Poems from Rosana Schutte’s Zoomuse poetry reading – 14 August 2020
Rosana Schutte, 40 years in Subud, is a performing artist, mythologist, and owner of Mythic Eye. Her work in the world is wrapped around story, using words and symbols to extrude personal and universal archetypal clarity. Poems are her way to work through the transitions in life and often reflect dark and light within. Rosana, born in Lusaka, Zambia, lived in Tanzania, Afghanistan, Indonesia, and Jordan. She is a voracious learner and loves the inclusive, civil, passionate conversation.
Rosana read her poetry on Zoomuse, August 12th. The reading took place in three parts of three poems each, plus a final poem.
You can enjoy her reading here and find her poems below. Thank you to Rosana, for making them available for all of us!
Part One – Introspection
Three poems – Obligation, Monster Walking, If I Should Disappear
the only one,
from a first squalling breath
(and it gives far more than what it takes)
is to become,
further, to be .
Tear a whole in the universe, and brand the sky,
unencumbered of weight of other’s estimations.
And because of that duty
to our soul, our god, our collective awareness,
a way is found to endure
fire, torrent, shaitan, whirlwind
the shuddering within,
the crack, the splinter, the fragmentation
demolish that which keeps us amorphous and indistinct
to sail on the waves of craving
or die in the plummet.
Excerpted from ‘What It Takes’
(a nod to Mary Shelley)
I am a blasted tree.
A monster rising through scientist’s fumbling mind.
Arms loosing their lithe, white beauty,
with no uttering at all, none at all,
legs becoming muscled stumps
stamping out no discernable beat,
all under command of a brain that cannot
recall the fall of a shawl, a pas de deux,
or Chimney Sweep’s rooftop balancing.
That cavernous cranial housing electrical synapses
has no relationship with barren heart in chest.
This body, twice awakened, once to unnatural life,
stumbles forward at all angles,
a funeral jazz band jangling with no soul to celebrate.
Yet glorying in little things –
amazed by a rabbit,
the industry of ants,
a fire yearned for from a frosted window.
I am a blasted tree.
The artistry of demented ingenuity,
a legacy surreptitiously assembled without legitimate heirs.
O look at me,
with no fruit to bear,
no flower to blossom.
I am no axis mundi to any sort of source,
no connecting point,
or gentle spirit,
no hope at bottom of this box.
Not even knowing to despair,
I stand here and declare,
as bold as a Queen,
I am a blasted tree.
November 1, 2011 2:24am (revised 10:01am)
If I Should Disappear
If I should disappear,
not by my hand,
though there is that,
but just at a moment,
here, then not –
If I should no longer exist,
I suppose it would confuse
and maybe there would be missing
at least until disruption of life
interrupts the question
and age loses memory.
I feel it, I can tell you,
in the pinch in my head,
or the strange wave of matter in my skull,
a momentary lapse in “me”.
I suspect my non-existence
wouldn’t cause so much as a blip, really.
Certainly not a filmic spectacle
of ringing bells and acquisition of angelic wings.
Maybe one or two would inquire
“wasn’t there someone I would call
at this time
or for that reason?”
but then a shrug and fingers would access
a new number and another voice.
I suppose if you read this
a protest may arise
but stop a minute,
because what I am saying is
I don’t really mean anything
in the larger scale.
My path, even in its most compassionate state
is just another thread in the fabric –
albeit a wild, vibrant, possibly rough, definitely ragged thread –
but, honestly, not much different than all the others.
And be attentive of a denial in the face of this declaration.
It is probably more indicative
of how you feel about you
rather than a what you cherish of me.
We are fond, I most of all perhaps,
of asserting that what we feel and think and do
has a purpose.
And, truth is, it is imaginable
that intent and content
may lend to context.
at this instant,
I am willing to accept
that I don’t really matter.
That in a blink,
a snuffed-out light,
released into whatever
mystery may or may not exist,
evaporates the “I” and the “me” from “we”.
The world would continue,
which makes me love all the more
my insignificant life,
my magnificent people,
and my trifling dabble at embodiment.
February 1, 2015 (2:13am)
Part Two – Relationship
Three poems – Deep Old Soul, Love Letters, War & Peace
Deep Old Soul
The deep, old soul wrapped in woman and light
hummmms a stray tune,
splashes a chassé,
rummaging after her day.
Scuttling through seaweed in the white sea
dripping her life into foaming waters
riding tide to wide world of whales
until rags she wears float empty at the shore,
abandoned as she dissolves,
dreams and memories of her flavoured by salt,
into briney coves, dashed on stones
which tumble to little round souvenirs
pocketed by touristy beach wanderers
while bulk of her being,
no longer withered and wrinkled,
but plumped and gathered in deep
follows moon-sparkled path to horizon.
