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Lesson of the Crocus
By Arianna

Crocus (2)

Photograph by Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

Does the crocus study?
Investigating springtime history,
computing sunlight minus darkness
times mean March temperature?
Calculating root depth
by height needed to clear snowfall?

Crocus (1)

Photograph by Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

Or does the crocus just say ~
“ready or not, here I come”
and trust,
have faith in its ability to survive
the cold, the weight of snow,
the cloudy days
and rise up
opening to the sunlight,
the first to greet
the blackbird’s return?

© 2008, Arianna Alexsandra Collins
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Invoking the King Stag
by Arianna

Painting image by permission; Laurel Thorndike. Please see more of her artwork at http://www.laurelthorndike.com/

Painting image by permission; Laurel Thorndike. Please see more of her artwork at http://www.laurelthorndike.com/

Oh sweet, gentle Lord of the Forest
Come, be here now.
I have followed your trail and found your tracks in the woods;
You leave hearts where ever your step and I want to walk the path of compassion too.
Let me walk by your side, caress your strong back, your soft fur.
Let me breathe in your wildness, nose to muzzle, and feel your breath upon me.
Let me listen to your heart, your blood, your vitality, pumping through your veins.
Let me gaze into those soulful eyes and join with your spirit.
Oh sweet, wild Lord let me touch you and know the world.
Come, be here now.

© 2014, Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

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chickadee 1Chickadees
by Arianna

“Dee-dee-dee” I call. My chickadee neighbors respond, “Dee-dee-dee.”
They flitter in as they chatter in happy call and response –
“The Seed Lady is on deck; breakfast is served.”
I feel like Giselle from that film Enchanted.
She calls out “ah-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah” and from all corners of the forest (or city), wild creatures reply.
Was there a training process in her world?
There certainly was in mine.
But who the trainer or the trained was, is difficult to say.
The chickadees will call out to me and fly around the windows seeking me if I am later than 7:30 AM.
Or if they decide that their first breakfast wasn’t enough because the three Jay crowded them out.
That calls for second breakfast. Or elevenses.
I hear them, I see them, and everything else is dropped
I hoof my way downstairs, don shoes, scoop seed into a cup and out I go.
Chickadees swarm around me in what I perceive to be excitement.
I used to feed them as more entertainment for my indoor cat Cloe. But with Cloe passed on,
chickadee 2I found these little black-capped friends kept me company
all these long months without my beloved animal companion.
Wild birds are of course not the same as a pet cat. They don’t really need me.
They don’t rub up against me. They don’t purr in my ear.
They don’t wash my cheek. They don’t sleep with me.
Still, their very presence just makes me happy.
“Dee-dee-dee” I call. My chickadees respond, “Dee-dee-dee.”

© 2014, Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

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Delicate

by Arianna

delicate 2Crystalline moths nestled together among the frozen weeds
their feathery outlines make them looked poised
ready to aloft into the ethers.

Looking out into the swamp there must be thousands,
millions of sparkling wings
bejeweling stiff stems
suspended in the seconds before flight.

delicateThe sun rises
and they disappear
lifting off into the winter air like so many spirits
flying between the worlds
between teardrops and snowflakes
and the countless souls who call this place home.

© 2010, 2013, Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

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Tracking

by Arianna

Test your awareness; animal signs tell a tale. Can you listen?
Registered tracks, what a find! Now whose
Are they? How long ago did the creature pass by? Why
Care about aging tracks, prints in mud, birds calling out, chipmunks chattering, scents
Kissing the wind, telling direction?
If you were hungry, you’d know! Hungry for learning like famished for food.
Nuggets: scat, remains, scratch marks, teeth marks – all a feast on the eyes. They are
Gifts bearing a deeper awareness; an intertwining of stories and lives.

Heart Shaped deer track

Copyright 2003, Arianna Alexsandra Collins

Dedicated to my partner Frank Grindrod who stirred my thirst for tracking; to Mark Elbroch who inspired this poem as a response to questioning the reasons different groups and societies track animals; and to my campers for their excitement in sneaking through the forest. Crouch down low, go slow, look, wait, listen, see!

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Monarch in hand at Raccoon Fall07Monarch
by Arianna

Queen of Fall
beautiful and delicate (looking)
you have more strength than you know.

