The Otherworld #poetry #earthweal

There is an Otherworld
at the edge of our perception 
more real than our store-bought reality

It shines through us, always 
we shield our eyes because we cannot face its light,
its truth

There is an Otherworld 
between nature and super-nature
curtain pulled back on the bleeding heart of earth
ashes to ashes
crust into mantle crust

In Hawai’i 
residents of the Royal Gardens Subdivision
came face to face with it in 1983
watching helpless as lava devoured their homes

Kalapana, 1990
gone: not instantaneously but with a
marching, thunderous certainty
they tried to divert the lava flow away:
the vanity of human wishes!

There is an Otherworld 
not virtual reality 
of Dreamweavers, but
actuality profound, misunderstood 

Is it the future? 
No, it is our now:
it’s screaming
‘Fools: you live your lives surrounded by beauty
so wrapped up in your fools’ economy
you fail to see,
seek only destroy.’

© 2022 All Rights Reserved.

Written for earthweal

This week, Brendan has given us an extension of last week’s challenge, and asked us how we are to face a future of climate chaos, using the metaphor of ‘The Swan’ from Mary Oliver’s poem:

What else are we going to do with that swan when she reaches the shore? How else are we to sing?

I took inspiration from these lines of Oliver’s poem:

Said Mrs. Blake of the poet:

I miss my husband’s company–
he is so often
in paradise.
Of course! the path to heaven

doesn’t lie down in flat miles.
It’s in the imagination

with which you perceive
this world,

and the gestures
with which you honor it.’

I think Blake spent a lot of time in the Otherworld which I’ve attempted to describe above. I also wanted to examine the Otherworld as a place of boundaries and transition (between past and future, life and death) wondering what it might be able to teach us about how to face our current situation. I think the answer lies in acceptance, and the courage to change the things we can.

52 thoughts on “The Otherworld #poetry #earthweal

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  1. Great response Ingrid – the virtual Otherworld is a poor blood relation to the ancient Otherworld, if any — surreality is not the same as deeper reality and indeed may eviscerate wholly our natural relation. Volcanic eruption and flow comes unbidden (though one must acknowledge the risk, building subdivisions on the belly of the dragon), and when wild nature comes, human concepts fail. I’m afraid digital civilization is as problematic as fossil-fuel dependence, maybe even worse – certainly as difficult to get free of. One has to imagine deeply, wide and far, and find the possibility in those places where the veil is thin. (Like parks, where kids run and roar without devices.)

  2. Oh marvelous! There’s an Otherworld in me too, it keeps crying for attention 🥲😀 What an intelligent line of thoughts, charming Ingrid. I love your ideas right from the middle of my soul. 🌺🤗🌺

  3. This is so powerfully, thoughtfully composed and delivered! Indeed Fools is the right way to address those of us who don’t see. I love how you spoke clearly of the Otherworld, we tend to live in denial of its Light.

  4. Is this the allure of Yellowstone National Park? Its geysers and mud pots are a glimpse into that otherworld of a super-volcano that threatens to destroy a vast area of the United States. Bison and elk graze here, grizzly bears and wolves are impressive predators, and there are beautiful waterfalls. Millions visit the park every year.

    Life on earth is tenuous. There are threats from space such as meteors and an aging sun. Pandemics may also be beyond our control. Humans, though, are responsible for the ongoing, mindless destruction of the environment.

    Thank you for this thought-provoking post, Ingrid. “I think the answer lies in acceptance and the courage to change the things we can.” sums up the challenges we face.

  5. I love this Otherworld at the edge of our perception. Love the dreamweavers, our best hope in troubled times………I cant even tell you how much I love this poem!!!!!!

  6. Yes, nature is shouting loud and clear to us all now. The warning signs are happening in wild storms and disruptions every day. The otherworld is with us too.

      1. Incredible. I saw on the tv news it rained so hard at another location in the Stste that the someone’s living room roof collapsed!

  7. Yes, yes! You reveal the power of the Otherworld–both its power and its beauty. It also flows through each of us. This is my new favorite of your poems.

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