living, moments, mystics, nature, poetry, time

The Ancients

by Carmen H Gray

one of the many trails I’ve hiked in the pacific northwest

Time passes

it is a path of fallen petals

strewn across soundlessly, like dew drops

upon fresh blades of grass

they are just as temporal

each petal holds a moment

whereby a day was lived,

gladly or sadly

depending on the circumstances

they disintegrate

softly curling inward

becoming part of the footpath

where little bare feet tread

scattering with the wind

and nestling into the ground

resting under layers

of newly fallen petals

the soil and rocks

collectively guarding all

the knowledge and secrets

of each day lived

and each night spent

here on earth

letting go, moments, nature, poetry

hands

hands by Carmen H Gray

the ice was crisp and forming

on the leaves of my plants

i had tended

i knew each leaf, each flower

i could almost feel their cells,

filling with tiny shards of ice

cutting them open and destroying plant tissue

which made me grieve their deaths

but it wasn’t until i saw that man

on the side of the road

whose delicate cells were simultaneously dying

that my heart leapt outside of my chest

on this icy day

in this tale of two cities

brimming with the new Elon Musks

and the homeless, what a juxtaposition

the last part of his body i noticed

were his hands

which could have belonged to any one of us, really

living, moments, mystics, nature, poetry

The Light that Pervades All Things

“Whether you worship Christ, Krishna, Kali or Allah, you actually worship the one Light that is also in you, since It pervades all things.”

― Anandamayi Ma

The Light That Pervades All Things

by Carmen H Gray

Within you there is a light

It has a certain miraculous quality that gives it momentum

To traverse the stars

To change the course of any path

Simply by beaming

To act upon anything beyond itself

Creating dynamic evolution

You can find it in the strangest moments

Washing someone’s hair

Learning a language

Pausing to breathe

Noticing the layers in a single rose

Listening to the crickets chirping in the night

Or the frogs singing their chorus

Seeing yourself

Seeing others

In other words, living

Not just merely surviving

Lends itself to shining

The Light That Pervades All Things

art, ethereal, living, moments, mystics, nature

Truth Teller

owl

art & poem by Carmen H Gray

 

Harbinger of Truth

Night Scout

Spirit of the hidden realms

You called out

Before dayspring with its auspicious, tender light

Caught me, heedless in my faraway flight

Who? Who? You asked

And I heard the question

Though I found no origin

Surrounding my perception

What were you foraging?

So attentive to the starkness

A keen awareness to the rustling

Of flight wings in darkness

Harbinger of Truth

Night Scout leave-taking

Giving me pause

As dawn was breaking

Benediction with a farewell sigh

As you moved swiftly

Into the violet-gray sky

 

 

art, beauty, ethereal, living, moments, mystics, nature, time

Sundays in Autumn

tree

art and poetry by Carmen H Gray

Sundays in Autumn

Sundays in Autumn are alive

In and amongst the decay

The burnished rust revealing

That even an exquisite crown

Moves from its gilded beginnings

To evidence of archaic vulnerable venerability

All this I see with a deep inhale and an exhilarating sigh

That great oak, grande dame, standing

Gazing back at me

Telling me these truths

That’s what Sundays in Autumn are for

art, beauty, hope, living, moments, mystics, nature, time

Autumn

Art and Poetry by Carmen H Gray

Autumn

The clouds opened up in October

Fay beings in my garden

All of the old souls summoned from the cold, misty northlands

Landing hither and thither

On that one flower that overshadows me

It grew from seed, you never know what will happen

When you send seeds forth

Into their future states of being

One might become

The one that surpasses you

To stand in that hushed intermission

Of fluttering souls

All Soul’s ShadowSelves

On a steady path south

To a mountain where I have lingered in this lifetime

living, moments, Mountain, nature

Up

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Up

Before I took you there

I just knew it was the place

We had to travel together

A steep and rocky path

Crowded with ferns and lichen

And a few old trees

But you pointed out

All of the new growth

As we spoke of Trachtenberg math

And you told me how

He created this system

To keep his mind occupied while locked away in misery

And how his book fascinated you as a young boy

Probably the Old Ones

Like the old trees

Telling the new growth

Number secrets

We rested against the old trees

And sat on rocks that served as splendid suspensions

The trees gave way to open sky

And I knew this moment was magical

The candy colored sky agreed

A father and daughter’s journey

Up

 

 

 

 

 

 

cancer, hope, letting go, living, moments, nature

Why Poetry

file-47-1

Why Poetry

My poetry is influenced by nature, math, science and art. I had an opportunity to study Emily Dickinson at Amherst in the summer of 2017 when I won a grant for the National Endowment for the Humanities. She has always been interesting to me, both her writing and her life. I resonated with the way in which she observed time and moments of being, with a great reverence for the minute and the mundane.

My Mexican-American heritage also plays a part in my writing, as does my personal journey in mothering a teen who survived cancer and another one who was on a transgender journey. I have been to hell and back in many ways that most people understand, but not all people are willing to admit. Here I stand, alive and willing to share my stories with the world. I know that my stories have helped others understand their own. I hear this again and again when I lay myself down on the metaphorical table and all allow myself to peel away the layers, bare for all to see.

When I write poetry, I channel. I channel the anguish and the deep sense of compassion that I have experienced on the path. I tap into a greater cosmic consciousness, on a realm outside of this 3 dimensional reality. I have written as long as I can remember. Poetry is how I think. It is my therapy and my lifeline. While I went through watching my thirteen year old daughter fighting for her life, I could not control the outcome. The interesting thing I learned, is that no one is really in control of anything. We like to think we are, it helps us feel steady, to think that if we plan everything just so, it will all unfold as we imagined it would. But, life is not that way for many, and it certainly was not for me. I was schooled in how to slow way, way down by the cancer. In the In Between Times, there is no future. There is only now. And in the now, everything becomes heavy, the movements fluid and gentle, as you flow with (as opposed to against) time. Sometimes, when you are in the underwater-like existence, you experience other-worldly latitudes. Once, when I could not comfort my sweet daughter during an agonizing bout of anxiety that her cancer might return, I experienced this very phenomena. She was 2 months into remission. I had to go to work. I had done everything to comfort her, but she was facing her own fears and I could not allay them. The fierceness of a mother to protect and shelter her offspring is hardly unique. But, this fierceness went beyond the five senses, because there are senses that lie unawakened in all of us, until such a moment presents itself for its stirring. I thought of my vulnerable daughter and when I arrived at work, I felt compelled to write a poem for her. The words fell easily onto the page:   

                  Whirring noises are the sounds of birds in flight

The cold air a misty San Francisco morning in the depths of summer

Prayers whispered to Whoever while my hand touches the soft fuzz of her delicate hair

Delicate shell, the inverse of Her being, Her soul, Her unconquerable spirit

We are not in that sterile place of radioactive inspection

We are in our own private world where time and beauty bless us

With their perfect embrace

Just as I finished my last line, she called me. “Mom! You’re standing at the end of my bed.” “What?”, I asked her, still in my poem daze. “I am pinching myself. You are standing here, looking at me.” I smiled a smile the old mystics must have known intimately, “Yes, I am with you. I told you a mother’s love is just that strong. I conjured ourselves together with words.”

Emily Dickinson was right. There is nothing mundane about the small things. There are greater worlds to explore in the depths of minutia. All around us, all day, everyday. And that is how I move through my life now.