Grouse Song

In many traditions, the grouse is a symbol of the spiral dance to the heart of mystery. Here she is also an offering to my own limping, arthritic joints.

Grouse spins inward, dances
the one-wing limp-dance –

the hunched, knee-favoring,
stiff-hip-lurching two-step.

Round and round she dances
dragging a wing, a thumb joint,

and the dragged part, flightless,
makes a spiral in the dust –

a whorl, a shell-shape, an ear.
What you must follow

is not the bright chest exposed
to arrows but the dragged

wing, the lurch, the dark thing
hidden, which you thought dead.

There is the pivot, the way in,
the still place where she falls

down and down, until
she touches where flying cannot go.

New Year, new direction

On the morning of the winter solstice, I embarked on a new course as a poet: making multimedia videos of poems.

Although I had been thinking about this for a long time, it actually happened inadvertently, without planning or effort, just after first light marked the turn of a new year.

I had been meditating and writing at Hilina Pali and Don had been photographing the changing light over the ocean. When he began filming me as I walked, I thought he was just practicing, so I went on doing what I was doing.

A few days later Don’s son Ethan, who is a professional video editor, took a look at the raw video and thought it was more authentic – me with my red nose and hair bundled against the wind – than something more studied would have been. He offered to edit the video. And instead of using a recording of a poem, he suggested that in this first video I introduce myself and my poetry.

Again, there was no time to think. The video was only a couple of minutes long, so I could only say what seemed most essential. And Hilina Pali itself breathes silence, not a rush of talk.

So I made a few notes and then began speaking into a mic. The first time didn’t feel right, so I did it again, and that’s what you hear on the video. And the music of deepest joy, for me, is Fur Alina by Arvo Part – again, no need to think.

So here is one new direction for me to explore in this new year. It feels as though it was given impulse and brought into being, not by me, but on a wave of “Yes!” from the whole universe.

(Maybe this year I can take this message to heart: slow down, let go, and listen for the turn of the tide.)

In the meantime, here, reposted, is the video from Hilina Pali.

(It appears that subscribers to this website did not get notification of the original video post, so while I try to figure out Mail Chimp, I am reposting the video here, with my apologies to those of you who already got an email about it.)