Is a Rose a Rose?

This is actually not a rose, but a carnation, I believe. Visual irony?

I wrote this one a week or so ago. It’s a form called a zejel, which requires this rhyme scheme in the stanzas: AAA, BBBA, CCCA, DDDA. I decided to edge it toward a sort of pantoum by actually repeating the A lines in the last three stanzas.

Is a Rose a Rose?
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

I’ve always thought a rose is a rose.
What you see is what you get, the saying goes,
so what a person is ought to be the part that shows.

Each heart must hold its own singular reality
and secrets belong to the keeper of the keys of that city,
no matter how lonesome or rageful or gritty.
Still, what a person is is eventually the part that shows.

Our innermost isness, no matter how hidden,
will come out in daily living, often unbidden,
to show our deep truths, holy or forbidden.
What you see (looking deeper) is what you get, the saying goes.

A secret self that is anchored by Love
will, under duress, be inspired to move
and to act accordingly, thus-and-such, and thereof:
A rose ought to be, in its essence, a rose.

Gratitude List:
1. People who are what they seem no matter what keep private to themselves.
2. The Ones Who Love. Sometimes you leap, and it’s not a net that appears, but a thousand waiting arms.
3. Possibilities. Oh, the possibilities!
4. These sunny days and frothy pink trees.
5. Birdsong, and poems about birdsong.
May we walk justly, with mercy, and humbly.

“You know you’re on the right path if your capacity for holding paradox expands, your sense of humor broadens, your commitment to justice deepens, your compassion for and protection of life grows, and your love of people transcends race, color, creed, tribe, religion, politics and sexual [orientation].” —Rabbi Rami Shapiro

“It’s not fair,” Linus said, staring off into nothing. “The way some people can be. But as long as you remember to be just and kind like I know you are, what those people think won’t matter in the long run. Hate is loud, but I think you’ll learn it’s because it’s only a few people shouting, desperate to be heard. You might not ever be able to change their minds, but as long as you remember you’re not alone, you will overcome.” —excerpt from The House in the Cerulean Sea, T.J. Klune

“As truly as God is our father, so truly is God our mother.” —Julian of Norwich

“Had I not created my whole world, I would certainly have died in other people’s.” ―Anaïs Nin

“Come forth into the light of things, Let Nature be your teacher.” ―William Wordsworth

Forever Oneness,
who sings to us in silence,
who teaches us through each other.
Guide my steps with strength and wisdom.
May I see the lessons as I walk,
honor the Purpose of all things.
Help me touch with respect,
always speak from behind my eyes.
Let me observe, not judge.
May I cause no harm,
and leave music and beauty after my visit.
When I return to forever
may the circle be closed
and the spiral be broader.
―Bee Lake (Aboriginal poet)

“We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about.”
―Joseph Campbell

“I can’t tell you why your story is important, only that it is.” ―Mara Eve Robbins

“Time is like dragons.
They are both imaginary, yet can eat you anyway.” —The Cryptonaturalist

Heather Havrilesky:
“The antidote to a world that tells us sick stories about ourselves and and poisons us into thinking we’re helpless is believing in our world and in our communities and in ourselves.”

The Quickening

Continuing to give away a thing a day during Lent. I’m beginning to feel what my friend Katrina Lefever calls “that space and lightness inside” that comes from jettisoning the stuff that clutters my life. I have a long way to go, but I’m energized. Each thing that goes brings me a new burst of energy.

Gratitude List:
1. Coffee with friends
2. Clearing the Clutter
3. The Quickening: Morning birdsong has been decidedly spring. Some of the neighborhood regulars are gearing up.
4. The Quickening: The sap is rising in the trees in Flinchbaugh’s orchards–If you look closely, you can almost see the life force rising.
5. The Quickening: The aconite are up and opening.

May we walk in Beauty!

The quickening is the time of seeing life and growth. When a woman is pregnant and first feels the movement of the child, we say she feels the quickening–she becomes aware in a new way of the life inside her. The Season of Brigid is a time of quickening. Rodents begin to awaken from hibernation, peeking out from their winter-bound burrows. Aconite and crocus poke shy tips above the soil. Bramble and tree show the red and yellow of rising sap.

The sky today is gray and shadowed, pregnant with the snow that will soon blanket the ground again. Still, the Earth is quickening, feeling the new life stirring inside her. Look around you, and you’ll see it. Listen for the change in the song of the birds. Smell the difference, even in the snow-bound air. Persephone is preparing to return yet again.

