“Where to Find Death”

by Paul Wartman

If I fear tooth pain, might an oak tree in fall teach me of letting go?

When anger clenches tongue between teeth, do I ask the grazing sheep of patience?

Deep in uncertain sorrow for a loved one, I wonder how the gorging pigs feel about their chronically-ill sire, who is also gorging. Should. I. Gorge?

The pond has frozen and thawed a dozen times in 2 months of winter, reminding me that it’s okay to open up my deep parts and shield them off. Reminding me of climate change, of swimming, frog sex, and life.

 

Have you ever forced someone into life?

 

Blood-red dogwood stems, cut mid-winter and plunked into a vial in a warmer home, unfurl their leaves and flowers while their Mother remains dormant outside.

A blood-covered baby, newly born, unfurls their tiny hand and sees Mum from outside the womb.

Wow, magic, right.

Magic like the sparkle that leaves the eyes of someone who just died; like the twinkle of moonlight on the millions of snowflakes of a dry winter night. It’s strange how when I try to hold that magic it leaves. Leaving me with a mixture of confusion, sadness, mysticism, and relief that blooms inside.

I was shown a place where to find death. It’s stacked neatly in piles outside. I can carry it with me, but only for a while because it is heavy. The magic I still cannot touch, but I am warmed by death’s crackly stories as I force it to life.

***

This is a poem story inspired by a process called Land Pattern Poetry that I plopped together to help facilitate the learning of patterns in landscapes. It can be done as an individual and in groups (which really brings a neat novelty to the process). It’s a great activity to assist people who don’t think of themselves as ‘creative’ or as an ‘artist’ to share parts of their life story in a simple and powerful way that’s connected to their surroundings.

Want to try it out?

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