Thursday, February 15, 2007

Two Poems: Janet A. Baker

The Door

“The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar.”
~ William Wordsworth

There is something I can’t see
through my door to the other side
with streaks of silver coming through the varnish
streaks of silver showing through names and titles
stuck on my soul’s door

Let me see the knob and who it is who says,
“Look, there is the wrong name on your door.”

I am peeling the labels stuck on my door,
picking them off with my fingernails.

And the star says, it’s time to peel all labels
all varnishes veneers writing languaging

but new words sprinkle themselves
faster than I can catch them on the screen of soul

I keep falling off the treetops landing back
on earth whenever I attempt ascension.
Yet there are ladders upward to the sky

and the star says sit wait listen hear
and peel the varnish off the shining door.
Remove the words that aren’t yours.

What does it open to? I ask.
What is my true space my holy place my office?
I write: It is a room of starlight and pure being.

I ask for glimpses. I write: You have glimpses--
they are streaks of silver in the wood itself.
They can’t be peeled away.

Star, I ask you to come down through my pen,
inky blackness of the liquid night sky.
I write: Sky and stars aren’t what we think they are.

Sky is not black at night but dark blue
dissolving into ink pouring into my pen
the stars are liquid gold flowing down.

Tell me completely teach me to listen to feel you.
I hear the doves coo and the highway rumble
numinous freedom to love again throbbing.

Buddha throbs in meditation. The eyes yes undulate.
The body as one heart throbs at once,
gives and receives at once.

It was like stardust in an old hand undertook me
coming through from where my soul began.

* * * * *

The Holy Ones

I’d like to stop missing my own clan and my own tribe
so much. I don’t even know their names or their ways.

But someone way way back must have raised sheep,
spun and woven, and passed the patterns of the gods
into the minds of her children

passed an image that would always come out right
--Holy Ones in the corn and everything
in sacred colors, directions, stones.

What pattern comes from my mind,
from my long life and every thing I’ve known?
What is at last worth something to others?

I have seen Patience, fiber by fiber
carding the wool before she begins
to make yarn of it, sitting on clean dirt
in the hot sun, smiling and toothless.

I have woven my whole life into my poems.
I still don’t know the image of my Holy Ones.
I couldn’t have written this when I was young.

~ Janet Baker lives in Encinitas, CA. This is her first appearance in Elegant Thorn.

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