Savor the bounty of Autumn’s harvest
allow yourself to rise in the heady scents of
goldenrod and aster
for sweetness powers your wings.
Aloft, you fly on a scrambled trail
still you make sense of the chaos
and create beauty as your path.

©2012, Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

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799px-Common_Yellowthroat_by_Dan_Pancamo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ File:Common_Yellowthroat_by_Dan_Pancamo.jpg

Before the Fall
By Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

Many a man would wear the mask as you do.
I have seen him in the forest
meticulously washing his hands clean of the night’s adventures.
I have seen him singing to his lady
from his murky lair at the water’s edge.
He had been many men and now, you –
a winged Zorro secreting through the thicket.
You call out, “which is it witch”?
And I hear the alarm rise up –
The Baroness has found you out
robbing the wind to feed the young.
She stalks you like a cat
as you hide in a cathedral of thorns.
But by the time she reaches the confessional,
making no amends for who you are,
you are riding the rooftops,
neighbors cheering you on only to silence when she approaches.
Home, in the love nest of your lady
You bring food and prepare for the journey.
Fleeing like leaves from a branch too cold to sustain
you fly south with your family.
All though the fall you pay homage to the heat and
steal treasures from the sky.
The winter will create a legend out of you
but by spring, the people of this good land will rejoice your return,
including the Baroness who has had time to sharpen her claws.

©2006 Arianna Alexsandra Collins

In honor of one masked bandit who is no more.
Please, keep your cats indoors

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Photinus by Don Salvatore

Photinus by Don Salvatore

Seeking the Basics
By Arianna

Fingers of twilight etch the sky
the landscape is a slumbering body bruised purple
from holding the sweet weight of the sun’s warmth.
Day bids a lingering farewell to the mountains
illuminating grassy mounds in hot gold and pink.
As the landscape slips into darkness
wind blown flickers of lightning taste the tall grass.

Summer-night holds its own light
luminescent beings it borrowed from the stars
small reminders of their brilliant cousins
kissing the evening breeze.

I watch these tiny creatures etch the mysteries of life across the lawn
as they seek food shelter companionship.
Fireflies create a pattern in their dancing
that is the chaos of being alive.
I will not profess to understand what these patterns mean
only that they exist amid the lightning flashes and tumble of wings.

©2006, revision, Arianna Alexsandra Collins

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BluetsMay
By Arianna

Little bundles of joy popping up in the yard;
Bluets are reminders that nothing stops Spring from leaping forth in silent laughter.
Whimsically skipping across the yard, leaf to leaf with dandelion and violet;
This is happiness manifest.

Bumblebees flit and bounce on the air between the lilacs and forsythia
crafting the sweetness of life with a
dance and a prayer.

Songbird Dads sing jubilantly even if harried by ravenous beggars
“This is my nest; isn’t it grand? This is my wife; isn’t she lovely?
These are my children growing up strong.”
Babes in the nest squawk for food
Mom comes along, then Dad, popping juicy grub after juicy grub into gaping mouths.

Fires are lit and maypoles are danced
as we sing in Spring with kith and kin.

Are you ready for the mud-between-the-toes ecstasy?
Feet sinking into the cool, giving ground,
molding your foot for a memory of the Ahh.

This is Spring!
The riot of colors
The bliss of song
Awaken New England
to a brilliant new dawn.

©2013 (revised), Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

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Crow with food by Denny White

Crow with food by Denny White

Crows
By Arianna

I. Winter
Black angels
brighten the blue sky
with their antics of delight
Swooping & soaring
with rainbows as halos –
Ah, I love to hear them sing.

II.
“Ka kuk. Ka kuk”, I call like a fool
attempting to draw one in.
Making offerings of peanuts and bones
I wait with the patience of a child at a party.
You outlast me and I am inside before you descend to inspect the treasure.

III. Spring
Secreting away to tend to your most precious jewel
your babes in the nest
quietly awaiting your arrival
so as to not alert the owl.

IV.
Black angels cloaked in greenery laughing in the treetops
Your very presence brings me such joy.
I could bask in your glory for hours
content to know your watchful gaze misses nothing.

©2006, Arianna Alexsandra Collins

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Days into Spring
Days into Spring
by Arianna

Spring comes with winter still in hand
Winter Fireflies alight on emerging woodland beauties
Flowers unfold even with temperatures plummeting
gropple bouncing off delicate, yet miraculously resilient leaves.
Red Maple dancers drop from the sky to enliven the mud in blushing swirls.
Wood frogs are silent in the chill, but make no doubt, will sing
sounding like jubilant ducks
when warmth returns to the pool.
Life makes due with the resources it has;
but no, does more,
even under stress,
Life colors the world with Beauty and Grace and
sings a song of Hope in harmony.

