The Four Faced Wind

Poetry by Valeria Castellanos




Dragonfly – Painted Leaf by V. Castellanos

Who was it then? Who told me to write this poem?

Already here when I arrived
the dragonfly
   with a wingspan as wide as my hand
   eyes composed of a thousand facets
a thousand questions
a thousand answers
I imagine she is awake because
her eyes are open
   but, she may just be dreaming me

I am dreaming she is my friend because
we share the same stars
   we wear the same seasons
   we bare the same reasons
I am dreaming
   we both believe in joyful cooperation

The edge of the world is blazing bright
barely able to contain us both
   vibrations of a glass bell
   green grass on the breeze
While we are here
   contemplating one another
   a dream
   dreaming another dream
   under a cloudless sky
   we have been growing
Glowing in a world without shadows
   our corners cleaned by the same wind
   imaginations digesting the same perfume
   learned to sing the same songs
     under the same conduction
     of the energy of the sky
     the same reverberations of the earth

Sooner or later the dragonfly
with her questioning eyes
   wing-span as wide as my hand
   silently containing
   answers I cannot fathom
   as still now as the crystal afternoon
   will decide she has learned everything I could teach her
   will decide I have invaded her solitude
     her independence
     her self-sufficiency
She will forget her dream
   and my dream
   forget about me
   fly away
   be gone from my sight forever

I will never learn
everything she could teach me
I will forever be unable to fly
    to be as self-sufficient
    independent or solitary as she
I will stay here
   singing the songs we learned together
   under the conduction of the universe
   holding your hand
   without a dragonfly
   energy of the sky
   vibrations of a glass bell
   reverberations of the earth

I will be holding your hand
contemplating one another
   digesting the same perfume
   in a million crystal afternoons
   blazing bright

The dragonfly
gone from my sight
asked me not to forget
She said this moment is worth a poem

Mountains and Stones

I speak to mountains,
And, have conversations with stones,
Although this isn’t as easy as you might think,
Because, we have to speak,
In a different temporal continuum.

We talk about sizes and shapes.
We speak of temperature conduction,
Molecular construction, gravity,
And, internal crystalline geometry.
We chat about atomic structure and astronomical design,
Expansion, contraction, density,
Texture, space and weight,
About volume and viscosity,
About force fields and reverberations,
And, about the nature of waves.

We never talk about eternal life,
Love or poetry,
Dreams or even time travel.
For that I have to wait and speak to the flowers,
Who understand romance and flight,
Pheromones and symphonic composition.

The stones tell me,
When the earth was slapped by the moon,
Perhaps just rough housing around,
Perhaps in a jealous rage,
The earth got piqued,
And, with fight-back “I’ll show you” energy,
Set about more magic,
Than was ever before conceived.
Then all of our symmetry was altered,
And, everything became a possibility.

The stones want to know if we appreciate,
The nearly impossible underlying precision,
And, the unending, multiple coincidences of the universe.

I ask them,
About the ice ages,
About the magnetism of the North Pole,
About particle entanglement,
The proportion of space to matter in atoms,
And, why it is that everything can be reduced to mathematics.

They never really answer my questions.
Instead, they complain because,
We are always moving forward,
With great regard to the future,
While the wisdom of the past,
Is swallowed up in the irretrievable gravity sink,
Of our DNA and our dismembered memories,
Snaps at our ankles,
Crumbles into sinkholes and quicksand,
And, creates the karmic weather.




So, into the wide, wild world I would go.

There were so many things that I wanted to know,
About stones, about clouds, about dragonfly’s feet,
About why the sun rises, and what wizards eat,
About roots and rainbows and red birds in flight,
Why teddy bears snuggle and toy soldiers fight,
Why angels smile brightly and why spiders bite,
About fire and ashes and passion and snow,
Melodies, symphonies, magnetic flow,
To places with faces I wanted to go.
With a laugh and a teardrop, a smile and a cry,
A wedding, a bedding, a child and a sigh,
My kisses were given, my messages sent,
My heart throbs were broken, my appetites spent.

Now, I wonder where all of my wondering went.

How Will I Know?

The sky is covered with sleeping stars
The thick leaves are moon-shadow filled
I will be up and will walk the fields
As soon as the dew fills the spider’s webs
But tonight I am lost in this dream
I am following the footprints the winds left behind
When they stole all the flowers that fell from the sky
I am sitting on stilled clouds and asking
How does the fisherman know, in his bones
Where he should cast out his fishing net?
I am asking how will I know
When I’m old
In which garden the lillies
Will first come to bloom?


by V. Castellanos – 2001

Everglades by the Sea

Everglades by the Sea

Have you heard the oyster’s
Paleolithic songs?
Have you heard the callings,
Of the blue whelks on the beach?
Have you heard the quite poems,
Of the salty, green-glass sea?
Have they said to you,
The things they say to me?
Or, have they whispered mysteries,
Only to your ears?

