Wild Crafting

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
Charlie, Gill-over-the-Ground
and sky-blue Forget-Me-Knot.

*

My daily bouquet of dandelion
satisfies the neighbour’s need

for desert of green grass and mine 
for wild.

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.

Now 
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 
familiar pastures 
of the past

their gorgeous black sheen.  None 
of those cloven hooves 
cleft in
summers gone 

disturb the dust as they
wing their way through dream
dimensions toward
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

Penn Kemp

Penn Kemp has been active in Canada’s literary scene since her first publication of poetry, Bearing Down, by Coach House (1972). As well as editing Canada’s first anthology of women’s writing, IS 14 (1973), she wrote the first play produced in Canada about abortion rights. She was London's inaugural Poet Laureate and the League of Canadian Poets’ Spoken Word Artist, 2015. Multimedia works are up on https://riverrevery.ca. Her 2018 poetry books are Local Heroes (Insomniac Press) and Fox Haunts(Aeolus). www.pennkemp.weebly.com.

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