©2012, Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

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Frank & AriannaFebruary
By Arianna

Cannot we take one season at a time?
Nay, we wish to sprint right into spring and flowers and warmer weather.
And yet that wish will grow old mired in the mud
and so summer will be coveted
but daydreams of sunbathing and bike rides will melt away
once too many days of hot sun bake our skin
and we will then pine for the crispness of autumn
with colorful forests decorating the landscape.
And yet once those leaves have to be raked and the wood stacked,
we pray for winter to blanket the land in peace and quiet.
We get out the skis, the snowshoes, the sleds,
the ruler to measure and the camera to capture
all the wonderful fresh prints of fox, fisher, and bobcat.
We take our time placing the final touches on our village of snow-people,
We listen for the nighttime courtship of owls
and then…
The chill of winter bites at our fingers and nose and we are all but through with it.
“Good riddance,” say we as we pray once again for spring
and daffodils nodding in the breeze and
peepers calling in the vernal pool and neo-tropical songbirds on the wing.

But it is winter.
And we have so much to be thankful for:
A pretty white blanket skirting the trees
Fresh prints to delight ourselves in a mystery
Snowflakes to catch on eyelashes and tongue
A sweetheart’s smile to keep us warm
Hot chocolate to sip at by the fire…

If we remembered the pleasures that occur in between
the snow-shoveling, and wood-bringing-in, and kindling-gathering
We might not wish to rush the season so.

Remember, one cannot as easily enjoy hot chocolate, all rich and thick and dark
in the warmth of any other season.
Hot chocolate is greatly more appreciated when it is bitter outside
having freshly come in from some laborious adventure in the cold.

Come now, pray tell, what are your joys in winter?

Copyright 2013, Arianna Alexsandra Collins

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Moonlit Meander

Photograph by Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

Moonlit Meander
by Arianna

The snow fell secretly the other night
blanketing the countryside in crystal white.
Soft whispers         echoes
losing themselves in the distance
lulling all creatures to sleep.

Snow swept the ground quietly last night
hiding from the moon
lost in cloud cover.
I felt as though I were keeping the storm’s secrets as I
crept outside silently among the shadows.
I was watching for spirit snakes slithering across the field.

But tonight the moon and I keep no secrets.
Full and impregnated with winter chill
the moon exposes a white world.
We come out of our homes and illuminate the land
with the crispness of laughter
and the clarity of crunching snow.

We meander through this frostbitten swamp
delighting in the Ahh
the stark beauty of winter –
frozen limbs hanging low
icicles perching below river banks
the sounds of barred owls hooting in the trees
and surprised voices breaking through icy ground.

We etch this night into our memories
for before we want it
it is time to turn our faces into the darkness of sleep.

Copyright 2003, Arianna Alexsandra Collins

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Longtailed  Weasel

Courtesy of Maslowski Wildlife Productions
www.MaslowskiWildlife.com

Weosule
By Arianna

My eyes catch sight of a white elongated blur
dancing on the brown of the dirt road.
“You’ll catch your death” I thought
concerned as I watched
the long-tailed weasel scamper into the brush
long white slinky body with a long white black-tipped tail.
Internally the body knows it’s time –
the season is changing, days shortening, nights lengthening
and it’s only getting colder
but there is no snow.
So trading a brown coat for a white one before the snow flies
makes life a dangerous occupation.
Still,
did the weasel take notice that his coat did not match the ground?
I observed no fretting about
more frolicking than fretting in a weasel’s own special way –
bound bound scamper bound bound dance around in a circle bound bound.
It’s hard to worry about such an exuberant creature;
their bounce is infectious
and their face is oh-so-cute
so that even when he disappeared in the undergrowth I called after –
“Hey Weosule,
want to catch mice in my basement?”
A crow’s chuckle overhead was my reply.

©2012, Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

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F&M Great Swamp Fall
November
by Arianna

Feel the crisp warmth of the November Sun touch your skin
sparkling, glittering,
casting a glow upon your face.

Feel the playful gusts of the November Winds get tangled in your hair and
whisper in your ears
singing of changes yet to come.

