Gratitudes, Musings, Poems

Welcome, Spring!

We are two days in to the season of Awakening, of Hatching, of Breaking Open. Two days in, through wind and sunshowers, through gusting rain and rushing cloud. Last year, on the second day of spring, a foot of snow fell in the hollow. This year, a seemingly endless drench of rain.

In the season of Brigid, back in February, we felt the Earth stirring, noticed the sap rising, watched pull toward birth and sprouting. Now we feel the promise, watch the winter aconite drop seeds for next years golden cups, and Persephone’s footprints–all shades of crocus–springing up across the lawns, uncontainable by flower beds.

What, in you, is hatching now? What thing, which has lain long and silently within you like a seed in the darkness, now seeks the sun and breezes? Hold that thing within you, like a seed. See the rough, hard casing which has protected it in its dreamstate. Breathe in the sun of spring, the chill air biting as it enters, and feel your lungs, your belly, your capacity, expand. Watch the casing of your dreamseed break open, and feel the roots push downward within you. Feel the sprout nosing upwards to the light and warmth of spring. What is being born within you? What new capacity? What new heartspace? What plan and purpose? Blessed be your seeds. Crack open. Seek the sun. Feel the rains of spring caress your growing roots.

Gratitude List:
1. The groundhog who is nosing around on the hillside behind the house
2. A day off, to ponder and paint, and catch up on the work
3. The fog of winter is lifting
4. Watching the children grow and become so gallantly themselves
5. The seeds which are sprouting

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Musings

Some Day. . .

    

     

Gratitude List:
1. The interesting visitors continue: On the way to school the other day, I saw a groundhog that had climbed into a pair of bent-over saplings. It was contentedly chewing on the leaves of one, about three feet above the ground.
2. Re-reading my January journals about my vulture dreams gives new depth for contemplating healing, transformation, and grounding.
3. Tomorrow is the last of the school commitments–then finish grading and sail into summer.
4. Senior dedication and Commencement ceremonies were beautiful and tender and inspiring. Now they fly on their own. This was a sweet class. Solid. Steady. Earnest.
5. Companionship. Hospitality. Warmth.

May we walk in Beauty!


Sunday’s Notes and Quotes:
“I feel like I’m binge-watching the fall of the Roman Empire set to the music of Benny Hill.” —Bill Maher
***
“We will not know our own injustice if we cannot imagine justice. We will not be free if we do not imagine freedom. We cannot demand that anyone try to attain justice and freedom who has not had a chance to imagine them as attainable.”
―Ursula K. LeGuin
***
“Each of us has lived through some devastation, some loneliness, some weather superstorm or spiritual superstorm. When we look at each other we must say, I understand. I understand how you feel because I have been there myself. We must support each other because each of us is more alike than we are unalike.” ―Maya Angelou
***
“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” ―L.M. Montgomery
***
“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” ―Jorge Luis Borges
***
TS Eliot:
“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.”
***
Resignation
by Nikki Giovanni

I love you
because the Earth turns round the sun
because the North wind blows North
Sometimes
because the Pope is Catholic
and most Rabbis Jewish
because winters flow into springs
and the air clears after a storm
because only my love for you
despite the charms of gravity
keeps me from falling off the Earth
into another dimension
I love you
because it is the natural order of things.
***
“The third near enemy of compassion is idiot compassion. This is when we avoid conflict and protect our good image by being kind when we should definitely say ‘no.’

“Compassion doesn’t only imply trying to be good. When we find ourselves in an aggressive relationship, we need to set clear boundaries. The kindest thing we can do for everyone concerned is to know when to say ‘enough.’ Many people use Buddhist ideals to justify self-debasement. In the name of not shutting our heart we let people walk all over us.

“It is said that in order not to break our vow of compassion we have to learn when to stop aggression and draw the line. There are times when the only way to bring down barriers is to set boundaries.” —Pema Chodron

Gratitudes, Poetry Prompts, Uncategorized

All My Relations


If I’m not mistaken, a yellow-bellied sapsucker has been visiting my willow.

Today’s prompt is to write a relationship poem.

