Meditations at First Light
by Patricia Damery
Photo Art: Bill Fulton
A year ago I began an experiment. Inspired by a friend’s series of short, haiku-like poems, I resolved to write a short poem a day for a month which, to my surprise, soon extended to a year.
At first, I was daunted by the commitment but quickly discovered the writing brought an unexpected result. If I was busy and full of plans, writing the poem derailed me, getting me into the frame of mind to write. If I was still swimming in night waters, the poem was a raft. Now I think the act of writing bridged the temporal and eternal. Through entering the present and what is at hand, we taste eternity. The eternal present.
The setting: I write each morning, starting before dawn and catching the energies of First Light. Sometimes the poem involves an impression from the day before, but often it reflects what I see or hear in the moment. Since my studio shares a building with our goat herd, I often hear them moving about, and this enters the poem. The studio windows open onto a forest to the east and an oak savannah to the south, so there are screeches of barn owls, or hooting of the great horned. Before the sun crests the oaks, hawks cry in the cacophony of the many birds.
The incarnation, as I may so say, of a spiritual substance, is to me a kind of standing miracle.
1684, T. Burnet
The forest tells me
death is quiet
silence, a portal.
only incarnation knows time.
Bees in the Evening
Bees in the evening
under shade’s dark wing.
Black big bees and bumble bees
buzzing in the hummingbird sage.
Might not get everything done
Poetry doesn’t care
Hear the low hum of llama,
send the root down.
Wonder at differences
The goats and I walk several rows over.
Yells and bangs of picking trays, tractor starting up—
then stopping. Lush, voluptuous bunches of dark fruit—
gone! …except one dropped here and there
and some single berries dusting the ground.
The goats eye me questioningly
as they nibble the dropped, once-forbidden fruit,
juice dripping from their mouths.
Yes, I say. Yes!
Each morning freshness
like the babe in the limbs
of the dead Tree
of past night.
but is not essential.
Farming Soul, a courageous offering that will help to reconnect us to our deeper selves, the often untouched realities of soul, and at the same time ground us in our physical relationship to self and Mother Earth.
In addition to being the author of Farming Soul, Patricia Damery is an analyst member of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco and practices in Napa, CA. She grew up in the rural Midwest and witnessed the demise of the family farm through the aggressive practices of agribusiness. With her husband Donald, she has farmed biodynamically for ten years. Her chapter, “Shamanic States in Our Lives and in Analytic Practice” appeared in The Sacred Heritage: The Influence of Shamanism on Analytical Psychology, edited by Donald Sandner and Steven Wong, and her articles and poetry in the San Francisco Library Journal, Jung Journal: Culture and Psyche, Psychological Perspectives, and Biodynamics: Working for Social Change Through Agriculture.