There to meet the dawn, cradle in rising sun,
coo to apex of the sky,
idly catch edge of a cloud and swing lightly around.
Her laughter tickling rain to fall
jade, and violet,
Crashing on cliffs, melting into spray,
to land softly in sandy shallows
and glitter like so many pearly pools
waiting for agéd ankles to cool their heels
and let go expectations,
while searching seaweed for lost pleasures.
November 30, 2011 (8:23am)
September 24, 2011
War & Peace
The Brotherhood of men
smokes in a dark alley,
contemplates the Peaceniks
Not that they don’t appreciate their efforts, but … no war?
Not an iota? Not a jot?
What would that do to the unemployment numbers?
And how else can the point be put across
to those who refuse to do it right?
Clearly, they have to be made to listen –
and hadn’t history proved that
a sword or a bayonet or a bullet was effective?
Meanwhile, the non-violent activists
on the inside of the wall
were sure those guys out there
weren’t 10 feet from the building
because their fetid miasma penetrates
cross-legged breathes in (cough, choke, gasp) and out,
but, Determined Doves that they are,
send out bless-vibes and compassion-thoughts –
and hadn’t history proved that in the end
LOVE WILL WIN!
The alley cats’ rat-a-tat laughter,
and slightly too loud conspiratorial murmurs
punctures passive inner space
where, just recently, ideas of reaching out are born.
Imagine: a hammer-hand gloved in soft-toned platitudes
clonk the heads of those lurking in dusky plumes.
Now, there is an opening salvo for sure …
December 23, 2011
Revised January 1, 2012
Revised August 6, 2020
Part Three – Transition
Three poems – Leave Taking, This Death, Requiem
On high wire between heartbeats,
You are leaving, I stay here
Please stop breathing,
yet every breath is dear.
Compassion whispers “go”
yet cherished belly still rising,
ever slower and slow.
see saw margery daw.
I sing for you, I bring to you,
“Home is in the heart.”
Now, after the crisis, so many doubts,
recriminations, “more time,” cries out,
in tenuous bog between
afraid to sleep but far too deprived
Where are you, little love?
Gone so quickl.,
Yet, I would not die, just to be with you.
Don’t even believe that is possible.
All is separation.
The space you occupied is still there
waiting vainly for all the familiar fare.
It never comes.
I will not hear you slurp water,
or the rhythmic tail,
thump, thump, thump
in exuberant dreams.
You are gone, utterly.
I miss your sweet body
and soft way in the world
But, fly across fields with yellow flowers
Your soulfulness makes me,
in best moments, honeyed and subtle.
I would not have you stuck here.
I would have you always with me.
see saw margery daw
All the rest of my days
questions that burn are made
more exquisite and biting
yet less savage.
Goodnight, sweet boy,
Good morning and goodnight
until, I too, take leave.
I know not at all whether we will
be together again,
but hope we will.
An even more profound oneness
than found in breath.
It is not promised
there is no covenant
so, this here and now,
this gentle, dulcet, taste
on spirit, is all that is real.
Good morning, goodnight
see saw margery daw
May 18, 2020 (11:01am)
Revised August 6, 2020
This death, of all,
has, not shaken,
nothing so genteel as that,
but shattered belief.
Who cares my heart?
What does mind actually know?
Not a single thing
because it is a toy drum of child’s emotion
punctuating, injuring, obfuscating Truth into a sieve
whose droplets rain down in thunderstorms
rattle, manipulate , into unsubstantive realities
which wash down sewers with the rest of
life’s spit and dribble to vastness
where krill are sacrifice to Whales.
What real wisdom does that hold?
What veracity does it know?
There is something deeper than
these cursory wading pools
which find fragments of shells
and sedimented silt of past.
But this death coming, as it does,
in twilight edge,
invokes a quaking ground,
a tsunami wall drowns
confidence, surety, faith.
There is no God here.
There is nothing.
Here is nothing.
And I quail in the belly of that whale.
Sloshing about like some mouthwash
in the throat of creation.
in cold, bottomless brine;
paddling for an unseen shore.
What watches me? Who hears my panic?
Well, no God, no Angel, see?
So, what about me?
Swallowing salt, and foam, and seaweed.
Naked of hope, bereft of theory
with water where land should be.
There is something deeper than prayer.
More sonorous than dreams.
Where chatter gives way to hidden language
silent, submerged, infinitely sourced.
This death, this ending,
mocks every urgent plea,
or hymn sung, or increment gained,
or pursuit, or clarity.
All is blind now.
