Saturday, December 27, 2008

Datura Stramonium: To Dance with the Devil


Sun ablaze

August heat
Beads of sweat
Fleshly dew

Steady hike
Upon the trail
Through the pasture
Amid green meadows

Insects play
Crickets chirp
Butterflies dance
Innocent choreography

On purple flowers
Of feathery palms
Gracefully adorning
Poisonous pods

That incubate
Wicked seeds
In spiky armor
The Devil's weed

Once ingested
The netherworld
Displays its horrors
Ten-thousand fold

Fears take form
In ghastly fashion
Terror personified
Soul's violation

Gills to breathe
Housed with the mad
In aquatic sphere
Of cryptic lunacy

Open rape
Asylum incarceration
Flesh-eating roaches
Parasitic hallucinations

Upon return
To the light
Forever changed
Paranoia's blight

Harmless dance
Of butterflies
On nectar sweet
Of madness divine

september 8, 2oo7
judithpiper


In late August, 2007, my husband and I hiked some pasture fields in Virginia, directly off the Blue Ridge Parkway. I counted some 30 thistle plants with seed pods, which brought to mind datura.

Though the thistles that day weren't datura, the image was intriguing. This poem was born..

Betwixt the field thistles butterflies danced. I thought they probably do the same with Jimson.

Inside datura's spiky pods, rest devils' seeds. I thought, "How ironic....the beauty, grace, and freedom of the lepidoptera feasting on sweet nectar beneath which lurks such a powerful potion of darkness."

I danced with that potion when I was 15 years old; it was a 4-day sleepless nightmare of hellish hallucinations (an understatement). Sometime I may come back to this post and fill in some detail...and maybe not. Suffice it to say, verses 6 through 9 in the poem are a peek. Each was as real as life itself.

One of my hallucinations while intoxicated was of 100s of black cockroaches crawling over my body, a fanciful flesh feast. Not suprisingly, it took me over 20 years to rid myself of a dreaded, horrific fear of roaches.

I got a job at a science center as a presenter in the rain forest area. One of my presentations? Madagascar hissing cockroaches. Upon our first introduction, I took a deep breath and allowed them to discover my hand. Over time I became friends with the little fellows. After multiple encounters, the terror ceased. I'm still not fond of roaches, but neither am I terrified. ;-)

Hint: Don't dance with this devil; the price is too high. To learn more, just google jimson weed.

*****************

Links to two memoir pieces I wrote about my dance with jimson weed:
Part 1: A Green Hornet and Blackbirds
Part II: Witch Doctors and Roller Coasters

****************

Saturday, December 20, 2008

despair


resigned to fate
I sit on my rock
at the bottom
in this dry well

pit's mouth always in sight
light shines in
yet I am wearied
from climbing
and falling

fingernails caked with dirt
snide laughter
mocks my attempts
to escape this hole

if torrential rains pour
I'll drown down here
perhaps I could tread
hoping the waters
carry me up

december 17, 2oo8
judithpiper



I am challenged with depression and anxiety. Poetry and journaling help me to process through these emotions. Some may deem prose like the above as me "dwelling on the negative." I deem it as expressing pain, acknowledging it, and endeavoring to work through it in order to rise out of the thrall of despair. The final verse above, kind of makes me laugh. Is that weird? :-o :-)

At times, I have images that pop into my head. An ongoing image has been myself in a hole, similar to a well. At the top is a boot that will push me down again and again. Other times I climb out of that hole...into the sunlight of hope.

I have utilized something called "thought records" which is used in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). After I wrote the prose above, I wrote a thought record. My final thoughts were:

I do fall down and I've always gotten back up. Change can happen at any moment.

Though I seem to be running in circles at the moment, the reality is that I am taking action to deviate that course. Change can happen at any moment.

To life, circles, lines, shapes, and magic strokes upon the page....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Metacarpal Vestment


hands

wrinkled with time
touched 1000 palms
crossed cultural boundaries

knowledge, innovation
compassion, connection
wiping tears, venting rage

furrows of hidden secrets
timeless folded imprints
weathered with age

hands

august 22, 2oo7
judithpiper



Have you ever thought much about your hands? Have you ever gazed them over and wondered all the memories they hold?

