Saturday, 23 September 2017

A Morning Walk in Autumn Woods


(Image: Jacqueline Durban)

This mist is like angel's breath.
I hunt the fly agaric like a fox
seeking red, the secret fire.
The trees are all aflame and burn themselves to bare,
draw their magic down, burnt toffee for the boar,
hearth-root honey for the sow,
who winds the year to still with cloven hoof and song of briar.

I keep my belly low and snuffle-seek the chanterelle
I wise-woman-walk the web and weave of mycelia
find waxcaps; scarlet, butter, honey, crimson,
King Alfred's cakes to light the inner fire.
I pad-paw the paths of a thousand years,
trust my nose, the knowing of my feet,
sniff out the place where two roads meet,
set sail for longer nights, and shorter days made diamond bright
by frost and fear.

Jacqueline Durban, Autumn Equinox 2013

(first published in 'Earth Pathways Diary')

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Prayer for Grenfell

(Wiki Commons: from ChiralJon https://flickr.com/photos/69057297@N04/35353492476)

Brigid, Goddess and Saint, Woman of Fire,
this is my prayer, born of ashes and anger,
of sorrow and screams,
of falling babies and families burned.

Where are Mohammed Neda, Ali Yawar Jafari,
Karen Bernard, Lucas James? 
This is my prayer.

Where are Rania Ibrahim and her daughters,
Fathia and Hania, Stefan Anthony Mills, 
Ligaya Moore? 
This is my prayer.

Rise from the flames used against your children,
through lack of care, greed, ignorance, indifference,
for the poor, for the ‘othered’, for us.

How dare they disrespect your Holy Fire!

(Wiki Commons: Natalie Oxford https://twitter.com/Natalie_Oxford/status/874834909004746753/photo/1)

Where are Zainab Dean and her son, Jeremiah?
He was two years old. 
This is my prayer.

Where are Khadija Saye and her mother, Mary Mendy? 
This is my prayer.

Where are Gary Maunders, Mohammad Alhajali,
Hesham Rahman, Tony Disson, Sheila Smith? 
This is my prayer.

Burn the faces of the fallen through onto
the retinas of the guilty,
brand the names onto their skin.
Teach them to respect the power that they hold,
the trust that they’ve been given,
the babies placed in their care
by mothers & fathers fleeing poverty & war,
only to burn in a pyre not of their making.
Blameless. Nameless.

Where are Mariem Elgwahry and her mother, Suhar,
Jessica Urbano Ramirez, Deborah Lamprell? 
This is my prayer.

Where are Nadia Laureda, Steve Power, 
Dennis Murphy, Amal Ahmedin and Amaya Tuccu?
Where is Isaac Paulos? 
This is my prayer

Where are Marco Gottardi, and Gloria Trevisan, 
Mohammed Nurdu? 
This is my prayer.

Where are Fouzia el-Wahabi, her husband, Abdul Aziz, 
Nur Huda and Mehdi, Yasin? 
This is my prayer.

Where are Nadia Loureda, Maria Del Pilar Burton, 
Berkti Haftom and her son, Biruk? 
This is my prayer.

Where are Nura Jamal, her husband, Hashim, 
their children, Yahya, Firdaws, Yaqub?
Where is Kamru Miah? 
This is my prayer.

This is my prayer.

Elen, Goddess and Saint. Eleu, Woman of Light,
this is my prayer, born of darkness and tears,
of helplessness and rage,
of missing posters and silence 
banging on windows to be broken,
choking in stairwells to be heard.
Shine a light on the powerful,
on their greed and their schemes,
on their scapegoating of the poor and the different,
on their belief that we won’t see what they have done, 
or turn away, or be worn down, or cease to care, 
or blame the dead, 
or go numb.

Make us fully alive to continue the fight.

Remind them that this is not their world
to be done with as they wish. It is yours. It is ours.
WE are not theirs to do with as they wish.

Fatima Afrasehabi was not theirs to do with as they wished.
Her sister, Sakina was not theirs to do with as they wished.
Nadia Choucair was not theirs to do with as they wished,
her husband, Baseem Choukair, 
their children, Mierna, Fatima, Zainab, 
their grandmother, Sirria was not theirs to do with as they wished. 
Raymond Bernard was not theirs to do with as they wished.

Brigid and Elen, Goddesses-Saints, Holy Sun Women,
teach us the ways of healing fire, let us burn with justice’s flame.
Let it never go out, let us burn with the love of it, and you, and them.

Where are Majorie Vital and her son, Ernie, 
Joseph Daniels, Logan Gomes, whose first breaths were cyanide, 
Khadija Khalloufi, Abdeslam Sebbar, 
Fathia Ahmed and her son, Abufars Ibrahim?
This is my prayer.

Where are Omar Belkadi, Farah Hamdan, 
Malak, Leena, and Tamzin who lived? 
This is my prayer.

