Friday, September 27, 2013

Did Persephone?

As I emerge from my dark descent, my thoughts have turned to the myth of Persephone and her return from the underworld. 
Today at last the weather cleared for a moment, and I could welcome Persephone back by creating a sand sculpture on the beach. A poem arrived as well, so I am giving you both, in celebration of spring. May it be full of freshness for you!
Did Persephone?

 I don't think
it was
for her mother
that drew Persephone 
to the earth's surface, 
 for despite 
Demeter's warnings,
she let Hades slip
pomegranate seeds
one by one
between her luscious lips.
it must have been
to cavort 
in innocence
once more
 among the daffodils
and lilies,
 to undo the dark taste
of death,
renounce wisdom,
and sing 
like a maiden 
in the freshness 
of spring.

©Juliet Batten

Monday, September 23, 2013

Spring Equinox colour for you

 Today is spring equinox. Fragrant flowers are blooming everywhere and after a big electrical storm, the air is clear and warm.
To celebrate, I made you a flower circle. I used to make these on the lawn when I was a child. If I'd lost a tooth, I'd hide it in the middle under a flower. In the morning I would run back to the flower circle to see if the tooth fairy had left me a sixpence.
Today, I'm glad to say, I don't have a lost tooth.
And I gathered you a spring bouquet. The small pale blue flowers are called Nigella, or Love-in-a-Mist. Isn't that a poetic name? Love has come out of the mist today, and is ready to dance and play.
Here is your last gift. The little one made you a fish.

Happy equinox, wherever you are. To you in the north at autumn equinox, thank you for sending the warmth our way. To you in the south, enjoy the season of growth!

The inundation of the Spring
Submerges every soul
—Emily Dickinson

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A child's eyes

 When spring is full of turbulence, and you are struggling to throw off a winter virus that keeps returning to bite you in the throat, it's time to look at life through a child's eyes.
'Look Granny, there's a giant shoe in the water!'
'I'm wearing my special cloak. I'm the fairy godmother.'
 'It's got a window in it, just perfect for my little hut.'
'Here are all the flowers in my garden.'
 'And a rainbow is shining.'
I join in, and make a boat on the beach, a boat to take me across the seasons to a gentler time.
Meanwhile the little monkey plays in the pohutukawa tree.
Reversals are easy through a child's eyes: just swing around and upside down, and you have a different world.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Time to sit

 Bringing the retreat home: one way to do this is to take time to sit. The early morning light was so beautiful that I had to draw up a chair, and sit, and watch. I thought of the first poem I ever memorised at school:
What is this life if, full of care,
We take no time to stand and stare. . .
By sitting still I could enjoy the sculptural forms of the agave leaves, the twisting uplift of the cypress—

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
— and beyond it all, the flare of the flame tree, so bright against the dark foliage of the pohutukawa trees. Beyond it all, the sea is beckoning.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
When I take time to sit very still, with no expectations, something surprising often happens. On this day I felt a strong urge to clear my desk: beauty outside, beauty inside.
Aaah! Breathing space. After all, I'm dismantling the old busyness and creating space for something new to emerge. Now when I sit at my desk, I smile. Only those papers that I'm about to deal with are allowed on here now.
And when the evening light draped its golden caress over the garden, I drew up my chair again, and sat and watched. The jade plant turned to fire and called out to the flame tree beyond. As I listened in, I heard their secret song: 'We are glowing, we are happy, life is full of wonder.' And so it is.

A poor life this, if full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
(Leisure, by William Henry Davies)