The Four Faced Wind

Poetry by Valeria Castellanos


January 2021

Magic Carpet Ride

My artwork, ink on paper, 5½” x 7⅞”

We are on a magic carpet ride,
On an undulating road of cloud,
We are sailing through jade jungle halls,
Over emerald shade, green light grown walls,
Over seashell sparkles and opal streams,
Our hair kissed about in the gold sunbeams.

‘Round towers and torrents of cloud we fly,
Our wild spirits soar like the birds of the sky,
And, the span of our wings is as wide as the sea,
For I am in love with you,
With you,
And, you are in love with me.

An indigo light,
Floods the sky of our night.
The moon follows soon,
As a worn, silvers sphere,
She smiles like a mermaid,
A soul hovering near,
In an octopus cloud,
Spun of dark mist and swirls,
Medusa’s hair shining with snake spittle’s curls,
And, the span of our wings is as wide as the sea,
For I am in love with you,
With you,
Oh, with you,
And, you are in love with me.

At night we fly soft,
Through the cool Milky Way,
On the warmth of the winds,
Through the sparkling day.
You and I are there dreaming ones.
We are the drifters,
The whispering wind-waifs,
The ghosts of shape shifters.
We are the wandering, wondering nomads,
The pilgrims of spinning-skies wild open roads,
The green flash of sunset, the purple moon’s nodes.
We are children of all but forgotten stars,
Blue-green dreams of Neptune,
Red kisses of Mars.
We are made dizzy by dancing with the rainbow,
Flying with griffins above laughing trees,
By humming in clouds where the bright thunder seethes,
And, breathing the air that the sky giants breathe.

The silver sea shimmers,
Sea glimmers,
Grows wet,
Under our feet,
And, the heat,
And, the butterflies rise,
To a wondrous size.
They glow in our eyes,
And, their flash conjures visions,
Of velvet disguise,
Of orchid brushed breeze,
Of thin, cloud-whisp trees,
Of sky-haloed heron,
And, jasmine kissed bees.

When we come back to land,
Put your hand in my hand.
With hearts still in the sky,
Let’s make love in the sand,
For I am in love with you,
Oh, with you,
And, you are in love with me.

Are You Going to the Everglades?

All emerald and ochre,
Under a wet skin,
Snake skin,
And, painted snails,
Wings and stings,
And, feathered things,
And, fearful things,
In the shadows,
Panther prowling,
In the shade,
Hot breath,
Right or left,
Steaming mud,
A muck eel flood,
Cold blood,
Leaves of jade,
Don’t be afraid.
Jump up or fade,
Circumvent, sidestep or wade,
Carved or curled up,
Cut out,
Above, below and all about,
Scrambling, rambling,
Underbrush and brick-a-brack,
You’re it now. You can’t hit back.
Can’t run away and can’t backtrack.
Don’t try to hide.
Can’t go inside.
No, all entwined,
Tied up in vines,
The sunlight shines.
The birds a twitter,
Bright eyes glitter,
Leaf-litter shuffles,
Sweet or bitter.
You stay here. I’ll go away,
I have to say I’ll be gone awhile,
But, I’ll be laughing. That’s my style.
And, I’ll wear an alligator smile.

Size of a Spirit

Do not scorn the insects.
Ask instead, “What is the size of a spirit?”
Man sized, spirit,
I say,
Or, eyes all afire,
And, too small to be seen,
Stiff hair flying,
Wearing a wildly painted mask.

Size of a monster, perhaps,
Stamping, snorting,
Itching for a fight,
Size of a jungle,
In the green fire-light?
A single, looming eye,
In the sky,
Giant sized the spirits run,
As in times gone by.

What do the temples say,
The temples with mouths the size of doors?
What say the gargantuan Olmec Heads?
What says the Pyramid of the Sun,
Where men turn into gods?

Smaller than the pick,
Of the firefly’s light,
In the night.
Size of a spider’s smile,
Small as the heart of a seed,
Of a weed,
Size of the spark,
Which moves the Morning Star,
The Evening Star,
The Wishing Star.

It has been said,
And, I believe it,
The spirit weighs,
The same as an insect.
“Which insect?” You are going to ask.
“Which spirit?” I will have to answer.
The spirit of a man,
Is the size of an ant.
An ant, an ant.
The size of an ant.
Well, what is the size of an ant?
A black ant, red ant?
A jaw snapping fire ant?
A South American Army Ant?
A little, leaf cutting, foraging, farmer of lichen?
A nightmare ant?
An ant the size of delirium?

The spirit of a man is the size of an ant,
Because, this allows it,
To come and to go away freely.
The spirit of resurrection,
Is the size of a scarab beetle.
Such a tiny thing, it seems,
To power the whole world.

And, the breath of a man,
What is the size of his breath?
The breath of his life,
The size of his life?
And, his words,
And, his thoughts,
His reason,
His wind and his mind?

His breath is the size,
And, the shape of a serpent,
An elephant serpent,
Serpent the size of a mountain,
The size of the sea,
Transparent as anything you’ve ever seen.

This is our being,
And, this is my poem.
Who knows where size it may be?
It, too, is away, like a word, like a bird,
Like a soul,
Like a shiver along the spine,
Without a reason, without a rhyme,
Just like a murmur,
Too small to be seen.

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