Today, I wrote an ekphrastic poem for my prompt: ekphrasis is a Greek term referring to a written description of a piece of visual art.
I used Andrea Kowch’s piece titled “In My Mind” for my inspiration for today’s poem. You’ll have to click the link to her page there. I feel like this is too much of a re-publishing for me to put it here without permissions. Instead, I put up an AI collab of St. Martha taming the dragon, which has some of the similar feeling. But please check out Kowch’s piece that inspired my poem for today, and explore more of her good, good work.
Gratitude List: 1. For the last two days, in the green field in the dogleg of Ducktown, three deer have stood watching us as we passed in the dawn gloaming. 2. My comfortable shoes 3. Poetry 4. A new red shirt 5. The loving care and concern of people who rush to care for someone in need. May we walk justly, in mercy, humbly, in Beauty!
“Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.” —Terry Pratchett
The Happy Virus by Hafez I caught the happy virus last night When I was out singing beneath the stars. It is remarkably contagious— So kiss me.
“It is our mind, and that alone, that chains us or sets us free.” —Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.” —George Orwell
“We must live from the center.” —Bahauddin, father of Rumi
“Some days I am more wolf than woman and I am still learning how to stop apologising for my wild.” —Nikita Gill
“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” —Albert Einstein
“Writer’s block results from too much head. Cut off your head. Pegasus, poetry, was born of Medusa when her head was cut off. You have to be reckless when writing. Be as crazy as your conscience allows.” —Joseph Campbell
“Ask yourself: Have you been kind today? Make kindness your daily modus operandi and change your world.” —Annie Lennox
When the New Year has come and gone, and Epiphany is still to come, and the semester still has another eight days, the sense of standing in the doorway between worlds is lengthened. But now, instead of the silence and contemplation of the high holy days, there’s the hurry-scurry to prepare and complete the tasks of the previous cycle before the new one begins. I always find it difficult to make the shift. I fall deeply into the dreamtime of the Solstice season, but school is calling.
I’m grateful that we begin with a Professional Development Day. It’s like a gentle rev-up on the way to leap back in and the race to the finish.
Gratitude List: 1. I did get back to sleep for a little while after a bout of insomnia. I tried my normal trick of reciting the names of the countries of the world, and I did doze off for moments and lose my place, but never enough to get back to sleep. Still, I am feeling capable of functioning. 2. Stages of change. I don’t have to do it all at once. Step. And step. 3. My big warm green sweater. Somehow, on a first day back to work, with plummeting temperatures and very little sleep, I find a bulky sweater to be good medicine. 4. Communication. How the act of speech, and its attendant act of writing, can make the world inside me understandable to you. And vice versa. 5. Candy canes and chocolate. May we walk in Wisdom!
“Love is what carries you, for it is always there, even in the dark, or most in the dark, but shining out at times like gold stitches in a piece of embroidery. ” ―Wendell Berry
“There is liberation in not having to know everything and not having to impress everyone with that boundless knowledge … And many of us have found a renewed sense of possibility when we’ve realized how much of God’s beauty remains to be explored — and that the life of faith is also a life of holy curiosity.” —Rachel Held Evans
“Jesus was not brought down by atheism and anarchy. He was brought down by law and order allied with religion, which is always a deadly mix. Beware those who claim to know the mind of God and are prepared to use force, if necessary, to make others conform. Beware those who cannot tell God’s will from their own. Temple police are always a bad sign. When chaplains start wearing guns and hanging out at the sheriff’s office, watch out. Someone is about to have no king but Caesar.” —Barbara Brown Taylor
“He said the wicked know that if the evil they do is of sufficient horror men will not speak against it. That men have only stomach for small evils and only these will they oppose.” —Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing.
“Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent.” ―Parker J. Palmer
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” ―T. S. Eliot
We need for the earth to sing Through our pores and our eyes.
The body will again become restless Until your soul paints all its beauty Upon the sky. —Hafiz
“Perhaps the uprising of women around the world is the earth’s own immune system kicking in.” —Nina Simons, Bioneers
“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” —Terry Pratchett
Here we are at Janus’ Doorway again. Janus, remember, is the two-faced Roman god who stands in doorways and gateways and openings, his face looking back to where he came from and forward to where he is headed. And on this day we, too, have made a practice of looking forward as we look back: What do I hold in my heart from the past year? What do I want to keep and improve upon? What do I regret? What do I leave behind with relief? And: What am I looking forward to? What do I want to maintain as the thread that continues from year to year to year? What do I want to pick up What can I strive to become as I step through this gate into the next phase?
Some years I make Resolutions. Some years I eschew them. Some years I make them with qualifications or new names like Intentions or Principles. This year, they’re Resolutions again. I can sit with that. Some of these are loftier than others.
Resolutions In 2019, I resolve to:
Continue banning face and name of the attention-monger on my FB page. No posts of him.
Nourish my body with care, and make sure to strengthen and stretch.
Tend to my inner life with even greater care. Expand spiritual practices and lifelines.
Let the madwoman out of the attic. Give her flowers and colors, nice music and rich scents.
Be actively kinder to my children.
