07_02_15 Du Brauchts nur Gedichteschuhe

Komm mit mir mein liebe Schaf
Komm mit mir mein liebe Schaf

Du bist die Tinte meiner Märchenwelt.
Bitte, nimm diese Gedichteschuhe
Damit du mit mir in diesem Gedicht
Wandern kannst.
Bitte, bleib mit mir in diesem Gedicht,
Teil mit mir
Unsere einzigartige Sprache.

Eine ganze Welt liegt in diesem Gedicht
Und glaub mich mein Schaf,
Bis an Ende der Welt ginge ich mit dir,
Würdest du mit mir bummeln?

Das ist eine Welt in der
Der Rhein fließt,
Die Tulpen und die Senfeblumen wachsen,
Die gelbeblumen der Vor und Nachfreude.

Das ist eine Welt in der
Wir schaukeln zwischen wunderschönen Wörter,
Wir sitzen mit
Der heißen Schokolade unserer Freundschaft,
Starke, warme,
Und gemütliche.
Um diese heiße Schokolade
Können wir für die Ewigkeit

Das ist eine Welt in der
Ein Schafetraum wächst,
Und wir leben in
Eine Welt in der
Wir zeichnen die Wege unserer Langlaufskis,
In allen den magischen
Verschneiten Wald Blätter,
Zwischen den
Unsere besondere Freundschaft scheint,
Und alles unser wörterabenteuer
Werde Balsam für die Seele sein.

Schreib mit mir mein liebe Schaf
Schreib mit mir mein liebe Schaf…

06_02_15 Je t’aime in Frenglish

Few people would believe me
If I told them that
The best part of Switzerland for me
Was all the love that came from Germany.
And though it hurts so much,
And though my eyes flow like the Rhein,
I know hurt is part of love
And hurt we must,
Until it’s washed away
And we can see each other again
Some brillant snowed or summer’s day.

But for now, je me sens
Comme un petit animal blessé
Qui a qu’une seule envie,
De s’endormir pour toujours,
Dans la neige et dans le froid.

Mais je t’aime trop pour ça.
Après tout je t’aime en two imaginations
Je t’aime in Frenglish,
I love you en Franglais.
La langue de ma plus profonde émotion,
Et de me première véritable amie.

I jump from world to monde
Searching for l’expression parfaite,
Mais tu me manque
Between les deux
Dans le space perdu.

Je n’aurais jamais cru
Que quelqu’un pouvait m’aimer,
Au tant
Sans even being amoureuse
With me.
Malheureusement, because I value
This noble love of amitié so much
I fell in love with toi,
And you paraît to me,
L’unique amour de toute ma vie.

You asked me once upon a time,
On a promenade –
À quoi tu penses?
– J’avais trop peur de te répondre
I pense only of toi.

How can the void
That crushes my sleepless nuits,
Be filled with so much misery?
Les matins sont un enfer
Remplie de peine –
Without you ce monde est fragmented
My pen is errant and erratic,
Not quite knowing if any page or plume,
Can soulage
My tellement shattered cœur, my heart so éclaté.
The pain bilingue
Doubles emotion in my aching âme.

Il n’y aura jamais enough de mots
Dans toutes les langues
Pour te dire
How many mondes d’amour
You could live en moi.

Le domaine de ma poésie se brise
Against the icy shores du lac remué,
Par un vent si froid
That I feel my heart turn
To brittle shards of glace,
And icy songs are all that wail
Within my barely breathing human cave,
Frigid sangs is all that flows
Within my hopeless veines,
But, tout cela fondra
When the printemps comes again.

And I will write you a whole wide world,
Peuplé de mots et de moutons.

05_02_15 Ma Mouton, Ma Meilleure Amie

Quand je suis (vraiment) née dans ce pays,
Il y avait une mouton,
Arrivée chez moi.

O douce Mouton!
Tu es venu comme une lumière,
Eclairer ma vie,
Et pour moi, Mouton, tu es devenue
La meilleure des amies.
Tu l’as été, tu l’es toujours,
Et tu le seras à jamais.

Une mouton est ma meilleure amie,
Parce qu’elle est une amie
Qui aime sans réserve,
Qui est paisible comme la douceur
Des champs du plus fleuri printemps.