Even the stinkbug
that you lift so gingerly
from the wall
and scoop out the window
into the night breeze

Even the small mouse
skittering over the counter

Even the forsythia
flashing golden
in the afternoon sun

Even the curve
of the cobalt bowl
which nestles
into your palms

Even the Mayapples
in the woodsedge

Even the geese on the pond
Even the fish
Even the spider
whose art is everywhere

Even the mantis
who looks you in the eye,
who are so much larger
but so much less fierce

Even the hawk
circling over the field
Even the wind in the branches
Even the groundhog
eating your spinach

All is at one with you
All is family
If you cannot say to the rabbit,
I am your sister. I am your brother.
If you cannot say to the sun,
I recognize you as one of my family,

If you cannot say to the oxygen
as it races into your lungs,
We are children together
in this great race of living,

Then you will always be
separate, isolated, alone.


Gratitude List:
1. The fire and energy of the young actors, singers, dancers of my school. They had a fantastic show tonight. All the pieces were good, but the one that will stick with me is the song, “You Will Be Found.”
2. A shining blue bluebird
3. An indigo sky, just before total dark
4. Green. Have I mentioned the green? I was beginning to feel like my soul could not breathe, but everything is finally going green, and I can breathe again.
5. The deep purple violets all over my yard.

May we walk in Beauty!

Musings, Poems

Shadows and Sunshine

Tonight we stand at another of those corners of the year, the moment in the space between solstice and equinox, the full womb of winter.

It’s Candlemass, the time to melt your gathered beeswax into candles to make light for the coming year. Take them to the church for the priest to bless. Make a place for your fire. Prepare the vessels of illumination. Get your house in order.

It’s the season of the pregnant ewe. What do you feel quickening within you? How will you protect and prepare for the new thing that is striving to be born within you? Can you feel it kicking?

It’s the season of Brigid, patroness (call her saint or goddess, she’ll answer to both) of metalwork, of healing, of poetry. What do you create in your forges? What is being tempered, tested, forged within you? What does your medicine bag look like? What is your healing role? How will you make your words artful?

It’s the season of the groundhog, popping up in the morning to search for his shadow. What is your own relationship to your shadow? What do you bring into the light? What do you hold in reserve? What secrets will you protect in your darkness? What will your shadow teach you?


Song for Brigid’s Day
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

Do you feel how the world comes alive?
How even underneath its coat of snow,
inside the bright crystals of the ice,
something in the Earth is stirring?

Within your own eyes I see it rising–
in this breath,
and now this one–
the Dreamer is awakening.

The dawn has come,
spreading its golden road before you,
asking, “Will you step upon the pathway?”

As you move out onto the road,
Brigid’s sun upon your face
will trace your outline full behind you,
defining you in the Shadow
which will be your soul’s companion
into spring.

Gratitudes, Musings

Blessed Imbolc

DSCN8834

Tonight we stand at another of those corners of the year, the moment in the space between solstice and equinox, the full womb of winter.

It’s Candlemass, the time to melt your gathered beeswax into candles to make light for the coming year. Take them to the church for the priest to bless. Make a place for your fire. Prepare the vessels of illumination. Get your house in order.

It’s the season of the pregnant ewe. What do you feel quickening within you? How will you protect and prepare for the new thing that is striving to be born within you? Can you feel it kicking?

It’s the season of Brigid, patroness (call her saint or goddess, she’ll answer to both) of metalwork, of healing, of poetry. What do you create in your forges? What is being tempered, tested, forged within you? What does your medicine bag look like? What is your healing role? How will you make your words artful?

It’s the season of the groundhog, popping up in the morning to search for his shadow. What is your own relationship to your shadow? What do you bring into the light? What do you hold in reserve? What secrets will you protect in your darkness? What will your shadow teach you?

Gratitude List:
1. Langston Hughes. He had reason to despair. He had reason to give up on America. But he wrote “Let America Be America Again,” critiquing the dream, but then vowing to work to make it real, ending with:

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

2. Students sweetly and shyly sharing their Self Collages with their Creative Writing classmates today. I need to create more experiences in my classes where they are talking about their personal philosophies with each other.
3. That mango gelato with chocolate sauce.
4. Reading the Percy Jackson books with the kids. We need stories of courageous heroes.
5. Candles and shadows and healing and poetry and forging.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Musings

Exploring the Shadows

2014 January 018
Sun and shadow.

It’s Brigid’s Day.  It’s Candlemas.  Day of the Groundhog.  Day of the Shadow.

