Skip to main content

ODYSSEY by Linda Whitlow

This poem, like many in the folder I call, "Time of Innocence", was inspired by my idyllic childhood...

That was a time like no other, when things seemed so clear, so simple. I was going through a very rough time and once again, the beautiful memories of my wild childhood came to my rescue, helping me to realize that I could relive those feelings of clarity and simplicity, at will. What a treasure it is to be able to close my eyes and go to a safe place where all things become clear and timeless.

Photography by Elena Shumilova

     
ODYSSEY
by Linda Whitlow


                                    Eerie echoes carry
                                    through the cool morning mists,
                                       early
                                             early morning mists;

                                    Nameless birds, familiar call
                                    sound their courtship or
                                         sing for sheer joy.
                                    Joy greets me then
                                       in the early morning mists,
                                       rolls up the wide, brown river
                                          towards me,
                                             washes over me
                                       swallowing whole the forest;
                                    only the birds’ encore escaping
                                          in an incessant tide.

                                    Fragile, yellow beams of promise
                                    nudge through the mists,
                                    playing on the calm
                                       surface of the water;

                                    Ghostly dark shapes
                                       gently illuminated by approaching dawn
                                       become boundless waves
                                       of a green canopy,
                                          virgin rain forest
                                        of my youth:

                                    when vision was clear
                                          and unspoiled;
                                    thoughts were simple
                                             and innocent;
                                    days were transparent
                                          and easy;                                               
                                    life was effortless
                                          and tangible;
                                    questions were rare,
                                          answers plentiful.

                                    In my barefoot emerald kingdom
                                    so far upriver
                                          in the cool morning mists that
                                          I might have forgotten
                                          the way back -
                                    But I followed the call
                                    of the Nameless birds
                                          who sang for sheer joy,
                                    to the edge of the world
                                          and back again.
                                   
                                    Now things aren’t so clear
                                         as in the cool morning mists;
                                    my nights are too long,
                                    my days too uncertain;
                                       questions are many and
                                          answers are few.

                                    Oh, to be a child again.
Photography by Elena Shumilova


Linda Whitlow: I live in Portland, Oregon and I’m a poet, personal historian, champion of the underdog and have more recently realized that I’ve always been a feminist without a label. I’m allergic to labels as it turns out. I’ve been writing poetry since I was a teen, which was a long, long time ago, and to grasp much of my poetry it’s essential to understand my upbringing. I was a missionary’s child from the age of five until sixteen. I grew up running wild, barefoot, swimming naked and carefree in the interior rain forest of Borneo and later on, riding covertly borrowed horses and cavorting on my own a lot, all around San José, Costa Rica and Mexico City…a true Global Nomad. Upon returning to the U.S. to finish my last year in a public high school in California, I felt lost. That’s putting it mildly; it has taken me all my life to acculturate. I wasn’t comfortable in my parent’s culture; I didn’t understand the teenage ‘lingo’ or the music, the dancing, hair styles, cultural norms. I was blonde, blue-eyed, white-skinned, so I looked like most of my peers in those days, but I was brown inside…and I think I still am. I grew up wishing I could be brown and beautiful like everyone else. So that’s me, for starters. My marriage was far from idyllic, but it gave me four truly exceptional children who today, carry on my overriding love and delight in diversity. My degree is in Spanish & Latin American literature and culture, and most of my working years were spent in maternal and child health at a community health center, serving the underserved and teaching health, birthing and breastfeeding classes in my ‘native’ Spanish. I’m a retired, nasty woman now, who curses, drinks, parties and dances far too much. I spend summers kayaking, hiking and swimming with grandkids, and winters in deep, mysterious conversations with other old crones and young sirens who are my preferred companions these days. I’ve written poetry for nearly 50 years, but it was all so personal, so private that I never felt I could share until now. Now, I’m older, wiser, and I don’t care what people think of me any longer. Thank heavens for that! In between poetry inspirations, I paint, and I am transcribing hundreds of 100 year-old letters between my grandparents before, during and after World War 1, left in my keeping - with the goal of publishing a personal history, love story, patriot memoir in the next year. I also teach Zumba fitness at my neighborhood LGBTQ center, to older and deconditioned adults and those with mobility restrictions, which keeps me in shape. I find myself spending more and more time reading the writings of wise women, searching women, enlightened and desperate women. I find myself enjoying my own company far too much, but realize the solitary nature of writing, painting and discovering my purpose in this world. So be it…I’m getting there. You may e-mail me, if you wish here: sanctuarynaturals@gmail.com



~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

MY HEART SEEPS by Edith Lazenby

Courage is not only facing fear, but also looking past fear, to see what lies it tells and truths it saves...
Sometimes I sit at a computer in trepidation. The house trembles and I wonder what I will find. 
Truth is not a fact or a feeling. It may rest on love’s heart and walk with integrity. It may stand beyond humanity in ways we can only imagine. Truth can be solid as earth and fickle as wind. But a wind can know stillness and the earth can crack wide open.
Tonight I found a stillness in a crack and managed to balance there...


My Heart Seeps
by Edith Lazenby
I cannot hold on And I cannot let go. I walk a path I don’t know. I feel moonlight But cannot see Its orb midst The cloudy cold. My hands tremble. My eyes tear. My toes wriggle To grasp earth. I want to stand Tall in the light Yet fear shadows all. Inside I crumble Under the weight I cannot shoulder.

FOR THE SISTERS by Tammy T. Stone

These days, I’m finding it difficult – along with many, many others - not to feel disheartened...
I'm disheartened by the feeling that chaos has descended upon us, at the negativity and fear, the anger and reactivity, the violent spirit of animosity characterizing the times. It’s hard not to give in to the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, even as we cling to the strong conviction that it is our positivity and our love that will prevail.
Every crevice of my heart goes out to the suffering (and we are all suffering when one of us suffers), and my heart aches for the untold numbers of women around the world who are immediately and devastatingly affected by recent decisions to cut funding to organizations vital to their health and wellbeing, a movement that horrifyingly undermines women’s sovereignty over their own bodies. Words do not do the feeling justice.
It feels to me that the earth itself is overturning, that our fragile grasp of what is right and true, of our incredibl…

IMAGINE A WOMAN by Patricia Lynn Reilly

This poem invites you to look upon yourself with loving kindness…
Gazing at your own true reflection, you will discover that everything you have longed for “out there” is already within you! I invite you to love your creativity fiercely. Faithfully plant seeds, allowing under-the-ground dormant seasons, nurturing your creative garden with love and gratitude. In the fullness of time, the green growing things thrust forth from the ground. It's a faithful, trustworthy process. AND it takes time and patience.  Blessed is the fruit of your creative womb! I invite you to trust your vision of the world and express it. With wonder and delight, paint a picture, create a dance, write a book, and make up a song. To give expression to your creative impulses is as natural as your breathing. Create in your own language, imagery, and movement. Follow no script. Do not be limited by the customary way things have been expressed. Your creative intuition is original. Gather all of life into your inner c…