C A T H Y    W E A V E R    T A Y L O R

Copyright All Content by Cathy Weaver Taylor
Autumn Tree

The doctors call it Peri-menopause
Sleepless nights
Short temper
Explosive diatribes
Passionate beliefs
And the dreaded hot flash

But I know now
That I am an autumn tree burning red 
Before I lose all my leaves and bare my branches
For the coming winter.

I know the splendid alchemy accompanying my passage,
And the brilliant hue of scarlet that changes my nurturing green leaves into something much, much more. 

A chemical change sweeps through my body altering every cell. 
And I was totally unprepared for the ultimate beauty of it all. 
As I walk through the autumn foliage, I laugh with glee at the changing scenery 
Where pastoral backgrounds become fiery infernos of yellow, orange and red. 

Leaves burn with excitement before finally letting go to drop to the ground. 
Winds howl, swirling leaves for a whirlwind ride.
And the rain, yes, the rain cries and cries and cries and washes the leaves down, too. 

And finally, after a most glorious season, the trees are bare.
And with branches outstretched to reach to the heavens above, 
They are finally able to take in all the cosmic splendor of the starry skies to come. 


That summer of discontent, feeling empty and drained,
I left and tried to move to a new place. 
And my garden, abandoned by my constant care,
Grew an abundance of gourds, gourds and more gourds.
The pushy vines grew fiercely, taking over everything in sight,
Delighting in growing fast and furious,
Producing volumes of gourds in unusual shapes, sizes, and colors. 

At the end of the summer I scratched my head, 
And juggled my amazing new harvest.
And in that fall of figuring out what to do,
Which turned out to be nothing at all,
The gourds were left to dry in the abandoned chicken coop,
And after a long, long while they dried out,
And when given a good shake,
The inner seeds were loosened and the gourds rattled to life. 

I remembered that feeling of being oh so empty,
Of being rattled to the core,
And with that memory, I became the gourd held in my hand. 
And I felt the inner seeds released within me, 
Rattling against the shell of the empty core of space within. 
Shaking that rattle, I found the total emptiness of one life
Giving way to the emerging sound of the next,
Coming full circle, I felt very much alive. 

Cut Outs

Many scissors, tape and glue sticks line the cluttered table
And papers of many colors and sizes wait

To warm up I cut a few wiggling snakes.
Then a few circles become inner spirals,
The inward journey creating inner peace
As the scissors journey within.

Then stars. 
A focal point jutting out with many sharp edges. 
Concentrating to keep points sharp and keep inner focus of middle. 

Moons are cut from circles too. 
Besides spirals the most fun. 
Slicing the edges of circles, keeping sharp narrow ends and full middles. 

My hands hold the scissors expectant, curious,
To see what will emerge next. 
What boundary will be explored?
Feeling its edge as the two blades cross
As emerging lines define
Foreground and background.
Background dropping away as scrap, as the shape appears. 

The scissors' sharp edge cuts into a new piece of paper
Beginning a new space and shape. 

Becoming my big toe, I cut it
And then I feel my arch curve in and feel
Around the heel and in at the ankle and then up to more rounded calf. 
As my scissors cut the outer boundary of my leg, 
The extra space drops away and the outer shell of leg emerges. 

I continue on cutting sturdy thigh and widened hip.
Then in at the waist, curving again for rounded breast,
Up to armpit and out to outstretched arm and fingers
Reading out, each digit reaching out. 
My scissors cut back down the arm and around to curving neck 
And out to defined chin and ear and wispy hair. 

If the paper is folded in two then I am done. 
I open up the paper to see mirrored sides becoming full woman
Each arm and leg doubled. 
The symmetry of body clear. 

The woman struts out of the page, her outer edge holding inward shape
Sometimes coming out with attitude
Other times cut as meek and mild
Reverence, awe, and wonder all expressed with cut out shapes.
Each woman cut becoming an entity in and of herself. 

Cut outs become a series of women of the night. 
Strong bodies against black starry skies with moon in different phases. 
Young, old, and middle aged,
Often symmetrical but sometimes not,
But together,
Become a parade of cut out women,
A series of edges, reveling in inner strength
Cut out from darkness.
Watch for sunshine vision

Think Goddess
Smell forest

Essential friend
Whisper moment
Be together

When will hot summer fiddle juice 
Swim in lake water
And feel lazy, languid power
Of pounding rain?
Take me like I am
Singing beneath the storm.

