Day to Be a Tree

A windy day poem admiring how the trees enliven. Wind is part of the plan. Mother Nature has it figured out including my part in it rocking and writing poems exchanging energy with wind and forest. Live it up my dears.

Oh What a Day to be a Tree
Oh What a Day to Be a Tree

Oh what a day to be a tree
to run in the wind
keeping pace with the floating clouds.
Green crowns shimmering 
like rippling windlines on the pond.
Leaf lungs full of air
they howl and squeal,
bend and bounce 
and play with each other
sharing pollen and 
tossing winged seeds
like a ticker tape celebration.
Tree da vive. 

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Waterleaf

Virginia Waterleaf is my latest foraging discovery. It is a sweet little leaf and crunch bud to add to salads. Like most early summer foraging, it lasts only a couple of weeks. A seasonal treat and that connected feeling of “living” off the land. Enjoy the poem where I got to know this little darling. By the way, it is called waterleaf because some the leaves kinds look like they have water spots.

Water Leaf buds and leaves etible and sweet
Waterleaf

Waterleaf
Food for spring hungry eyes
and thinning blood 
craving tender greens.
Pale purple passion pretty in a vase
accompanying my writing.
A boisterous bumble bee finds us
and dips his long tongue
in the glorious work of bees.
Bee and I in the bountiful waterleaf
living on the land.

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Sitting with Lilac

Lilacs are my favorite flower. The smell is pure heaven and a fleeting middle-late May bloom. I spend a pleasant day on my rocking chair, reading, writing and rocking outside all while inhaling lilac. Ahh. Enjoy the poem.

Lilac
Sitting with Lilac

Sitting with Lilac perfection
listening to the breeze
through applauding poplar leaves,
to birds calling Marco Polo,
to bees at work. 

Inhale the sweet smell of May ending,
of June beginning
purple flowers brushed against my Shakti*
pulling down the magic of new leaves
into my being
younging me through the power of Yoni*.

*Shakti = divine energy
*Yoni = procreative energy

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Receptivity

Poems inspired by tarot/oracle cards did not end with poetry writing month. (Search “Tarot NaPoWriMo” in my archives to see them.) The Sacred Threads Oracle deck by Heather Rhodes at Studio Petronella is my treat-for-me purchase after meeting Heather in Sadhana. Every photograph is beautiful! When leafing through the deck, this card, “Receptivity,” called to me. It needed a poem to process. What showed up were pieces of a psychic reading I had done last year, my quick menopause, ancestry, and a bit of Yoga. Interesting. What are you receiving?

ReceptivityReceptivity card from Sacred Threads oracle by Heather Rhodes of Studio Petronella

I receive gratefully all my seasons
like the flow of spring
to deep glistening winter.
I flow like the trees
Half Moon in the wind,
Mountain in the sun,
and Child’s pose nurse-tree in death.

I receive the gifts of all seasons
in the stroke of a year,
in the stroke of a millennium
for my soul is old,
Shaman vibrations through
the circles of incarnation.
This is my path
swimming headlong
through primordial waters
spiraling upward
to Angeldom.

I am not just wind on the water
my ripples run deep,
fossil waves of sandstone
from ancient ocean beds
up through Viking and Celt
land-wisdom, wild apples, broadsword, and shield
tilling the soil of humanity
with my hands and far-reaching intuition
receiving the chocolate oath of authenticity. 

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Seer – 30 NaPoWriMo

Last official day of National/Global Poetry Writing Month (AKA NaPoWriMo). But, in the crystal ball, I see more Tarot poems spilling into May. The “Seer” card would tell us that my intention makes the difference in what the future brings.

“Seer” card from the Angels and Ancestors deck by Kyle Gray, art by Lily Moses.

30 Seer from Angels and Ancestors deck by Kyle Gray and Lily Moses
Seer

Pick up those binoculars.
What do you see in the distance?
Look down from a plane.
What do you see from the sky?
Peer through your telescope.
What do you see in the stars?
Lift the blinders of the dark times
to see beyond.

Be a see-er
See beyond
See through space and time
All futures are happening at once
Imagination and intention
are your crystal ball.

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