And if I reach for a meaning,
it is backward, in motion and context.
I find that the whole occupation these days
is bound up in leaping fissures,
Crawl, scrabble, sweat,
Breathless, wild-eyed, gasp.
Spin inside, tremble outside.
Without warning, at edge of a hurricane,
whirl in debris and dust
desperate for anchor.
More lonely than is possible.
Flutter and spasm, as if seams would
simply let go ends and
pieces would scatter with every hit.
There is no denying that this is
an emptiness that pursues me.
Do I have a soul?
If so, what gave it me? Or who?
And what will be then?
Will I finally know what God stood in place of?
I don’t think so.
Not until, and maybe not even then,
I am absolutely gone.
A chill comes over me,
shadow of ultimate evanesce.
Can I be comfortable, even at home, in this?
I don’t have a clue.
There is something deeper than
that cock-sure strutting beat of Mysterious Soul.
But in its presence will toes dance and shimmy marrow?
No way to know.
Sure to find out, though.
Revised 06/28/20, 06/29/20, 08/06/20
Psalm of Death
At the bedrock of Inferno,
frozen in ice-never-melting
unable to run from ravaging bite
that by my hand, my beloved is lifeless.
“merciful” “inevitable” “loving”
Mouthed platitudes in face of cold, hard action.
To take another’s life,
to cause the end,
that is reality, here in this artic prison.
Questions, admonishments, second-guessing,
immediate guilt, wanting reversal too late. Too late.
Live and recall and revive that awful choice.
Silent screams deafen every waking bit of breath,
sleep is held off to avoid moment of waking
to relentless repetition.
Forgive me, I know not what I have done.
ignosce me (forgive me)
Psalm of Remembrance
Memories begin to interrupt the pain,
like acupuncture needles opening energy ~
curiosity, silly, quirky, infinite, unconditional;
pictures in heart and in camera.
As distance becomes palpable
it seems that ache
takes longer to return;
starlight seen well past
the death of its origin,
but that shine, so far away and already dead,
an echo of essence once filled with
vitality, with energy whirling about,
triggers a reel from first home
to instant of limp body.
Unendurable, that stealth entrance.
Swiftly wrangled and roped into submission
in effort to beat the last best time.
Ground is shaken, still trembles,
belief is broken, never to go back to what was.
A stigmata of loss tortures more than body,
it pierces all knowing,
requiem aeternam (grant eternal rest)
Psalm of Blessed Fading
Forgetfulness so we can bear it.
The detachment. The expanse. The stillness.
In liminal space,
before strange worlds,
before manifest destinies,
when still claiming a journey forward,
watch past blown to dust in chill wind;
clutching ice thaws, limbs wobble,
and I climb leg to hip, then turn
and exit in depth to resurrected horizon.
Exposed, shriek revelation
in blaze rising before me.
I sacrificed my only son on the altar of transformation.
And now letting go
is a collusion for latitude;
a conspiracy between two
who cannot imagine this rent
much less accept finality.
Now, appreciate that separation as a gift,
even as a sob against it clogs throat.
Freedom to take up new life.
Freedom to run in yellow flowers.
End becomes anointing.
A blesséd splitting apart.
And there is still time for this fresh iteration.
A final blessing grows wings.
ego te absolve (I absolve you)
amen and hallelu.
07/03/30 (1:14am) 08/06/2020
All this breaking of belief,
blown in air, lifts off bit by bit.
Snatch at pieces of debris
Of “God” “Divinity” “Mystery”
But with woosh and pshht
whirls away on tenuous tendrils.
Ribbons unfurl from Great Blossom
waving “farewell” “adieu” “toddle-loo”
like some visitor off back home
after respite, satisfied and done.
Watch it all vanish in ether,
over hill, into ocean, swept up in sunsets.
Despair thoughts of “gone, gone, gone”
and “nothing true or Truth”
then, “untethered” “unstrung” “foreign”.
Now? “on, on”, constant human imperative.
“Strive, work, create, useful”, mantra well learned.
Heave up, hoist ho, matey.
Sails and winds, and all that.
Road waits for footfall,
and foot falls, for sure,
trips on cavity of stone turned,
which rock, mind and vision cannot let go.
“And so.” “And so,” she whispers, “and so.”
Still in center of tumult between
heart rent and mind bent and house spent,
wait not, want not, wish flown
stray sentence sinks in, down, deeper,
strikes an old, stubborn flint and
one errant flicker begins a flame,
to illumine beau idéal, beautiful idea
written on walls of soul,
which has no words,
which can only be hinted,
which poets and playwrights struggle to prescribe.
This only can be said,
“When there, it is no thing.”