Finish the book. Can I finish the book this year? I think maybe I can finish the book.g
Gratitude List: 1. Closing the book on the challenges of 2018. 2. Opening a new chapter. 3. Blank pages. 4. Supportive, overlapping circles of community. 5. The blue of those clouds on this first morning of the new year.
May we walk in Beauty!
Today’s Quotations list is long. I decided to include two of my own New Year’s poems.
Words for the Seventh Day of Kwanzaa: The word for this last day of Kwanzaa is Imani, or Faith. Believe that your dreams have the power to create change in the world. May it be so for you and for me and for all who long for and work for justice in the coming year.
“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, Whispering ‘it will be happier.’” —Alfred Tennyson
“Darkness deserves gratitude. It is the alleluia point at which we learn to understand that all growth does not take place in the sunlight.” ―Joan Chittister
Walking Through the Gateway of Another Year
By Beth Weaver-Kreider, 2017
Let’s call them New Year’s Revolutions
In the coming year, I resolve to re-solve my problems and issues every day, not just on this morning.
For every morning is the morning
of a whole new year,
a bright blank page
in which any thing
can be a new thing.
Let every moment be a moment like now, when the newborn sun shines over the ridge onto the scarlet breast of a cardinal, and the eye for a moment sees nothing but sparkling red.
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.” —T. S. Eliot
“And we are put on earth a little space,
That we may learn to bear the beams of love.”
“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings.” ―Mary Oliver
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
This is How It Begins (a New Year’s poem) by Beth Weaver-Kreider, January 1, 2016
This is how it begins:
each year, each week, each day,
each golden shining drop of moment
full of expectancy,
ready for our use.
How will I inhabit the house
of the now that approaches?
How will I wear the cloth
of the day that is given?
How will I wander the story
of the year that has just now
leapt into shining view
through the gray clouds of winter?
I will face this year with resolution
(this week, this day, this moment)
not to wait until this whirling planet
has danced around the sun
to make the new thing new,
but to step into each freshly-birthed now
with eyes that see the golden shine of possibility
and ears that hear the note of each plucked strand of moment.
“To love is to recognize yourself in another.” ~Eckhart Tolle
“You can never really go back to the same waters. Not only are you no longer the same, but neither are the waters you left. The current has changed. The elements of nature have affected the stream. When you return, although it appears the same, it really is a different river and you are a different person. Therefore, you cannot cross the same river twice.”
– Alice Walker
by Rainer Maria Rilke
Silent friend of many distances, feel
how your breath enlarges all of space.
Let your presence ring out like a bell
into the night. What feeds upon your face
grows mighty from the nourishment thus offered.
Move through transformation, out and in.
What is the deepest loss that you have suffered?
If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine.
In this immeasurable darkness, be the power
that rounds your senses in their magic ring,
the sense of their mysterious encounter.
And if the earthly no longer knows your name,
whisper to the silent earth: I’m flowing.
To the flashing water say: I am.
by Beth Weaver-Kreider
The ancient ones know.
They will tell you the way.
Stand quietly before them.
Let their stillness enter you.
Listen for their songs of mystery.
“Who will tell us who we are
when the voices of the trees are silenced?
Who will give us direction
when the sentinels of the forest
can no longer tell us the way?”
by Beth Weaver-Kreider
that actually exist,
like the hummingbird.
how she hovers, how she hums,
how she flies like a whisper. *
The Real Work
by Wendell Berry
It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” ~Rachel Carson
Gratitude List: 1. Here is a marvel: I made him inside me, but this boy knows so much more than I do. The Chromebook just kicked itself off the wi-fi (or something). He tinkered with something on his iPad for a few minutes, and suddenly everything worked again. It’s such a marvel to see them grow and develop like this. I knew that they would learn their way ahead of me, but I had no idea it would be happening this early, or this incomprehensibly.
2. Creating spaces
3. Bridges, pathways, doorways, webs
4. Defining my own terms
5. Homemade rice pudding
First, a tender message I found in my classroom zen garden today.
Then, blue sky in the space between the red barn and the poplar and sycamore trees. Even the sleepy walnut in the background is beginning to put on her summer clothes.
I am taking some photos these days with the aim of capturing images of portals and entrances. The deer trail photo yesterday was one of those.
The Kreider family heirloom peonies are opening.
Mostly wild herbs for tea: two kinds of plantain (for respiration), willow (for the head pain), clover, chamomile and catnip (to slow my system down), violet leaf, nettle, several kinds of mint, lemon balm, henbit, dandelion, dock, wood sorrel, and a few locust blossoms. I added local honey as it was cooling, and a few dashes of elderberry tincture for sipping.
Gratitude List: 1. Orioles everywhere! I saw a pair at school this afternoon while I was doing border patrol at the lower parking lot during the social. My Icarus has been singing constantly in his poplar tree. And while I was gathering wild herbs for tea, I saw and heard a pair of orchard orioles working on their nest.
2. The scent of locust and poplar tulips which fills the hollow.
3. The herbal allies which appear at this time of year to help me cope with the poplar and locust blossoms, which make me sneeze, and make my eyes and throat itch, and fill my head with a cottony fog.
4. These ever-shiny young people with whom I spend my days. The twisty feeling in my gut is upon me again. I approach June with such an incredible feeling of relief, and such a wistfulness about seeing them go.
5. Good basil pesto