Return to the Grandmothers and 2 Other Poems by Annelinde Metzner

 This past summer, my family and I lovingly carried my brother’s ashes to a favorite spot of his, in the woods at our grandparents’ Catskill farm.  My mind was on the simple, beautiful ritual, each of us stating memories and scattering some of the ashes around the tree, and singing a few songs. It had slipped my mind that this tree grew at the entrance of the very meadow where, at age 11, I felt urgently compelled to create a ritual for myself, just at puberty, where I connected with the Grandmothers of the four directions. No one had taught me this, and I am still in wonder at what we carry with us, undoubtedly from prior lives. I feel that this poem was my self initiating myself into the world of the Goddess, and preparing for my own future.

In this poem, the Grandmothers are speaking to me, with a bit of disdain and fond teasing.

Return to the Grandmothers                                     

“Hey, little girl, We know you!” cackled the four Grandmothers

as I approached their meadow,

though now I am seventy, arthritis slowing my gait.

Reverently seven of us family members

had stepped along the woodland trail,

with the ashes of my brother.

“Hey, right here!  Remember us?” the Grandmothers cried,

as we neared my brother’s oaken hunting perch.

And right there, by my brother’s tree,

the entrance to my meadow, my secretest spot,

where, at eleven, I came to seek these Grandmothers,

opening each of my senses as I stepped,

myself a maiden, a wood nymph,

naked as a jay bird, ripe as an apple

and pure as the snow.

“Hey, little girl, where have you been?”

But I have been here, with You, my Holy Ones,

devoting my life to You.

It all began right here!

Initiating me, guiding me that long-ago day

to seek Your presence, to reach out to You,

to humble myself before You,

and yes, astonished, I am here again today.

Slowly we each cast the ashes full of memories,

and sang a few songs,

all as I gazed across the field

deep into my ancient sacred site.

Goldenrod bent Her head in the warm September breeze.

The mullein reached out with Her great soft healing.

The Saint John’s Wort offered Her deep peace.

“You expected less than this?” teased the old Grandmothers.

Into my ancient meadow of awakening,

and upward to my dear brother’s perch,

I gazed and bowed in wonder.

October 17, 2022

In my region lately, the absolute quiet of the woods and mountains is broken at times by the loud roar of a completely unmuffled pickup truck. I heard this one at about 3 AM while on retreat near the ancient Black Dome, the highest peak in the East, also known as Mountain Mitchell.

At Three A.M.                                

At three A.M.

    the last of the unmuffled pickup trucks

    has roared away on Highway 80.

Even the birds sleep,

    and only the katydids and tree frogs keep time.

The silence, the darkness swells and envelopes,

    the beautiful silence.

It is then the Black Dome speaks.

The Ancient One, black with fir trees,

    frilled with coves and hollows,

    dens of bears and rippling trout-filled streams.

It is then I hear the Earth’s ancient voice,

    long, wise, eternal,

    a vision so big, so beyond me.

I bow to the Ancient One and pray,

    “see us, see what the humans do!”

I ask for the power of limits,

    when enough is enough,

    when some of us have gone way too far.

Ancient one, to whom none of this matters,

    paint us anew in brighter colors

    washed clean by Your mighty power when we wake at dawn.

August 7, 2022

For the Solstice of 2022, I have been practicing going outside to stand on the Earth just before sunrise each day. “Saule” is the much-loved ancient Sun goddess of the Baltic countries.

Out Before Dawn                                             

Out before dawn on Solstice,

I enter the complete silence before the birds sing.

Not a branch, not a twig moves.

All is still but the filmy clouds passing slowly overhead.

One star reaches bravely for the Earth.

As the thin clouds slowly pass,

the Crescent Moon reveals Herself, jewel-like,

high overhead.

“Good morning, my darling!”  I call out,

holding the Moon close in my heart.

Saule the Sun has not yet appeared,

first greeting the lowlands

as She climbs slowly and deliberately

upward to our mountainous lands.

A chickadee ‘way high in the hemlocks,

and a sparrow,

call out to Saule in this icy cold,

just as in the warmth of June.

“Welcome, Saule, welcome Yule!” I sing in my heart,

bringing in the bright Sun and Her warmth

like a cousin, like a mother, like a friend.

The misty clouds move slowly by, and the one star still reaches, loving us all.

December 17, 2022

BIO: Annelinde Metzner honors the Divine Feminine with her poetry and music. She has composed many praise songs included in her songbook, “Lady of Ten Thousand Names,” and has created and produced concerts for the Goddess including most recently, “Feminine Faces of God.” She directs the choir at the UUCSV in Black Mountain, NC, and founded the women’s choirs Womansong and Sahara Peace Choir in Asheville NC.

8 thoughts on “Return to the Grandmothers and 2 Other Poems by Annelinde Metzner”

  1. beautiful, moving poems – the one about your brother brought tears – I buried his ashes 32 years after his death – alone – well not quite – there were birds he loved that came to witness –
    the one regarding noise is a problem I have too – these screaming vehicles haunt us day and night – there’s violence here – an assault – and it’s getting worse.


    1. Thank you so much for your response, Sara. May our brothers rest in peace!
      The roaring, unmuffled cars and trucks seem like a new phenomenon to me. Definitely “toxic masculinity” (I like the phrase “Testosterone poisoning”) but my intuition says that, strangely, there’s something political behind it.
      Peace to you in 2023.


  2. Beautiful, heartfelt poems, as always! I love how all three are infused with love, between humans and also between humans and the divine. Each highlights a moment and place in the matrix of relationship that connects us all.

    And thank you to both you and Sara for sharing your brothers’ spirits and the wonderful ways you both honored them in their passings. Thoughts of care and comfort to both of you and your brothers.

    And I agree with both of you that noise levels are increasing and that there is a political element to much of it, a kind of not caring how others, human and other-than-human, are affected and also of taking up and pushing others out of aural space. We have both very loud trucks and leaf blowers where I live which not only are too loud but destroy insect life that depends on the leaves.


    1. Hi Carolyn- I appreciate your thoughtful analysis. I was thinking about how last time you asked how I greet the sun, moon and stars, and I was inspired to put that into a poem. It seems that in the past few years, I’ve come to welcome more and more of the wild beings around me and greet them all day, whether they are near or far.
      I know that Baltic women greet Saule that way every day, so I’m not alone in this! As Robin Wall Kimmerer teaches, we can find the “personhood” in all beings. Thank you for your kind comments.

      Liked by 1 person

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