folklore

FRAGMENT FOR A BARITONE UKULELE (or mandolin) SONG:

fog-wrapped palm by my swamp 2 yrs ago

DECIDED TO ADD ON A ROUGH DRAFT OF WHAT WILL BE THE BODY OF THE SONG:

Year after year

Our lives so dear

You disappeared

Taking my heart

We’re forever apart

As you stay locked

In the wood of the tree

Never to be free

Lost hearts of Palm…

 

Playing one day

Polished obsidian ball

Our two faces reflected

Happiness and perfection

 

You invented words

In a foreign tongue

I laughed, joined in

We chanted, having fun

 

Suddenly gone…

You are suddenly gone

Suddenly gone from me

 

Never did I dream

You’d be so close

Locked away in wood

Brown and gray

 

I thought I’d dreamed you

And then awoke

Until one foggy morning

I heard your voice

 

So far away

And yet so close

Heard your voice

Calling my name

 

Found an axe

But you shouted “No!”

The bark, the leaves, the heart of palm

Part of you

 

Found that old obsidian ball

Polished, washed, sun drenched

Held it next to my heart

Whispered my love

 

Nothing, nothing

(Please, please)

Silence from the swamp trees

 

Words, what words

Did we say

That terrible day

I ask, but you no longer answer

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Two views of my palm tree 2015 & 2017

(it sure did grow/as if it holds the key/to my happiness)

 

 

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NERDY BLOGETRY

 

*scroll down for a Joan Baez YouTube video*

 

A friend did send

An article about

Thracian deities

Thrace part of

Bulgaria, Turkey, and Greece

Just south of Romania

My father’s birthplace

My friend did send

When I complained

That her Celtic gods and goddesses

Were so much more interesting

Than the Romani ones

Of course, the Romani ones are from India

But there is the Eastern European part of my blood

That calls out to other deities

 

So being a Fire sign

I was interested in the Fire goddess

Later to become St. Marina

Daughter of Domna (Queen)

Who comes with her own folk song:

“Oh, Domna, Domna, Domna queen!

Domna queen and swallow!”

And the nerd in me

The wannabe folksinger in me

Can suddenly see

Can suddenly hear

The high trilling of none other

Than Joan Baez

Singing and strumming

“Dona, Dona, Dona, Dona”

A song claiming to be a Yiddish folksong

Even though the words

Match up with the Thracian mythology

Of a black sheep being sacrificed

To the Domna

And a swallow, like the swallows

Of San Juan Capistrano

Are elements echoed in the song

“On a wagon, bound for market

Is a calf with a mournful eye…”

And

“Why don’t you have wings to fly with

Like the swallow so proud and free?”

Most interesting of all

After the Eastern European countries shifted

Joan Baez performed her song in

The new country with

The old name of Czechoslovakia

Many of the people saying they were

Long-familiar with the myth

 

So I apologize to some of you

Wading through my nerdy piece of blogetry

But hoping that my fellow nerds

Will feel the delight

Of discovering cultural insight

Of history repeating itself

But in a lovely way

Not a doom but a boon

Of the beat going on…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Swallow (Pinterest, no attribution)

 

https://youtu.be/BqzGZ5AaeSs   YouTube video, Joan Baez singing Dona, Dona, Dona (spelling changed to Donna somewhere along the years)

PRIMEVAL PUZZLE 8-21-17

(Full Solar Eclipse 8-21-17)

 

Although no Rhesus monkey blood

Flows through the byways of my body

I feel fragments of fear

Originating from ancient landscapes

Of fern and endless flora

And I am there

Looking for the hidden animals

Absent from the water hole

Watching my tribe

Grunting over skins stretched tautly

Being beaten over enormous gourds

A chant arising

From useless fire

Reaching for the circle of what is now known

As the sun

While a shadow claims dominance

Wiping out daytime firmament

Bringing dusk to the home savanna

Behemoth swallowing the familiar fireball

Leaving us shivering on the ground

Grunting, crying, drumming

Scrying the water

For instruction on how to retrieve

Our celestial canopy

Bright and hot

We rock back and forth

In darkness unexplained

Crying in pain

Until the Feathered One

Points to the sky

With a club as high as he

We will not die!

The monster shadow is vanquished

By our chants

Our spilling of blood

Our promises to be good

And the raging fire

Once again

Rules the bright blue plain

Stretching silently above

A sea of heads

I was there

I remember

As today

Wearing a #12 Shade welding mask

I watch

The eclipse fade…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: prehistoric rock-Pinterest

Here I am wearing the welding mask, watching the eclipse:

eclipse1

 

SOJMO (HAWK)

ANNUAL REPOST FOR FATHER’S DAY: My father loved telling stories, so although this starts out as a poem about him, it turns into one about me.  No doubt though, it was his predilection for oral history that influenced my love of writing (especially loooooooong poems).

