Earth Mother Productions


 TRIBUTARIES: A Book of Poetry  











TRIBUTARIES: A Book of Poetry

ISBN: 0-922104-36-0

First edition

Soon to be released


The human senses, though finely tuned to observe, cannot comprehend the vastness of life. To go beyond our limitations, we must experience the world through feeling.


Using striking imagery that cuts to the heart, Tributaries: A Book of Poetry deftly describes the wonders of the universe—from a fledgling bird to the unfathomable cosmic ocean above. Every square inch of our world is filled with miracles; every moment is alive; every life is a phenomenon.


Author Pamala Ballingham takes the reader on a journey within and without. Her words and illustrations dance and whirl as if borne on the wind. She elegantly describes the deep feelings of grief and loss, the wealth of nature in our own backyards, and the profundity of deep, abiding love. Taken together, her poems reveal the many textures of a contemplative yet engaged life.


Eyes see far, but the soul feels farther. Ballingham’s poems offer a glimpse into the intangible in a way that only poetry can. As your eyes glide along these words, you will feel your soul grow and bloom to match the vastness of being.


"Pamala Ballingham has a unique quality that allows her to join heart and mind in a way we can all resonate with.  For her, mind becomes a vehicle for the heart to sing its songs in a language that penetrates to the very core of the listener.  Her poems are genuine heart-to-heart communication, imbued with a deep spirituality that brings us face to face with the great mystery of Being.  I find myself savoring them, digesting them, then going back for another serving!"

- Upasaka Culadasa (John Yates, Ph.D.), author of The Mind Illuminated


Pamala Ballingham was born in Oakland, California, and grew up near Albany, New York.  She holds a bachelor's degree in counseling.  Native American traditions and the natural world influence her music, visual art, and poetry.  She and her husband, Tim, cofounded Earth Mother Productions and have produced several award-winning recordings.  Pamala has also directed a program for adults with serious mental illness.  Pamala and Tim live in Tucson, Arizona, and they give workshops and presentations on creativity.  


                                                  Women, we

©2011 Pamala Ballingham

Women, we,

star dreamers

and earth clay movers,

circle makers and

hunters of berries and cedar

for the winter fires,

wearing children on hips

like jewels in the storm.


Women, we,

listeners for cries in the night,

believers in hope for the morning,

picking up the pieces

and the tent,

and the tribe,

sweeping up the ashes

and washing away the bitters.


Women, we,


fending off the onslaughts,

suffering the tyrannies

with muscles of forbearance and

the resilience of spring,

keepers of the Beauty Way

in the ghostly freeze of winter.


Women, we,

blood red with life,

pulsing with new flesh,

weaving the pod

and rocking the ancestors

with their new face to the wind,

painting in the eyes and filling out the tongues,

bracing for the Circle arriving.


Women, we,

seers of the inner world,

instinctive stewards with ears to the earth,

rooting out the stale and obsolete,

holding brave fingers to the steely wind

knowing the shifts will come

before they arrive.


Women, we,

patient when we must,

daring when pushed to the wall,

baring truth like lanterns in the night

until the silent turning

when the Great Wheel moves

to welcome back the sun

for another season of planting.

Women, we,
wisdom keepers
of the seven directions,
collectors of sacred herbs
and fragrant singing stories
with grace like dancing waters, shinning, shining,
dusting off the stars
so they won't go out.

Women, we,
healing from the Mother Wound,
releasing the diamond scars,
surrendering the princess crown
to invite the Elder One
who comes as she must,
wearing her moon-robe of twilight
to face the western sea.






Places Far Away

©2012 Pamala Ballingham


 Have you seen

the splintered silver bones of pinon trees

scattered beneath thickets of late summer green

in places only drifters know,


places where the air is pure and velvet

without walls, sometimes
not even the wind,

where the voice of silence moves

among great assemblages of trees

woven at the roots in vast familial webs,

calling you into rare and sacred spaces,
leaning you into the blue sage of the land,


the kind old Utes once used

to brew medicine tea to clean swollen wounds

suffered by life torn from the land?


In gratitude for safe passage,
a small desolate band

gave white buckskin gloves to grandfather Albert

massaged to perfection by worn-down tired teeth --

sacrificial gifts the likes of which

we don't know anymore.


Have you seen

the splintered silver bones of piñon trees

scattered beneath thickets of late summer green

in places only drifters know?

Raven Song

©2008 Pamala Ballingham

Just before the blinding light of Essence

burst open the clenched fist of darkness,

emptiness waited in vast potential and

as darkness reached its apogee,

Raven sang her Wake-Up-Song.

It began as a shiver,

and then rushed forth

in sparkling silver stirring sounds

that formed a vortex with no edge,

moving and swirling in boundless winds

that poured out perfect rhythms

of expanding light.

