NaPoWriMo 2021 Pre-Day One

IMG_3577*Stock Photo

The #NaPoWriMo2021 challenge today was to spend a few minutes looking for an interesting piece of art in the online galleries of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Then after selecting a piece of art, I was challenged to write a poem!

I chose this lovely basket designed by Linda Hancock. It is traditional Ohlone cultural art made in Sycamore Creek, California. The medium is deer grass stems, sedge root, dyed bracken root, and redbud shoots.

The original photo of her artwork is copyright protected, so I am including a link here so you can see it.

Under the Mushroom Tree

I am the beginning
and the end. Born under
a dense canopy of shade
near the sloping riverbanks.

A coastal live oak was my father,
moisture dripping from his long
green beard of lichens, feeding
the ground beneath his fallen leaves.

The earth was my mother–
my rich and bountiful safe place.
Within the peace of their embrace,
I spread my lateral roots.

In the beginning I remained
(adventitious shoots and all)
ardent in my work of tilling
and moving through the soil.

Content to reside safely near
my riparian home, I stretched
and grew, nourished yet hungry
to explore the Far Reaches.

One day the women of patience
gently drew me from my dwelling
and reverently excavated
my tangled, criss-crossed roots.

I was not afraid for I could
hear their song of thanks,
“Shuururu Xuyxuyta”,
sung like the Ohlone ancestors,

blessing my mother, praising
my beauty, and promising
friendship far into the future.
I could see the jackrabbits

and cottontails waving goodbye
as I left my haven, but I did not
feel loss. The keen drive to grow
dimmed as I looked ahead.

I was split and peeled, dried
and dyed with bracken root, woven
together with deer grass stems,
redbud shoots and a grateful heart.

I was happy living simply,
visiting my mother as I carried
her bounties in my newly
woven bowl. But the whisper

of the ancestors helped me
realize my story needed
to be told; my story needed
to be heard. So I agreed to move.

Inside my glass case, far from
my mother and father and far
from the river, I remain.
I am a lesson for future

generations on how to live
in harmony. I am the fruit
of the marriage of my parents—
connected to the past,

formed in the present,
alive on into the future.
I am the beginning
and the end.

–a Draft by Carla Jeanne

I’d love to know what you’re thinking. Please drop a comment below and let me know!