Ma mouton me donne de l’ancre
Pour mon imagination.
Ma mouton est l’amie
Qui irait avec moi
Jusqu’à l’infini.
Ma mouton est une amie
Qui accueille
Tantôt mes cris de joie,
Tantôt mes larmes de désespoir,
Tout le temps avec la même douceur.
Ma mouton est une amie
Avec qui j’ai partagé
Tous les simples bonheurs de cette belle vie,
Les matins de muesli,
Les siestes en plein soleil,
Les promenades au bord du lac,
Et tous les secrets aussi brillant
Et profonds que ceux-ci déjà dit.

Cette mouton est une amie,
Qui a été
Très patiente pour moi,
Et qui devra l’être encore,
Mais je sais qu’elle le fera.

Ma mouton est une amie
Qui ne m’oubliera jamais,
Parce qu’elle m’a observé
Avec toute son âme,
Elle n’est pas parfaite,
Mais c’est comme ça
Que je l’aime.
Et elle m’a quand même
Aidé de tout son cœur,
Malgré la peine,
Ou la peur
Que ça a pu lui faire.
Et c’est peut-être pour ça,
Que j’ai tant de peine,
À marcher ce chemin
Sans elle.
Même si je sais au fond de moi,
Que ma mouton
Est toujours là
À veiller tendrement sur moi.
Parce que pour moi, Mouton,
Tu seras toujours
La meilleures des amies.
Doux à moi
Toutes les douceurs
De ma vie.

04/02/2015- The Beating of Your Heart

What does it mean,
To be so terrible at goodbyes?
Is there anyone who’s good at them?
Please tell me where they are,
So that I may learn from them.

If only they were endless,
For there’s never time enough,
To craft the perfect tragic ending.
I did not hold your face,
Or look into your eyes enough,
Or tell you that you meant the universe to me.
It was the rushing of too thick emotion,
That winding clock of pained intensity.

Now, I feel the ever-expanding gap of time
Severing me each minute from your warmth,
And the first and the last
Time, I lay in your arms.
That dreadful day was bittersweet,
When at last,
I heard the beating of your tender heart.
That remarkable sound,
Pulsing forward all your love and strength.
At night I hear the same deep rhythm
Believing briefly you are there,
But, it’s my own sick heart,
Still keeping time with yours,
Pacing in the dark.

How could something so süß,
Like gentle lamb and sheep,
Playing in yellow flowered fields,
Produce such an atrocious yearning?
A consumed and bleating heart?

I hope the spring will come again,
Green and innocent and flowing,
Shafts of golden light,
In endless rivers of delight.
And the European bells will toll,
The hours of the circling clocks.
One, two, three, four,
Counting every quarter,
Like you taught me so,
And you will cut the tulips in the field,
And make that beautiful bouquet again,
I know you will, ma chère amie,
And think of me with all your loving heart,
So all will echo in my loving heart.

I’ve decided to accept a challenge from my brother- to make 5 pieces of art in 5 days. I have chosen to do 5 poems. I am posting them as I wrote them on the day. I am not working on them anymore than whatever time I feel the energy to write them during the day. Perhaps someday though, I will re-edit them. We’ll see. But I think I’d like to simply leave them as they came out.

03/02/2015- The Worst Day of My Life

It seems that yesterday was the worst day

Of my entire life.

But, now I know that I was wrong

For yesterday I still had the sweet divine

Grace of your company

And you let me drench you in my nightmare tears

And curl up in your love and warmth

Today I’m void and crying tears in tears.

Today you are gone

And I feel I’ve nowhere in the world to stay

And Today is truly the worst day of my life

Unless, of course, its possible that tomorrow

I will sink further even more

Into the dredge of misery

I thought I saw your figure today

Blonde, tall,

And waiting for me at the end of the driveway

Like I know you will someday

Yesterday I took the plunge

My tears were river enough

I told you I might drown

But now I know I won’t let it go

Life, I mean

Because if you exist

There’s good enough in this world

For me to stay

Instead I’ll go to the far bank before I sink too far

And someday hope we shall meet

Again on the same gleaming spring time shore

I have so few photographs of you

But, isn’t that the way it always is

With lightning bolt blue iridescent love?

For now I’ll know the love I have for you

And you for me, is still reflected in the blue

That will between us ever expand

In Magritte folds of puffy whites and blues

I thought I might have lost you

I thought this time I really did.

But you are always my darling shimmering you.

Blinking beautiful in the clearest blue.

