Wishes and Intentions

Gratitude List:
1. Sue, who was walking out of Market just before 8 this evening when I arrived to pick up cat food and cat litter. She turned right around and wouldn’t hear of anything but me getting what I needed before she closed up. My loyalty to Sue’s is sealed.
2. That historic yellow house in Wrightsville with the wreaths on the walls, and the lights in all the windows.
3. Winter is the time for root and bark teas. Fortifying.
4. Setting intentions/wishes for the coming year.
5. A day of solitude, and a chance to get my work done.

Much love. Walk in Beauty!

Words

 

“The words were on their way, and when they arrived, she would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain.”  ― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
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“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
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“I hold the most archaic values on earth … the fertility of the soul, the magic of the animals, the power-vision in solitude…. the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe.” ― Gary Snyder
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“If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow: and without trees, we cannot make paper.” ―Thich Nhat Hanh
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“The study of silence has long engrossed me. The matrix of a poet’s work consists not only of what is there to be absorbed and worked on, but also of what is missing, desaparecido, rendered unspeakable, thus unthinkable.” ―Adrienne Rich
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“Be ready to be surprised by the crazy, wonderful events that will come dancing out of your past when you stir the pot of memory. Embrace those long-lost visitors.” ―William Zinsser
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Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds. ―Bob Marley


Gratitude List:
1. Fridays
2. Owl calling in the pre-dawn
3. Artists
4. Dreams
5. Words

May we walk in Beauty!

Making Connections

memoir

You know that feeling when someone you love is probably dying?
And you feel like you should know exactly what to do, exactly what to say,
but you’re paralyzed by the shock, and really,
isn’t that what the doctors are for?
Shouldn’t they know what to do,
how to keep your loved one alive?

But still, you can’t quite sleep at night
for that nagging feeling in the pit of your gut
that tells you you should be doing something,
you should be making it stop,
should at least be saying something apt,
something to keep the demons at bay.

And so what do you do when you see it,
when you see your democracy dying?
You’ve been watching, all the signs,
every one, just like the predictions.
It’s a cancer, this.
And it’s progressing rapidly.
And what do you do?
Aren’t there lawyers, politicians,
noble powerful people somewhere
who know what to do to fix this mess?

And you can’t quite sleep at night
for that nagging feeling in the pit of your gut
that tells you you should be doing something,
you should be making it stop,
should at least be saying something apt,
something to keep the demons at bay.

Gratitude List:
1. The owls are really going at it tonight. I love living within hooting distance of so many of the wise ones.
2. It’s felt like a really long time when I could have a day when I didn’t absolutely have to be doing something school-related. What a relief. I did actually work on something for school today, a sample memoir project for my students to see what I am looking for in their projects.
3. Cheese
4. A good book to read on a cold night
5. Making connections: with people, with memories, with ideas, with synapses.

May we walk in Beauty!

The Book

winterfarm

The Twelve Nights are finished. I might have resisted this waking up, resented this leaving of the cocoon, but for the bright surprise of the snow, the sun enlivening it to an almost unbearable shine, the way the Light shone so forcefully on this Epiphany day.

I have a jumble of words and ideas tumbling about in my brain from the past two weeks: Intuition, Birds of Prey (fierceness?), Aunt Lizzie (rampant creativity?), and the Book. As I made my Vision Board last week, the phrases “Unchain the book” and “Unlock the book” came into my head. And last night I woke in the middle of the night, and the phrase “Use the book” was skittering around in my brain.

So this Year my word will be Book. I tell my students that their lives are the stories of their own making. Some parts seem to be written for us, but even so, we write the meaning of the events that occur. We choose how the story is recorded within us, how we interpret our lives. This year, I will be the writer of my story. I will carry the satellite words of intuition and fierceness and creativity with me as well, and let them inform the story I create, both with my life and in my writing.

Gratitude List:
1. The young years. This is a wistful gratitude. With every passing day, I am noticing the baby days expiring on my youngest. I am gathering all I can of each tiny bit of baby sweetness into the jar of my heart to save for later. Here I am, Winnie the Pooh, standing at the edge of the Hunderd Aker Wood, watching Christopher Robin recede into the world. My heart is so full of the pride and the pain of it, the love and the loss of it.
2. I am grateful for their growing up, too. I treasure each new grown-up thing, how they think and wonder. Their curiosity. Their desire to know, to learn, to create.
3. Snow. Wasn’t that lovely? I love snow. It makes the cold feel worthwhile. It makes the winter feel real. It gives the dreamtime a blanket.
4. Those stripey clouds on the way home from school today. My carpool mates and I decided that they looked like the lines on a piece of notebook paper, just waiting for a poem. Or the ribs of a god (we’re listening to The Heroes of Olympus on our journeys). Or the oars of a great flying Viking ship.
5. The relationship of words to music. The musicality of language.

May we walk in Beauty!

The Bookbinder’s Hands

In memory of my Aunt Elizabeth Weaver, and in honor of the Bookbinder of Water Street, whom I have never met.

The bookbinder’s hands have always been there,
golden in the glow of the lamp light,
curved over the book’s curling skin,
over the cover of an ancient volume
of German poetry, or an Ausbund, perhaps.
Smoothing the pages of a treatise
on divine rights of liberty written
when this was still Penn’s Woods.

The bookbinder sees with fingertips
the miniscule tears, the frayed edge,
the embossment like landscapes,
fingers gently curling like Kwan Yin’s
in a sacred mudra, touching holiness
with tenderness, while the dust
of centuries twinkles in the lamp light
above the bookbinder’s careful hands.

 

Final Prompt of January

Friends, this has been for me a marvelous month.  Thank you for your kind words and responses and “likes.”  During February, I will weed and edit and cultivate this month’s crop of poems, and some others which I have been hoarding.  Yesterday, my friend Kelsey Myers sent me the link to this poem.  Thematically, it’s a challenging read–breezy on the surface and brutal at the heart.  I love it, and I want to do my own version of a definition poem for my last poem of the month.  Join me for one last romp through the word-meadows?  (Oh, there will be plenty more after I have had my little break.  Meanwhile, I will continue to create poem-fodder in the shape of Gratitude Lists, and write some little poems here and there.)

 

Gratitude List:

1.  I gave myself a gift–signed up for Flame in the Hand, John Terlazzo’s writer’s workshop.
2.  Serendipity
3.  Synchronicity–I woke up thinking of an Idea, and turned on FB to read a message by a friend asking me whether I had ever considered this Idea.
4.  Face cream and body oil and glasses of water and rain
5.  Muffins

May we walk in beauty.

Marvel and Wonder
Photo by Michelle Johnsen