Shadow woman asks about all
But tells one essential truth.
Life is a luscious garden.
Share bounty.
Eat fruit.
Be gardener.
Live like true sky.
Always run through mist.
Transform from seed to fruit to seed once again.
Turtle Woman

Turtle Woman is encased in plexiglass
On the fourth floor Mayan exhibit
Of the Worcester Art Museum

Her warm brown clay preserves earth's energy.
Her broken arms, crying pain, 
Feet firmly planted, 
Rounded front of pregnant turtle shell

And without a sound, Turtle Woman lays her eggs. 

Then finally bursts forth
Shattering plexiglass case
Leaving Mayan exhibit behind
Down the elevator and out the front door
Waddling quickly now
Smelling mud, reed, swamp
Seeking return to river
Mission accomplished
Now Turtle Woman returns to cool green water
Having left her glistening eggs of uncertain future behind. 

see more art and poems below
Spider Woman

Spider Woman is a force,
The magnetic source of all our world.
Spinning, twirling might thread
To create the double illusion of time and space
The two threads that run our heads.

It is said that spider woman (when invited)
Will sit in your ear and guide you through the dark times.
She knows the labyrinth well.
She knows that the twists and turns 
Seemingly without rhyme or reason,
Gives life its true meaning. 

We're told that in days of old, 
Spider Woman leaned down and helped out:
Weaving reeds into baskets, string into nets,
And weaving thread into fabric.
Most importantly, she helped with weaving stories 
Into the fabric of life,
And the stories were the matrix each culture lived by. 

But then we put Spider Woman aside.
No one spoke of her anymore.
In the industrial Age, the modern era,
Silly stories about a spider had to go. 

Put aside into the back of a dusty, musty old closet
Spider Woman sat and sat and sat and sat 
And waited and then waited some more
And then slowly began to weave a new web.

She emerged in splendid shape, stronger and totally transformed,
Present, and yet hidden at the same time.
Quietly she has been weaving the source of the information links for this time,
Weaving the story telling world wide web, known today as the internet

Spider Woman has gone electric! She's plugged in.
Click, with a touch of the mouse, one transcends space.
Communication goes on world wide all at the same time. 

Spider Woman smiles knowingly.
The stories told within this web are finally reuniting the entire globe.
The world connects through the internet
Making Spider Woman a vital force once again. 

Honor the spider, honor the web.
Interconnections, the vital thread.
Honor the ties that bind us to earth.
Pass on the story of Spider Woman's rebirth. 

Corn Mother

Oh Corn Mother, hear my cry!

Too many in the world are hungry!

The children who are starving are too many to count,

Their mothers are mourning the loss of home and cupboard.

In some countries the storage of grain is still vast

But…. when and for whom to disperse is the question 

Our very own Corn Mother is asking us to return to the garden

She is reminding us of our power to take the seed kernels,

Bless them, and count on natural multiplication to follow

All must be allowed to eat and share in the name of her bounty

Bless us oh corn mother, so that all may eat.

Bless us all Corn Mother and bless all of our stores of good food.

May they multiply and stretch and surround the world with full bellies

So together we can all live in peace.

proceeds of sales for Corn Mother donated to www.freedomfromhunger.org

It was a very long day.

I make my way home, 

Pick up the mail, 

Get out of the car, 

Go up the stairs to the porch and unlock the door and swing it wide open.

In the corner of my eye I see.............

Aida Wedo! Greeting me. Right here, with me, in my house,

In the corner of my entrance, strong prism light with delightful fern shadow, 

A jungle like appearance,

Welcoming me with rainbow colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, violet.

I laugh and shake off the day and grab my camera to catch the moment. 

In my rainbow retreat I am at peace. Aida Wedo!

We all belong to the Boston Marathon.

On Patriot's day we awake at dawn
To hear Paul Revere shout across suburban lawn;
Then at Charles River’s start, runners dart all the way to the finish line.

The 2013 race included acts of violence.
The race ended with bombs bursting through air. 

And a cloak of guardedness descended upon the good city of Boston. 
Planes could not land, and a 15-block area was cordoned off as a crime scene. 

Pressure cooker bombs going off at the end of the race
Letting Boston know its place as a city of fear, 
A city of guards left in charge. 

At week’s end we awoke to media blare of night shoot out scare and 
Now a total lock down is taking place in neighborhood kind of space. 

A day spent in fear, keeping an ear tuned for media updates

At day’s end the suspect is found hiding, bleeding in a backyard boat, 
And the town of Boston just has to gloat because,
That suspect we sought and fought is now caught, and that is a lot. 

