Thursday, July 14, 2016

On Puget Sound

Air Earth Fire Water

A misty drizzle falls over Puget Sound—
enters every living thing
thimble berries I pick from the roadside—
berries red, soft, tender
stain my fingers red
flood my tongue with tang.

Water seeps into leaves, grass, me.
I’m as damp as the black crenelated slug
crossing the forest path with deliberate gravity.

Under a lush green cedar bough I lean
against its stout rough trunk—
I feel the qi in flowing through every living thing
And in water, minerals, earth and from
the sun cupped yellow marsh marigolds.

A sweetness breathes from pink rose hedges,
chicory stands sentinel for my blue longing
 Ferns breathe green ideas 
 into the fallen leaves
Mist falls on an unseen singer haunting
the forest canopy with  unearthly scales of notes.
Imbued, baptized the networks of roots under
my boots know I am here—the news
travels all the way to the salty Sound.

Octopus, seals, sea otters hear the news.
They know my love of them and the gray whale
I greeted in the Baja last winter breaches
its great body as it looks shore ward.
We are all joined in this joy.

                                      --Barbara Spring

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Fairy Tale

Fairy Tale
In Rhinelander, the city of the green glass dome where stands the court of justice, there dwelled a mighty sage who had paid dues.  I sought the sage for my desire was to be a poet.  I sought the sage in the hall of justice but he was not to be found there.  I found him at last under a green leafy canopy contemplating a cool damp mushroom.
“Greetings,” I blurted out brashly— then the sage fixed me in his gaze for surely he ‘d never seen me before and I’d never seen him either.  He spoke then and I blushed for he spoke of the foolish things I do and know and some wise things, too although I hadn’t said anything except “greetings.”
A woman who wishes to be a real poet the sage said must accomplish three tasks:
  1. Capture the consonant dragon murmuring under the sea.
  2. Capture the black troll growling vowels.
  3. Capture the essence of meadow flowers—the pleasantest task of all.
But how am I to begin?  My tendency to fly must be overcome in favor of earthly images.  Stay grounded at all costs.  Women should not try like Icarus to fly.  Why court disaster?  My kiting dreams of many colors I pulled down on a string.   Whoosh—they dangled from the skeletal limbs of a tree between Heaven and Earth.
I sat down on the damp Earth until my bottom felt at one with it: cold and damp.  It happens that dragons dwell in the satiny waters of Wisconsin lakes.  No one has to look very far to find one.  I stared out at the rippling water and discerned a moving shape beneath it.  Dragon slip, dragon slide—on a dragon I would ride. I slipped onto the dragon’s back.
Hssss—the sound of dragon scales.  I feel the cool pressure as we stir clouds of silt where winding weeds grow.  The dragon takes no notice as I slide from its emerald skin.  One of his scales has stuck to my shoulder.
I lie down on the grassy shore to dry.  BZZZ hums the sound of honey bees kneading each flower with their legs furred with yellow pollen.  They fly to their hive—females doing the work of the world.  Yellow pollen covers my hair, my hands, my feet.
My body leaves a hollow place in the grass as if a deer had lain there.  I wander into the forest with its dappled light.  Leaves rustle as small animals flee.  The coal bright eyes stare at me eye level.  I am lost.
”Take me to the troll who dwells under the hill,” I ask of the brown and white owl.  He spread his silent wings and flew low to the place where stone and black dirt meld—then disappeared.
All night long I listened to the hooting echoing through the trees.  Hoo. Hoo Hoo Hoo.  I sat on a stone and waited for the bandy legged man.  Then in the moonlight he approached.  I confronted him there.
“Take me to Mother Earth’s vowels,” I whispered.
“Why can’t you finally leave me in peace?”  He asked.
“Please forgive all the mean things I’ve done and said—my rude laughter—take me there and I’ll be grateful ever after,” I said.
“You must follow me to the fen” he said.
Moonlight turned leaves to quicksilver as small breezes blew through them.  At last we reached the dark fen where the earth quaked under our shoes.  It sucked at my ankles and I knew if I fell into the water it would whirl me around and return only my hollow bones.  A green luna moth brushed my cheek and I whispered “fly away.  The moon you see below is deception and decay.”
The prune hearted man heard what I said and threatened to bind me to a willow tree.  But I showed him the dragon scale clinging to my shoulder and bee yellow pollen that caught in my hair while I was still unaware.
“ I will lead you out of the fen if you will take this apple seed from me,” he growled quite low.  He handed me an apple seed like a tear drop and I placed it under my tongue.  “Now follow me,” he said.
As we approached the high mountain meadow he disappeared and I saw the first rays of violet dawn then the golds, reds and luminous grays.  East wind dandled flower strewn grasses and when I felt tempted to rise and blow away with it, I laid my body down, for grounded after all is where it was decreed I should be by the blithe one.
And there I saw a bright yellow flower symmetrical as the sun.  I touched it to my lips and breathed in its freshness.  “The sun and the flower are one,” said I and felt a deep harmony.  I could not explain how this is true, and yet I knew.
The sage who had paid his dues was right.  By staying earthbound, I could go everywhere.  A courthouse capped with a dome of green Tiffany glass could never contain this truth.  So now I will roam Earth’s high and low places and write my poems.  I reeled in my kite from the tree and gave it to a little boy.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Barbara Spring's Amazon Page

Barbara Spring's Amazon page

Click the link to see all of my books.  These books are labors of love.  I wrote the Dynamic Great Lakes simply to show the workings of nature in these majestic freshwater seas.

