nature

KORAKO (CROW)

(This blogetry was in a book I wrote in 2014. Adding it to WP although I was so sure it once was posted.  Not my best, just an emotional rant  😦  but I like to keep an online “diary” of my work.)

 

We Romani in both ancestral tribes
Kalderash and Sinti
Believe Korako (crow)
Is exceptionally wise and intelligent
Living 30 years
Bringing us signs that we must obey:
One korako is sorrow
Two korakos are joy
Korako in the road is a happy journey
Korako dead in the the road, turn around!

I cheered for the Raven in Poe’s poem
My life improved when a friend sent me
a 10-inch raven’s feather
Fluttering around New Mexican rocks
I love the swaggering tricksters
Their intense eye contact
The caw-caw-caw on the wind

What I did not know
(Because, unlike my Gran
Did not live on the road
Lived in the concrete forest
Missed a lot in my cultural education)
So what I did not know
Is the true meaning of the flock word
A “murder” of crows

Since age three, my first memory
Has been of birds
My aging pleasure is to sit in the yard
Sipping burning black coffee
While cardinals and finches
Woodpeckers and jays
Twitter away at the feeder
Sometimes korako will come
When the smaller birds are sated
And clean out the remaining seeds

A few weeks ago
I saw a crow
Sitting on the swamp’s dead oak
Korako caw-caw-cawed and four more
Joined the dark herald

Such a nervous clatter
As red and brown cardinals
Fluttered around, attacking them
When the sixth korako appeared
Dive bombing the mated couples
The other five flew into
The surrounding trees
Routing the rowdy teens
And finding the fledglings
No! Baby birds in merciless beaks!

Shocked. Electrified. Stunned.
A massacre with no warning
Stormtroopers raiding the homes
Ridding the homes of a new generation
We all know that birdsong
Is not always a carefree tune
But why now?
Summer is a time of abundance

Next day used the metal trash can lid
And a large branch
Percussion to drive away the returning five korakos
Persecution in the backyard not welcome
Decimation of propagation!

The dogs barked, korakos took heed and flew
To the next set of trees on another street
I thought of those little birds with guilt
But glad! Glad my birds were spared!

How do I welcome korako into my life now?
Is there a way to overlook the violence?
The Survival of the Fittest truism?
The meek not inheriting the earth?
The might makes right credo?
How can I ever look at korako with fondness again?

Perhaps it would be similar to those people,
Those soul-murderers, self-esteem scythers
Whom I have sometimes let back into my life
Remaining alert via an underlying lack of trust
Korako…Mardari…Murderer…

(c) 2014 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)
Poetry of Memory: Six Decades from the Space-Time Continuum
IMAGE: Crow Amulet

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IMAGINATION NOT ALWAYS ENOUGH

 

Poems require eyes in a face

Can’t write about someone

Invisibly leaving a blank space

Only been loved

By wind, rain and birds

So I produce words

For what I can see

From photos of others

Or what appears in front of me…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Crow amulet

COMPASS ROSE

 

Four directions

Places of spiritual power

Matching the elements

Representing strengthening towers

 

Those close to Nature

Traditionally mark

North as Earth

East as Air

South as Fire

West as water

 

Romani personalize

Cardinal directions

So to me

On the edge of the swamp

I think about my own life

And let it ripple out toward others

 

North as Fire

Direction of continental mountains

Metaphorically moving up

Element of Spirit

 

East as Earth

Growing across the peninsula

Over the dirt, farms, orchards

Element of Grounding

 

South as Air

Constellations clearly visible

Opening the Swamp trees curtain

Element of Communication

 

West as Water

Gulf of Mexico tidal pull

Sea and sand as one

Element of Emotions

 

Ceraunomancy requires familiarity

With symbolic directions

The interpretation of lightning

A natural phenomena

That recently became a

Source of terror

 

Yet I calmly walk outside

Avoiding the cloud-to-ground bolts

Asking it to dissipate

Sometimes it does

Sometimes it stays

On those days

I study the direction

Hoping for a connection

The message telling me

What I need to see

And perhaps fix:

 

Coming from the East?

Anchor yourself to the ground

Importance of roots

 

Coming from the West?