I've always enjoyed hands. Some folks notice behinds; I notice hands.

Our hands speak everyday...without ever uttering a sound. May we use them to spread cheer, comfort, warmth, kindness, understanding, and empathy.

High five!!! :-D


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Shattered Pieces


I found myself startled
astonished
and stunned
as I awoke to the reality
of what lie surrounding me.
Shattered pieces of what I had arrogantly fabricated,
I thought were authentic and inerrantly stated.
With passing time and heart-wrenching agony
I endeavored to grasp the sobering verity,
this shattered vase,
each fragment noteworthy.

I asked my soul,
Where do I start
to pick up the pieces?
The answer came,
One at a time.
Some trash; others, keep 'em.

Deliberately with focus, I timidly began
God please guide my soul and my trembling grip,
allow me with courage to honor each fragment.
Thank you for showing me all is not lost
that the next vase we sculpt is at a great cost,
that your fire will purify each pattern anew
a vessel wrought tenderly
restoring me, embracing you.

august, 2006
piper


I awoke one morning with an image in my mind. I stood in a kitchen, bewildered. I looked around on the floor; it was covered with fragments of a shattered blue vase. The fragments were the residue of what had been my substance, my belief system, my identity.

I felt that everything I thought and believed to be true had shattered.

In reality, not everything had been shattered; yet the core of what I had allowed to become me, the foundation of my substance was fractured, obliterated into 1000's of fragments. How could I ever organize the scramble and make sense of the loss?

Thus this poem was born. I posted it on an online forum and someone pointed out that the shape of the poem looked like a vase. Ha! I hadn't noticed.

It is now 2008, a little over two years after the penning of this piece. I still feel shattered. Cleaning up a blasted foundation with its demolished edifice structure takes a lot of time. There are pains to be honored and treasures to be crowned.

Lately I've thought about the vase. Had my belief/identity structure been a pillow, it wouldn't have shattered with the fall. Vases are rigid; pillows are pliable. An analogy can only be taken so far. As humans, we need both vases and pillows.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Seagull Tattoo


someday I will soar the lofts
light as the butterfly
with strength of the eagle
upon the winds I shall rest

......glide
dive......
.....dip
turn.....

others shall peer
from their hidden crevices
some will join the flight
together we'll discover

silver linings in every cloud
mysteries hidden in each ice crystal
peace within the eye of the storm
treasures awaiting at rainbow's end

someday there will be harmony
won't there?

december 19, 2oo7
judithpiper


I am a dreamer. I hope that someday there will be harmony among the human species. Perhaps there is a place beyond death or a new heaven and earth to become. Perhaps there will be a sphere where peace prevails among our tribe.

I have a seagull tattooed on my back, at my right shoulder. I named her harmony over 3 decades ago. I had the dream then too. I hope I never quit dreaming.

How about you?

Sixth Dimension

To stay connected
My quill must dance
Upon the weathered parchment
Fingers embrace the pen

What is this magic
What is this pull
Into dimensions felt, not seen

Magnetism
To time eternal
Memories that tarry

Some past, some future
Mortal, immortal
Concrete, ambiguous

Embrace me
Never let me go
Curves, lines, circles
Magic strokes upon the page


january 20, 2oo8
judithpiper

Poetry is a therapeutic tool for me, allowing me to access and express a part of my soul that otherwise remains dormant. Sometimes when I am in process of composing a prose or poem, I become immersed within another time and space. It is as if time stands still and I feel a connection to myself that goes beyond everyday perception.

I thought that perhaps it is a 6th dimension. As my manner is, I then googled "sixth dimension." Sixth dimension has to do with community. I felt it applied to my inner thoughts, for I think that we do communicate via ways not yet verified in our Western scientific paradigm. As we are more in tune with ourselves, we will be more in tune with others....
  • Three Dimensional Space (Eg Proximity of people and groups of people to one another, resulting in interaction) (Consider also the physical shape of a tool used by a blacksmith)
  • 4 -- Time (Eg The birth, death and marriage dates that connect people to one another)
  • 5 -- Objects (Eg People and their tools, homes and beasts of burden)
  • 6 -- Societal Values (Prevalent attitudes in a community that evolve in response to a complex web of human interactions)
  • http://www.beamccowan.com/SixthDim.htm