the green man’s verse

i discovered that one of my favorite authors of recent memory, dale pendell, has a blog. it was found by virtue of another blog, all these interconnections of words and ideas…

dale wrote a series of books that, to my mind, are the bravest and most beautiful explorations of the poison path, or wort cunning, which is at the root of the olde witchcraft of clutterbuck, et al.. what is particularly powerful about these books, sure shuglin’s experiments contain chemical notes, is that pendell lets the plants speak, their words sometimes poetry, othertimes the cacophony of imps. the voice represents another intelligence, a magickal ally whose purpose is to teach us how to live. sometimes the lessons are not to our liking, while others are too much so, that we become ensorcelled. the pharmako series has now been rereleased in hard back, if you are plant person or poison(ed) pet, definitely check them out of your local library if you are lucky enough to be near one, or give ’em a home.

here is a poem from his site that speaks to me today…like the plant ally it may not speak to me tomorrow, but today i am enjoying its impish chatter. hope that you do as well.


There is an imp that tracks us—
this imp collects cast-offs,
so it can never keep up
with the sun that warms
the elderly gentleman
sitting on the bench with his cane.
Still, seemingly impervious
to fatigue, every so often
the imp will accost you
and, like a relative,
demand you be familiar:
“But you don’t like peas, you like corn.
You’re favorite color is orange.
And don’t forget that you lost that suitcase
your grandmother gave you
as a gift.”
The imp carries two mirrors
that face each other
and reflect your image, or, what
may have once been
your likeness
back and forth
between them
so many times
and for so long
that they all seem

dale pendell

rumi and the chalice

mir posted a lovely rumi poem on her fb status this morning.
she said it was her google fu that brought it up…
*activates librarian powers…accessing accessing…google fu*
the poem was from the 1990 text Like This, translated by C. Barks.

Close the Language Door

There is some kiss we want
with our whole lives,
the touch of Spirit on the body.

Seawater begs the pearl
to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild Darling!

At night, I open the window
and ask the moon to come
and press its face against mine.
Breathe into me.

Close the language-door,
and open the love-window

The moon won’t use the door,
only the window.

She asks me to use the door, but the atu for pisces is la luna
and all i can think of is tossing pebbles at her windowpane…

Here is another one that sings to me today, from the same text.

Ode 314

Those who don’t feel this Love
pulling them like a river,
those who don’t drink dawn
like a cup of spring water
or take in sunset like supper,
those who don’t want to change,

let them sleep.

This Love is beyond the study of theology,
that old trickery and hypocrisy.
If you want to improve your mind that way,

sleep on.

I’ve given up on my brain.
I’ve torn the cloth to shreds
and thrown it away.

If you’re not completely naked,
wrap your beautiful robe of words
around you,

and sleep.


last night’s feast of brighid was beautiful
good food, fair friends, and plenty of shining verse
(the rarebit and candles not so much)
planting seeds for the coming year – to heal

in the circle i shared a bit brighid’s folklore
of she and cailleach exchanging a wand to mark the year
like an invocation of the crone she came – dark
she had come to take away one of her own – light

thinking of the callieach and her creel drippings shaping the landscape
some mountains and others valleys, a mound here a shallow there
like a matriarch at her extended family, each feature shaped by her hand

here is a bit of verse i wrote for my father’s mother
i share it with you in honor of catherine, my mother’s mom

Her Owl Eyes – for Izzy Kukyendahl Mabus
21 Sep 2003: Astoria

not a god of severity or mercy
no angry fire and utter damnation
nor the sorrowful joy of gethsemane
hers was a god of growing things
both those of the seed and those coeval

in her compost pile we tasted sweet
the smell of earth becoming warm
becoming from the fecundity of decay
the rich loam which made camilla leaves
a most uncommonly large elephant ear

while she wrestled words into blocks & squares
i became an expert hunter of spiders
pecans rained like hail on the shed’s tin roof
in dark corners of cigar boxes & coffee cans of nails
the fell prey to my jars gaping maw

like some idyll we swung on her porch
watching as she fed her charges
watering the rows of backyard veggies
on fence posts leaving bread and nuts for squirrels
an unusual queue of critters in her yard

but it wasn’t all arcadian delights
there were hours bent down on our knees
scrubbing accumulated dirt from floorboards
of rent houses betwixt the flow of tenants
honest work was the severity of her hand

spite and malice marathons on the driveway
always and everyday soap operas and a nap
there was this break in the day – quiet
to soothe a heart as the day sped away
a siesta in the balmy heat of the houston heights

the click clack of bones on stone tables
or the clatter rattle of dice in a yahtzee cup
her games where the constant throughout
whether we were camped at the lake
or under the pecan heavy trees in the waning of summer

