Posted in Corina L. Ravenscraft, Essay, Nature, Photography/Photographer, Poems/Poetry

Elder Box Elder


Editor’s Note: Terri Stewart’s regular Sunday posts are always a surprise. She doesn’t pop them into the blog until near midnight on Saturday, so we don’t get to see them until Sunday a.m….no editorial sneak-preview. In an interesting coincidence (synchronicity?), Corina L. Ravenscraft popped this one to Bardo before Terri’s post for this Sunday went up. It rather serves to reinforce Terri’s message, which we think makes it synchronicity and not coincidence. Like Terri’s post, it’s richly evocative. Enjoy…


Gnarled persistence, drove its thick roots down,

Conquered the rocks and divided the dirt.

Spread out its branches, claimed this piece of ground,

When people etched into its bark, it hurt.


It survived such scars from their careless blades,

Grew taller, stronger, bore fruit for the birds.

None picnicked beneath to enjoy its shades,

Hard roots ran rampant, to escape the words


Carved for all time on its beautiful skin.

There, by the cave, it was brave; weathered storms,

Bent branches without and strong spirit within,

The world demands change and the soul transforms.


Soft  spirit deep inside this elder tree,

Expanded, extended life through its roots.

The Native Americans set it free,

And chose its sacred heart wood for their flutes.

– Corina L. Ravenscraft

~ C.L.R. ~ © 2012, photo, poem, essay, All rights reserved

This is a photograph I took some time ago, of a really neat Box Elder tree in the Dunbar Cave Natural Area near my home. This tree has always fascinated me and it makes me sad to see how many people have carved their initials or names into its bark. My friends and I used to call it the “Ringwraith Tree” because it reminded us of the tree where Frodo hid from the Ringwraith, but Box Elders also have a very special place in Native American culture.

The Anasazi flutes were carved from these trees, and the originals were only carved from these trees. It was believed that the tree’s unique, sacred spirit was imparted into each flute carved.

The Anasazi flute is the flute played by Kokopelli, a Native American Indian fertility god. It is also said that the hunch on his back depicted the sacks of seeds and songs he carried. Legend also has it that the flute playing symbolized the transition of winter to spring. Kokopelli’s flute is said to be heard in the spring’s breeze, while bringing warmth. It is also said that he was the source of human conception. Legend has it, everyone in the village would sing and dance throughout the night when they heard Kokopelli play his flute. The next morning, every maiden in the village would be with child.“ For anyone who has never heard the beautiful, haunting sound of this flute, I invite you to watch and listen to the video below.  Enjoy!

Corina-1CORINA L. RAVENSCRAFT (Dragon’s Dreams) ~ is a regular contributor to Into the Bardo. She is a poet and writer, artist and librarian who has been charming us through her blog since 2000, longer than any blogger in our little blogging community.

Posted in Guest Writer, Perspectives on Cancer, Poems/Poetry




Myra Schneider


 for Grevel


For four months

all those Matisse and Picasso women

draped against

plants, balconies, Mediterranean sea, skies

have taunted me

with the beautiful globes of their breasts as I’ve filled


my emptiness

with pages of scrawl, with fecund May, its floods

of green, its irrepressible

wedding-lace white, buttercup gold,

but failed to cover

the image of myself as a misshapen clown


until you reminded me

that in Greek myth the most revered women

were the single-breasted

Amazons who mastered javelins and bows, rode

horses into battle,

whose fierce queens were renowned for their femininity.


Then recognising the fields I’d fought my way across

I raised my shield

of glistening words, saw it echoed the sun.


© 2011, Myra Schneider, all rights reserved. This poem is posted on Into the Bardo  with the permission of  Ms. Schneider. Any further reposting requires her permission. 

Photo credit ~ amazon preparing for a battle (Queen Antiop or Armed Venus), byPierre-Eugène-Emile Hébert 1860 (National Gallery of ArtWashington, D.C.), public domain photograph via Wikipedia


Amazon is an excerpt from:

Writing My Way Through Cancer  Jessica Kingsley Publishers (2003), and

Multiplying The Moon  Enitharmon (2004)

Editor’s note: The opening poems of Multiplying the Moon are Myra Schneider’s response to her experience of terrible illness. In the aftermath of fighting breast cancer, she found herself writing poems that explore transience, death, and survival from many different angles. The main theme of `Voicebox,’ the long fictional narrative in the middle of the book, is communication; the poem follows the connections and disconnections between its main characters. In a short poem sequence, the poet draws on findings from the 1901 census to re-create her father’s early life, and the understanding she gains helps her to feel a new closeness with him. This is united by the theme of investigation of the self and its relationship with the outside world.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Myra Schneider ~ was born in London in 1936 and grew up on the Firth of Clyde. She is the author of four poetry collections from Littlewood, three novels for children from Heinemann, and has three poetry collections published by Enitharmon: Exits, The Panic Bird and Insisting on Yellow. With John Killick she has written Writing for Self-Discovery  (Vega, Chrysalis Books) which was re-published in 2002. Her book Writing My Way Through Cancer, was published by Jessica Kingsley in 2003. The book is her fleshed-out journal from the year 2000 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It includes poem notes and poems and a section of therapeutic writing ideas.