Elizabeth Copeland · 2018 ArtScape Artist-In-Residence

Tentatively scheduled for Monday, May 21st, to Friday, June 29th, 2018

Poetry work samples

Wind in the Sky

In the chill of November, the beauty of May,
Be it city or forest, she finds her way.
Hear the dawn’s hush in winter, see the moon in her eyes,
Her map the aurora, or as the crow flies.
The cold wind blows gentle as she brushes the lie
From a wilderness crying, it’s wisdom denied.
The great Oak remembers the strength of her kind,
She listens and follows the wind in the sky.

Her hair streaked with silver flows thick down her back,
Each strand tells a story of glory and lack
Of laughter and sorrow, of love here then gone,
A life richly woven, a full-throated song.
She sings of the babies she’s caught that survived,
She keens with the night wind for those that have died,
And she prays as she runs as the moon rises high,
She listens and follows the wind in the sky.

The shadows they fall away, fall away dancing,
Her heartbeat says fly away, fly on the owl’s wing
Be one with the pulse of the wandering deer,
The Birch tree births memory, her vision comes clear.
I carry the blood of the olds ones, says she
To the towering forest, the depths of the sea
And a night bird wings homeward as the whippoorwill cries,
I listen and follow the wind in the sky.
Today you may see her in the rise of the sun
The halls of the city, a life’s work well done,
Let the dark night embrace you and you will see her face
In all creatures, all families, the whole human race.
Rejoice sons and daughters like a child in the spring,
As the mystery depends, the universe sings
I am here now within you, and as night draws nigh
Just listen and follow the wind in the sky
Just listen and follow                                follow the wind.

First published in The Lorelei Signal (Wolfsinger Publications, San Diego), 2009, and subsequently published in Break ‘n Molasses, 2012.

waste of breath

polite   expected trivialities   shot through with complaint
or contempt, that hold no
no respect for no respect for
creation                     wonder
your heart’s longing
Authenticity shrugged

SEQUOIA

A love poem for A2f

A controlled burn—also known as back burning—clears everything in its path.

When wisely calculated, it can renew all through the brilliant ferocity of fire.

Trees dancing flaming insanity light up the night sky. Everything old on the forest floor becomes fuel for the carefree wanderlust of red and orange.

The night sky screams as billows of smoke set sail; gray-black waves exhaling into the moon’s starlight ocean, clouds jostling to hold their own against the hot-faced intruder.

Though I did not calculate well the burning that brought you to me
I did sniff the winds of change and following a wild impulse,
drew a ragged breath, lit a match, and threw it down.
Another match I threw, not caring what took fire.
Ragged breath turned to scorched sound,
white heat laying waste the shell of all
patient waiting, proper praying, false illuminating.
No pretty contemplation this, only pure agony shrieking light.
Gasping on hands and knees, I choke and let go,
vomiting strangled metaphors of freedom and beauty
and what it means to be at peace in this world.
Gutturally chanting, my voice erupts volcanic,
demanding that what was torn from me
like stitches from a still raw wound be returned.
How it comes I care not. But I swear by all that is wretched and holy
that I will light the sky up
this time with my flesh and bone
if the earth of my life does not
quake awake
to pure flowering green
NOW.

Tongue burning, eyebrows singed, naked skin blistering,
I listen
as the wind blows still.
What pain, age, and this wild night has not burned from me
crackles and is gone.
Lying naked and alone, I sleep and dream of you.

A controlled burn—also known as back burning—clears everything in its path.
When wisely calculated it can renew all through the brilliant ferocity of fire.
It is said that some seeds, like the seed of the great Sequoia,
remain dormant until broken down by fire.

This to tell you that such burning is purposeful.
This to tell you that grace exists.

Published in The Furious Gazelle (New York) 2014

FALLOW

In days gone by Farmers let their fields lie fallow.
A time of rest for the soil, of decay and then, slowly
These days, the soil must produce endlessly.
With no time to regenerate, it must be forced,
as we are forced in our world so intent on constant production.
Why follow this mad god whose cracking whip is driving us to the edge of doom?
Do your bones not long for a time of rest?
Does the whirlwind of your mind not long for a moment’s pause,
to hear    the wind in the trees,
the questions so long unasked
and the raven’s wise reply?
One day I will play music again,
and the genesis will be organic,
the strains of melody effortless,
with rhythm voluptuously flooding and feeding me.
But, today, let it be enough that in soft green grass, I lay me down.

Published under pen name Brynn Copeland in Forge Journal, 2012

Published: 2016-05-05