Feel the rawness of the November Rains soak into your bones
compelling you to appreciate fires you tend.

New England fields grow cold and quiet under November’s frost.
Feel the weight of the wood you’ve put up and
the harvest you’ve gathered in
Now is the time of thanksgiving –
Praise your luck,
your sweat and hard work,
snuggle in close with kith and kin,
tell stories of honor and humility around the fire,
celebrate your bounty
and with that light a candle for hope
because no one makes it alone
through the long, frozen winter ahead.

©2012, Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

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Fall DayWhat really matters…
by Arianna

Believe in the little things
like throwing leaves into the sky
a morning gesture to greet the Autumn wind.

Believe in little miracles
like the downward dance of the green darner dragonfly
flying south to escape the Autumn chill.

Cherish the little moments
the hawks are leaving us now
wave good-bye and come inside
put another log on the fire
it’ll be cold soon.

Love this gift of life
breathe in the sun
let it heat your soul
sustain you through the dark months ahead.

Celebrate the little things
like hearth and home
good food and warm blankets
seconds on hugs and thirds on kisses.

Copyright 1999, Arianna Alexsandra Collins

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Wild Concord GrapesWild Concord Grapes!
by Arianna

Their scent, so alluring – I must have them!

I am clambering up the old spruce tree, teetering on a wobbly branch
Standing up on tip toes
my arms reaching up into the canes
fingertips like tendrils
curling to hook the clusters of deep purple globes
reaching
reaching
AH got it!
Into my bag another scenty treasure goes
Except for this one grape,
and another, and another
My tongue is stained purple as my lips close around each final grape.

Back on the ground again with my canvas bag brimming with juicy jewels
I count my blessings –
to the friend for letting me pick to my heart’s desire
to the spruce for holding me and calling it an adventure and
to the grape vines for providing grapes aplenty
even when I could reach no higher and had to let the birds eat the rest.

Experiencing true, unfettered pleasure really can be this simple.

© 2012, Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

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Sanctuary
by Arianna

Safe heaven for you weary, you wicked; you ones who know too much. Come in and find
An altar to your soul.
Nuzzle close to the sweet earth. Lay your burdens down and let this refuge
Caress your body and mend your heart.
Trust this sacred ground to hold you, cradle you. You are safe here.
Utter not a fractured sob; be still. Be
At peace with your world.
Rest.
Yesterday is but a dream now. Surrender to your breath and listen only to its song.

Copyright 2000, Arianna Alexsandra Collins

Three Sisters Sanctuary

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Photinus by Don Salvatore

“Photinus” by Don Salvatore at Firefly Watch, Museum of Science, Boston

Land Ethic
by Arianna

Green fire alights on a green blade of grass
the flickering light sends signals into the night urging Spirit to draw near.

Driving home preoccupied and tired I feel an urge to take pause.
I turned off the car and just absorb the night.
Mosquitoes whine and dine and I am now initiated into the local food web.
Trills of toads, “re-deeps” of peepers, and the bass “yum” of the bullfrog
captivate my ears.
Magic lights up the trees, the field, the wetland as lightning bugs
communicate their needs to land and sky through their own form of poi.
Fireflies are dancing on the breeze to some silent waltz I can only imagine hearing.
The Land Ethic Aldo Leopold advocated
starts here,
at home,
in this little patch of wildness by the road
with my heart beating in harmony
to the sounds, the movements, the lives
all around me.

© 2012, Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod
Inspired by the film Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time

http://www.aldoleopold.org/greenfire/index.shtml

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Gaia in the Garden by Satyena Ananda

Gaia in the Garden by Satyena Ananda

Life!
by Arianna

We are literally the salt of the earth
Stardust creatures made of air and minerals.
We belong to the Earth, to Gaia.
We are a part of Her
this living world, this organism in which
we all live and die and are recycled to live and die again and again
in a new form     in a new way.
We cry tears of salt
Remnants of the ocean tide still pulling us inside
the web of life we will never escape.
Our very breath is what we share with all life.
Life is      cooperating      competing      living      dying      loving.
Yes loving.
Love is not merely a human construction.
Love is an agreement between organisms to share or provide something
of themselves.
Sure as a heartbeat, you can hear life pumping
I love you I love you I love you
through every single being.

©2007, Arianna Alexsandra Collins

Happy Mothers’ Day Mama Earth and to all your daughters who are Mothers all around the world!

