The Peonies Reaching

Make me like the peonies reaching,
ripening and revealing shimmers of light,
born of darkness, from disintegration in a long story’s night
whose tale suggests only seclusion unending and a crushing fate…
until,
until the bursting out upon the day,
until the unfolding from haunts of burial entombing,
until all my songs release fragrance
sweetened by a holy undoing,
whose whispers in moonlight of a sun behind the night
birth soul beyond the doom,
holding sacred sway over a mysterious teaching.

Photo by J. Ruth Kelly, 2015, All Rights Reserved

Photo by J. Ruth Kelly, 2015, All Rights Reserved

Photo by J. Ruth Kelly, 2015, All Rights Reserved

Photo by J. Ruth Kelly, 2015, All Rights Reserved

j. ruth kelly, 2015, all rights reserved

Juxtapose

juxtaposed sun’s rays
stirring colours under skin
melting winter’s haze…
reach deeply please into corners still
shuddering shock from isolation
set fire to all the lies we tell ourselves against the fears
burn white to red in holy consummation all these contradictions
claiming our clearest songs and muting every proclamation making
love and art from devastation

j. ruth kelly, 2015, all rights reserved

j. ruth kelly, 2015, all rights reserved

Honesty and Loss

At the risk of being “too serious,” I’m posting this somewhat intense documentary. I had an interesting conversation with my youngest son yesterday about seriousness. It reminds me how much we run from seriousness but also how much we need it in order to be able to be given more fully in our mirth, oddly enough. “Seriousness” is a big, vague word but it refers to taking life seriously, taking feelings seriously, taking experiences of loss seriously, and gain, seriously. Seriousness as a perspective of life or attitude towards one’s own existence juxtaposed against the alternative – humor, light-heartedness. What I find is this: Whatever we run from also holds a piece of our authentic self hostage. The imprisoned bits of self cannot genuinely participate in laughter and sometimes reach desperately out for any and every comedy to salve the haunting fear within, a sort of addictive process requiring perpetual doses of positive or funny or anything but the things we run from within ourselves…so…I’ve found that as I’m bankrupted by some of life’s crueler tides, I’m also opened up to deeper experiences of joy, an unreserved, unguarded unfolding of meaningful and light-hearted appreciation for all that life can be. I have precious little patience with positive mantras divorced from process, divorced from the organic work of finding a truly uplifting perspective via the deeper work of… honesty. I love Mark Pellington’s work as well as David Whyte’s wonderful exposition of so many layers of life’s more serious realities. So, this follows:

Mark Pellington has this to say of the documentary:

“This film was made by me as an exercise in process, to explore my own progress and personal feelings towards loss, grief, and healing. Via this text. My instinct was to be very simple and direct and to understand these words, via catharsis. The conduit was human, the face. The unlying veneer, the carrier of instinct. The face. It evokes the range of emotional expression and human truth of strangers. They all listened to it one time and brought their own inner stories to you the viewer. “

Found here.

j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved, 2014

Earth Awaits

brilliant-coloured birds tend their silence here, perching on stillness and heart’s ache, a hushed fear catching in their throats, poised against a hope we’ve lost sight of in life’s cruel twists…

whose song will they next sing for us, breaking out upon the night a memorial of life precious, fleeting? surely their melodies weave eternal tapestries from the light of each heart that has ached and joyed before us and will flow onward, grasping our own and those yet to come…

let us hear their silence and know all the earth aches for each one of us.

and when their songs fall again on our ears, may we be gently enclosed in the comfort of their epochs, our stories alighting on trees, interwoven with the spirits of all nature, whispering into valleys, bursting along rivers we may never see, yet filling hearts with melodies uniquely given by each of our lives…

let us hear the love and know all the earth awaits our answering songs.

but for now the womb of silence weeps. the songbirds listen,
holding sorrow’s breath…

j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved, 2014

j. ruth kelly, all rights reserved, 2014

20141018_163212

Hammock’s Sway

Healing hammock ride the sky, in my lingering repose.
Silence washing, flooding,

Crash this deafening noise, all the clamoring
impossibilities’ haunt of rhythm’s worst explosion, enigma’s crueler clarity
suggesting daunting end of days sooner as I

long for, work for, breathe for later, much later.