My poetry books are also labors of love.  Click the link to see what they are about.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Dominican Republic Vacation


 By Barbara Spring

Music, colorful paintings and sculpture, gentle brown people, warm breezes playing over a turquoise bay, make Sosua Beach in the Dominican Republic a delight for all the senses.

     The Dominican Republic, a green, tropical Caribbean country, covers two thirds of the island of Hispanolia.  The other third is Haiti. Some 500 years ago Christopher Columbus discovered this tropical paradise. The island has changed since then, but we were happy to discover the real pleasures of Sosua and its surroundings.

     We carried home some treasures from the booths on Sosua Beach:  curious carvings, paintings, and jewelry made from amber and a blue colored stone found on the island called larimar.

     I bargained with a young man for a mahogany carving of a black woman encircled with fish and birds and a stone carving of a lizard sunning itself on a rock.  On the beach we bought a sea turtle carved from petrified wood, typical
of Dominican Republic art.  In addition, jewelry made of silver and blue larimar, and a black stone called hematite.

In nearby Puerto Plata, a jewelry factory keeps free lance sellers well stocked.

     Everywhere we went we caught the rhythms of the merengue, the country's official music often played by a three piece band on accordion,  drum and a metal rasp that looks something like a kitchen cabbage grater. The beat is infectious and people dance the merengue joyfully.

     "Our people like to have a good time to forget they are poor," Pedro, a young native of the country told us.

     We liked the people we met. Women carrying Carmen Miranda like baskets of fruit on their heads asked us softly if we would like to buy a banana? a
pineapple perhaps?  A coconut? Young girls offered to braid our hair with colorful beads.  These black women wore their hair in small braided corn rows.

     "On you it looks good, but not us," I smiled. We saw tourists sporting little braids with multicolored plastic beads.

    While in the Dominican Republic we enjoyed the cuisine, especially the fine desserts for this is a sugar growing economy. The waiters brought us cafe au lait asking "More meelk?  Orange juice?"

    We found the tropical climate and the natives caused us to slow down and to relax in a way that would not have been possible at home.

    We enjoyed the beaches with turquoise colored waters and long rollers people rode on surfboards. A snorkeling trip we were counting on was scrubbed due to high waves, and my husband didn't catch any fish on his charter trip out to sea.  We didn't care.  Bright colored tropical flowers bloomed everywhere and natives walked up and down the beach carrying long silvery fish and machetes.

    From our hotel we took a horseback ride into the hilly, forested countryside where the people lived in colorfully painted houses with separate buildings for cooking. Sweet young children offered to sell us flowers along the way.  My horse was slow and the guide urged it on with a small switch and shouting" Ariba ariba" as we rode along. Some large rocks near a stream where we swam glittered aqua blue in the sunlight.  I believe the rocks contained the semi-precious larimar stone that I had purchased.

     Our guide, who looked a lot like a young Harry Belefonte, was knowledgeable about his country and could speak five languages. On the last day he led us through the streets of Puerto Plata where we had planned on taking a cable car to the top of the mountain.  The cable car was not running due to high winds, so we went to the fort and visited the amber museum instead.  All the time Pedro chatted with us about his country and found the best places to get refreshments.

     The Dominican Republic is a poor country but it is also a gem in the rough with its beaches, forests, flowers and the local people who were unfailingly courteous and good humored.  It's a great place to unwind.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Galapagos Lad

Galapagos Lad

Rafael whistles a vermilion flycatcher to us
bright scarlet male
ascending green branch by green branch.

Rafael grew up on these strange islands
learned the language of its birds
and of undersea creatures.

He speaks to sea lions
imitates their comical walk
swims in their wake.

He knows the caves of sharks—
the Galapagos lad inhabits
these wild volcanic wastes.

                                 --Barbara Spring

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sacred Dancers

Sacred Dancers

           for Pam

Dance an expression of your soul
Dance and it shall make you whole
Dance until your body’s spent
Dance and set your spirit free.

Dance down the days
In steps of praise
Feel it in your heartbeat
Feel it in your toes
Dance and the angels dance with you.

Angels lean out their windows to see
The children of God
Dancing in glee.

                                                                                     --Barbara Spring


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Viking Ship

Click the link above for a mandorla.  

I painted this when there was a death in the family.  In Norway there is a ship that takes you from shore to shore.  I saw such a ship hanging in the ceiling of an ancient Lutheran church.