The Turning

She knew it was safe, now her feet chose a path leading far
from dark uncertainties, of boarded-up options into an oasis
of light, a clearing of both heart and mind, a dendrological dive
into oneness with nature, which tree was which, identifying
those whose leaves dropped with the chill and those
that remained, holding space in that jigsaw landscape;

Forays down to the wellhead were spongy with moss, layers
of leaf and needle underfoot, trickling underground streams
flowing beneath quasi-soil draped over granite boulders
and pooling into a still point where, aboveground, stood
a granite casing with crude wooden cover; deeper still, tethered
to the bale of a three-gallon pail, lay the object of desire, cool drink
or promise of a steaming kettle as the vessel was cast into depths
repeatedly until just the right toss dredged itself clear and icy cold;

Filling buckets for each hand to grasp before carefully replacing
the cover, hoisting the weight of water and heading uphill, back
to the moonglow arc of light softly radiating from the cabin, tinge
of woodsmoke in chill air, teapot gently rattling on iron grates,
home was harbor into which her boat slipped silently
and without complaint;

And part of her began to grasp the value in releasing, shedding
non-essentials, detritus to which one could become accustomed
as if plugging all the holes, those islands of free-ranging thought,
could confer security somehow, would grant serenity, tranquility
of mind first and finally; still, peace was innate when she was able
to handle the shake-down, that honest meeting, self to self, dark
to light and back again, the terror of un-being confronted,
a deer caught in crosshairs, vole surrendering to the fox;

And as the seasons turned like leaves in the wind, dancing,
spinning, settling; as ice and snow gave rise to muck and flow
and the lake groaned and shifted, turning impossibly heavy crust
over into crystal prisms glinting in the narrow shafts of sunlight;
as the waters opened up and the loons returned, echoing
their mournful cries into a deepening dawn and dusk, she, too
began to thaw and sense, as if the first time, creation awakening
in her bones, and her own heart likewise took flight and soared
like the great blue heron, circling freely in those endless cerulean skies.

Lake lies beyond the granite boulder you see in the distance.
Looking across the water where we could ski when the lake was frozen.

All photos taken many years ago on a cheap camera. Not nearly as good quality as the newer equipment, but these photos framed the memories. Aloha.
© Bela Johnson

Moonglow

I see you, Sister Moon, as you skitter across metal
rooftops, bathing the landscape in your pale
silvery frost, calling me up and out of fretful
sleeplessness, leaving me now to wonder
on which coast I lie, memories of chill mornings,
stoking wood fires, perpetually icy floors,
never warm save for the evening bath steaming
in the early black of night before a tumble
into cool wool blankets, waiting for him to generate
enough heat so muscles could relax enough
to drift into star-spiked dreams;

No choice but to follow as you beckon, teasing
loose the borders of sleep’s inception, drifted wisps
of thought creeping in, vines of phrases twining
into form, spinning wakefulness out of slumber,
then once arisen, watching skies darken implausibly
into pitchy night, once again;

Sleep is respite, not much dissuades me from its
sound embrace, only the occasional ghost tapping
at the windows of my mind, plucking cobwebs
from corners heretofore ignored, prodding questions,
where, what, when and the damnable why,
as if final answers are ever going to be forthcoming
in the pique of midnight hours;

Watch and wait, learn to live in moments, lay aside
expectations, decisions can wait until sunrise,
discover grace under pressure, reside under this
perpetual cloak of uncertainty; life guarantees
nothing, that much I know, and if nothing else,
always remember peace is personal.

Moonset in early morning light through lace curtains ~ © Bela Johnson

Journey

In self created confinement I dwell, waves
of consciousness crashing onto undisclosed
shorelines, thundering hooves of phantom horses
approaching through the sands of time;

Some might shudder at these contemplative
spaces, interstices of time before necessary
activities seep in to deplete inner resources,
yet how else to manage my own reserves?