Where are Mohamednur Tuccu, 
Husna and Rebaya Begum,
Mohammed Hanif, Mohammed Hamid? 
This is my prayer.

Where are Vincent Chiejina, Hamid Kani, 
a ‘woman’ unnamed, 
all the unnamed, the disappeared?
This is my prayer

Let their names be branded on our skin. Let the flame of justice burn.

Let your holy fire be holy once more. This is my prayer.

Aho mitake oyasin, amen, blessed be. Inshallah.

(Wiki Commons: ChiralJon https://flickr.com/photos/69057297@N04/35237131601)

                                                 
                                                                            "Did they die, or us?"


Tuesday, 1 August 2017

These Golden Fields Are Singing Love Songs To My Soul

Golden fields, River Avon, August 2011

These golden fields are singing love songs to my soul.
Her sunshine kisses me into drowsy memories
of when my I held my dreaming close to the earth
and smiled with my grandmothers in trust
that our harvest would always come shining in.
When we walked the Sweet Track with bellies full and heavy,
singing praise songs.

I am wide hips swinging in time with Her bees humming.
There is no lack, I am held in summer's lap and suckling.
She is drifting pollen on my tongue, all my life made golden.
I am swaying cornfield dancing, dissolving into honeyed sweetness.
I am walking, naked and blissful, through this land of dripping amber.
Calling in abundance, mind meadows of wild flowers and barley.

She is my Honeybee, my Queen, my Summer.
She holds me joyous in melting surrender.
She shows me that I have my own place
in this sweet and buzzing hive of wonder.
There are no edges in this place of endless gratitude.
There are only doors opening...

(Jacqueline Durban, 1st August 2011. First published in Earth Pathways Diary 2013)

For more on Lammas and its history I highly recommend this wonderful post by A Clerk at Oxford; 'A Little History of Lammas' http://aclerkofoxford.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/a-little-history-of-lammas.html

Beautiful barley in Dorchester, Oxfordshire, September 2012
Preparing to Fly ~ goose feathers collected in Dorchester, Oxfordshire, September 2012

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Rise, Like Vixens



The shock of the vixen woke me up, called me out;
butterflied on tarmac,
her fur still fire,
the red...
free of all this, someone said.
Her perfect ear, still listening.

Or perhaps the dog fox who opened me, brought the tears;
a sacrifice, a sacred heart laid bare.
His perfect foot, still seeking earth,
expecting grace.
I don't know which it was
but I do know that we're all crushed.

I'd been thinking about our boys, our men.
Suicides, sent to war.
Is it all the same to them?
Sacrificed, their sacred hearts laid bare.
Listening to Akala, Shakespeare in my head.
It doesn't matter how it happens
they still wind up dead, rotting a prison cell,
drugged up in a psychiatric bed.
And it's greed that holds the gun, pulls the trigger,
starts the car, lifts the hammer, drives in the nail.
It's we who point the finger, weave the thorns,
to crown another son.
And a child in Gaza loses their father to the bomb.
Suicide, a holy war?
It's all the same to them
and Star of Bethlehem has fallen,
flowering on the graves of our broken men.
Chester got too Numb,
Chris stepped into the Black Hole Sun,
and the Arms Fair at Docklands is still raining money.
For some. While the children of the poor are sent to war
enslaved to die in deserts screaming for their mum.

Women, root and rise, like vixens,
'cos there is no justice, there's just us.
And Rhiannon isn't stopping, Blodeuwedd has flown,
Inanna's fallen from her throne,
the Magdalene is named a whore, St Pega's banished to the Fen,
and the Military Wives Choir are singing out their hearts
with missiles falling on their men,
while, outside, foxes are dying, and the stars are going out.
And it's greed that holds the gun, pulls the trigger,
starts the car, lifts the hammer, drives in the nail.
It's we who point the finger, weave the thorns,
to crown another son.

But he was once our baby, called us mum.
He was once our lover, called us hope.
He's the bullied teenager who tells us he can cope,
tucks the knife in his pocket before kissing us goodbye.
Is the best that we can manage to stand and cry?
Because we need to remember who we are;
we're the warriors who stood up to Rome, let loose the hare,
fought on the shores of Mona with madness in our hair,
defied the witch-hunts, fanned the flames,
we're the children of the women who could not be tamed,
led the protest, screaming “not in our name!”
We're Rosa Parks at the front of the bus,
Dorothy Stang speaking out for poor and land,
reading out the Beatitudes as they raised the gun.
We're the nuns with the dead men walking on Death Row,
building wild chapels in the path of the access pipe,
indigenous women shouting, “Water is Life!”
We're the priestesses who would not back down,
Greenham Common women holding hands around the base,
Women in Black by the West Bank wall.
Whatever made us think that we were small?

(Jacqueline Durban, 25th July 2017)