My dearest and darling Sierras,

You will have to be patient with me, I fear. Oh, of course I do hear the call of your Clark’s nutcrackers calling me from the dry white-bark pined heights to hike up and have a picnic or stay a starry night or two. But for the moment I cannot be witness to your majesty. I am sorry. Let me explain. I do think of you and your high lunar plateaus very often. So, so, often. Do know, that I miss you terribly, I really do. I knew I would, but I still left. I suppose your quite puzzled, may be even hurt by that?


Mt Tyndall, Sierra Nevada

But who am I kidding? I’m the sensitive human swooning after your slopes, and you, you and your granite slabs don’t give even a quartz about how much I love you. You’ll never care, no matter how much I pine after you and how much I wish you did at times.


On the slopes of Mt. Williamson, Sierra Nevada

Of course, you don’t judge me or anyone either, and that is all the more a reason to love you.

So here I find myself scoffing you and affording myself the luxury of getting to know some others. So that I can come back to know you even better. Yes, absolutely, I promise, that’s one of the reasons. Oh, but of course, I’m not just doing it for you, it’s for my own selfish yearnings to be quenched of course. Human is what I am, remember?

But you are afraid I’ll fall in love are you not? My own vanity would wish it so…

I can desiccate from Alp back to Sierra, of that I am sure, but after that I must certainly be quenched.

After all, mountains are lovers of the rarest sort, affording one luxuries that most cannot – chief among them patience and reassurance of a geological timescale. But at the same time they can be quite fickle – the freedom they permit is at the mercy of many caprices-   like the ruthlessness of their ripping winds or the indifference of their dry creek beds. What I will never understand is how mountains can have so much character and yet care so little…

near Mt. Langley, Sierra Nevada

near Mt. Langley, Sierra Nevada

I’ve left you know, only to know that I will come back. After all if I never left, how would I know that my happiness, or rather my person within you is complete? That I truly would not rather be anywhere else?

I do not yet know much about these Alps. I do know that they are beautiful and strikingly iconic, but are they warm (in the figurative sense)? How merciless are their glaciers? And how enchanting? Can these Alps do what I fear they might? Can they become the place I want to be? No, no that would not be possible. But it is dangerous for me to tempt, no? What do you think? That sparkling crisp scenery, those abundant snows, those hauntingly well chiseled ice formations, those daintily flowered meadows, and those eccentrically sculpted peaks… and let me not forget their charming creatures- the gliding chocards, the graceful chamois, the affable marmots and the nimble bouquetin… they are captivating indeed…

chocard gliding in Swiss bliss

chocard gliding in Swiss bliss


view from Riederalp on three Swiss giants: Monte Rosa, Matterhorn, Weisshorn


hiking above Zermatt!


young bouquetin at home in his Alps

I’ve already known the pristine greens of Swiss summer heights, which admittedly I thoroughly enjoy and though you perhaps cannot match them in freshness and serenity I can’t say that they will ever be as wild and sun-seared as you.


alpine flowers above Villars, Switzerland

And it is true the Alps have too many traces of those other arrogant bipeds who also happen to be my beloved kin. Towns, huts, and villages in every vale, unavoidable. But, again, I can’t say I know them well yet, and they certainly intrigue me. I am, after all, determined to find their wilderness, wherever it may be…

view from Fenêtre d’Arpette along the Tour du Mont Blanc

Surely I can learn things from them and come back and devote myself wholly to you. With the wisdom I bring back to you we can gallivant all day, I promise. And yes, of course I’ll enjoy myself, but don’t be too jealous, okay? Oh, you couldn’t care less, I know…

The thing is, I don’t know these Alps like I know you. Would you be okay if I got to know them?

With mountains, I suppose, one can permit oneself this ambivalence…

Leaving you and yet knowing I want to stay with you forever is the most beautiful of the selfish melancholies. I do feel your pull, my dears. I suppose that is why I needed to leave, to feel the strength of your magnet. And oh what a magnet you are! My heart still surges with your river cascades! My veins flow livid with your spring melts! With your fields of lupine and shooting stars! With your swallow-tail butterflies in low meadows and your chirping pikas in high talus fields. And your clumsy bumbling bears or you sky pilots still vibrant in the highest of granite’s cracks. Even the imprint of your relentless dust on my achilles is a source of heart-ache. Oh to plunge into your glistening glacial lakes again…


