Friday, June 22, 2018

Saraswati, Mangoes, and a Butterfly

                               Mango Season 

Struggling with unexpected fate
my tropical imagination
carries me still,
among volcanic archipelagos,
remembers the Island of the Gods
in mango season.

Here, heat rises
from waterless pavements.
I walk to the "Memory Care" unit
the long beige hallway, too familiar now.
Bewildered eyes regard me from wheelchairs.
The old man says, 
"Take me home. I don't belong here".
If I could,
if I only could,
I would take us all home.
Instead, I bring fruit
to share
imagining for them
mango season
in all its splendor.


Lately I've been looking back at old poems, old performance, archiving and re-discovering them as not only souvenirs of my past, but bits of myself that have become lost and need to be re-glued into the scrape book (or epic) of my life.  To be honest, I am also sometimes so overwhelmed by the ugliness of what is happening in this country that I go back to find strength in Beauty.  Careless I used to be, taking so much for granted.........but now I find my memories a treasure, and I praise the Beauties  I've been privileged to see, taste, hear.  

 I was a caretaker for my mother and my brother for years, and became familiar with nursing homes, watching strong people diminish as their souls gradually withdrew from this plane of being......and I had many days spent running urban errands, my vista a hot parking lot or a Fry's pharmacy.  Into the picture window of my mind at such times would often come the strangest and most vivid landscapes:  Bali and the great black volcano Kintamani  I once stood before,  or the sweet, sensual shapes of ripe mangoes, their great generosity and abundance always offered.  These poems come from that time. 

Love is Saraswati's river
flowing through our lands.
She will feed the rice fields,
She will accept our woven offerings.

She will bear our ashes
and the fires of Kintamani
to the sea.

Formless, she neither takes nor gives;
we impose these significances
upon the flowers we cast in her. 

From birth to death,
Saraswati's river sustains us to the sea.

a butterfly
hovers before me
in a parking lot 
no less a messenger of hope, 
vanishing at last
into some blue distance:
whole, winged,
always going home


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