The thing about shadows?  They appear most clearly on the brightest days.  Those cloudy and overcast days, when everything is one singular tone–the shadows are hints and mirages only.  But on days when the sun is shining brightly, then the shadows flow and scatter about your feet and down the hill, pooling and puddling like water in the hollows and crevices.  On sparkling days, you can look into the shadows and discern the deep indigo and violet.  The shadow becomes a mirror, another layer of reality overlaid upon the everyday.

Today, I will light my candle in the dark places and watch for the way the light shifts the darkness around me, how it helps to define and shape the darkness, how it gives meaning to the shapes of things as their shadows find them, mirror them, define them.  Today, I will be the groundhog, searching for the shadow that defines and mirrors me, that offers me a new vision of who I am when I am outside the safe burrow of myself and standing in the sunlight.

May your shadow be a reflection of the Truest You.

Gratitude List:
1. Sleep.  I seem to need more of it these days.  And I am sleeping more deeply.
2. Shadows.  Mirrors. Reflections.
3. Indigo. I’ve been meditating on indigo.  I want to do more research on human perception of blues, indigo in particular.  When people began talking about no longer including it in the rainbow line-up, I was really bothered, and was consequently delighted when my 6yo came home from school and told me about Roy G Biv (the I is still in there).
4. Dinner with the dormies last night.
5. Circling the wagons. Joining hands to hold the net.  Casting the lines from person to person to form the web.

May we walk in Beauty!

Musings, Poetry Prompts

Poetry Prompt: Breaking the Sentence, Breaking the Sense

I used to write Morning Pages.  Religiously.  I think I wrote for an hour every morning, fast and without pondering.  Julia Cameron said it would help me learn to know my inner artist, and so I did it.  That was about fifteen years ago, and I was writing many poems during that year and finding richness in the writing.  Ask me why I stopped and I can fire off a dozen excuses, some of them actually sort of reasonable.

Just a few weeks ago, at a writers’ retreat in York, John Terlazzo asked us do a similar process in response to several writing prompts, and then encouraged us to pick it up as a daily practice.  And so I have taken up the practice again.

Yesterday, this came out on the page as I was writing: “The idea is that I am trying to break up the sentence, to pull back that veil of sense that covers my brain.  To let myself go.”  One of my favorite ways to write poetry is to string apparently unrelated images together, collage-style, until a unified and profound whole emerges.  I have been wanting to take this process a step further and string words and sounds together in a similar way.  I’m not quite ready for my shoo-be-do-be-doo poem.  And I found that even breaking the sentence was challenging for me.  I’m still stringing images together.  But I’m getting there.  And I want to take it further.

Then this lovely quotation visited my Facebook Feed yesterday.  I agree with many of the people who responded when I posted it (find that conversation here) that many scientists and mathematicians value poetic language to describe the world they explore.  But the basic idea, of the poet approaching truth through paradox–that grabs me:

“It is the scientist whose truth requires a language purged of every trace of paradox; apparently the truth which the poet utters can be approached only in terms of paradox.

“T. S. Eliot said that in poetry there is ‘a perpetual slight alteration of language, words perpetually juxtaposed in new and sudden combinations.’ It is perpetual; it cannot be kept out of the poem; it can only be directed and controlled.

“The tendency of science is necessarily to stabilize terms, to freeze them into strict denotations; the poet’s tendency is by contrast disruptive. The terms are continually modifying each other, and thus violating their dictionary meanings.”

—Cleanth Brooks, “The Language of Paradox”

This will be my homework for myself in the next few days, for Monday’s poem:

Poetry Prompt:
To write without stopping for half an hour each day for the next three days, ignoring sentence sense, trying to bring myself into a patter-spatter of images and words.  To break the sentence, to step behind the veil of sense.  Then, sometime on Monday, to glean a poem from among those writings.  Will you join me?

 

Groundhog skull an Goddess Potato:2013 March 098