by Penn Kemp
Kore, Ostara, Flora, sing slight intimacy
of air, flights imagination will lilt with.
Goldfinches float above the daffodils,
hang upside-down on the stalk of old
sunflower to catch last fall’s last seed.
A flash of cardinal lilts down
to settle in a cloud of Creeping
and sky-blue Forget-Me-Knot.
My daily bouquet of dandelion
satisfies the neighbour’s need
for desert of green grass and mine
The yellow vibrant heads last
just a day, and then plunge sodden
into compost, to rot and feed more
flowers, not to go to seed and
propagate as they are raised to do.
Daily, the flowers bloom closer
and closer to the ground, as if
to speed the cycle, to seed before
the lawn mower lops off their
vibrant unmistakeable heads.
In thwarting their will to reproduce,
I celebrate their evanescent charm
and serve their leaves for lunch.
Stirring Not Stirring
Honey drips from my nose, coats
my hair in blond stiff strands.
I am standing very still calling
bees by scent. Pheromones draw
them to collect on me, hiving off
to a giant new temporary queen,
spun down from my chin in a grand
pharaoh’s beard. My eyes, my ears
are bee-shut, open only to their buzz.
What I don’t know is that I’m here
in front of a bear’s cave on the first
warm day of summer, attending
emergence, as the swarm births
from entrails of bull and bear.
Bee goddess, bear goddess, mid-
wife, be with us mid-life and beyond.
Homing to the Given
I am moving into old time
Fire embraces my shadow,
absorbs darkness into heat.
Friends linger, huddle under
our circular warmth. 10,000
years melt away in the current
climate shift. There goes snow.
Too late for comfort, too late to
reverse trends toward entropy.
Decades, centuries speed past
future possibles into the past as
currencies of passable presents.
How to turn this tendency around.
Rapidly, rapidly. Restraint is not
enough. Constraint does not serve.
That’s not the story. I’m drifting.
The ceremony commenced while
attention was off in is own helium.
I am standing before the entrance
of deep cave, a cave I recognize
only by the dark its shadow casts.
Fire gleams. Fire climbs the walls.
Shapes dance into consistent form.
The sense of bear emerges into three
dimensions. Someone from behind
must be holding up the bearskin for
Orsel, Artemis, Bear Woman, shape
shifter. There is no one there but
this bear shape is now my contour.
Bear shape becomes me. Becomes
my own, new comfort large enough
to roam back, large enough to call home.
Culture Shock and Smooth Return
The mothers are washing their babies
in municipal tanks that reek of slime
and brackish river water. “All water’s
holy,” you proclaim, “in Mother India,”
and I regard again the women flailing
laundry white against broad river stone.
Sun glints gold threads in scarlet saris.
I step into the current till cotton wraps
wet around my knees, willing to float
and submerge, until from the shore you
wave me back for the next shift of scene.
we’re swimming our lake toward the city.
Water falls off us like liquid wings of teal,
murky and lukewarm that should feel frigid
given the lacy fronds of ice creeping from
shore. Are we drifting into hypothermia?
Not in this dream dimension where elements
mingle. Joy beyond perception propels our
arms’ strong crawl toward Lakshmi, Devi Ma,
and the Kali who changes us all.
Last August Light
Wasps and bumblebees scheming for nectar
dip and swim through the haze, yellow and
black, carrying home their burden of pollen.
Seasons have their hues: ours is sun-steeped
translucence lit from within till it brims over.
Females dun beside their bolder mates, gold-
finch cross the sky in graceful loops of liquid
flight and song, sway on green fronds that bow
under light weight to the doctrine of signatures.
River carp leap and fall, rippling circles the stream.
Like calls to like through bright air before sunset.
Celebrating Ceres, celebrating Demeter, goldenrod
scimitars flash solid arabesques of late summer, late
afternoon, late in our lives for such luminous entrance.
Brooding Night Mares
A family of Clove horses roams through
nightfall. Spice of life, ground but not blown
on turbulent winds. Settled in green paddock,
grazing the surface, content to browse.
Not Clydesdale but Clove. Feathered
but flightless, smaller than Percheron.
Coralled there to breed
more handsome foals
that will pepper fine
of the past
their gorgeous black sheen. None
of those cloven hooves
disturb the dust as they
wing their way through dream
now at nightfall
toward the feast of Epona,
the stables of Rhiannon.
Recurring Dream Theme
Night rustles outside our window, murmurs
and squeaks. Whimpers follow outraged
raccoon yowl. Orange and black streak
across the dark pane I can’t see through
into night creatures’ world, conjuring
interlaced smells of skunk, mouse, bat
disturbing our neighbour hound's nose.
Scent leads a trail to territorial war, deep
enmities nurtured throughout the long wee
hours before dawn lifts that velvet cloth to
reveal grey, seeping shade back to clarity.
Daylight cicada notions begin threading a
brightening air. Dragonflies wing-web
the pond. Inside I still dream of prowling
tigress, White Goddess stalking the dark.
All above ©Penn Kemp
Recent books are poetry, Barbaric Cultural Practice and two anthologies edited, Women and Multimedia and Performing Women. Penn has published thirty books of poetry, prose and drama, had seven plays and ten CDs produced as well as several award-winning videopoems.
See https://canpoetry.library.utoronto.ca/kemp/index.htm. Follow her on Twitter (pennkemp) or Facebook. Updates: https:/pennkemp.wordpress.com/ and http://pennkemp.weebly.com.