lupines in Desolation Wilderness, Sierra Nevada


June ice near Bishop Pass, Sierra Nevada


shooting stars in Yosemite National Park, Sierra Nevada


swallow-tail butterfly, Sierra Nevada

May be I was fragmented when I left you, unsure of my geology. And may be I’ll never be whole, always be a split soul, but that’s okay too isn’t it? In a place where it’s okay to be split and torn and tormented because it’s just part of the landscape, it is in fact the essence of the landscape. That’s what makes you seem so feeling and so beautiful and so sympathetic. You’re a place where one can stand firm in one’s loneliness and tears and in personal gashes, no matter the slant. And in loneliness of the grandest dimensions. Where we are allowed to be maximally ourselves, stretched to bear everything of the vastness inside of us, where fragility and harshness coexist. This is where the light always comes through, where it finds new brilliance every day in firewood and shooting stars and leopard lilies.

When I come back, because I will, I will gaze admiringly into your placid surfaces. I will break into your shimmers and your gleams for a shock so profound, for having waited so long to relish in a reinvigorating depth.


Finger Lake above Big Pine, Sierra Nevada


view above Shepard pass, Sierra Nevada

I will shiver warm in your presence and let the ecstasy of your rock encased mirrors submerge me eternal. All hurt will blend and ease in your variable lights. Spring sorrows and ice cracking spectacles of joy will quiver side by side. I will wander idly and roam home without a home because in you I’m always homeward freed. I will forget everything, save the next pine tree. In your desolate meadows I will contain all my sorrows and my love, and I will find the places where I can shout naked emotions without a sound. Lost places to feel utterly found. And for all this, the blisters of life will melt away under your constellated skies. In the intimacy of your silence, you will be the refuge for all the unrequited love in the world.


along the John Muir Trail, Sierra Nevada


along the John Muir Trail, Sierra Nevada

My human arrogance hopes this letter will mean something to you. Could you not just show me a fleck, a minute speck of granitic love? How long does it take for mountains to love you back? I love you openly and unabashed. And yet, and yet… I cannot say that you do not as you have always shown me the entirety your heart…

Ever thine,

Chamois Jane

You know how smells can be powerful memory triggers? (an interesting article on that if you’re interested: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120312-why-can-smells-unlock-memories/1 )

And what of music? I think it’s safe to say we’ve all linked certain songs to certain memories, places or people. I find that music is usually less powerful for triggering past emotions. However, recently I had the most powerful recall experience (smell or song) I’ve ever had. It was with this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKNAfTowygA

It is a song I played very repetitively last year, especially in late winter and spring. It wasn’t at all like the many times songs have reminded me of certain times or places. It was utterly overwhelming – I felt everything I had felt during that time when I would play it loudly and on repeat in my West Davis apartment room. All at once.

I felt the tired over-coffeed mornings. I smelled the cheap apartment walls and the musty pond outside. I felt the precious light of my north-facing room, pale and cold, but of a certain softness. I felt the days full of running and climbing and biking and the in-betweens of depression and loneliness. Not knowing what to do because I was still unsatiated but so wanted to pursue something passionately. I pitied myself as I re-lived weeping to my parents on Skype, time and time again, on those days when existence was at its most crushing and confusing.

I could feel the dry Davis winds penetrating everywhere in the flat landscape. And biking or driving to teach French early in the morning and then coming back weak and hungry because often I had not yet eaten breakfast and after having eaten kefir, cheerios, and blueberries running 8 or 10 miles on the lonely farm roads and then being exhausted. Because I had to even when I wasn’t sure I was enjoying it. Because I was completely lost and there was no one, or it seemed that way sometimes. But there were also long almost-summer evenings and beautiful olive tree sunsets and olive stains on my running shoes and contentment of days well spent and effort not wasted. At one point I was running in a diffuse mist beneath a double- rainbow with Ivan. But the rainbows didn’t last long. Because then I found myself returning home that constellated night with my pan empty of the cake I shouldn’t have left him and now I was all empty too and if it couldn’t work then, when could it and what was wrong with me? And it definitely wasn’t summer yet because the night was too cold.

I even saw again the flashbacks I would have when listening to it during that time, flashbacks to a summer of scrambling through Yosemite’s loneliest places. I was introduced to this group of musicians (but not this song, which I discovered later) while riding the ups  and downs of dusty dirt roads in the back of the blue Ford Escape that was our vessel to the wilderness. When I think about now, I was a bit lost then too.