Neither the sea nor the Everglades,
Are ready to answer my questions.
The sea is forever restless,
And, the Everglades have no voice.

The swamp mud carries dark, magic spells,
And, the Everglades carry curses,
But, wherever you go, there are no caves,
With wind rushing out of their mouths.
They issue no warnings, no premonitions,
They sing no prophetic songs,
They will not tell me the future,
Nor give me a reason to be.
So, how do I know where to go,
To hear the voice of my Sybil?

I am beginning to think,
The questions I ask,
Do not have answers, yet.
Tomorrow, perhaps, they will no longer matter.
But, when I am in the Everglades,
Although there’s darkness in the shades,
The heron’s eyes are very jolly,
And, I am away from melancholy.
The wind is made of merry laughter.
Now, it seems, I can’t remember,
What it was that I came here after.

But, some time in the future,
All my questions will be answered.

by V. Castellanos – January 10, 1999


Beauty – Digital Art by V. Castellanos

Oh, dark Soothsayer
Who visits me in dreams
I ask you to tell me
The secrets of coming time
Tell me how long we have to wait
For the break up of the image

Only reality works
So, when will it stop being possible
For us to pretend
We are something else?

Are machine thoughts taking us over?
Electric power in the air
Microwaves in our hair
Radio waves, x-rays
Wi-fi, open your eyes
Revelations filling the skies
Reverberations throughout the earth
To what are they giving birth?

Tell me, how will beauty
Which cannot be taken apart
Everything in my life
Is really, intuition or inspiration
And, half of everything I know
Is my imagination

Thales of Miletus
Who kissed his own muses
Said everything is made out of water
And, everything is filled with chaos
That is the nature of things

And, so, I am wet
Because I am alive
And, I kiss my muses

I swallow water
I swallow chaos

I open my mouth to speak
And, I eat up the chaos of clouds
I eat up the rain with what I say
Words wash out of my mouth
And, stream into the rivers

All of the rivers flow into the sea
And, the sea is speaking back to me
Overflowing with chaos and words

I am the opposite of chaos
I restore order
My enemy is entropy
Using my energy
Gives me more
It dies if I let it lie still

I am harmonic
And, a part of harmony itself
My greatest belief is in beauty
Poems are how I bestow my kisses
And, why I am still in possession
Of all of my certainty

This is how I know that my spine
Is the spatial curve of the universe
My sacred body is the structure
And, the basis of all of the world

And, I have a precious knowledge
That beauty is a God

I prefer beauty to everything
To ambition and to appetite
To advantage, adventure and habit
To satisfaction and to opinion
To luxury, ease and inertia

And, the words that are flowing
Out of the ocean
Are proclaiming
Loud and clear
Announcing to everyone
Far and near
To anyone who wants to hear

Beauty has its own meaning
And, beauty is not an accident

V. Castellanos 1999



Eclipse, eclipse
A moment of bliss
A blush, a kiss
Perhaps a chance
Perhaps a dance
A moment to embrace romance
The end of waiting
At last a mating
A merger of souls
Entranced, vibrating
A wild flirtation
An invitation
An undertaking
An earth shaking, agitation
A penetrating, fascinating
Joyful, new awakening

What a collaboration!
A vibrant coordination
A vision of orbiting collision
The culmination of an elation
The intention of a capture
Made of wild and rampant rapture
A revelation, the best sensation
A sweet invocation
To moths of the night
And, to owls on the wing
For stars to shine brightly
And, planets to sing

An accident, a destiny
A time of love, a time of fate
Time to destroy, to hate or create
What is this moment of mating creating?
Is it for loving? 
Is it for hating?
Tell us, oh, tell us
The whole world is waiting

The hot sun is growling
The cold moon is howling
This magic conjunction of powers, is scowling
Announcing the birth of a minatour monster
A human imposter
An apple with thorns
Or a songbird with horns
Is it time for a demon or wild flower
To prosper?

A time to take care,
And, to be most aware
So, turn and see who’s 
Standing right next to you
And, do you know why they are there?

I Want to Ask the Lizards

Lizard - not my art

I want to ask the lizards

In clouds, what faces do they see?

What are their expectations

Of the flower and the tree?

Have they cultivated

A great desire to fly?

What colors call them by their names

From the blinding sky?

What are the ancient rituals

They use to worship gods?

What are the words of lullabies

They sing to milkweed pods?

What in the wide world do they love?

And, what to them is frightening?

From where do they think comes the storm?

And, what’s the use of lightning?

Where do they think the stars are going?

Why is the river always flowing?

Why does the earth spin ’round about?

What makes the thunder want to shout?

When they’re waiting, in the sun

Do they wonder, just for fun

What would keep the wind from blowing?

And, what will they do if the roots stopped growing?

Valeria Castellanos – March 12, 2015

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