Title artwork by Bridget Little.
It is with a tremendous swell of pride that I introduce today a truly wonderful poem which was written way back in 2012 and has remained unpublished ever since. “The Sky” by my dear earth sister, Katrina Aune, was entered into a poetry contest in Laguna Beach, California, shortly after conception, and astonishingly didn’t come away with first prize. Since then, it has not had a home to all its own and I decided it was high time that change. Thus, I offered Katrina the opportunity to place it here, on Rivers of Grue, as I truly believe it needs to be seen by the masses. Before I share this glorious verse with you all, I would very much love to talk a little about the author and explain how we first met and forged an unbreakable connection for lifetime and beyond.
It was late 2014 and I had flown to Cali in order to help shoot a movie with a beloved brother, Matt Farnsworth. This was my very first acting gig and, needless to say, I was incredibly nervous about the prospect of breaking my cinematic duck, when I had never before acted a lick in my entire life. Turns out I needn’t have concerned myself although I owe a great deal of the belief I gained in my own abilities to a friendship struck up on the first day of shooting. Like me, Katrina was new to the game and her scene was the very first shot. However, any nerves she may have had that day, sure didn’t show. She took to performance naturally and, when you consider the horrific demise of her character, it is all the more staggering.
Dragged through the undergrowth by her hair, decidedly rough-handled, hog-tied, and then decapitated with a rusted hack saw without a solitary scrap of mercy, Katrina was really required to go through it. And go through it she did, like an absolute trooper no less. For as much as I was hugely impressed by her acting chops, it was her willingness to suffer massively for the cause that truly inspired me to push through any lingering self-doubt and give all of myself and more besides. After being pulled from pillar to post and back again, then promptly and gorily dispatched, she was left hog-tied while the rest of the crew headed off to shoot the following scene. And this is where we shared a moment that would determine a friendship I shall cherish to my very last breath and beyond.
Given that her hands and feet were tied tightly and she resembled a thanksgiving turkey primed to be stuffed, it felt only fair to offer her a little time out from her discomfort. Thus, I produced a tailor-made cigarette from my pocket, lit it on her behalf, and fed it to her puff by puff akin to a mother bird feeding its wide-eyed offspring. One small gesture was all it took and, seven weeks later, once shooting wrapped and I returned to the U.K. ever so proud of my accomplishments, we made sure to keep in touch. Just recently, Katrina shared with me something that she holds incredibly close to her heart and I knew instinctively what to do in that moment. You see, I know her story. And I am fully aware of just how much she has been through in her personal life over the five years since our chance meeting.
I also know that she is unerringly a creature of the light. All sunflowers and rainbows, her interactions are never less than bursts of positivity and childlike excitement. Indeed, my own inner child often skims stones across the Atlantic when we converse and I’m assured she polishes them up on arrival. Our chats may appear a little lopsided with regards to word count as Katrina can type faster than I can boot up my brain server. And given that I write approximately 2000 words a day in the name of my art, I am often a dash jaded by the time I take to the social networks. However, certain connections simply are and, in the case of my dear sister, Katrina Aune, it only took one smoke and a few choice words of enthused praise to build a bond entirely unbreakable.
Okay, so back to the reason why we are here this one fine day. For as much as I adore the very bones of my star-vaulting little sister from Cali, it is her poetry that I truly wish to celebrate. “The Sky” is more than simple verse. It is a rite of passage, from birth canal to the sunlight beneath which we bask on the back-end of the personal sorrow we are all saddled with as the line between life and death blurs. More than that, it is genuinely life-affirming and written with all the whimsy of a unique soul in full and flavorsome flight. Thus, to reiterate, it is with a tremendous swell of pride that I share today “The Sky” by my dear earth sister, Katrina Aune, in the hope that it will touch just one soul in the manner that it did mine. Fairly sure that one will be a given. May all ten of your senses enrapture. And to my beloved Kitty Kat, you’ll forever be a part of this lion’s deepest pride.
Richard Charles Stevens
Listen to Suggested Audio
David Bowie “I’m Deranged”
…Regardless of religion, status, gender, pigmentation, age.
We all suffered the same beginning, presented by unforeseen change.
…Beginning life with a single breath.
Unknowing anything, much less the future that lay ahead.
…Some learning to love, grow,
& be happy living simply in life.
Sadly to many comfort from their fear,
living to torture others & tell countless lies.
…Unsure of where we truly come from & where we actually go when we die.
May our bodies be Vessels, Temples, & our ancestors at least half right?
…That we are all gods children, descendants of the sky.
It is our one most important relation.
It just might be where we do all go when it is our time.
…In one way or another, it bridges most all of what all our ancestors believed.
No matter if you have 4,3,2, no eyes and cannot see.
…The one true catcher of rainbows, giver of life.
To get to heaven you missed one day be willing to learn how to fly.
…Many finally beginning to realize, we truly are living life upside down.
Spiritually, literally physically. No doctor, scientist, or priest can
logically argue either point, Especially now.
…The reason so many take up air sports,
to feel the need to somehow get off the ground.
To fight it or flow with it, maybe even break its speed of sound.
…To fly maximum velocity, maybe even pretend to have wings.
Some Go Fetal, while others learn what makes the birds sing.
…Only thing left to learn really is to flow at the speed of love,
to fly faster than any light
& the only way 1 can do that, is to not just do what 1 wants,
but have the discipline & courage to do what 1 knows is right.
…May we eventually return to where we are all from,
not the land of the land, but the land of the sun.
…No matter what any of us do! No matter where any of us think we are from,
We all at some point turn our eyes to the above.
…Usually thinking of those missed, but nonetheless loved.
Not just those who fought for their freedom, but risked their lives & freedom for us.
…Though they also fought for their rights
& our rights to survive & be survived.
…Once it really registers, as the obvious even says.
Our paths are all connected, Always will, Always Have.
…Though it saddens me,
to say farewell or goodbye,
But then We have all at 1 point,
Met, Meet, &/or Meet Again,
In the light of the sun & the depths of the Sky.
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