An Bradán Feasa

(featured image by the brilliant Quinn Blackburn found here.)

And now for something completely different…

The way is long and convoluted to her house, but when I arrive, the journey behind me feels like a breath. Old and wrinkled, bright clear eyes, she’s at the door of the ancient stone cottage, wooden spoon in hand. Behind her in the hearth, flames leap, steams and interesting smells waft.

“You again,” and I ride a wave of defensiveness of my intention. This visit was unplanned and is always happening, and I must bring a pure heart.

“Greetings, beloved Grandmother,” I begin, and bow deeply. Then, with an inhale for courage, “I seek An Bradán Feasa.”

A sparse white eyebrow raises. “Why would the likes of you…”

“I need to know, how do I work with these subtle forces well?”

“What is well?” She is untying her apron, stepping fully out into the sun, upright carriage though she is impossibly old. “What is work?”

I am silenced with the immensity of this journey.

I say instead, “How can I host gentle, loving curiosity and kind regard in this moment?”

“Come,” as if these words reveal my heart, and we walk into the deep grove of ancient trees. We approach a large poplar I know well, roots exposed, and she nods, “Here is the way.”

And I dive into the roots, first deep down, and then spanning across until I burst into a crystalline pool.

“I seek An Bradán Feasa,” I announce underwater, and the huge ancient Salmon of Knowing is swimming beside me.

“Do you come devoted to not knowing?”

“Yes,” I say without considering, and An Bradán Feasa opens a great mouth and swallows me as if I were a hazelnut.

“What?” I am shocked in my consumption.

“This is participation,” I am instructed, “true and coherent with the whole.”

The fish swims deep and I watch from within as long, thin black strands of poop come out and float down into the depths.

Then the fish leaps into the air, a great arc of silver flash and rainbows of water crystals.

And in fear, I shout, “There are fishermen seeking you!”

An Bradán Feasa laughs and laughs, until I am shuddering with the motion.

“They see me leap,” and the great fish rises again in powerful joy.

Without warning, I am choking.

Wordless, together we follow the movement of the energy to the place where a prisoner of time is caged. A terrified and tiny being, unmet, restrained and constricted. She can’t breathe in her fear. We bring the space of loving curiosity and allow the energy to move. There is no attachment to what emerges, simply this respect for the blocked energy and the intention to release it through light and space.

And the next breath eases and opens and I sigh.

Exhausted, I rub my eyes and realize I am swimming up through the roots, back to my grandmother, who gives me a cheeky grin and a careful kiss on my third eye, and I am following the drums and the call to my place and time of the seven-chambered heart where my siblings open their own eyes and we regard each other in silent wonder, swimming gently in our connected stream.


Featured Ancient Wise One as recounted in Irish mythology.  A version can be found here.

Note: Normally, fish poop is the color of their food. Long stringy poop is a sign of stress. The long thin black poop right after eating me suggests a lot of toxins I brought to the mix, that An Bradán Feasa was able to process and expel.  I’m just guessing, standing in the invaluable “I don’t know.”

White Men Keep Telling Me What To Do

“I do not like that man.  I must get to know him better.”~Abraham Lincoln
Their brand burns deep into my brain,
a forced filter to inform my knowing.

My life inscribed by words to the wise,
imbibing heady spirits they’ve poured

bypassing my heart. Seeing through glass
darkly with these prescripted eyes.

The lakeshore is vivid today only.
Golden-yellow gleams sun’s tribute.
Scarlet-orange carpets green.
Purple-mahogany deep drama.
Every tree a poem
deserving 1,000 new words.

No need to crowd
the lines of gawkers missing

by an hour because some bone-
head saving daylight sends

them into cubicle-cages
through the darkness

wealth-seekers know. Sliding
over my rough spots like butter

while I’m too tender to resist.
I absorb it, changed, make lists

of ways I can succeed. Until a friend
requests, tune in,

and suddenly I’m walking the devil’s
backbone and this is no place

for sleep. Every word I know a white
man’s barb into my flesh,

it only hurts when I begin
to pull away

and then, oh damn,
there is no easy way out.


Tree praise blazing
in the center of my
cultural lament.
It doesn’t fit.
Just like me
so glorious we stay.

Inspired by: List, Heady, Glass and Butter. and the Devil’s Backbone in Pine Hills Nature Preserve, a 100-foot-high stone ridge barely wide enough for the trail to cross.  (Photo courtesy of
Continue reading White Men Keep Telling Me What To Do

Let It Be

If something is asking to be cleared, let it be cleared without resistance.  If there is something unfavorable coming up to be felt, let it be felt without judgment.~Kiara

With one closed heart, I fall into
the sanctimonious curse of
my ancestors. Stuck in the web
as the terrible spinner nears.

I’m washing sheets today; if they
were white, I’d hang them from each dark
window to signal surrender
to this closing. Farewell, June fears.

Cedar waxwings are back, they sing
throughout my lines cheerful gossip
and bright red lipsticked wing feathers.
Look up and celebrate, take cheer.

July promises new cycles
round the learning curve. If only
I am present today for this
temporary resistance, dear

best friend rising in dismay at
what emerges from my shadows.
Fathers go to war, return to
teach us. Fiercely battle what’s here.

Far too long beaten into a
quivering submission then locked
away. Even so, the drumbeats
pound inside pain; we’re washed by tears.

I ponder how to shift this tale
of victims etched into my genes.
Blessings emerge when I’m triggered,
delicate, gossamer-winged, sheer.

I ignore this at my peril.
Obdurate denial brings a
hobnailed boot crashing from the sky.
Stuck in the past, each why a spear.

How can I suspend judgment, feel
what arises? Here because I’m
poised for the deep dive into now
my pen-inscribed healing frontier.

Inspired by: Sanctimonious, Curse, Temporary and Sheets.

Begin Again

An owl flies through this first glimmering

visible just before

I sink into that

compassionate space we all create,

unseen fabric of our extended

kinship.  In a darker time, doctors

shook their heads, murmuring fatal,

untreatable hopelessness, a hex

opening a dungeon

of despair.  I took my medicine

like a book to satisfy

the soul yearnings they all

called symptoms.  Good citizens

work hard to destroy the planet,

unfair exchange of minimum

wages and intriguing trinkets,

a social-media-dopamine whirl

to forget, forget our victims.

Schooled from the start

to filter out the others

in that fierce competition

to belong.  Black scoter ducks

dive oblivious.

This great blue heron

poised by the dock

before seizing a wriggling

minnow, and then, oh, glory,

her long neck

praising sunbeams.

It’s early and a killdeer skittering

past has returned to mate here.

I gasp, so in love

that shards are bursting

from my heart under this poplar

tree and the lake she blesses

magnetic vibrance dragging me

from the curse of the white-coated

men still believing,

the breakdown forcing

all the extraneous bullshit

to ooze from my pores

and oh, cities, how

can we reinvent you, as well?


Inspired by Intriguing, Book, Dungeon and Satisfy.