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,
“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. http://annelindesworld.blogspot.com