Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Painting with Words: The Dream Poems of Marta Aarli

Guest blog by dream teacher and poet Marta Aarli, MA, LPC 

As I hover in between the worlds, my soul swimming in the realm of dreams while my mind is scrambling to reassemble itself, there is a region where image and word exist together in harmonious balance. I often find myself racing through this passage as my mind wrestles back control and puts me into human form again.
    But sometimes I can slow this process down by softening my gaze until the boundaries blur, watching as my experiences take shape into visual phrases and verbal landscapes. From this in-between place, I allow words to flow, coming from my whole being, not just the verbal part of my brain, letting myself speak in a language of the body, the heart, the senses.
    Sometimes it sounds strange, because it’s from another place, a foreign country, the motherland of poetry. Each poem becomes its own being, expressing its unique character in its own form and dialect.
    In order to understand it, the reader must also open, allowing the language to flow in and merge with their own fluid places, translating it into their own native tongue. This is the creative process of reading or listening to poetry, similar to connecting with another’s dream. In this way we meet in the universal creative field that we share with humans and all other beings. When we listen to poetry, we receive it, rather than knowing in the same way that we comprehend things on an intellectual level.         Poetry is a wonderful art form for expressing dreams, because it is by nature a surreal, visual orientation to language. Once they’ve taken verbal form, poems reconstitute through the readers’ imagination, translated into their own images which evoke, or inspire, or move something deep inside that they had forgotten a long time ago.
    As a psychotherapist, dreamer, poet, singer, dancer, and visual artist, I’m interested in how to be the fullest, most integrated beings we can be. This includes our many parts - the analytic and emotional, verbal and non-verbal, earthly and spiritual, waking and sleeping, seen and unseen, conscious and unconscious, weaving together into fluid wholeness. I see poetry as a contemplative practice, to be with what is happening now inside our being and around us in the environment. When we express our inner worlds, we connect with others, invite them in, see our common experiences. Or perhaps we find that we are already roaming the halls of these vast universal realms together, in our dreams. The poems in this collection, Dream Worlds, my third book of poetry, are all from my dream experiences, since childhood. Some are combined dreams, some weave in waking life experiences or other peoples’ dreams. 

and as they danced 

and as they danced 
the women waved their arms 
threw their hair swirling
their black veils 
into the air 

hands touched 
in flowering gestures 
around their hips and shoulders 
their skin grew warm 
their breath deep 

and as they danced
 the snake wound around their feet 
intertwined at the ankles 
slowly binding them 
all together 

mother’s veins 

tributaries of 
mother’s veins 
flow together 
following our guide 
with the snake around his neck 

down river down path
island beach lined with boats 
dead loved-ones gathered 
singing and dancing 
at the crossing place

her mountain range breasts 
and rolling meadow hips 
upon which we gather
feather and bone ceremony 
around the fire
prepares us for journeying

through the fangs 

We drum for the journey 
because we are not from around here. 
We fast for the darkness 
for the daemons 
for the human heart. 
Unless sick, or too old
or too young, and then 
we are carried 
by the strong. 

And as we travel 
we see each other 
across other realms, 
not always recognizable 
often not what we seem.
Look closer 
and listen to the nightmares 
to the biting 
and the possibility 
of receiving medicine 
through the fangs.

also our angels 

they come to us 
each one its own animal 
ready to bite or sting 
wrestle us to the ground
 or devour us whole 
they come in need of sustenance
or understanding 
or union 

they come to love us 
wake us out of our slumber 
to get our attention 
by any means necessary 
with a kissing or a killing
 by delighting or disgusting
 pummeling us with storms 
or fire, earthquakes, tsunamis 

monsters so horrible 
only we can imagine them 
because they know us our fears, 
our worst enemies 
our hidden demons 
to conjure and thrust 
and also our angels 
our guides and our gifts

Dream Worlds: Poems is available from the author, Marta Aarli. You can also visit her psychology website

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