Wild Blueberries Call

The blueberries, they're calling, calling, calling me now
Can you hear them? 
They are calling, calling, calling me right now

We are ripe, very ripe, very blue, true, true blue
And we sit here waiting, waiting for you

Will you come? Will you pick us? For what have we grown?
We need you to pick us to feel truly known,

We grow by the wayside every year upon year, 
And we wait to be picked without any fear,

Can you hear us, we’re calling we’re calling you now
In years past people heard us, and they all came at once
They ate and they picked us one after one.

The children they’re glued to TV and computer, 
Moms are on I-phones, the air’s all a twitter


We women workers on the front lines 
Learned to wear sturdy shoes. 
We were on our feet all day, every day. 
On the level, grounded, solid, 
No teetering heels for us; not made of that kind of stuff. 

But a few, just a few, always wearing heels, 
Yearned upwards wanting more
Heads bumping against a glass ceiling
Then shattering and clattering through to view
Something more, and rocked to the core, 
These women in tottering heels
The birth of something new, 
This view of given stature from heels below
A little elevation needed
To change the status quo. 

This circus view, 
The absurd upward cue
Of a heel, click, click, click, click.

Click, click, click, click,
This sound did announce her eminent arrival
A suitable warning, like a bell on a cat’s collar
This warning, the boss was near and would soon be here. 

Her staccato notes
Informed all
Of impatience or ire
Sometimes just excited
Passion on fire

My boss, Doctor B, Queen Bee of the hive
Was a little bit of a woman, fiercely alive,
Always in heels, and stronger than steel. 

My mom only wore heels on fancy occasions
Going out to a special dinner, 
Maybe a wedding or funeral
Maybe on Easter especially if she got a new Easter hat.
But often she chose to stay home and wear slippers. 

Our calls are heard by only a few
We are lonely and our berries are falling into the dew

Look at our bounty; we grow them to share,
We grow to share berries with humans who care

Without this doesn't happen, we wonder what to do
Are we needed any longer, does it matter to you?

Moms go to the grocery and pick up a box
That’s the way we pick blueberries in the frozen food spot

We wild ones are small, but we put up a holler,
Come pick us and eat us we’re worth all the bother.

So we ask you to listen, please listen to our call
When we’re ripe we need you to come and come all!
Staccato note percussion begins the discussion of
The absurdity accompanying women of power. 
A tippling tower of tippity heels becomes the
Necessary footwear to make all the deals. 

Is this really real?

I prefer to hide for now
And dream up a future

When we as women can appear 
Without makeup or heels

We are coming and going, arriving and departing
As leaders, as shakers, as movers

Reminded of the staccato discussion
And smiling at remembered percussion
Click, click, click, click.

The Elephant in the Room

At Halloween, Samhain time
Ancestors of mine
Entered in to this time and place
To celebrate a dance
And then we were invited into the 
Council of all living things
Escorted by an elephant

Oh there’s an elephant in the room my friends
An elephant strong and true
And he’s seeing a shaken time
With species dying and webs of life interrupted 

The starfish have turned to mush in the Pacific
The dolphins and whales are shell-shocked with sonar in the Atlantic 
And the manatees are weary of oil spills in the Gulf Coast,

The bats have white nose
And the bees are no more
The moose in the woods of Maine are fading
And so it goes

 There is an elephant in the room
We cannot ignore anymore
There is an elephant in the room!!!
We can barely squeeze around him

There’s an elephant in this room
That can no longer be denied
This ‘not being able to see’
Is a terrible kind of lie. 

Rapid and multiple extinctions changes everything
Seeing the elephant in the room can no longer be denied
Indeed, there are many species leaving us,
Are we going to stay alive?

Enter into the council of all living things
See the elephant strong and true.
Look into his eyes; he is waiting for you.

The ancestors nod in agreement
It is time, it is time, it is time,
It is time for us to take our place in this council
We are one of many living things
Treasuring all that is alive
Taking our part with the greater whole
This can no longer be denied. 

After the flying, the soaring, and the caw, caw, cawing,
Comes the total stillness
And then the mighty buzzard licking clean the flesh
Leaving hard gray skull with long narrow beak and eyehole blankly gazing
Followed by ephemeral scatter of feathers
And crumpled collapse of spinal vertebrae into separate pieces. 
A reminder of the total beauty of release,
Letting go of our place here on earth. 

Poem evolved from a Patricia Smith workshop sponsored by Damfino Press in June 2015