Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Carolyn DeCarlo’s ‘Hilma Invokes Mother Earth’

Hilma Invokes Mother Earth

Amazonite is a soothing stone.
It calms the brain and nervous system,
aids in maintaining optimum health,
balances the masculine and feminine energies,
helps in seeing both sides of a problem
or different points of view,
soothes emotional trauma,
alleviating worry and fear.
I wear a pillar of amazonite
on a gold chain around my neck,
the yellow and gold interplay
keeping me at my centre point –
neither woman nor man,
at my most natural state.
My work pushes me to that place,
an existence without binary,
a study in how to be both,
or neither, or outsider.
Outsider artists require
no formal training –
but what does that mean
when you’re working with ghosts?
I channel my work through them,
and my technique – all realism –
goes out of my brain,
I am free for true expression –
the abstract reality at the base of everything.
Realism is the mask reality wears
when the truth becomes too much to bear.
Strip back the veil 
that separates life and death,
and the figure is infinitely more beautiful
than the shroud used to cover her.
It is infinitely more exciting
to consider that life after death
could also occur here, on Earth –
not 100 million light years away
on some distant planet,
not up in the clouds, in Heaven,
but in the natural world around us,
existing symbiotically.
What if I told you that plants had souls?
What if I told you I could see their auras –
I am not a Romani fortune-teller reading energy,
rather, a naturalist surveying the land,
sketching plants and flowers
as I see them –
the stems and the leaves,
and also the imprints they make on the air.
If plants have souls,
the significance of things expands infinitely –
burying your father beneath the tree
in his yard that he sat under as a boy
sets his soul at rest,
but also in communion with his tree.
For the rest of the time that the Earth exists,
their two afterlives will be in union.
That is the power of this land –
its fertility extends to all living things,
provides them with the code
to run out their course as she intended,
whether or not we believe.

Carolyn DeCarlo

Carolyn DeCarlo lives in Aro Valley. Caro’s chapbook, Winter Swimmers, was published in AUP New Poets 5. Caro is part of We Are Babies Press.

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