Dragon, Damsel, Dance and Fly!

I love how synchronicities work. This week’s poem began as a creative writing warm up exercise with my fellow Word Alchemists last Saturday. In an exercise called “Word Salad” I haul out my mammoth Oxford English Dictionary and randomly pick six words I literarily close my eyes, open a page, twirl my finger in the air and then light down onto the page. Once we have six words, I challenge us to use all of them in a quick piece of timed writing. It is fun. It can be ridiculous. It can also be quite illuminating as you make formerly unseen connections.

One of those random words was Odonata, which refers to that order of flying insect life that includes the example of dragon and damsel flies. I am very fond of both who zip in and out of our lives. One dragonfly once buzz bombed me down our lane while walking the dogs. Another hummed around the polyutunnel one day as I was tending the tomato plants. In my more fey moments I think of them as the way fairies morph for transport in a way that won’t startle the humans, kind of like a Fairy Aeroflot.

So I had reworked the Saturday effort for this week’s poem when in walks my husband to present me with an aromatherapy necklace with a dragonfly on it!

Dragonfly Aromatherapy Necklace

Tony was completely unaware of what was emerging from my notebook’s scribblings and crossings out. He chose it principally because I like purple and it amuses him to think he is living with a dangerous (b)older woman who wears a lot of purple. Please do check out the Jenny Joseph poem that he is alluding to….https://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poem/warning/

BTW, I also like its complimentary colour of yellow and have added a rather fetching mustard boyfriend cardigan to my 2021 wardrobe. Sometimes you just to have to stop living and go online shopping instead, to paraphrase the BB King song.

In any context, I always feel that dragonflies and damselflies bring some magic into life. What one of us could not do with a sprinkling of magic into our days these days? For (b)older people like myself who will have to wait a while for our Covid vaccination, we have a fairly long stretch in Lockdown Land for the foreseeable future.

The Dragons and Damsels Dance and Fly

The cranes are dancing in Japan...

Where would they deign to create a folkdance
to celebrate the order Odonata?
Where would we see them zip and pond dip
in costumes of emerald and peacock blue?
See the damsels curtsey to brother dragon.
They do not jeté or  or swank about 
in Swan Lake chorus line. They still  dance and fly.

When summer feels a one ten thousandths
polar distance away...
Oh, when will we meet again at crossroads
to sing and dance on St. John's Eve?
When shall we see familiar faces flickering
on  that midsummer Bonfire Night?
For now, we remain horror-struck
in a wind chill factor wintertime.

The cranes are dancing in Japan
in the snow, where they bow and bow
their necks, issuing the invite
to their fellows to do-si-do.

Copyright © Bee Smith, 2021. All rights reserved.

Featured image Photo by Erik Karits on Unsplash

One Life

A light dusting of snow this morning, which is rapidly melting off. The sky is brightening now, but it is cold. For whatever reason, when the mercury hovers around 0C, I think of the really cold winters of central Europe or New York City. A glance through the Guardian Review alerted me to the centenary of Rosa Luxemburg’s death. Feminist, pacifist, anti-dictator regardless of political affiliation, she was incredibly prescient of totalitarianism in Communist Russia and the nationalism that would sweep Germany. I imagine what a meeting between her and Emma Goldman might have been like. They were certainly aware of each other, but I have not come across any reference of them meeting. I hope Luxemburg would have agreed with my favourite Goldman quotation. Today’s poem is a feminist revolutionary mash-up of sorts.

emma goldman dance revolution
One Life

What if...
Rosa Luxemburg
was the Sumatran butterfly beating its wings
who if
she had not been made extinct
in 1919
that if
her wings had been allowed

some anarchy and chaos to fly-
pacificism, politics in the plural,
the pragmatism of being both global and local -

that if
that soldier had disobeyed the order
to assasinate
to silence
to immobilise

oh, if
she had been able to dance that revolution
if only...

would we now be standing again
in clay clagged boots
knee deep in mired past
with more weapons of destruction
than people on this planet

what if
we seanced her spirit back
so she could teach us
how to raise our arms
and poise our wings
to unleash a balletic
chaos cascade
to save this one world
the only one we have
to save


Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.