Again, I was coming back late from the Rocknasium, having not washed my chalked hands yet and still smelling of grainy plastic holds and sweat and approaching summer and wearing the cut-sleeve shirt I had made with Izzy. Coming home late from the running club too, the days getting longer, too hungry to shower before eagerly eating dinner. Burned brussel sprouts and grilled cheese sandwiches. Lentils with too much cumin. Pita bread sandwiches. My first orange marmalade. Persimmon bread all season long. Too much Yolo Berry sugar. Cheap watery coffee from the office.

There was REI too and leaving the car in the parking lot early on Saturday mornings, nervous to run long long runs in the Folsom hills. And of course there was being sleepless. There were happy lunches at Izzy’s followed by depression, because it was all too short and how long would I have to wait for another one. And the depressed days following the marathon elation when gravity pulled more than ever and I dragged my sorrow weighted self through runs that weren’t runs like the 11 miles in an oppressive heat that was too much and made me sick all afternoon long.

There was also the noisy, but always present geese. And maniacally making cards or duct tape items and a mountain-shaped cake.

Needing to oil my bike. Writing about George Mallory. The rustling of the blinds and the striped light that came through them until I opened them. Reading Anna Karenina on my bed.

Sitting on a bench looking at the drying pond in a new spring light trying to memorize Hamlet’s soliloquy. Waiting for someone to call. The first blooming trees and white petal snow.

The Subaru, a safe haven, my warmth and my music, and freedom of sorts.

There were the frogs outside the apartment, waiting for insects by the large illuminated black numbers 4 an 0. The incessant and insistent chirping of the pond. And how it reminded me of a tropical place. And the death of a teacher.

Or taking my steadfast steed Chihiro Shadowbike of the West, a true Davis bike with its rusty but oh-so-trusty baskets to Trader Jo’s and being so happy that Damien would every so often call me on his lunch break.

There was all of west Davis with its charming homes and paths full of pine needles and happy families and migratory birds and flat fields and endless skies and blazing sunset clouds. The golden light of California bliss.

There was the ever present climbing chalk streak on my red spike bag. The satisfaction and oh-so-proud feeling of new routes and moves on the wall. Suppleness and new strength.

I must note that the song stayed mostly in Davis.

It doesn’t remind me of Shasta or the elation that followed (but this song does: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-WP6POdTgY). Or of backpacking with Elizabeth and Cat in Desolation Wilderness. Or cross country skiing with Kevin on New Year’s. Or kayaking with Izzy and Kelly and Sylvia and an OA group at Pt. Reyes. Or climbing in Tahoe with my co-workers. Or skiing with Bobby. Or the March marathon and spending time with Marvin, Nick, and Katie. Or the three days of elation after the marathon. Or visiting Oakland and Santa Cruz in January and seeing Katie, Marvin, Sarah, Mike, Adair, Benny, Nick, Elizabeth, Hanna. Or Sunday night bike rides in Folsom with my co-workers. All wonderful outdoor memories. And plenty of other things that for some reason or other don’t surface with this song.

I think it was mostly about the thing that kept haunting my mind that I couldn’t quite touch. Swinging from lows to highs of emotion and not knowing why. When listening to it again I mostly felt an overwhelming amount of sadness and helplessness and the crushing weight of vulnerability and too much crying. Yet being able to re-feel the exact same feelings was marvelous!!

It is mostly sad, after all the song title does nothing to suggest otherwise. But I really don’t think it’s all sad. There are beautiful bits too, just as the song itself is beautiful. It was still a period of many adventures and discovery, of instability certainly, but I am glad of the emotions. Being lost isn’t all bad after all.

When I replay it I know what is going to play, but the emotions whelm up every time. It doesn’t make me cry every time, but it can. I played it several times as I wrote to see what other bits of that particular year, that “gap year”, could surface. Every time I play it I can dig up more scraps of the mosaic.

To be flooded with these feelings and smells again was more than remembering or reflecting, it was re-living. I didn’t remember the emotions, I felt them. Incredible! They say that sometimes when you die you see your whole life flash before your eyes. For me, re-playing this song was like condensing all those months into one emotional flash.

Have you had a recall experience such as this one? With what song or smell, or something else?


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.