Hélène Cardona

From The Heart With Grace

Wind, who yearns to be savored, offers
me three cups overflowing
with eternity, daemon of insight.
The opportune encounter enraptures quintessential
distress, ruffles estranged quietude,
kindles a jeu d'esprit, glückliche Reise,
propels the fervent fragrance
of heliotrope, hyacinth and honeysuckle.
The tremulous hibiscus taunts me to warm climates,
reminds me I remain a thistle, resilient,
rooted in Mediterranean Celtic fringe.

Do you remember a language older
than time, when a shiver down my mother's
spine was worth a thousand words
and the melancholy in my father's eyes,
reflecting Lake Geneva, was indecipherable?
There unbeknownst to me
in a world inhabited by swans,
I too swim in concentric circles
to find the resonance of my core
and discover that in dreaming
lies the healing of earth. In dreaming
we travel to a place where all is forgiven.
In dreaming is the Divine created.

And the great Oneness whispers ex-voto,
I am centaur by any other name,
I am griffin by any other name,
I am mermaid by any other name,
my raison d'être insubstantial, chameleon,
excavated like a talisman from wreckage,
resplendent fresco catapulted
Beyond whimsical metamorphic frontiers.

Dancing The Dream

      This is a story of flight,
      a story of roots,
      a story of grace.
      I am the wandering child.
      Every journey knows a secret destination.
      I'll find my way without a map, rely
      on memory embedded in my mother's embrace
      on stormy nights at the foot of the Alps.
      I'll find home in the heart
      of a rose, retrieve my soul,
      anchored in the still point
      where psyche rests,
      the presence of mystery so luminous
      I'm infused with its essence.
      I walk the labyrinth, let
      go of confined desires.
      I rip the vine intertwined around
      the umbilical, liberate the letters of
      my name. They soar above the ocean       
      for the falcon to reclaim.
      I’m dancing the dream
      on the brink of barren ravaged realms.
      From volcanic pumice and pure clay
      I reap scrumptious blossoms of love,
      earth’s sweet and savory ambrosia.

Shaman In Residence

Halfway through the journey
      she finds herself inside the whale,
confined to mull her condition over,
      what led this far,
      what lies behind the baleen,
      what passageway to heed.
Memories transpire on the edge of iodine -
      girl on a swing
      deep blueness of lovers’ embrace
      horses catching fish -
till ocean expels her on the shore,
      diamond pain, weapon and jewel,       
      sea glass licked by the sun.
The way land greets her,
      she enters this sacred
      place called winter, elusive epiphany.
With a different face, liquid language,
      she seeps into sand in search of treasures.

Hélène Cardona

Hélène Cardona is the author of seven books, most recently the award-winning Dreaming My Animal Selves and Life in Suspension, and the translations Birnam Wood (José Manuel Cardona), Beyond Elsewhere (Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac), winner of a Hemingway Grant, Ce que nous portons (Dorianne Laux), and Walt Whitman’s Civil War Writings for WhitmanWeb. She wrote her thesis on Henry James for her Masters in American Literature from the Sorbonne, taught at Hamilton College and Loyola Marymount University, and worked as an interpreter for the Canadian Embassy in Paris. She received fellowships from the Goethe-Institut and the Universidad Internacional de Andalucía. Her work has been translated into 16 languages.