Wipe away my necessary practice,
the trauma of doling out tomorrows’ chances
via feverish weighing today of…
how much too much, just enough
or not enough now will facilitate more of a future, not less…
why must all these labors somehow suggest
no now and no when or where in which to be or go to or later for which to aim
when their aim is to seize assurance?

So, in my fevered necessities,
somehow slip me past the grasp that deadens days
and back into flow…

Take me to obliteration lovely, blanking out the doling minutes, seconds…
Bind me to places where eternity emerges, maybe there shimmering
on the edge of twilight…or here unveiling the timeless rule of leaves,
and trees holding hammock’s sway.

20141018_163212

Courtesy Of Dave Grant, 2011 - 2014

The Moon’s Say So…

The heart of the soles of my feet of dancing sigh…they ache on earth pulsing a song long begun, hearing ancient knowing, yearning through the toes to the top of my head.

No ounce of will can bend the tides without the moon’s say so. No gumption of the reddest desire can re-write the years gone by or shift the mountain aside.

So, my feet wait and sigh, humming earth tunes through my being, reminding centuries of roots stretching deep, breathing life in spite of all the carnage haunting dreams left wanting.

And to my end this may be the most these soles know: to grow old in the hum of an ancient song and wait for the next expression of love, to know that only those gifted with fortunate favor and a timing divine make it beyond the mountain and across the sea, only those who dig deep find the center – the one source shaping stories for love’s next challenge, to know one’s failing may be the other’s best and that a world crawling on her knees never gets invited to the wedding feast.

Courtesy Of Dave Grant, 2011 - 2014

Courtesy Of Dave Grant, 2011 – 2014

Shiny Badges

The older I get the more I realize how flimsy love can be in some relationships. And how ironically stalwart, solid in others and some just relentless, regardless of how inconvenient, unconventional and even mostly unavailable. I’ve left my marriage but the love is there for us both to be human (flawed), helpful (magnanimous) and flexible (willing to bend when it will help all of us). We aren’t married but, we’re married to the clean up of leftover messes and the nurturing of ongoing commitments. I’ve witnessed and been witnessed, all the worst colors of the bad and the ugly. And there’s not any petty stomping off like scared children on the playground way back in the mean streets of “elementary” school. It’s the same with my relationships with others – love full. But too few, in terms of solid, lasting maturity in relating. I look in the mirror and wonder why. I realize there are some things I’m just not going to tolerate, like being misrepresented intentionally – hence the loss of a “friend” I dearly loved last year and the resulting storm of lost connections because of the poison. And the year before? A friend of decades had no stomach for my lack of stomach for another turn of stomping on things precious, ironically. I wasn’t allowed to be human and so, no words for 2 years now. No vocal words, just those messages most safe, via social media and some texts. But I’m definitely out because I wasn’t able to do another dance with confusion in that particular long bond. I shake my head thinking of the many roundy rounds I’ve been through with confusion in another relationship. And some confusing rounds I instigated too. The love is still there. There’s no stomping away. It doesn’t seem to make any sense. But I try to make sense of it. Then there are those who are just lost in a sea of indignation because in spite of having unsuccessfully attempted to help them while being in the midst of some of my own surreal schedule and scary health challenges, I didn’t pull off the paint job. I scratch my head. This? This is love? These ridiculous missteps scattering people and creating twisted piles of “logic” like “I don’t have to say I’m sorry if I’m not sorry.” I want to say “Oh, really? Duh. Congratulations on knowing how no one makes you do a damn thing you don’t wanna. Congratulations on not feeling sorrow over loss. Congratulations on finding a shiny badge for that.”

And that is where I am after the last round of poetry and river song, somewhere between remembering the vibe of love and wondering why it has to be so randomly seemingly absent at times most critical. And why my own flaws can’t be less tiring, troublesome and hurtful. There are times when it truly feels like all the universe is waiting for is that one misstep or missed step and slam. But see now I’m whining. And I don’t do that if I can possibly help it but today, mostly, I would like to feel less affected by loss and more able to put on that shiny badge everyone else is so damn proud of.