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Wanting to be Kin to a Crow
By Arianna

No one appreciates you Friend Crow.
Yours is not the melodious voice copying other song birds
though you too sing to the wind.
And your colors, they are not bright and gay speaking the language of the sun
but dark
dark as the midnight hour.
Oh but you, Friend Crow, your voice is music to me.
Your caw is a happy and proud sound reminding others that life is a joyous thing.
And your colors are silky satin black
with a tiny rainbows hidden on your back.
You tend your family with utmost care
carrying a story for each of them beneath your wings.
You teach your community the meaning of true fun
sliding down snow embankments in winter
playing tag
chasing     diving     soaring
challenging
who can fly most acrobatically through the trees

Fred Crow

Drawing by Arianna

who can caw the loudest in the early morn.
You are a true glutton for life my friend.
And when I see you flying overhead
I shall remind myself
that life is not about presentation
but how your life is lived.

©1999, Arianna Alexsandra Collins

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Inviting by Patrick Zephyr

“Inviting” Patrick Zephyr, Photographer

Sublimation
By Arianna

Ostara is approaching
a steady      drip     drip    drip
heralds the oncoming change in season
white ice-crystals sintered together
release their hold from branch and body
falling to the sodden ground beneath
the sudden decrease in weight bounces the branches skyward.

Mist rising
a rainy day in reverse
gray green forest against a gray blue sky
Water vapor appears as wraiths in the woods
wandering the eternity of mud season
ready to gobble up all sound except
the dripping of icicles melting into Spring.

40 degrees
warm enough to send the snow heavenward
rising as a thin film between the worlds before
evaporating above the crown-line.

Snow sublimates
white tendrils sinuously slinking through the woodlands
as if the Mists of Avalon were retaking the landscape
Echoes of whisperers breathing in breathing out
fog smelling of apple and decay
(we are) finding ourselves lost
in the rebirth.

You must not sublimate
turning your mind from this world
You must be a force to be reckoned with
a spring freshet washing the habits of winter away
renewing the land with the minerals of your blood, sweat, and tears
rejuvenating this garden with the rains of your hope and hard work.

Do not cast off your comforter only to
evaporate into the grind of gadgets eating your mind
Stay here
on the saturated Earth
and dig your hands in.

©2012, Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

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Connecticut River in February

Photograph by Arianna, Connecticut River, February

Winter Sunday
by Arianna

There was a crispness today that you could walk right into – and I did.
The cold air caught in my lungs and I swallowed winter.
The crunching ice glistened in a sunny day that couldn’t quite touch the chill.
As I walked my ears were met with the tales chickadees tell one another
in the hush of the day
and my eyes ate the red squirrel scolding me.
I couldn’t quite say it was a lazy day (though I didn’t do much)
being outside
lungs pumping blood that I could then taste on the roof of my mouth
my body arching into the wind
only partly accepting the reality of
COLD.
But it certainly was a good day
a day when the mind could just wander through the hemlock and downed beech limbs.
I picked up kindling in the yard
dropping thoughts like too many sticks that I could no longer cradle.

© 2012, Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

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Waiting for the Snow
By Arianna

Winter holidays have come and gone
recycled wrapping paper is neatly folded for next year’s gifts
adorning lights and festival ornaments are gently packed away
candles are burned to small hardened puddles of wax
old and new acquaintances are remembered in address books and digital contacts.

What else is an animal tracker – snow-shoer – cross-country skier – quinzee builder – icicle eater – angel maker to do?

I gaze up at the stratus clouds
but only gropple
and rain and
a few dedicated snowflakes fall.
Darkening skies only bring the darkness
no blanket of white to reflect
the moonlight
the sunlight
the light in your eyes.

We walk up the dirt road looking for signs in the hard ground
Deer neighbors, coyote colleagues, someone’s dog
all saved in the icy sand –
how are they faring in this brown frozen world?

Three gray squirrels on our deck eating the chickadees’ sunflower seeds
one with a partially missing front paw
Frank is waiting to see what that squirrel’s prints will look like in the snow.

We are all waiting for the snow –
mother bears plea for sleep before the push of birth this month
human children wish for snowballs and snow-people with carrot noses
barred owls sing for the signal that mating season is about to begin
chipmunks dream their front doors stop being so drafty
I pray for a blanket of snow to give me some piece of mind
that New England winters still reside
in the heart of the Divine.

