poetry

Here We Remember: The Song of Myself. {poetry}

 

Fall is a time of remembering, calling in our ancestors, as well as letting fall away that which no longer serves us.

To remember is not just a mental action, it is a soul action of reclaiming and re-integrating the pieces that were lost, taken, or hidden for safety, by ourselves and previous generations. I love hearing this word in many communities right now — we are here to remember, to come home to ourselves. This work is individual and community work.

Equinox time is here, balancing light and shadow. What parts of you remain hidden, feared, despised, locked away? What would it take for you to remember?

When we talk about wanting peace in our world, it is no cop-out to say we have to start with ourselves. It is truly no wonder that we inflict tremendous suffering on each other when we pause to notice the hatred, the fear, the aggression we use with ourselves. We have no tolerance for our own mistakes, our silly desires, our feelings (only happiness allowed!), our humanness.

So why are we surprised when we, or others, turn aggression or fear out?

We can change everything, and we can only change our own reactions. We can bring ourselves home, tiny pieces at a time, and say, “Little one, sweetheart, I see you, you have a place here.”

Light your altars, fellow babies, welcome your darkness home too.

***

The dances that were forgotten,
the drums remember.
The medicines, the recipes
that were burned with our great-grandmothers,
the plants remember.
The songs that were silenced,
the fire remembers.

Here in the deep night,
in darkness under star-fire,
are the grandmothers and the children,
are the women dancing, crying,
laughing, kissing, singing, spinning
fire, drumming —
we remember, we
remember, we remember,
we give thanks,
we remember.

***

The song of myself is the song of reclaiming what was lost, hidden under the floorboards when the thieves came, heavy furniture moved on top, ashes, dust of ages, the song unsung, nearly forgotten but still a shadow of it remained.

The song of myself was unfamiliar, awkward on the tongue, in the mouth and flesh, so that I feared it sounded like crows cawing, bears growling, that everyone would stop and look because surely this song was forbidden, out of place, grotesque in its different-ness. The song of myself is sometimes as quiet as the feather of an owl, heard only by the shiver it leaves on the air.

The song of myself has turned out to be sweet as honey in the mouth, sharp as ginger, unexpected. It has turned out to be a song I came alive singing, that turned on every cell in my body like rains coming into the dead lands, lights turning on in a building we thought abandoned.

Every part of myself recognized the song of myself, wept that at last we could sing again, after the long years of forgetting, the gag in the mouth. I feared it was the taste of iron, but it was the taste of water, undisguised, itself only. I feared it was the screech of crows, but it was the sound of a woman praying in gratitude, the song of the gong vibrating into every part of us.

I feared the song of myself like the touch of a snake, and it was the slipping out of one skin into another, first raw, then the smoothness of new skin. I feared it was the sight of only me, alone on rocks at the edge of the ocean — it was me, part of the rocks, part of the ocean, and also the mother water in every cell of me.

I feared it was the smell of smoke, the fire burning everything I had known. It was that smoke, the transformation that takes solid matter up to the heaven, it was the dry leaves falling from the trees, and it was the smell of the fresh earth newly dug in spring, the growing green tips on the hemlock, sharp and piney.

The song of myself was completely my own, and once I knew it as my own, it was also the song of everything, it could not be sung without setting off the humming of every other being.

***

Bones of the mother
I have loved, open
to me.

Have you noticed,
once the leaves have fallen,
how much light
enters the forest?

***

Autumn — most beloved — I confess
I hardly noticed you
this year, until I took myself out
of the library
and into your forests.
You had begun glowing
without me,
and I knew at once this was one
of your gifts —
that each of us shines
though no one seems to be watching,
though it seems to be dark.

***

For Ella

Little girl, I see
you now,
looking back
from my daughter’s face,
the same bone-white skin
and chameleon eyes.
This time, I will not
teach you to
cross your t’s
and tighten the screws, this time
I will hand you a match
and say, Burn
it down.

***

Adrie Rose writes and works with herbs in western MA. Her work has previously appeared in Plum, Peregrine, Albatross, The Essential Herbal, Poetry Breakfast, and Ibbetson Street Review. Her poem “In the Liminal” was awarded second place in the Robert P. Colleen Poetry Competition. She studied creative writing at Bennington College and the SC Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities.

***

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