Becca Tarnas ’10 is an artist, writer, and doctoral student at the California Institute of Integral Studies in the Ecology, Spirituality, and Religion program in San Francisco. She uses art and storytelling as a means to reconnect with our planet Earth in this critical time of ecological crisis. Becca attended the San Francisco Waldorf School for 13 years before pursuing Environmental Studies and Theater Arts at Mount Holyoke. She also holds a master’s degree from CIIS in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness. Becca has been published in Archai: the Journal of Archetypal Cosmology, where she is currently an assistant editor. A collection of her essays, poetry, paintings, and photographs is available on her website, beccatarnas.wordpress.com.
Emotion held, a breath caught, dark feathered wing-tips,
All rush, all bustle, all anxiety—all suspended.
There is but you and me caught in the inhale of this moment.
Or are you me? Is this suspension nothing more than a pause
A breakdown of the barrier that lies between what I understand,
Between what I understand makes you be you
And makes me
Dark wings soar, cutting hawk shape from textured sky,
Yet when you appear that sky is no more: merely backdrop.
Gripped between razor claws, your prey—my attention—is caught,
Passing mere feet from this barrier I call skin
You land, you presence, you settle, you ignore, you own,
You own my focus, draw me in, alluring
Me to drop all my life in this moment
Heart beat, heart beat, wing beat, breath,
Heart beat, wing beat, heart beat, breath.
The branch moves, the outside world closing out—
Am I within your envelope of tearing want
Or has that gateway closed?
You shred, you rip, what lies within your grasp,
Talons, razor beak, dark feathers etched with
Beauty, etched with
Two cries rupture this world into which I gaze alone,
Yet not alone, no more:
Ravens twain disrupt your reign
A pair, a couple, a bonded force, cry out
No!—Do not enter our sacred nest, for which we give our lives
Do not, be not, crisis cries—away, please God
What have you
Who do you hold between your claws?
How did it come to this? My heart
It beats with desperate want,
Presence, presence this—this moment, this hour,
These days are lost, all brought to focus now
Great hawk, whose heart do you devour
Please tell me, how did it come to