 

Dad was a great story teller

A bard who hoarded words

And plots, heard in the kitchen

Where he slept on the ledge of a stove

In old Romani slave quarters

Surrounded by the rich earth

Of what is now Moldova

Somewhat drunk by the wine

The children consumed

Because the water was poisonous

And it was thirsty work to be

Stomping grapes for the winery

Where he was born

Grandson of a slave

Free yet not

***

His favorite story

Was about the Sojmo

The Hawk

Also called Turul

A Hungarian word

Learned from his cousins

Who migrated to Roumania

Turul, the shamanic hawk

Perched on the Tree of Life

That strongly-rooted tree

Connecting Earth with the skies

And the Netherworld

Turul, who saved the Hungarians

From Attila the Hun

And other conquerors

Making them a powerful people

My dad liked the name Hun because

His name was Huna

His mother said he

Approached life like a savage

Like a conqueror

And Huna felt proud

***

Sojmo has been a part of my life

For many decades

I never saw one while living in Philly

But once I moved to Florida

Nature claimed me as a personal fan

And I observed birds and trees

Plants and clouds

Lightning and rainbows

So lonely, though, for a friend

Although I worked daily and met

Good people

So lonely for a man

One day, sitting by a lake

I cried out to the universe

A hawk flew at me

Sitting frozen, mesmerized

At the last second it swooped up

But we had read the eyes of the other

And I knew all would be well

A few months later I met a man named

Hawk

***

Years passed

First good

Then very bad

Then better

Then simply years

No expectations

Simply years

***

Life’s happiness

Feeding and watching

Backyard cardinals,

Woodpeckers, blue jays

Mourning doves and finches

Feeding and watching the antics

Of my dogs, sitting by the graves

Of older dogs who

Crossed the Rainbow Bridge

Then the crows came

Korako

And ate the fledglings and eggs

While I shouted, while the dogs barked

And one day they disappeared

Never returning

Occasionally circling the yard to remind me

So I imagined

That they have the power to return

And destroy the backyard birds

***

Envision my surprise

When instead of korako

I heard a whistle and saw

Five hawks

Sojmo

Repeating the savagery

That korako displayed

Last summer

Half-heartedly I shouted

Banged the metal trashcan lid

With a Live Oak branch

Fallen on the ground

From the wind and rain

The previous evening

The dogs half-heartedly barked

The man named Hawk

Refused to chase them

Siding with Sojmo

Because, I guess,

They are his totem, after all

***

Ah, do I make anything out of this?

Just birds of prey following their instinct

Looking to feast upon birds well fed

From my feeder?

Or is the appearance of Sojmo

The other bookend

The other end of the promise

And now the taking

None of the five hawks

Flew toward my face

To look me in the eye

What do I make of this

Mind-tableau

Sojmo sitting on a Live Oak

That could be the Tree of Life

Reminding me of the connection

Of the Earth and Sky

With the Netherworld

***

Sojmo

Ending another chapter

Of a life…

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

 

NOT FOR ARACHNOPHOBES (revised)

(some of my wonderful friends are worried that I was bitten by another Recluse Spider.  This is my poem from 2014–not my best–but want you to know, no worries)

 

What is the message of the spider?

Open invitation from the resident

Into a pesticide-free home

Spaces in floorboards

Irresistible to the neighboring swamp

Despite the equalizer AKA feather duster

The spiders come in the night

They always nip me equally

One on each arm

Unless it’s a Recluse

She gets me in a circle of eight

The secret antidote is plantain

Or even aloe for the minor stings

I’ve been injected with venom so many times

That one day I expect to point my wrists at a wall

While cobwebs shoot out

Enabling me to scale the side of the tallest building in Florida

But I know there is a message

I used to fancy that I was SpiderWoman of folklore

Weaving my tales

My fantasies

My fantasies came true for others, not for me

What was the message there?

Observer and recorder of life

But never a recipient of those richly imagined dreams

We Romani are always looking at portents

The Sinte word for the spider storyteller is

“Shpina Paramichari”

She is telling me that the one nip on each arm

Represents balance

Be consistent in life

Be moderate while living

No important revelation

But a painful one

Just weave your life symmetrically

In order to function in harmony

I tend to forget every few years

Guess I need a reminder…

(c) 2014, 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Recluse Spider Web, creative commons

BABA JAGA BLUES

 

Missing a lot of Aries women who were important in my life and have passed on…

 

Burning sun makes for a Baba Jaga noon

Shining across the Carpathians and into Eastern Europe

Warming the people who invented me

I am the Grandmother of Fire

Face covered in red and orange ashes

My house on two chicken legs

Scratching in the dirt

As a wide band of water rushes between them

Gently tipping the mortar that serves

As a flying vehicle

The pestle is my rudder and

Tracks etched in the sky

Are swept away with a white birch broom

I, Fire Woman, toss out water-cleansed herbs

And the people see earth sailing through the air.

