Gwendolyn Morgan is a Northwest poet and artist. She learned the names of birds and wildflowers and inherited paintbrushes and boxes from her grandmothers. She earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College, and an M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union. She has been a recipient of artist and writing residencies at Artsmith, Caldera, Into the Depths of Winter, and Soapstone. Crow Feathers, Red Ochre, Green Tea, her first book of poems, was a winner of the Wild Earth Poetry Prize, Hiraeth Press. Snowy Owls, Egrets and Unexpected Graces, is a Nautilus Gold Winner in Poetry and a Foreward Indies Book of the Year Finalist in the Nature Category. Before the Sun Rises, her third book of poetry, was released June 2019 from Homebound Publications. She is currently the Clark County Poet Laureate 2018-2020.
Wishing you a Happy Diwali! Eagle, Sandhill Cranes, and Trumpeter Swans flew overhead around sunrise every day this week. As we enter into this season of gratitude and light, may be listen to all the beauty around us as we give thanks for the gifts we have received in this life. May we honor our ancestors, teachers, compañeros, friends and family along the journey. May we honor the Sandhill Cranes, the White Pelicans, the Trumpeter Swans, the geese and migratory birds that gather along our creek banks during this extended migratory time. May we honor the winged ones, the deer and all the woodland animals that cross our path. May we honor the mosses, plants, flowers, trees and stone peoples. May we give thanks for the celestials, the Moon and Sun and Stars, the celebrations of light around us. May we honor this earth, our home.
In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we find ourselves in climate crisis. In the Pacific Northwest our skies are thick with smoke and grief. The air quality index is hazardous at 427. We wait for bird song in the mornings again.
May we be ready to start anew this New Moon. “it’s time for a fresh start….. the New Moon is also square to the Nodes suggesting that we are learning an important message for this time….. the Sun’s Square to the Nodes and trine to Saturn remind us that we must take responsibility…. we can’t wait and hope everything unfolds as it should…. We’ve got to walk the talk…” Leah Whitehorse. https://www.leahwhitehorse.com/category/astrology-forecasts/
With gratitude to TheNewVerse.News for publishing a poem today that emerged from a virtual Willamette Writers Resilience workshop with Claudia F. Saleeby Savage. The New Verse News presents politically progressive poetry on current events and topical issues.
“According to the Mayan galactic calendar,” Stephanie Austin writes, “July 25th is The Day out of Time, marking the end of a yearly cycle and the beginning of a new one. Similar to a new moon and a new year, this is an excellent time to reflect on how far we have come, to express our gratitude for what we have, and to set new intentions.”
These days bears have been visiting in my dreams. I have seen bears in the wild in Alaska, the Teton & Beartooth Wilderness areas, and on the Yakima Indian Reservation. Brown Bears, Grizzly Bear, and Black Bears. The most recent was when we heard snuffling in some thickets, and a young bear emerged with black berry juice on it’s chin.
Now I have a couple of bear paintings that emerged this summer inspired by a line up of hand sewn teddy bears that my father created in his retirement. My little bear painting accompanied by one of my father’s hand sewn Teddy Bears may be found in the The CAVE gallery Art in the time of quarantine…. bears honoring my father and all those who have crossed over.
Bears show up in the West for me on the medicine wheel, a place of mid-life, late summer to autumnal time. A deep time of honoring, listening, taking in salmon, black berries and honey for healing & sustenance in the midst of global trauma. May we find time to care for ourselves as we care for the world.
“’Where there is sorrow,’ wrote Oscar Wilde, ‘there is holy ground.’… [grief] enables us to walk in this world with its realities of life and death, how it shakes us and breaks us open to depths of soul we could not imagine. Grief offers a wild alchemy that transmutes suffering into fertile ground.” — Francis Weller
Francis Weller’s book The Wild Edge of Sorrow is on my studio bookshelf, the spine slightly sticking out of the line of books. I am grateful to have known Francis Weller as a friend, colleague and mentor for nearly a decade now. https://www.francisweller.net/ As a poet and writer, this early winter through spring has been one of witnessing and accompanying others in the incredible journey of grief and loss. Of listening to the deepest places, which is the path of poetry.
This Black Swan (native to Southern Australia) has been seen along Salmon Creek trail. May you find shelter in winged ones and poems, needed medicine for our spirits.
The Academy of American Poets has a new Spring project entitled “Shelter in Poems.” I am honored that an edited piece of my short reflection was included in their first post. As we enter National Poetry Month, may you have time to read and hear many poems that bring you courage, inspiration and hope for the journey.