Brighid’s Day 2010

brighid's mark

so today is brighid’s day, imbolc, candlemass.
this last year i put a mark  upon my left calf
to denote my devotion to this fiery goddess of the sidhe.

this evening there will be a circle of feasting and poetry
and candles made among the workers of wonder.
i have prepared grace neill’s guinness brownies to share
and very likley some rarebit on sourdough to accompany
a nice white wine and some delicious potato leek soup –
the latter made by the hand of a crimson haired muse.

this weekend there is a brighid faire and ritual among the fey,
held by austin’s reclaiming witches with aid from their allies.
in honor of her and the quickening of the flame
i am sharing a bit of verse, a song for the seeds
and the trees and the bees that make sweet mead.

what seeds will you plant tonight to bloom in the coming light?

Bees or Trees (9.23.09: Austin)

Whatcha wanna do that for, hmmm?
I saw that agro truck come by today
I see that yellow box on yo tree
And my bees know you done sprayed
Mmmhmm that’s what they told me
They come back from yo tree all tipsy like

Mmmhmm that’s what they say
Mmmhmm that’s what the man will tell ya
Yep, they told me the very same thing
But you gotta decide – not them.

Here’s the story as it goes see
These bees here they feeds us
It’s the wild Sufi dance that they dance
Spreads the word about the good herbes
The fruits that’s grown on trees like yours
And all the vegetables we eats
And all the grains we feeds our meats
Without them bees          Pollination don’t go
And if there ain’t no bees dancing
Not a damn thing is gonna grow

Yeah I know about their bug
Another outsider greed done brought here
Like my people done come on the Middle Passage
Us minding our bees and ewes all steward like
And greed gonna snatch us to this misery
Cept that bug comin here that was an accident
And like chickens come roosting we wants em gone
Still    somebody is making a profit
Most likely the man that say you gotta spray
Or when the bug kills the citrus trees
Thems that’s got seeds and healthy bees
Coz that bug, that lil’ sucker
Fucker gonna kill yo tree    It happen before
Where they gonna get the world’s citrus then?
Not    CAL – I – FOR – NI – A!
Nowhere that’s where
Coz the bees gonna die too see

I told you they all tipsy
Coz when the sniff yo flowers
Well they get somma dat spray too
They fly it home to their hive
And the whole community gonna get sick
Just like yo tree gonna get bit by the bug
My bees they smart though
They done danced a dance telling each other
Dumbass there with the big green lawn
He done poisoned his own well
And guess what neighbor, they know now
When yo flowers don’t fruit
You gonna know it too
So what you gonna do? Tree or Bees?
The tree, see it’s gonna go
Happens everywhere that sucker showed
GUARAN   TEED! like Summer fading to fall

Here it ain’t all bad     Pull on this
That’s mead      Honey wine     DI  VINE!
Tastes like Summer in a glass
Smells like Spring flowers in bloom
Yeah  –   My bees made that honey
So I guess I got me a stake in them –
keeping at the Sufi dance that they do
Warm innit? Like sun sliding down yo throat
No No You have another You gonna need it
See yo tree dying that is gonna happen
My bees, my bees, now that is the question

You stop sprayin and let that tree be
Takes it out when it goes and plant sommin other –
than what that ‘lil sucker has a taste for
Then my bees they gonna stay and dance
Givin’ yo flowers a reason to fruit

Yeah that delightful sunny sweetness
A ‘lil eden in a sippadat – like all yo food
Like all the food everyone eats everywhere
All made possible by those crazy dancing bees
So what’s it gonna be
Your own private orange
Or the end of mead?

posted to the 5th annual cyberspace poetry slam for brighid 2010