Hello you fellow revelers and listeners, risers-up, monkeywrenchers and healers. I write to you, as ever, from stolen land. Stolen land upon which an indefensible imperialist heritage is finally being called to account, stolen land upon which Black Lives Matter — but land that withal remains stolen. All this amidst the flood of light here at the solstice. To my fellow settlers: what will we do now that we finally see the living land illuminated so?
We know the answer — to release this doomed, leaden dominion — but I don’t pretend to know how. So, in the spirit of the Oblique Approach, I come to you this month bearing another interrogative poem, cryptic I’ll freely admit, but charged with wonderings only the living land can bestow; I saw each of these signs with my own eyes. I offer you Three visitings at the solstice.
At the height of the longest day, against silica sky over the island there comes a puzzling sign. It is a ring of vapor described by glinting cruciform craft, white plumage hidden beneath a thin osmium carapace. Ring morphs to isometric helix to icedust wingsweep — the craft likely a visiting from some peri-modern Atlantean people, a projection from that present-future-primeval unconscious beneath the azure swell.
Possibly to remind us:
That there rose a golden dome from the Aegean plane, rose atop ash-white stone walls dutifully limewashed blank, blank yet charged numinous and meaningful by slanting shadow at noon. Recall that beneath the footings there was a crater lined meticulously with soft white stones. A nest beneath a temple, remember.
The island is ringed at the shore by a low battlement of branches and boles woven by surf, which at pains we might dismantle and stack into a stout pyre, which when lit burns with disquieting rapidity and heat — the faintest spark encouraged by many hands shall become a great unholy cleansing conflagration that even the revelers privately fear. What power is this among our hands?
Step away for a moment, out beyond the battlement, beyond the glow of the flames, into the moonless night where the amphibian chorus rises in veils of melodious precipitate, veils of auroral honey from amid the reeds. Where at the shore wave laps sand in perennial wingwash flutter — water stone together the infinitely self-transforming complexifier.
And out further beyond still, where waves wash over the low pebbled wedge of the point, stands figure; anthropic verticality unmistakable even at this distance — figure, clothed in the garb of hermit but face to wind like the fool, stands in impossible holographic verticality at irreconcilable distance. Mute hermit-priest a visiting from beyond yet, but not the last.
At sunrise endless ponderous lavender glass to the horizon. From over open water, emerald ball of energy speeds along elastic catenary to a point before the heart, heart jumps at the surprise. A fierce weariness, finest feathers disheveled. Joy says the emerald bird joy to you, we’ve won. Tiny precious heart still in the breast, in two hands cupped.
Yes, so. There we are. Poems are good to talk about, if you ask me. They may in one sense be a conversation with voices in the fog, but they can also start a conversation among friends. That is to say I’m always down to talk about the words I share via this newsletter, to ruffle and interrogate them, and if you are doing some writing yourself, I most definitely want to read it. On that note:
Taking the auspices
Here at the end we continue our loose, far-flung divinatory experiment, in which you readers reply to a simple question: what do you see or hear or feel around you right now? In what gestures does the living land speak? Just a few words about something pretty or puzzling will be just right. I’ll credit you by name or pseudonym (whichever you prefer).
Here are the auspices that drifted in during June:
waiting in the shallows for something to happen.
a cloud passed over the sun.
— Green-fin, Well o’ the half-shorn wood
Blackbird flusters under the green shade of a full bloomed quickbeam; it hops into the invisible profusion of leaves. Green bursts from the grit. The tide beyond is pulling in, or sucking out. Trees are flowing in time with the rhythm of the wet breeze. Yellow poppy wiggles above the shark fin stone. The loch sends up imperfect triangles; ripples of slate grey shadows against the dull sky. Even the gorse on the other side of the loch is dull laden; something big flies over, I only see it in shadow.
— Winnsmith, Highlands, Scotland
these toes are juicy, sun-ripen’d.
come, friend, for a sup!
— Wriggle-Wraggles, School Lake
Do send yours along! You can just drop them here. Until next month, solidarity amidst the flooding light.