Poems—June 2015

Mountains and mist at Machu PicchuJUN Poems

Here are some selected poems from June. They are still drafts, not final versions, so please ask permission before sharing (except by linking to this website.) Thank you. I’ve put the poems in reverse order because, really, they tell a story. That story is my dream trip to Machu Picchu Peru—what it entailed and what it meant. There are several general-topic poems thrown in as well. [Reverse order is true chronological order, compared to previous months’ entries; so actually, this month, it’s the reverse of reverse. Is that confusing or what?]

 

150605

Morning light at Machu Picchu

Blue haze atmosphere at Machu Picchu

MACHU PICCHU

My mountain.
My fountain of dreams.

Of all earth’s places,
my epitome.

My secret wish,
long since divulged,
that still holds
secret claims on me.

My open-air cathedral.

My anyplace and everyplace
where every soul soars free.

My Ganga Ma, my Shangri La,
my sacred Bodhi Tree.

.

150606

DEATH SENTENCES

It died for the crime of being
a tick, just as other entities do
for the crime of simply being who
they cannot help but be: a weed;
a certain kind of seed; a Jew
or someone of another sect;
a person who is “wrongly” sexed
or promotes a “wayward”
way of life or speech or dress.

All beings come and kill and die.
We die, believing we were hexed.
We kill, believing being vexed
makes our killing justified.

 

150609

PILGRIM’S PROGRESS

My dream’s begun.

How many dreams
does one dream obscure
until that dream is done?

 

WITHOUT, WITHIN

My sister’s going to China.
I’m going to Peru.
A friend-of-heart’s been
everywhere
(except one place or two).

As above, so below;
as without, within
that’s what makes
the world go round
and all us trekkers kin.

 

150610

WORD GAMES

Once you know what words are
and how they miss what’s true,
you can play with them
instead of they with you.

 

150612

HIDDEN SCARS

She left us a week.
Her father was dead.
We thought, after that,
she’d be different instead.

 

150613

RICH

I have joy
and love
and health…

I have all
that’s worth
of wealth.

 

150614

ANDES ARRIVAL

A slender moon-smile
first came into view;
then (against the stark sky
and its condor-black hue)
a dramatic horizon
striped yellow, red, blue.

“Hello, Good Morning,
and Hola, Peru!”

 

150615

HIDDEN ASSETS

The heroes of the story
may be villains after all.
The villains may be heroes.
Both may be both—
and all may be your
heart-mates in disguise,
nudging you toward
your destiny and
your most daring dreams.

Trust that this is so
and see what happens.

[ASIDE: History scrambles the good
and the bad, or they’re a mix already.]

 

150616

SOMETHING VENTURED

Travel is a gain
and a letting go—
a forced reappraisal
of all we think we know.

Everything gets shifted,
renewed, or rearranged,
helping us improve
along with needed change.

Everything gets put to test
so that the heart may lie at rest.

 

150617

TRAVEL WITH MATES

Intently as I may listen,
fiercely though I may
strain to retain,
experience washes over me,
conversations fade,
information dissipates,
attention lapses,
instructions evanesce,
and competence fails.

Memories escape and run free
like vicuñas in the altiplano.

But the heart
has intents of its own,
never losing its essential
expression or expansion.

 

150618

SOUTHERN CONSTELLATIONS

Disturbing and unnerving
(as when solid earth quakes)
is the night sky, rearranged—
what a thrilling shock that makes!

 

VENERABLE ANCIENTS
(The Mountains)Peru mountains with sun highlights

They are what they are
and have been for eons—
in their hearts, unchanging.

Yet in the delight
of daily play with air, sunlight,
water, and living beings,
countless varied expressions
play across their faces.

 

150619

DANDELION

I was traveling abroad
(and for seeming days on end)
when—like a kiss from home—
appeared an old familiar friend.

 

KINDRED SPIRIT TOTEM
(for Lisa)

I’m a buzzard lady.
You say you’re one too.
But who’d have thought
we’d ever meet,
much less in Peru?

 

PICCHU

Two,
just two—

two days
till
I’ll be
with you.

 

MISSED
CONNECTION
(for Ethan)

I’m reminded
I love you
(and how much)
when I’m
far away
and out of touch.

 

EVALUATION

That child tried so hard
to pass the test,
to score well on the exam.

You could tell he felt
defeated and ashamed
when out-performed
by his friends.

What consolation
for him and his heart—
that gift of glasses
for his eyes?

 

150620

SERPENT, PUMA, CONDOR

Yes,
you have to embark first.
You have to tunnel through
the winding tubes of technology—
slough that off.
Retreat to the majesty
of the mountains
or your personal natural Eden.

Let yourself be soothed
by whispering  waters,
then roused by howling beasts
and calls of unfamiliar birds.
Experience the welcomes
and warnings of the wild.

Let your spirit be lifted
by early-rising vapors.
Let yourself be lived
by the breath of every breeze.

[ASIDE: This sacred trinity of symbols
reverberates cosmologically, spiritually,
and culturally in Peru. I’ve alluded
to just a few of their meanings here.]

 

150621

MUCHA HAMBRE

¡Tan hermoso!
¡Tan delicioso!

Mis ojos, mis oídos,
mi nariz y estómago;
todo mi cuerpo,
mi alma tambien…

¡Que tanto apetito
tengo para el Perú!
y todos mi sentidos
beneficien.

