Evening Poetry, October 31

Hallowe’en

by Harry Behn

Tonight is the night
When dead leaves fly
Like witches on switches
Across the sky,
When elf and sprite
Flit through the night
On a moony sheen.

Tonight is the night
When leaves make a sound
Like gnome in his home
Under the ground,
When spooks and trolls
Creep out of holes
Mossy and green.

Tonight is the night
When pumpkins stare
Through sheaves and leaves
Everywhere,
When ghoul and ghost
And goblin host
Dance round their queen.
It's Hallowe'en.

You can find this in Favorite Poems Old & New.

Evening Poetry, October 30

Theme in Yellow

by Carl Sandburg

I spot the hills
With yellow balls in autumn.
I light the prairie cornfields
Orange and tawny gold clusters
And I am called pumpkins.
On the last of October
When dusk is fallen
Children join hands
And circle round me
Singing ghost songs
And love to the harvest moon;
I am a jack-o’-lantern
With terrible teeth
And the children know
I am fooling.

The Process of Letting Go

This month, I am working on letting go of resentment, unforgiveness, guilt, and other negative mindsets that have weighed me down for too long. As someone who went through a midlife upheaval three and half years ago, I had some stuff I was carrying and I knew it was time to lay it down. (I created the October Release Set for this reason.)

You also may have woken up one day recently and decided it was time (like I did), or you may have been working on letting stuff go for years. If you’ve just started this journey, you’re in good company. And as long as you set your intention and are moving toward letting go, that’s all you need to do. Whether it takes a moment or years will be your individual story.

You may receive talk therapy or counseling through all or part of your journey. You may keep a journal. You may read books to help you understand the process. You may join a group. You will find that taking long walks, gardening, and just being in nature will help you heal.

So what steps am I taking, you ask? As a support to my own process, gardening has been a very healing experience. To engage in a reciprocal relationship with the earth, to care for plants, to give back has helped my soul to mend. The trees and herbs especially, with their gentle strength, have been my plant companions during this rather quiet year.

One book on this very subject is The Wild Remedy: How Nature Mends Us by Emma Mitchell. It’s a month-by-month look at how one woman experienced nature’s healing as she struggled with depression. This book has beautiful watercolor and natural flat lay collections throughout, and the writing makes you want to be in the English countryside with her. Oh, and the book starts with the month of October so it’s a brilliant time to read it!

What else am I doing besides spending time with nature? I’m taking my Oregano Flower Essence every day and using the Release essential oil blend. Why? Because, as I mentioned above, plants can aid us as we heal emotionally and mentally.

Cypress (one of the oils in the Release blend) has particularly been a close ally over the past several years since my divorce. Whenever I’ve been overwhelmed by sadness, I have used Cypress in my diffuser with a few other oils such as comforting Lavender, cheerful Sweet Orange or Grapefruit, and grounding Vetiver. And within a half hour, the cloud lifts and my outlook on life is much more positive.

The other intentional action I’m taking is that every day in the mirror I speak out what I am releasing and who I am forgiving (including myself). As new hurts come up, I do my best to deal with them right away, rather than adding them to the pile. Because new hurts will come up, particularly with close family or friends…(I am NOT talking about abuse, just everyday interactions with family members that can cause hurt.)

Another extremely helpful action I took this month was to read Desmond Tutu’s The Book of Forgiving to gain some insight into the process. He lists four steps on the path to forgiveness: Telling the Story, Naming the Hurt, Granting Forgiveness, and Renewing or Releasing the Relationship. It was helpful for me to learn that we can straddle two steps, or go forward and then go backward as we work through the process. It can be short or it can take months or years for this process to be accomplished. It’s different for everyone and we can take all the time we need.

As you work on your own inner healing, know that you are surrounded by others who are walking the same path you. Get counseling if you can, read books, talk to a spiritual director or other mentor, journal, wrap your arms around the maple in your backyard, put plants on your windowsill and flowers on your table. And most of all, be kind to yourself.

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Evening Poetry, October 26

October

by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
To-morrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
To-morrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow,
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know;
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away;
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

You can find this in The Poetry of Robert Frost: The Collected Poems, Complete and Unabridged.

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Evening Poetry, October 18

Beginning

by James Wright

The moon drops one or two feathers into the field.   
The dark wheat listens.
Be still.
Now.
There they are, the moon’s young, trying
Their wings.
Between trees, a slender woman lifts up the lovely shadow
Of her face, and now she steps into the air, now she is gone
Wholly, into the air.
I stand alone by an elder tree, I do not dare breathe
Or move.
I listen.
The wheat leans back toward its own darkness,
And I lean toward mine.

You can find this in Above the River: The Complete Poems and Selected Prose.

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Sunday in the October Countryside

Today the strong south wind is keeping the trees dancing and all the maples’ remaining leaves holding on to their golden splendor as the branches dance wildly.