It has ever been thus, on this shore
or that, in woods, blended into desert sage,
on this island paradise many yearn for,
and I wonder at life, at the marking of time,
random wandering through dreamscapes
of beauty, illusion teased into being;

Some call it journey, for how else to wrap
and ponder this packaged tour, fractal
in eternity, a never-ending celebration
of sense and sight and touch, carnality
and wits, the wonderment and awe;

And what is temptation if not diversion,
exorcising the terror of un-being, a race
to the finish, dip in the gold-leafed glory
of being alive, alight with threaded hues,
fabric of existence, cover for sorrow
at the temporality we share, and how
to eke out more, squeeze meaning
from the mundane; debts and obligations,
distractions and decisions, the weight
of knowing it will all be plowed asunder
and always too soon, too soon;

I sit with it daily, the quaking subsided,
ride it out in strong limbs while pedaling,
walk in companionship with creation, eyes
wide-open in wonder, capturing with my lens
what might otherwise be missed.

All photos ©2018 Bela Johnson

Clear Vision

I saw her today, glimpsed her like a new creature
shining and bright, free of the heavy cloak of denotation,
bronze I have cast her in despite myself, all these years
of believing she could in any way be known;

Inside my own skin I remain a mystery, unfolding
like the lotus flower, each new leaf and bud tender
and unfurling, tainted only through these selfsame
definitions, assumptions; we all do this in the dance
of discovery, alone or in tandem;

And I really wonder at the fabric of existence, itself,
a morphing, unified body with attributes thought to be
self and self, unique only insofar as they escape demarcation,
for once named, limitations are imposed and wrapped,
neat little packages, box steps imposed on modern dance,
monotones seeping into a technicolor palette;

What if we could begin again and again, mindful
of past assumptions, apprehend the self and others, eyes
unshuttered, clearly seeing and without bias what lies
before or within us, without guile?


photo ©Bela Johnson

Poetic Angst

There is an economy in words, blunted
kindergarten shears in the hands
of an earnest student, shaping patterns
already memorized in forest and field;

A poet’s dilemma as nature herself
spreads and grows, chaos becoming her
in forest and glade, streams crashing,
gushing through boulder-encrusted banks
as gnarled roots of trees wrap stones
in a thirsty quest to survive what is
to come, waning light and the crunch
of frost-encrusted gravel underfoot.

All photos taken in Washington State (©Bela Johnson)

 

Bela’s Photographs

Aloha All:

Thought I would let you, my WordPress community know, that by popular request I have created a 2019 Calendar for the upcoming year. Each month features one of my photos taken within 50 miles of our home here on Hawaii Island.

I am so pleased to have found a wonderful printing company on the US Mainland that uses the highest quality heavy photo stock. They will mail the calendars direct to you, saving me postage from Hawaii to anywhere else, which at minimum for one calendar is $14.00. Best to invest in a good product rather than postage, I say.

If you’re pondering what to give yourself or loved ones for the holidays, this is affordable art for the home or office that changes each month and includes inspirational quotes as well. Calendars come in two sizes.

Aloha, and all the best,

Bela

Photos used for each month.

 

Husband Chris featuring January in a surprise photo shoot just after he got home from work 😉 Photo demonstrates the size of the large calendar as well as the various colored backgrounds.

Jump

Over the precipice I crouch, ready to fly,
far from nature’s firm embrace,
my familiar; wondering now
what remains, how to regain ground
if the choice is to stay;

I have been here before many times;
only jump, I counsel, and you will rise
like the phoenix, sail through basalt
ethers, soaring up and up
into azure heavens where the view
fans out clearly before me; then,
and only then can I return refreshed,
renewed in spite of edging darkness
threatening to engulf me in confusion;

Black birds dart obscenely as shadows
lengthen, drawing me forward and out
beyond the delicate framework
of existence and soon my choices
will evaporate like mist; favoring action
over indecision hastens transmutation;

Jump. The word echoes in the rushing
reverberations of wind, a whirling vortex
of ecstatic wonder, freedom of flight,
liberation from the dull pique of gravity,
unimpeded vistas of emerald and chestnut
and umber; snow-capped mountain peaks,
their jagged edges framed starkly against
smooth shoulder of river and glade,
oceanic indigo and turquoise hues
punctuating torn cotton shreds of clouds,
golden beams of light scattered through;

Without effort I light softly now, no bone-
crushing landing in this dreamscape,
weightless and cleansed and struck through
with illumination I awaken, newly birthed
into a world filled with marvels yet to behold.

Kohala double rainbow Waimea canyon overlook, Kauai

Red cardinal, Pololu ValleyMauna Kea beach sands

Kilauea tidepool, Kauai

as always, all photos ©Bela Johnson