“I close my eyes, and think of water.” –James Wright
I close my eyes and think of
water. Water flowing crystal
clean, the brook and the forest
gilded in daybreak, serene
Water from an icy spring high in
the Spanish mountains, the road
as heated as a griddle
as we wound our way down
to supper and a bottle of wine. Water
carried away my son, or what was
left of his mortal remains, my hand
too numb to know what I was doing
in this humble ritual. The river is flowing,
I sang into the immaculate silence of our
mourning circle. I was thirsty
for a sprinkle of water on my brow
from the holy font scummed with marbled
green by the church door. I think of water,
flowering in womb-warmth to be re-
born, salty return to innocence,
how it floats away our pain.
At River’s Edge
We soak in this piercing sun, skins glisten
with sweat. There is no where else
to be. The smell of sage on my
fingers. Can not disguise my
human yearning, heart soft.
Let me sink to the mossy stones, slide
my hands along the green
of their smooth hard knowledge.
Not disturbed if the current
suddenly runs swift from a
storm, cool and reviving.
Content in the playground
of frogs and salamanders. Hide from the
flight of ladybugs. Unknown under
your feet the careful slide, the rounded
edge, the slicky mud. Play hide and seek.
Become ancient and whole.
Letter to Gaia
I am sitting at a table in a house in north Minneapolis.
The surgery went fine.
An invasion of the body but necessary.
I have a cane. It is snowing.
The snow outside my window is silent
and I am silent as well
pondering the twists and turns
that brought me to this season.
I want to tell you how much I appreciate the
wildness of your sacred groves,
tidepools and beaches, creatures from
the smallest winged insects to the stomping feet of elephants.
I want to whisper that I love you.
I know you are gashed and raped and covered with cement and brick,
but your seams of blue rivers are lovely.
I want to confide in you that I need your caress, without it I can’t live,
without it I can’t breathe.
I thought if you knew how much I love you,
you might feel a little less abandoned.
A little less uncertain of the impending shake up
count down to evolutionary extinction,
the loss of countless species, the grief you must feel
for the oil spill death grip.
I hope you can forgive us,
forgive me for neglect and irreverence.
I want to say that I am happy
in your streams or in your meadows.
I want to say that you are beloved
in the language of earth,
in the language of praise.
With my words, I celebrate Mother Earth and beg her forgiveness for what we humans have done to Her. She provides us with everything we need to live not only physically but spiritually. Water is used for purification and cleansing in ceremony and water represents our emotions. It makes me think of how important it is to acknowledge our grief for the ravaging of Mother Earth due to greed and gluttony at the expense of our own life supports. The oil spill is a terrible and traumatic disaster to the ecology and the livelihood of those who live on the coast, but I am also shaken by the implications of poisoning that which keeps us spiritually whole. I write to unite in healing Her, whether with the work of our hands or by envisioning Her whole again.
Wendy Brown-Báez, author of a poetry collection Ceremonies of the Spirit (Plain View Press, 2009), has published prose and poetry in numerous literary journals, including TheAwakenings Review, The Chrysalis Reader, The Litchfield Review, Minnetonka Review, Mizna, Wising Up Press, and Lavanderia. In 2004 she produced a spoken word CD Longing for Home and since then, traveled to perform in cafes, bookstores, cultural centers, and galleries, solo and in collaborations. The creator of Writing Circles for Healing, she is the recipient of 2008 and 2009 McKnight grants to teach writing workshops for at risk youth. www.wendybrownbaez.com