A Myth of Memory

The prompt for today was to write a poem titled “The Myth of ________,”but somehow everything I tried in that vein seemed meh. So I wrote the poem first, trying for mythic-ness (myth-tique?), and then created a title that seemed to resonate and also fit a little into the rule.

A Myth of Memory

*A myth is a story of spiritual import which brings layers of meaning to everyday existence.

Recall the story of the child
who saw the face of an old woman
one day in the shapes and shadows
of tree branches against a hillside meadow
in the fall when snow hung in the clouds.

Remember that year
how the cold came cruel,
rolling down into the valleys
and biting the breath out of travelers,
and roaring down chimneys,
and rattling the windows.

And every day the child
looked out upon the hillside, saying,
“Hail, Grandmother,
take thy rest, and
Love go ever with thee.
Blessed is the earth of thy fields, and
Blessed are the generations
of thy descendants.
Holy Grandmother,
Source of all that is,
save us through winter, and
grant us new life in the spring.”

Recall how the spring that year
rolled a green carpet over the hills,
how the sweet strawberries were fat as plums,
how the oats sprang up suddenly,
how a flock of a thousand white birds
wheeled over the face on the hillside.


Gratitude List:
1. Hymnsings! I’m so grateful to come from a community that values four-part harmony. Tonight’s hymnsing included poetry and art, and a marvelous charcuterie table.
2. Not being the only one wandering certain trails.
3. Morning prayers in the cherry grove.
4. Finding what was lost! I have been sort-of-playfully, sort-of-seriously invoking St. Anthony for months now to help me find something, and today as I was looking for some black paper, I looked in a box, and found what has long been missing! I had to look elsewhere for the black paper.
5. My happy lamp. I think it really does help to sit in front of full-spectrum lights.
May we walk in Beauty!


“I want to live the rest of my life, however long or short, with as much sweetness as I can decently manage, loving all the people I love.” —Audre Lorde


“We need another… perhaps a more mystical concept of animals… In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.” —Henry Beston


“One must say Yes to life, and embrace it wherever it is found – and it is found in terrible places. … For nothing is fixed, forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.” —James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time, 1963


“Walk fearlessly into the house of mourning, for grief is just love squaring up to its oldest enemy.” —Kate Braestrup


“Honesty matters. Vulnerability matters. Being open about who you were at a moment in time when you were in a difficult or an impossible place matters more than anything.” —Neil Gaiman


“Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors, but today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love.” —Kahlil Gibran


“To write is to ask questions. It doesn’t matter if the answers are true or puro cuento. After all and everything only the story is remembered, and the truth fades away like the pale blue ink on a cheap embroidery pattern.” —Sandra Cisneros, Caramelo


“With guns, you can kill terrorists.
With education, you can kill terrorism.” —Malala Yousufsai


“The wo/man who moves a mountain
begins by carrying away small stones.”
—Confucius, The Analects


“We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough?” —Wendell Berry