And into this awakening,

Essence breathed,

creating illusions of in and out,

black and white,

now and then,

here and there,

and the great jewel of paradox was born.

Everywhere was nowhere

as each arising presence became a diamond speck

midst the seamless heart

of the whole.

In dream time,

Raven Song rises

to sing the great nameless cycles --

where endings

are the set points of beginnings,

where the calls to demise

transform our rare and precious journeys

back to spring.

How Can I Say I Love You

©2010 Pamala Ballingham

How can I say

I love you

when you are not a thing,

nor is love?

Oh, indefinable, diaphanous love,

we try in vain to hold it in our hands

like water but,

back to you --

you who are more like the velvet pulse

of a living wing,

a process, mysterious, illusive

that I observe

still unfolding

within the circle of my heart.

I see you now

as juicy movement,

a shimmering light

living just beneath the mask,


ultimately unknowable --

an incandescence

of something grander

breathing on the other side --

a song shivering along a string,

a wave moving through space,

moving through my skin,

moving me to feel lovingly

that you are.

Tea Ceremony

©2008 Pamala Ballingham



Purity and


begin on this quiet Sunday afternoon

under a monsoon-seasoned sky just off the garden

as water boils in a song and

macha is sifted and piled high, 

like Mr. Fuji rising,

in the black lacquered natsume.

Delicate crowns of pink and orange lantana

bend gracefully in the humble vase,

and incense sends a languid trail

that shivers slightly,

then pivots sideways,

and right itself again,

revealing invisible currents

meandering skyward,

leaving spicy traces

of woody quiet places.

Steaming water

sends clouds into waiting tea bowls

with red silk fukusa



in slow legato --

a precisely paced 

choreographed dance

of chawan, 


chakin and chashaku

in genteel motions

echoing the ancient ritual, tethered to now,

in plays of water, silk, macha and clay.

The mind settles and opens

like a dry brittle leaf

soaked and softened by gentle rain,

and ears attune to hypnotic swells

of breezes threading through pine boughs,

and water bubbling over pebbles in spring.

When time unfolds just right,

macha greets the tongue like an Anam Cara,

knocking three times at the door and,

under the spell,

calms and graces the space

and slips discreetly away

through the low and narrow door,

leaving fragrance

in the air.

Climb the High Stairs

©2009 Pamala Ballingham


climb the high stairs

and cast the fetters off

while there is still time, this time.

Have we an idea

how long this has waited?

The cycle is wide,

circling beyond deep spaces of blue

and this house,

with windows scratched

and doors slanting off their hinges,

stands by.

Often now, it seems incomplete

with rooms still in the making,

as we who live here

slowly work the edges outward,

and from rough and stained

to a kind of smooth.

The old place has a low little door

to the long hall

which opens to the air at the end,

that moves within this wideness now

that always was --

and so we see


A Small Bird Fledges

©Pamala Ballingham

A small bird fledges,

winging through the blue-green flesh of spring,

she not a song

but a singing,

the season not a spring

but a springing --

her maiden flight

a translucent lift

into the world of wind --

a living,




We widen our arms at last

to the unfolding,

we not a breath

but a breathing,

we not a ripple

but a rippling --

trepidations on ephemeral

earth-bound journeys

through realms of color

into the silent opening

of our transcendent



©Pamala Ballingham

At the very loft of the world,

Haleakala holds a luminous prism of air

waiting to be reborn

from the ink black womb of night.

A flock of white moths

in fluffy hotel robes shiver,

walking ghost-like to the caldera's rim,

picking their way among black boulders

as the predawn sun measures out a slow ascent

through cotton fields of clouds so vast

even Pele holds her volcanic breath.


a shock of neon green, blood-bordered,

shoots across the earth-rim

as a Native daughter steps to the edge

and sings down into the clouds,

sings into the belly of the world,

sings to her ancestors,


to stay


Morning Raven

©2009 Pamala Ballingham

Every morning

just beyond the fence line,

one lone raven flies in desperation

towards the rising sun.

She circles south,

squawking at the world in angry staccato,

announcing she has arrived,

then disappears back into the west

leaving a vacuum of sound

in her wake.

I suppose she may have lost her mate

and been exiled from her constable,

left to restlessly search this lonely quadrant

a vagabond

flying for her life--

for the one possibility

that might work her back

into this narrow sliver of the world.

Unless You Hear the Land

An ode to the Petrified Forest

©2007 Pamala Ballingham

Unless you hear the land,

it lies mostly hidden

among the tremor of sparse desert stalks

naked and unfettered,

whispering a solitary chorus

over silver oceans of sand

and petrified ribbons of rock

that still, like breathing flesh,

sing on rhythms of wind.

Murmurs of air,

playing on shafts of light,

ride the strings

and sing with the wind

a delicate strumming of canyon grasses,

humming bony spikes of sage

and sounding up the hollows

in riffs

of simple joy.









































































































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