Friday, October 28, 2011

Getting Ready for Samhain

I'm very excited about Samhain this year.  On Halloween, I'm going to celebrate my 55th birthday with a special gathering of a few witchy friends—and at the same time, celebrate and inaugurate the beginning of the writing of my memoir American Witch—the story of the long strange trip that brought me to be here, on this blog, writing to you all about the beauty and power I find on this magick path and in this sacred world.  If you enjoy this blog, please send a thought my way on Sunday night as I officially start out on this project.  After 40 years of focusing entirely on poetry, it's scary and electrifyingly intense to be embarking on a big nonfiction book project—but I feel lots of support and love and encouragement from many quarters.  So I say, "Bring it on!"

And then last night, I performed my poem "Samhain," from Eve, as part of the Halloween show at Poets Theater of Maine. The promotions described it as a "ritual poem," and it felt that way, perhaps more than any time I've read it in the past.   Was it the costume—black cloak, white dress, amber beads?  Was it the fact that for the first time for any poetry performance, I worked with a director, Assunta Kent, to prepare?  Was it simply (and not simply—very importantly!) that I was truly "off book" and able to channel the words to the audience without the interference of the page?  Was it that my daughter was part of the performance, acting the part of my "young mind" in Kent's staging?  Whatever the reason, it was a special way to usher in the season of this profound New Year in the pagan calendar when the veil between living and dead feels so thin, because it brought me close to my beloved Grandy, described in the poem (you can see a photo of Grandy and me in an earlier post here).  May you all find beautiful ways to bring meaning to the season by connecting with those you love, living and gone.  Here's the poem.  Blessed be, and Happy Samhain!


In the season leaves should love,
since it gives them leave to move
through the wind, towards the ground
they were watching while they hung,
legend says there is a seam
stitching darkness like a name.

Now when dying grasses veil
earth from the sky in one last pale
wave, as autumn dies to bring
winter back, and then the spring,
we who die ourselves can peel
back another kind of veil

that hangs among us like thick smoke.
Tonight at last I feel it shake.
I feel the nights stretching away
thousands long behind the days
till they reach the darkness where
all of me is ancestor.

I move my hand and feel a touch
move with me, and when I brush
my young mind across another,
I am with my mother's mother.
Sure as footsteps in my waiting
self, I find her, and she brings

arms that have answers for me,
intimate, waiting, bounty.
"Carry me." She leaves this trail
through a shudder of the veil,
and leaves, like amber where she stays,
a gift for her perpetual gaze.

from Eve


Ms. said...

I can't believe it--tomorrow My post about you goes up on the blog AT 10 PM - THIS IS MAGIC - If you want anything changed, just email me and it will be done.

Blessed be thee and thine.

Walter Skold said...

Have a marvelous moonlit birthday celebration. I wish I had been sitting closer to you for the reading; I was at a sort of profile angle. And I did not know your daughter was one of the players!

Maybe we can put together a Dead Poets Theatre for next year, and bring back a few poetic souls in the flesh?

Anonymous said...

Oh, how wonderful! Best birthday wishes to you, and good luck on the memoir!

Annie Finch said...

Thank you so much for the good wishes!! So far, so good--the energy feels very strong.

Annie Finch said...

Hey, that's wonderful about the blog post! I'm truly honored! Will you please post the link here so we can all see?

And Walter, please do post the Dead Poets link too--it sounds like a great idea for next year.

Happy hoooooooo---hoooooooooo--Halloweeen!

kerrdelune said...

A belated Happy Samhain to you. I loved the post, and the poem is sublime.