 

No, I do not eat children

That is another fairy tale

From another country

I do have companions:

White horse rider named Day

Black horse rider named Night

Red horse rider named Noon-Time Sun

They decorate the ceiling of my chicken-legged home

Cavorting around the painted firmament

So I do not feel closed in when forced to stay.

 

Like smoke from fire, though

I can sinuously escape through the chimney

Into the real sky

Absorbing more heat and light by day

More stars and coolness by night

Able to traverse the path

Sidewinding around the Galaxy

By map and compass embedded in my brain.

 

What is my purpose here?

Yes, you may ask

Fiery wise woman am I

Guidance is all I offer but

I prefer that you ask no questions

I age for each one asked

Only blue rose tea will reverse my reluctance

To answer, when you truly need help

Purity of spirit, and most of all, politeness count

But you must overcome your fear

To ask and then hear

Solutions to feed your burning need to know.

 

So many false tales about me

I am guilty merely because my preference is

To live alone

In order to think

And be myself

I do not like the image I see

Reflected through others

It is warped and thus murky

Not a true mirror

But no one cares to look deeply into

The mystery of Baba Jaga

Fire Woman, Wise Woman

Who was never a witch or even a clown

Just an old soul trying to translate the Earth

To others…

 

(c) 2014 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja), Poetry of Memory

IMAGE: Baba Jaga, Russie Virtuel

A JOSEPH CAMPBELL DAY

 

Waving a burning bundle of sage

Sweetening the mysterious corners

Of a lonely room

(Like a priest swinging an incense censer)

 

Humming along with Indigenous drumming

Interspersed with Om Mani Padme Hum mantras

Blasting from the MP3 headphones

(Like a monk’s voice lifting up to the heavens in a Gregorian chant)

 

Sipping wine and delicately crunching crackers

At an evening art opening, smiling

As the mind screams, “Shut up! Shut up!

You’re superficial and snobby!”

(Like a penitent accepting the blood and the body)

 

Religious Rituals

Nature Rituals

Social Rituals

 

Keeping those invasive mind demons away

Trying to get through another day…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

Imagesource:http://www.abstractdigitalartgallery.com/artist_gallery_onebadpenny_abstract_digital_art_fractal.htm

CORNUCOPIA

 

Smoked round reed for spokes and braiders

Soak them into flexibility

Cross, pinch, entwine and weave

Humming hymns of tranquility

 

Zeus breaking off the horn of his nurse

Heracles wrestling a river god of fables

Either led to an abundance myth

Winding up on Thanksgiving tables

 

Growing gourds, red and green Earth treats

Nuts and flowers complete the increase

Profusion of life’s requirements

Create a still life centerpiece

 

Magnetic pull of voices from the past

Call and text loved ones far away

Laughter, tears, music of the spheres

The beauty of a traditional holiday

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Peter Paul Rubens, Abundantia

 

 

AUTOHARP

i.

Today

An early Winter Solstice present

Appeared in the mail

Autoharp

Allowing me to pretentiously play

Like I’m Janis Joplin

Talented and fey

Happily harping to my known ukulele chords

Singing into the perfect Florida morning

ii.

Neighbor’s rooster began crowing along

Smiling, I knew he enjoyed my song

Came down off my music high

Finally noticing that he never stopped

That rooster crowed from six to four

Silent by dawn, heard not anymore

iii.

Like some old Volva

Spouting dire predictions

In the Norse Edda

Perhaps tossing runic bones

I shivered in the pre-dawn light

Wondering what would occur by tonight

iv.

Remembering that Egdir plays the harp

While red Fjalar the rooster

Crows

Heralding Ragnarok

Events presaging

The fiery destruction

Yet bountiful rebirth

Of our troubled Earth

v.

Sometimes hard to be born a mystic

Symbols and sounds, so holistic

Today I play with heavy heart

Not sure what came first:

The rooster or the harp

Or were they merely

Synergistically

Reacting together…?

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Volva and Egdir from the Edda

AN ARM AND A LEG

 

**scroll down for YouTube video**

 

Separated only by a belt

Japanese legendary war

Between the Taira family

As red as Betelgeuse

And the Minamoto family

As {blue-tinged} white as Rigel

Stars still battling

Orion’s belt

No-man’s land

A war

A constellation

A leg and an arm

Emblems of a mythos

Red and white

Like the Japanese flag

Symbolizing

Duty, sacrifice and loyalty

The Hunter a mighty sum

Of his parts

In the eternal aethers…

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Earth-Sky.com

 

YouTube: Orion by Metallica https://youtu.be/mmNpYwMpeJE