The Sunday Weekly poem looks back a few days to the full moon on 12th November. Without outdoor light polution, the full moon is particular noticable where we live in rural Ireland. Even the waning moon last night cast a luminous glow down our uncurtained corridor. It’s unavoidable when it is cloudless. And if it is cloudness in an Irish November then it is cold.
Indigenous peoples had names for each full moon. Some work with the climate in Ireland, other’s less so. Sturgeon is not part of our culture. But Grain works for what is happening in our August Irish climate. While there may be no beavers in Ireland,we certainly have known frost some mornings this week here in Corrogue.
Somewhere it is snowing already and some mornings we could characterise it as a Frosty Moon. However, we have had a day of literal deluge at the full moon this week. Others have experienced flooding as the high tide went higher and broke records. Another of the November full moon’s names seemed appropriate for this week’s poem – Hibernation Moon.
Hibernation Moon That day it poured enough to warrant both paddle and ark-sized boat. All domestic livestock gathered, hunkered in, lying close to their humans. Sleet spattered windowpanes. Thunder folderolled. Knuckledusting cold had to be taken on the chin if you opened wide the door of your winter cabin.
We are all become bears in our day dark dens, listening to snores, counting out the number of naps (though who drowsily keeps score when to sleep is to invite dreams to shake you awake moonstruck in pre-dawn gloom?) Only the cold, cold moon penetrates the seamless dark of our hibernation’s nest, the still, stark truth of our dream-filled designs.
Some days its hard to milk the creative cow. And it really was slow going today. And then I thought…what would Mary Oliver do? And the line of her poetry from Wild Geese came to me…let the soft animal of your body love what it loves…It set off a train of thought about one’s more basic desires,or cravings. Not just physical desires, but emotional and soul desires and a list began to emerge….butter…kisses…bear hugs…bridges..sandy beaches. And that prompted another train of thought that recalled a discussion thread about power animals or spirit animals. And so, finally, some poetry practice getting banged out on the keyboard.
My Soft Animal Body
Bear in a cave Paw in a honey pot Bear in a rage Claw poised to give a swat Bear hibernates Though time forgets me not Bears its sweet fate Cubs to lick into shape Childhood playmates In fairy glen landscape
Bears live it large This is their charge Bear’s true grace Is in their embrace
Winter arrived yesterday with a hard frost and black ice on our lane that did not melt off until late morning. We had errands to run.Our industry was rewarded on the drive back home with the most exquisite exhibition of low lying mist under the karst backdrop of Boleybrack. We stopped for me to take a snap on my phone, one of which is today’s featured photo. Sadly, I couldn’t get an angle that would have shown off the full profile of the sphinx-like mountain that broodingly guards over the region where the Shannon River starts its journey to the sea. It really does look like an Anubis and locals refer to it by nicknames like The Dog Mountain, or just The Big Dog. Such are the marvels of this internationally designated region. We live in a Geopark community and we certainly live with a bounty of natural and built heritage and its abundant beauty.
So my poetry daily harkens back to that trip along the R207 as we approached Dowra. I was delayed by a few chatty cows who were eager for a photo call. I realise that a herd of differant species are cramming into both the post and the poem, but that’s my life out here living in a geopark.
Bear in Winter
Wait patiently in thedark, Rumi has said. Even in the winter dawn’s half-light. The sun’s dimmer switch is set just on glow. It watches us from behind net curtains, filtering light through banks of mistiness, making the world seem muffled in whiteness. The Anubis in our local mountain snoozes, content under a month’s long frost and more, the ice and snow an enfeebled sun cannot melt down with its golden horde. We settle under theheft of layers- Sweaters, fleeces, duvets and blankets. The whole weight of this passing year bears down. It is time to lay it down. And, for us, to curl up and recline, to rest and sleep, to behave like our childhood’s cuddly toy. To make like the bears for our souls to keep.