[ASIDE: A young boy named Naif
helped edit the first draft.]

 

MONTAÑAS
ANTIGUAS

They stand
with solemn
presence—
the guardians,
the providers,
the old ones.

A rooster crows
his thanks today;
I offer my own.

 

150622

LAST WISHPeru passenger train

I don’t know how
I know why—
when this is done,
I’m free to die.

 

ON THE TRAIN
TO MACHU PICCHU

The one prayer
in my mind,
on my lips,
in my heart:

Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

 

SACRED VALLEY DAWN

Through vaulted treetops
silhouetted against
a rose-tinged sky
and with still-dark mountains
looming high,
dawn blesses our journey.

 

THE ANDES

Mountains are our
welcoming committee
at the train station,
escorts  en route,
and receiving line
at the destination.

Then they present
themselves as hosts,
protectors, and kin.

Then they embrace us—
then take us within.

 

PERFECT TIMING

Mountains rise up like wave crests
and then subside
in one eye-blink of the Creator.

We, too, rise and sink—
in less than one blink of a mountain’s eye.

Yet the mountains know, and God knows,
we are here—eyes open—
in gratitude and wonder.

 

URUBAMBANS

The river
this winter solstice
is, like us, at its ease.
And we, like the river,
simply do as we please.

 

MYSTICALLY MAGICAL

In this place, as if by spell,
in this time as, if by fairy,
ordinary seems so special…
special so extraordinary.

 

150623

AMO EL ALTIPLANO

My love of home
and country endures.

Though captive of my culture,
I’m captivated by yours.

 

CREATIVE POWERS

God makes the world
through intention.
I make it mine
through attention.

 

SULPAYKI

God of the day,
God of the night
and the little brilliant stars,
God of life
and my life with friends
whose time together
on this earth is so short—

May we be
well used by You.
May we be
in love with everything.
Thank you, thank you, God.
Amen.

[ASIDE: “Sulpayki” is reportedly
the Quechua word for “Thank you.”]

 

150625

TRAVEL TRANSITIONS

3700 miles, city to city.
16 hours, airport to airport.
CUZ to XNA.

“Poverty” to “prosperity.”
Peace to polarization.

[ASIDE: Media coverage and concoctions of
various antagonisms felt almost like an
assault
at US airports on my return from Peru.]

 

Boots worn at Machu Picchu

Relaxing after Huana Picchu climb

150626

PERU GIFT EXCHANGE

Some mags; a shawl; a sewing kit;
a pair of boots that didn’t fit;
an earring; books (just two or three);
one magnifying glass; some tees.

The things I left just don’t compare
with what I took away from there:
a sense of peace; a sense of ease;
a sense of trust and unity.

 

150627

HOME KEYS

Today my fingers,
that complained
on having to use
a Spanish-language keyboard,
thrilled to be restored
to the kind that
they’d been trained on.

 

150628

FOREVER FRIENDS

Are you from Afghanistan?
Are you from Peru?
Do you wear your hair in braids?
Are you tattooed blue?

Are you a street vendor
or a head of state?
Do you get up early?
Do you stay up late?

If our paths have crossed in life
(nice if face to face),
we are kindred beings;
our  spirits have embraced.

I have no time for judgment.
I have no time for hate.
And, as for love and friendship,
I have no time to wait.

 

DREAM WALKER

I came to earth to play a role
for the expansion of my soul.
I came to earth to be with friends—
together, apart, together again.

 

150629

NEXT!
(for Raúl)

“Cheerio the birds sing,
cheerio all day.”

I learned that song in second grade
at Southside Elementary School
and wondered then why the birds
were so interested in breakfast cereal.

Many years have flown by since,
but the birds still puzzle me.
Today I heard them speaking Quechua.

When Raúl had the Quechua people
read eye charts in Peru as my partner,
he directed them from one letter
or symbol to the next by saying,
“Chiri!” or something like that.
I think it means “Next!”

Today the birds were repeating
that word—“Chiri!  Chiri!  Chiri!”

Amazing!
What will they think of next?

 

150630

REV-ELATION

I didn’t take siestas in Peru
but I’ve taken them
here at home ever since—
afternoon naps.

What was I revved up on
while down there?
I know for certain
it was more than coca tea.

* * *

Coca tea

P.S. I added extra photos to the poems this time because there were so many and I knew it would take a long time to read them… if you actually made it this far. But just think how long it took to write them. ~Jo

 

* * *

Photo Credits:
Peru train by AlexandreHenryAves of morguefile, modified
Coca tea by kconnors of morguefile, modified
Remainder by Jo Lightfoot

 

2 thoughts on “Poems—June 2015

  1. Joyce olds

    Oh, Jo. Thank you for sharing your experience through your expansive poetry! I forgot it was WINTER solstice there as we were having summer solstice.

    I loved “Without Within” and could relate

    Loved your sharing, loved that you got to go, love you

    Reply
  2. wayaclan Post author

    Thank you, Joyce. (Peru is at high altitude and pretty near the equator. Winter in Cusco is drier and colder than summer but, year-round, daytime temperatures quickly warm up from about 40 degrees in the morning to about 70 degrees the rest of the day. Very nice.)

    Reply

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