Then remain in harmony

Balance is the key

 

Coming from the South?

Celestial messages

The beauty of life

 

Coming from the North?

Reach to the highest power

No matter beliefs

 

Nature presents choices

Chanting her musical voices

Pointing the way, if we would only see…

 

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE:  Compass Rose Cantino, Wikimedia Commons

MELANCHOLIA

 

Now I know why

Van Gogh

Did yellow

Dressed in black

Like the crows

I seek succor

From the sun

Or at least

Its result of

Photosynthesis

Corn

Planted by Corvus

As they compete

With the squirrels

Dodge my dogs

Dropping kernels

That sink into the rainy

Earth

And I try to remember

This darkness will pass

I will see yellow again

As my aura soaks in

The balance of

Magical spectrums of

Vibrant colors…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Music and Madness

 

PETER RABBIT’S MEDICINE

 

Somehow, someone is growing chamomile in the subtropics

Skillful fingers crocheting the stems

Into lacy tiaras worn in early summer

Ah, Anthemis nobilis

Linnaeus’ name for Roman Chamomile

A helper or doctor herb

Drying the white and yellow heads

Calming colicky infants or nervous stomachs

Preventive for nightmare

Delirium tremens in early stages

Hysteria and nervousness

Also called the “plant’s physician”

lf other florae are drooping or sickly

They will recover if chamomile placed next to it

Strengthening other herbs and plants

I like that idea but this is why

Vegetarianism makes me uncomfortable

Is there truly a difference

Between killing animals or

Killing plants?

If you are someone able to grow chamomile in the subtropics

You are the one I want to see

Please contact me

With your secret recipe for growing

Anthemis nobilis

Power in a flower…

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Aliexpress.com

 

SIBILANCE

 

Shifting wind

Storms of acorns

Still

Summer green

Spatter the overgrown yard

Sons of hunting black

Snakes

Sidewinding through

Sandy

Soil

Soon to brumate in burrows

Squirrels

Scamper in Live Oaks’ leaves

Swinging like trapeze artists

Snapping branches

Swaying canopy bisecting

Summer and Fall

Season of hurricanes dissipated

Staccato

Secret of winter

Swears acorn-rain

Signals the welcome coolness

Cyan

Sky by day

Stars visible by night

Cycling through constellational delight

Swan

Song of

Summer…

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

CIRCLE SONG

swamp2

How far I’ve come

From South Philly

To the bayou

Who would have thought a

Relentless cement upbringing

Could produce a swampy old woman

Able to move through the unruly floratam

Twisting boot heels in sand

Skeeving leeches

Or were they alien life forms?

Standing up to a Rottweiler

Staring me down

Because he’s taller

Pedaling on an elliptical

Outside in 100 percent humidity

In 95 degree temps

Walking under Live Oaks in lightning

Extricating a wild woodpecker from my hair

Discussing murder with decimating crows

Growing and eating more and more

Luscious red cayennes like

A dragon in training

Plunking a ukulele

While singing like Yoko

On a bad day

Because only the dogs and birds

Only the leeches and mosquitoes

Only the clouds and sun

Only the earth and water

Are there to hear and see me

Crazy old

Gypsy woman

Stomping around

Yet still wondering how to

Right the world

How full-circle I’ve come

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

BATTLE OF THE SERIAL KILLERS

air potato vines

Florida nemesis: Dioscorea bulbifera

AKA air potatoes

Took India’s advice

Boiled them to see if bitterness

Removed, rendering them edible

But no, these are not the yams

I know and love

Vines resembling Kudzu

A nutritious root

Although likewise invasive

But no, just air potatoes

Laughing at the government

“Management Plan”

Continue to choke garden plants

Felling Live Oaks

Stranglers

Serial killers stalking

(Pun intended?)

My sheltering yard

Working on the trees and bushes

Lining the swamp

Where my wild birds sleep

And feast on suet

The good news?

Those other serial killers of nature

Insects

Have discovered the tastiness of

Air potato fronds

Decimating the leaves

Leaving them lacy-looking

Each day I cheer them on

About time they leave my

Collard greens and pumpkins

Corn and ginger

Alone

And kill something

Murder-worthy…

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)