Some quotations for today:
“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” —Etty Hillesum
“If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.” —Richard Rohr
“The speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.” —Audre Lorde
“We write because we believe the human spirit cannot be tamed and should not be trained.” —Nikki Giovanni
“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.”
―Maya Angelou
“Rage—whether in reaction to social injustice, or to our leaders’ insanity, or to those who threaten or harm us—is a powerful energy that, with diligent practice, can be transformed into fierce compassion.”
―Bonnie Myotai Treace
“Anger is useful only to a certain point. After that, it becomes rage, and rage will make you careless.” ―Lauren Oliver
“Take that rage, put it on a page, take the page to the stage, blow the roof off the place.”
―The Script

Waiting for Rain

Smell it in the air,
feeling of impendingness,
a sense of silence,
broken moments of birdsong.
Everything is listening.


Gratitude List:
1.  Yesterday’s music
2.  Smell of rain in the air
3.  A clean house
4.  Solutions
5.  Words, gestures, language

May we walk in Beauty!

the trees obscure the water towers

I am entering a poem in a contest.  Robert Lee Brewer, the host of the Poetic Asides blog, has initiated a contest using his book as the basis.  Take one of his poems, and re-craft or respond or re-work it in some way.  I love the conversational nature of this.  It’s part of what I want poetry to be–conversation.  I don’t know if it’s ethically kosher to type up his poem and put it here next to mine without having asked him first, especially since I don’t have the know-how to indent his lines the way he did.  His is titled “the horizon is marked by water towers overlooking trees,” and the first line was “i’m through with you.”  Mine is a response, and I have patterned it pretty exactly after his, though with a rather different tone.

the trees obscure the water towers
by Elizabeth Weaver-Kreider

you may think you’re through
you with your stoic eyes
building elaborate fences

to escape my rabbit heart
last october and recite elegies
to fierce women pregnant with desire

but you’re not through with me
and my fine road to hell
paved with change and intention

and change has escaped your professorial eye
your old man’s disillusion
there’s so much we could’ve

but you can’t be really through
because tonight when I am out dancing
alone in fields under the moon

releasing the story of what was
you will come to me like leaves swirling
like the wild geese over the meadow


Gratitude List:
1. Poetic conversation
2. How ideas spark ideas, how creative thought fires creative thought
3. The peaceful faces of sleeping children
4. Awakening to birdsong (even if it gets me up way too early these days)
5. You.  You hold me and the rest of us so beautifully in your bowl of heart.  You teach me how to ask for help.  You show me light through the brambles.  You remind me to shoulder my ax, to notice the bright birds, to be careful on the path.  Mostly, you remind me not to despair because the world cannot be on the brink of disaster with helpers like you in it.

May we walk in Beauty!

More from the Queen of Swords

I’m just a seer, not a sibyl.
Thing is, no one seems to get the difference.
Expecting me to know the future,
to sniff the wind like a wolf
and Know.  Like that.
What’s coming up the pike.
How the caribou are moving in the valley.
Whether someone is about to leave the room.

I’m really always the last one to know.
Call it the handicap of my profession.
So much lies outside my sensing.
Perhaps I am the wolf indeed,
smelling the rabbit in the underbrush
but missing the smell of fire
when the wind blows the other way.

The little breezes that blow
this way and that
and swirl around the valley,
they only serve to tickle my nose,
to confuse my brain.
I need a strong and steady wind
from one direction to get my bearings.

It doesn’t make me a liar
and it doesn’t make you a fraud.
But now I see what you meant
about the lonely tundra.

2013 April 025

Gratitude List:
1.  Forsythia:  Last summer the township butchered our poor neglected forsythia that they deemed to be growing too close to the road.  She took those wounded arms, laid them out on the ground, and dug her fingers into the soil.  So many little bushes growing from her wounds!
2.  More birdsong:  Screech Owl in the afternoon, and cuckoo, and woodpecker.  More more more mockingbird.
3.  Breaking the rules.  This is about poetry and then maybe it’s not.  Perhaps it’s about springtime and the poem I am going to write soon about her big boots.
4.  Fatboy Slim and Praise.  And love poetry, sensual and praiseful.
5.  The sun.  Did I say the sun?  Yesterday I said Vitamin D which means the sun and means that something is blooming inside me.  And oops, I mentioned spring in #3 already, but there it is again.  And did I say that I would be starting to break the rules?
May we walk through poems.