© 2012, Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

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To Trust in Yourself and the Land
By Arianna

Samhain, Summer’s End has past
the ones we tend to come in from grazing and
huddle close for bodies’ warmth.

What now will sustain us in the dark months ahead?

Apple and Autumn Olive
Grape and Cherry
Beech and walnut
Nettle and herbs dried by the hearth.

Sweet talk and a soothing hand
Fruits and vegetables we’ve canned
Mead made by this giving land.

What matter of folk are you
who turn to the Earth, kneel, and dig true?

Come; sing hope of the forager’s way
we are but gatherers of life’s bounty on any given day.

© 2011, Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

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Photograph by Patrick Zephyr, “The Gathering”

November Mist
By Arianna

Fog creeps low through trees
misty black on green.
She wanders slowly
stealing like a wraith through the darkened bush
Fingers cascading
down limbs
down
moonshone centaurs
frozen in time
stone guardians of the wood.
She is like
the Lady
walking barefoot
scattering dew drops
that reflect
cheshire cat grins and
black manes
like ghosts
galloping
through crisp leaves.
She slinks
is sleek
a white catamount spirit
pawing golden needles
and then
slipping through the hobblebush.
Echoes are swallowed by the phantom leaves falling
falling
down into the duff.
Were there just now foot-snapped twigs
soft sounds
a haunting growl
or
moan?
She pauses
curving ghostly fingertips
‘round an old oak tree
delicately inspecting
ridges and crevices.
White on red
rivers running down
down to the ground
spreading out below the surface.
Apparition that she is she will evade you

by morning’s light
but now stay close
probing your thoughts with moist dexterous claws.
Your mind is an open feast to this fog-soaked forest.
You wide eyes reflect darkness
lit only
by the waning moon.

© 1999, 2011, Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

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Companion Calling
By Arianna

A forest full of trees filtering sunlight
Ah I wish we could share this view right now.
I wish I could reach out with my mind and talk with you.
Sometimes even a day can be too long.

As I walk the trail I hear two ravens calling to each other.
I ponder their language, so hidden from our understanding
communicating from miles apart.
I wonder what they are saying –
“How are you doing over there hon?”
“I’m okay.”
“Find anything of interest?”
“Not yet.”

There is a pause in their conversation and then more excited speak which leads the closer raven away. It sounds like they’ve met up and are bemused by some find.
“Oh look look! See what I found. See what I found.”
“Yes, I see. I see. Oh grand!”

I reach the hilltop
open land
and am drawn into “The Sound of Music” as I gaze into the communities of hills, and grasslands, and trees. I am singing. I am spinning. I am dreaming of you my Love.
I am… interrupted.
A raven “awks” at me and flies overhead toward the pond.
The couple resumes their rhythmic chatter –
“I’m over here now.”
“Do you see anything of interest?”
“Not particularly. Just some human cawing and flapping its featherless wings.”

I listen to the ravens’ conversation and realize it’s not so dissimilar from humans.
Frank calling me on his cell phone –
“Hi Hon. I’m crossing over the bridge; is there anything you need?”
“No. How was your day?”
“Oh it was great…”

Companions calling
Reaching out to close the distance
Providing the reassurance of “I am here.”
Imbuing, “I have a vested interest in your well-being.”
It doesn’t seem to matter exactly what language one uses in this “courtesy call”.
The words are not important. It’s the voice –
Comforting Soothing
Reminding you that you are not alone in this world.

Arianna Alexsandra Collins, 2005

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Photograph by Frank Grindrod

Well of Remembrance
By Arianna

Drink deeply of the cool, pure waters of the pool
but beware –
If you drink
you will remember
all that has been
The knowledge of the Ancients will course through your veins and you will
never remember the same way again.

Your path will be their path and the industrial road will appear insane
and
you will not abide by it.

Your memories will belong to the Ancestors and the modern age will appear disjointed
lost of magic and soul.
Your tongue may sound of gibberish to some
caught up near-forgotten herbs and brews and incantations
To others
you will be the Bard, the Poet, the Priestess
Returning your people home.

© 2011, Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

Inspired by reading Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentationby Stephen Harrod Buhner

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Summer Storm 2011 by Ijod Schroeder

Photograph: Ijod Schroeder

Summer Storm
By Arianna

 

Gray clouds moving fast across a gray-green sky
Chickadees flitting among the trees,
calling, “fleet, fleet” to one another
as the tree tops sway in dramatic unison as if
they were a drunken crowd at some mad ball game.

