To me, poems have long been a mystery; I couldnt for the life of me sit down and generate one at will. And my output has been miniscule. I once had a poetry editor encourage me to publish: “But,” I protested, “I've only got about nine.”
However, gathering my poems together for the purpose of this website, I began to see that, slim though the pickings were, they told an interesting story; not only that, I had recently uncovered some drawings I had done that seemed to compliment the words.
A poetic fragment, penciled in my autograph book by my sister Lisa when she was ten, has always haunted me: See the wind, going, blowing by. Nobody said goodbye. I discovered this oracle almost by chance, as it had been nearly obliterated by the bold black forget-me-nots of my 6th grade classmates.
Of the poems included here, “What the thunder said” was probably the first. “Alone” was based on a dream, and it picks up the theme of being cut from the group and sent into the wilderness. “First Death” describes the process of losing all that had once defined me; yet at the same time, writing the poem seemed to bring a kind of peace.
Both “The Separated Swan” and “The Prisoner” were also inspired by dreams. In the first, there is a palpable yearning for the muse, the inner creative partner; in the latter, regardless of the tugging of my more security-conscious sides (what is she thinking, they could be saying, if she hooks up with him there’s no telling what she’ll do!) I seem determined to seek his release and thus ensure my own healing.
“Meditations” is the one poem set in the so-called ‘real’ world, in that it reflects my experience of seeking solace in a graveyard. “Song of Asherah”, “Black Magnificat” and “An unforseen planting” were all written around the same time, and are a product of my personal struggle to undo the thousands-of-years repression of the feminine divine.
By the time I came to write “Wintering Tree”, I was more familiar with the deep cycle of creativity. When I wrote “Pilgrimage”, it felt like I was summing up my journey of the past thirty years. And in “White Shell Woman” the heart opens, the basket is full: how indeed to see the wind, to not let it slip by.
Nora Leonard, July 2004