Being Here Now

As earth warms
and her ice fields melt
and the skeletal bones of her crust shift
and her hot core cooks up something new,
human structures collapse
along with the Siberian permafrost.

Being here is like being born:
everything is dark and tumultuous
and you don’t know where you’re headed
and you didn’t ask for this
but this, whatever it is, is already happening
and it’s too late to bail out now.

Call the midwife,
Call the female shaman,
Call 911 Multiverse,
We have to learn to let go.

 

‒ Harriet Ann Ellenberger
   3 July 2020

 

Thanks to Jack Dempsey for sending me the photo, which he describes as “a little clay bowl crafted in post-Minoan Crete: likely, a midwife holding and comforting a woman giving water-birth” (from the cave-shrine of Eileithyia, goddess-patron of mothers, at Inatos, near Tsoutsouros, Crete, dated 9th˗6th cent. BCE). His main website on Minoan Crete is Ancientlights.org.

“Being Here Now” was first published in Return to Mago E-zine on 31 August 2020.

A Practice of Religion

The woods are my church
because everyone in them lives by the law.
If you take more than you need there,
your surplus will be stolen by brown bears,
for dessert.

I take to the woods
like wild geese to Northern skies,
like the red fox to her sensuous den.
The woods are cradle,
hearth fire,
roof,
spire.
The oak, my god;
the ladyslipper, my pleasure.

If I go to the woods,
it is not to flee humans —
I am a human too.
What I touch, I despoil.
My greed knows no bounds.
My jealousy sickens every sacred creature.

If I go to the woods,
without knowledge, without skill,
it is to ask the holy ones
for help.


– Harriet Ann Ellenberger

 

note: This old (mid-1980s in its original version) and defiant poem still speaks for me, and I still like it. Most especially I like it at this time of year, when the buying orgy known as Christmas is past its prime, and once again Mr. Bear and I have survived a religious/commercial holiday by ignoring it. Also, by assiduously avoiding shopping-mall parking lots from mid-November to January 2nd.

The owl photo is by Tina Rataj Berard, on Unsplash.