Thunder rumbles
ping-ponging against each cloud
and the rain then tumbles down in a column of
exhaled breath.

The lightning takes my next inhale away
crackling in my throat, my nasal passages
as I squat like a toad beneath the canopy.

I remember I am suppose to count
One one thousand…
CRASH!
(Gulp)

I remember a quote from a movie
“Fear is the mind killer. I will face my fear. I will let it pass through me.”

The storm sings above my head
a choir in ecstasy
reaching for the climax of their performance.

I remember I am not afraid
CRASH
I leap up as if out of my skin and back in again
as the deluge of raindrops bounce around me
I breathe in the negative ions and feel
positively charged
with the power of this summer storm.

Now I am jumping in elated surprise
feeling part of the storm, one with the storm –
stomping my feet into the mud
shaking and clapping my hands
laughing in sheer delight –
I feel it!
I am it!

Blue sky mixes with the faint peach of the retreating sunset
the rain is delicate now
kissing my skin in the evening hush
only one last song from the wood thrush
can I hear in the serene forest now.

Still the storm lives on
inside the Breath
the exhale, the shout
the throwing back of arms, announcing,
“I AM! We ARE!”
Nothing can stop the power of a storm.
Nothing.

© 2011, Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

This poem is dedicated to one of Frank’s campers who I heard is frightened of thunder storms. Dearheart, if you are seeing this, know that you have the power to move beyond the fear, to see and feel the absolute beauty and power of the storm. Become the storm.

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Summer Winds
by Arianna Alexsandra Collins

Wind coaxes music from every living thing –
leaves rustle, reeds sing,
water laps the shore
sweet whispers urging for more.

Crickets chirp and children chatter
each are separate instruments in a summer orchestra.
Even the screeches and thumps upon the ground
can melt into a symphony of sound.

Breath escapes, carried by the breeze
and I can hear laughter in the trees.

Green frogs call and respond across the pond
campfires crackle and hiss
lovers leap the fire and kiss
fur trembles at the slightest chill…

And if you sit still
watching summer waltz by
listening to this canticle of mirth
you too can hear the wind orchestrate each day’s rebirth.

© Arianna Alexsandra Collins, 2002, revised 2003

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One Voice
By Arianna

I wanted to share something about the beauty of the New England Highlands in June – fireflies, late blooming lilacs, bobolinks in buttercup meadows…
But I find myself drawn to the ocean.
This vast blue hidden in our tear ducts.
I crave immersion like sea otter, like the dolphin;
moving my body in tune with the waves.

But in mid-stroke my heart cracks open
tearing from the pain
of learning that three-quarters of the way around the world, my cousins are being sold and slaughtered.

Taiji, you are now a word that screams like a siren in my soul –
How could you? How dare you?

If you knew that your neighbors were being held in captivity, would it matter that they were such entertaining slaves? Would it matter they knew how to smile no matter the price you paid?

If you knew your neighbors were murdered in cold blood
would it matter if they spoke an unfamiliar language?
That they looked different from you?

We are still so cruel to one another, I suppose I must question if it is too much to ask that we open our hearts wider to accept other beings’ rights – to freedom, to life, to equality.
Would our hearts break under the weight of responsibility?

I cry saltwater tears
remnants of the ocean tide
pulling me deeper inside
and I will not escape this Earth even when I die
my bones, my body will be recycled as the Earth recycles everything.
And my blood will color the sea
the same color as yours is painting it now in a cove in Taiji.

I don’t know how to ask for forgiveness of one race’s arrogance.
Still, if you found me in deep water, would you take me in just the same?
Would you shelter me
and recognize that we are variations of a theme?
Relatives, bonded by breath, on a small blue planet spinning through space.

© 2011, Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

Arianna wrote this poem after watching The Cove, a 2009 documentary film that analyzes and questions Japan’s dolphin hunting culture. It was awarded the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

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Serenity
By Arianna

Sun sparkling on the water
Erases troubled thoughts
Reuniting with the land I love so much, I
Ease into the comfort of being one with the forest; this is
Nectar for my soul.
I look outward and breathe inward
Touching the beauty with my eyes. I
Yearn for this quiet space to remain.