The giant green combine is making a lot of noise in the field across the road, dust flying as it churns over the corn. Clouds cover the sky and the air is cool–a better day for being in than out, in my mind.

I’ve contacted an old friend, worked on aromatherapy blends for next month, researched some ideas for new products, listened to a podcast from Danielle Laporte on Flow. I’ve thought about what kind of week I want to have, mopped the floor, remembered the wild ginseng seeds from United Plant Savers I need to plant, and considered buying a different plant collagen booster.

I keep smelling baking bread, but we haven’t baked any. That reminds me of a recipe for gluten-free sour dough bread from moon and spoon and yum I want to try. I better make that starter today!

Plans for the rest of the day include choosing a delicious recipe for the Shiitake mushrooms Alan picked from our log this morning; doing some Ayurveda homework; making elderberry syrup; sewing up some fabric pumpkins for my shop; reading a few poems from the Eavan Boland book I have; and doing a watercolor lesson from one of the Liz Steel courses I have.

And then light candles and turn on the orange Halloween lights, set the table, jazz playing while we cook dinner and eat together. If we feel like it, perhaps we’ll play a game or watch an old black and white film together. And I’ll end the night in bed reading one of the books on my nightstand. (I’ll tell you about them in an upcoming post.)

I hope you have time to rest and do the things that you love to do this Sunday!

Evening Poetry, October 15

Falling Leaves and Early Snow 

by Kenneth Rexroth

In the years to come they will say,
“They fell like the leaves
In the autumn of nineteen thirty-nine.”
November has come to the forest,
To the meadows where we picked the cyclamen.
The year fades with the white frost
On the brown sedge in the hazy meadows,
Where the deer tracks were black in the morning.
Ice forms in the shadows;
Disheveled maples hang over the water;
Deep gold sunlight glistens on the shrunken stream.
Somnolent trout move through pillars of brown and gold.
The yellow maple leaves eddy above them,
The glittering leaves of the cottonwood,
The olive, velvety alder leaves,
The scarlet dogwood leaves,
Most poignant of all.

In the afternoon thin blades of cloud
Move over the mountains;
The storm clouds follow them;
Fine rain falls without wind.
The forest is filled with wet resonant silence.
When the rain pauses the clouds
Cling to the cliffs and the waterfalls.
In the evening the wind changes;
Snow falls in the sunset.
We stand in the snowy twilight
And watch the moon rise in a breach of cloud.
Between the black pines lie narrow bands of moonlight,
Glimmering with floating snow.
An owl cries in the sifting darkness.
The moon has a sheen like a glacier.

You can find this in The Collected Shorter Poems of Kenneth Rexroth.

Evening Poetry, October 13

Becoming Anne Bradstreet

by Eavan Boland

It happens again
As soon as I take down her book and open it.

I turn the page.
My skies rise higher and hang younger stars.

The ship’s rail freezes.
Mare Hibernicum leads to Anne Bradstreet’s coast.

A blackbird leaves her pine trees
And lands in my spruce trees.

I open my door on a Dublin street.
Her child/her words are staring up at me:

In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun cloth, i’ th’ house I find.

We say home truths
Because her words can be at home anywhere—

At the source, at the end and whenever
The book lies open and I am again

An Irish poet watching an English woman
Become an American poet.

You can find this poem in Shakespeare’s Sisters: Women Writers Bridge Five Centuries.

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Evening Poetry, October 11

The Singing Bowl

by Malcolm Guite

Begin the song exactly where you are,
Remain within the world of which you’re made.
Call nothing common in the earth or air,

Accept it all and let it be for good.
Start with the very breath you breathe in now,
This moment’s pulse, this rhythm in your blood

And listen to it, ringing soft and low.
Stay with the music, words will come in time.
Slow down your breathing. Keep it deep and slow.

Become an open singing-bowl, whose chime
Is richness rising out of emptiness,
And timelessness resounding into time.

And when the heart is full of quietness
Begin the song exactly where you are.

You can find this poem in The Singing Bowl.

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Evening Poetry, October 10

For the Chipmunk in My Yard

by Robert Gibb

I think he knows I’m alive, having come down
The three steps of the back porch
And given me a good once over. All afternoon
He’s been moving back and forth,
Gathering odd bits of walnut shells and twigs,
While all about him the great fields tumble
To the blades of the thresher. He’s lucky
To be where he is, wild with all that happens.
He’s lucky he’s not one of the shadows
Living in the blond heart of the wheat.
This autumn when trees bolt, dark with the fires
Of starlight, he’ll curl among their roots,
Wanting nothing but the slow burn of matter
On which he fastens like a small, brown flame.

You can find this in What the Heart Can Bear: Selected and Uncollected Poems.

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