Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Nightingale

Image: The Call of the Nightingale © Jo Jayson 2013 www.jojayson.com

The nightingale presses her
soft feathered breast
into the spike of the thorn,

penetrating her own aching heart
as her song dies
at sunset.

Or does she?

What if, instead,

The nightingale melods her
melancholy into the world’s
most lovely verse,

so strong and convincing
in the depth of its sincerity
that the rose sheds its thorns
into the previous season’s
leaf litter and raises its
most fragrant blossomed branch
skyward, as a throne
for her to perch upon
as she sings her heart outward
at sunset?

Self-inflicted wounds
are an option,

so too is the courage to
feed pain as a holy sacrament
to Truth and Beauty.

Only the latter speaks to Love.

I know birds well enough
to believe the nightingale’s
song emerged from swallowing
whole the ancient sorrows
of the wounded feminine,

gestating them around the
turns of the Great Spiral,

and gifting them back to the
world in new-born form.

This is not lost power,

but forgotten power.

Well, not completely forgotten.

Within you there is a nightingale
and there is a rose bush,

you’ve been referring to them
as all the things that you long
to manifest,

but have been afraid to deserve
because a woman
you respected once showed
you how to lean into thorns

and you believed that’s how
it had to be,


This poem is here to say:

“That’s not true.”

These words are a song that
came to me on the rose-scented

one evening,

at sunset,

carried in a voice that my blood knew

as kin.

It was the sound produced across the
lactating vocal chords
of Remembering Woman,


Re-membering to me her primal ties
to the innate courage
to embody Life.

For so many generations we have
been dying away
at our own hands.

It’s time to step clear of
the thorns,

isn’t it?

You’ve been sensing this too,

I know.

When Remembering Woman asked
me what she could do to help,

I asked for my own song,

a song likened
to the nightingale’s most lovely
sunset song.

I was absolutely sure this would do it.

She said to me,

“You’ve been singing it
all along, Dear Girl.”

“Oh?” I replied.

“Yes,” she went on.

“But now you must believe in
what you sing.

That’s the difference between
being a girl and being a woman.

The girl knows the words.

The woman knows within her
what they mean.”

And, so, at sunrise,
that’s the choice I made,

to admit that I know what my
own song means.

The rose bush blushed when
it heard me say it out loud.

I figure that’s a very good
place to start.

© 2012-2016/Jamie K. Reaser
Published in "Sacred Reciprocity: Courting the Beloved in Everyday Life" and 
"Wild Life: New and Selected Poems" (www.hiraethpress.com) 

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An Answer

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

At the end of every day

there is a silence that creeps


It’s the unoccupied space

filled with memories

and what ifs.

Sometimes it has a name.

Usually not.

It keeps me in good company,


and never argumentative.

We’ve started growing old


like long familiars do.

But lately my gratitude for

such a simple departure

into the night has begun

to wane.

I hear voices after the sun


One of them sounds like mine.

I dare myself to believe

in the other,

with little success

as of yet.

What does one do with

an interlude

in which a single candle


faster than the red wine?

Perhaps this is a space

reserved for prayers.

If so, I am lacking,

for I have forgotten

for that which I used to pray

so heartedly.

“Maybe,” says the flickering


“you are not to pray,

but to become the answer

to a prayer.”

© 2012-2013/Jamie K. Reaser
Published in "Sacred Reciprocity: Courting the Beloved in Everyday Life." (www.hiraethpress.com)

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Roots

Image: origin unknown

There’s a little boy that I’ve been
all dressed in white linen,
on his knees,
desperately seeking The Roots.

He’s finally found them,
fingers raw and blooded by
but there they are -

long residing at the base of
Rumi’s lamenting reed.

Cut off from our ancient lineage
we cannot but cry out
for a vision of Home –

Though the meaning of the
deep inner wailing may
elude us for many generations,

And the masks we take up
make us unrecognizable even
in our own mirrors,

We cannot deny the sound
emanating from our own
severed soul.

It’s the one that constantly
tells us that we don’t belong here,

that we have been forsaken,

and that we have forsook.

Rumi’s reed longed for a heart
so that it could explain
the pain of its yearning
to return to its roots.

This I have.

And so let me tell you how
I have ached:

Like the fledgling thrown
from the nest,
thinking its tending parents
now want it destroyed
on the hard ground below.

Like the Autumn leaves
torn away by winds before
they had conversed
long enough to learn the
names of all the other leaves
on all the other branches.

Like the rock rolled down
the mountain slope
in the wash of heavy winter rains,
never again to know the
boulder in which it was
brought forth from the belly well
of the inner Earth.

This is the power of Love,
I am told:

To dare to risk your offspring
so that they may learn to fly.

To make offerings of yourself
to the Holy that nourishes
you from above and below.

To surrender to the pull of gravity
as a humble act of coming
onto the knees of all Creation.

To dig until the melancholy fingers yield
the droplets of bloodlines
that have departed across entire
Oceans of destiny.

I am the last.

The last child has been taken
from me by the jealous hunters,
and so it stops with me.

I am the last.

I am the last to be the cut reed
and the reed cutter,

The oppressed
and the oppressor.

I am the last to forsake
the Truth
and be forsaken by
the story my lineage
construed to keep us
women safe.

Now is the time that
we must return to our

That we must reclaim
the connection to our Earth-deep
roots and grow forth
again with a ripeness
that when savored
seeks only to unite.

But how?


Acknowledging the suffering
of every reed cut
and of every reed cutter
who has been chased by
the fear of his own death.


Honoring the fleshy sacrifice of the reed
and the soul loss of the
reed cutter,

and the gift of shelter that they
somehow managed to
co-creatively manifest.


Learning to hear the reed’s
cry in my own voice,
and yours,
and too in the voice of the
reed cutters within.

Learning that the sound
most needed now is one
of joy.


Re-membering how to find
the way back to the Earth
through dark passageways,
carrying with me every
incense-infused gift
that my ancestors have passed down
in the wrappings of the prayers that
this day,
I would take up
the alchemical bundle
called Love
and return with it to my roots.

And so I anoint that little boy
and his Mother
with the purest essence of belonging,
praying that they will no longer
feel disconnected, lonely, and unloved.

And down the matrilineal line
this too I receive.

The hungry ghosts will find that there
is nothing left here on which
to feed;

I can again draw nourishment
from who I am.

I am the black bird with a heart
who remembers the holy song
of the forgiving flute
made out of sacred reed.

©2012-2018/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Coming Home: Learning to Actively Love this World" 
Published by Talking Waters Press

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