 

©1999, Arianna Alexsandra Collins

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Photograph by Arianna

Spring’s Promise
By Arianna

Laughter is a perching bird
singing his heart’s delight
of nest, of mate, of the future nestled
beneath his belly.

And laughter is in the wind
blowing the snow into the sun.
The rains fall
massaging the soil until
seeds like knots
soften
their veins supping on compost
preparing to greet the season in unfurling shades of green.

Spring is the promise of release
birth waters bearing down on the valley
a freshet to feed the masses of returning shad and lamprey.

It is in this place I plant my body
reveling in a river of snow melt and wriggling bodies.
The sun warms the nest that is my heart
nourishing dreams like eggs
breaking into a fluttering of wings
laughing
“I am alive! I am alive!”

© 2007, Arianna Alexsandra Collins

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Arianna Is StretchingStretching
By Arianna

Spring is in the air, in the phoebes’ call.
It is beneath the snow, in the yellow spotted salamanders’ feet.
Spring is pushing pushing
breaking through ice and mud
like the sun opening the night
hatching a new beginning.

I shake off the remains of sleep as the earth flings off the robes of winter.
I press my body into the soil and stretch like a worm
elongating, delighting in the dampness of early morn.
Underneath me I can feel new shoots peeking through the mulch
They tickle my feet, my hands, my neck
and I am sated by their presence.

In salutation to the sun I reach upward
fingers spread wide
like antennae speaking with the warmth from above.
I bathe in the light, the heat
I feel like a crocus consuming sunrays
I am fed, nourished by this exquisite Spring day.

My eyes reach out across the horizon
from the patches of snow uniting with the land
to the birth waters streaming forth
carrying fertile sediment to be deposited down shore.
Riverbanks overflow, shadbush bloom,
herring and lamprey will return soon.

Feel the excitement in the lengthening of days,
blackbirds speak volumes in their sonnets across the marsh.
Touch the warmth wherever you may find it
against the trees, the buildings, the rocks, the housecat lounging in
the window.
We are all awakening to the promise of Spring.

Copyright 2003, Arianna Alexsandra Collins

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Imbolc
by Arianna

We honor the turning of Wheel and
feel the Earth shift under our feet.
Imbolc, the Quickening –
even on these cold, brittle winter days we see signs of
new life
crafted in calloused hands,
ignited by nimble bodies,
birthed by enduring souls.

Echoing through the forest, reverberating on the edges, sighing in the fields
Life braids the frays together and gathers strength.
Deep underground
seeds are preparing for the push upward.
Trees, buds still tight
feel the lengthening of days
and let their blood run sweet.

Resident songbirds commence their yearly choir practice of springtime songs.
Lambs are born on dark nights.
Owls are mating in the wood.
Eagles, talons interlocked, are recommitting to nest and nerve.
In the Northern hemisphere
You can feel lives in slumber sniffing the breeze
and dreaming of life renewed.

© 2011, Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

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Birch Tree
By Arianna

Cold winter morn
a storm is hidden in the clouds
it is a day like this when the scenery can waver
and one can picture the exotic in the familiar.

She is standing alone in a conifer forest
a white giant with moss green hue
her skin reminds me of mermaid scales
partially peeling back pink and iridescent
revealing newly formed skin.

Eyes closed, her mouth forming an O
as if she were contently dreaming
the wind was salty water caressing her
serene form.

She seems to shimmer in this stormy weather
and one could almost believe
we were under water.
The sky was the sea above
and she
a maiden of the deep
reaching up towards the surface
her fingers combing the waves.

©1999, Arianna Alexsandra Collins

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Photograph by Tony Pratt

Geese
By Arianna Alexsandra Grindrod

Sun descends
Voices like echoes come in a wavering V
Bodies splash down on frozen waters
Wave upon wave
they make ripples along the shore
Water cascades down each strong back
accustomed to the coldness of troubled waters.

Frozen breath speaks in loud honks
Voices like echoes are caught up in the splendor
of hearing themselves chatter.
They settle down into the growing darkness
and dream they are as contented as they are.

Each still form
each beating heart
so peaceful
I cry silently in relieved happiness
it can be this simple
Serenity really is state of existence.

Sun rises upon the swamp
Voices like echoes repeating the dawn’s brilliance in sound
fill the air with the thickness of hope.
Wings lift off the still water as if newly conceived
Geese are flying upward in flocks
pointing toward the future.

2004, Arianna Alexsandra Collins