Water Bird


One time

all the noises met.

All the noises in the world

met in one place

and I was there

because they met in my house.

(author unknown)

I have hosted an annual night of poetry reading near or on the pagan holiday of Imbolc for the past 9 years. I’ve come a long way from the first year when I invited all 5 of the friends I had whom I felt would not judge me for wanting to honor poetry and the coming of the spring. We really winged it that first year and our conversation as I recall went something like this.

“Um, should we like, hold hands and stand in a circle or something?”

“And we can er, say something we are thankful for.”

“Yeah and Beth you go first since you are the oldest.”

“Okay, FOUR. That is all I can think of to say right now. The number four.”

Cut ahead 9 years later to my sister guiding myself and 14 of my best friends (minus my long distanced ones) in a beautiful ceremony honoring the light and love within.

For the past few years, I have added 1 activity on top of reading a poem and I got a little ambitious thinking we could also do individual tarot portraits like the test one of myself above.But really what was being asked for I believe was to go back to the poetry and be in the listening of it.

Poetry is alive. It is in the way we speak, in the tears, in the growing of our hearts. In the way, sometimes even the elements seem to be listening. My friends bear claw fell out of her bracelet during one of the readings; I could see the generation of another’s mother and her daughter present within her; and yet another and another sharing in the vulnerability of loss which seemed to be the underlying theme for this year. Every year is different. What we all seemed to be saying was that the journey of loss brought us to the top of the mountain, where gratitude sits. Gratitude for what is left. Gratitude for what we DO have. At some point someone’s napkin caught on fire by accident and so we put it in my sink and carried on as we do.

My poem was dedicated to every woman that has ever sat at my Imbolc table, past and present. There have been a few who I couldn’t seem to hold onto, some that have moved away, some that I still care for very much. But it was especially dedicated to a young woman who sat at my table one year and has since passed on at a very young age. I didn’t know her very well, but I always appreciated Genielle’s love for life. She was a vibrant light to say the least.

Gallway Kinnel was remembered.

What is it about this line

your one word, caca! caca! caca!

that clenches my heart?!

Going along with the underlying theme of love, loss, gratitude…

I have experienced the dearth of sisterhood with a beloved friend over the past few years. I went through a mourning process. I realized recently that part of my suffering was due to my own ego. My subconscious fear of having all that love and laughter of myself being wiped clean off the slate. That the mirror of myself was being tarnished because of the pain that I caused as well. How can I keep the joy of raising our babies together? I now know how. By letting go and forgiving. It seems so much easier to stay mad at people than to maybe have to consider our own faults and responsibility. I always thought that I carried integrity of my love and tried to be honest. But sometimes we can’t give that over to our friends when that is not what they are asking for. The wonderfully spun relationship and years of many beautiful moments has finally become unraveled…the thread became too thin to sustain us. Last week, the last bit of my mourning came out.I cried for all the lost happiness. And as I did so, and truly let go this time of craving new moments, or better closure or some kind of understanding,,,I no longer have the bitter of the sweet. I am content to move on.

And hold on to these life savers of friends that I do have. The ones that carry me.

The water bird is often seen on images of the Native American Church. As the eagle can fly the highest to Great Spirit, the Water Bird can dive into the depths of Mother Earth’s waters. He is sacred for his connection to the water, and ability to go lower than any other bird.

Here is a photo of the water bird that was left over from a prayer meeting here for the water.


 I was thinking of how important the water is last night. Even drinking copious amounts, instead of wine. How necessary it is for us to stay hydrated in order to go deep within and find the emotion and tears that free our pain. How important it is to take care of the greater macrocosm of waters.

Lo and behold, after everyone left and I was tidying the house, I opened up the burnt napkin to find this….

more poetry.


Make a date with some friends, read poems. See the power of language awakening.

And this one dedicated to the memory of Genielle O’Conner:

Imagine a woman who believes it is right and good she is a woman.

A woman who honors her experience and tells her stories.

Who refuses to carry the sins of others within her body and life.

Imagine a woman who trusts and respects herself.

A woman who listens to her needs and desires.

Who meets them with tenderness and grace.

Imagine a woman who acknowledges the past’s influence on the present.

A woman who has walked through her past.

Who has healed into the present.

Imagine a woman who authors her own life.

A woman who exerts, initiates, and moves on her own behalf.

Who refuses to surrender except to her truest self and wisest voice.

Imagine a woman who names her own gods.

A woman who imagines the divine in her image and likeness.

Who designs a personal spirituality to inform her daily life.

Imagine a woman in love with her own body.

A woman who believes her body is enough, just as it is.

Who celebrates its rhythms and cycles as an exquisite resource.

Imagine a woman who honors the body of the Goddess in her changing body.

A woman who celebrates the accumulation of her years and her wisdom.

Who refuses to use her life-energy disguising the changes in her body and life.

Imagine a woman who values the women in her life.

A woman who sits in circles of women.

Who is reminded of the truth about herself when she forgets.

Imagine yourself as this woman.

– Patricia Lynn Reilly


One Comment on “Water Bird

  1. Cheri thank you so much for being a treasured part of all of my life. Truly, it is like you are one of those ornate golden chests that is full of gold. And your gift gives more than just you because you create a sacred space for all of our spirits to open up and empower and love each other. And thank you for seeing my mom and my daughter in me. That truly will touch me forever because I felt it too! love love love you…


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