Epiphany: The Holy Aha!

Aha! The light is here. We have found our way by star and by dream, by following the song inside us.

Now we face a terrible choice. A new dream asks us to stand against a great evil that threatens to destroy this promise, that will destroy the lives of many children and their families until all is said and done. But we are used to following the paths where our dreams take us, and so we must see the child on his way, pack up our things, and head out another way, tricking the old king of his quarry.

Legends say that the astrologers and seers who followed the star in search of the child of promise came from Persia. At least some of them probably came from Iran. Rumi’s beloved Shams was from the city of Tabriz, in Iran, and my own beloved Hafez was from the city of Shiraz, Iran, where the Nasir Ol-Mulk–the Rainbow Mosque–is located today.

As my own country is crouched on the brink of a war with Iran, a rogue president at the helm and all semblance of Congressional checks and balances seemingly in tatters, we must consider our own response to despotic and ruthless leadership. How will we find a different way out of the murderous city? How will we protect the small ones? Perhaps today calls not for a quiet exit through the back door, but a conscious and public standing up and speaking out.

The people of Iran are not our enemy. We have, perhaps, more in common with them than with the angry old men who plot war between our countries.

What do your dreams tell you? Where will this star lead us today?

La Befana: The Epiphany Witch

She’d got her eyes fixed
on what was right in front of her,
the dust and the dirt
and the everyday mess.
Wanted to be ready
for the coming of the child
but couldn’t see beyond
the day she was in.

Believe me, I know
what the old one
was up to. I too get caught
by the fishhook of the present,
stuck in the nextness
of each task ahead,
forget to lift my eyes
to see the shine and sparkle
of my arriving guests,
can’t put down my broom,
my pen, my daily rhythm,
to look up and outward.

Like Old Befana, I catch, too late,
the jingle of the caravan bells
as they turn the corner in the distance,
see the disappearing cloud of dust.

Hastening to grab my cloak and bag,
I’ve lost their trail before I reach
the distant corner, left behind,
bereft, alone, dust-covered,
traveling bag in one hand
and besom in the other,
destined to spend my life
sweeping the skies on my broom,
chasing down the Holy Aha.

Gratitude List:
1. Dreams and visions
2. Watching a boy and his grandparents yesterday, putting together a giant Lego jet. Hearing him hum and whistle as he concentrated.
3. All the people who are standing up and speaking out.
4. All those crows! On the way home last night, as we were driving beneath a sunset sky full of crows, a boy began to sing, “Magical, magical, magical.” (Of course, when he noticed me appreciating it, he switched and sang, “Unmagical, unmagical, unmagical,” but it was too late. I had noticed.)
5. The holy Aha! Finding the way by starlight and dream. Choosing to disobey, if that what is called for.

May we walk in Beauty!

My Cat, the Alchemist

Ah.  This is awkward.  Today’s prompt is to name your poem “My (fill in), the (fill in).”  For some reason cat and alchemist were in my brain, and I didn’t manage to exorcise them before they started to become a poem.  Silly, perhaps, or campy, but something in me sort of likes it.

My Cat, the Alchemist

He takes me in my sleeping state
and transmutes me to my waking self,
reaching through the gates
between those two worlds
with a cry like a human babe

and claws that shred
the stuff of dreams
to ribbons of image,
figments of half-memory,

and I am running faster
down that railroad bridge,
running from a lion
who keeps calling my name,

I am pulled from my quiet wanderings
through the empty rooms of a house
I both know and don’t know.

Some nights I can pull myself
gently back between the bars,
mend the tattered cloth of dream
and sail back into my night voyages.

Often, though, I find myself
wriggling and twisting, caught
in the bars between worlds,
neither quite here, nor quite there,
but an industrial purr beside me
and a small warm body against my leg.

Gratitude List:
1. Yes, I am utterly and unquenchably redundant, but have you seen the pink trees?  Pink Trees.  Number one on my gratitude list.  Pink, pink, pink, pink, pink.  “That’s nice,” says Joss, “because pink is my new favorite color.”  <Yes!>
2. Dinner with the dormies.  That was fun and yummy. We took a walk afterward, and a student’s father yelled out his car window that he loves to see families out walking together.
3. Random blessings from strangers.  See #2.
4. The Lego Museum.  Halfway through the DC day yesterday, Joss said, “I want to go home now.  I want to make a Lego Museum.”  Art imitates life.  He could only take in so much before he had to go start creating in response to it.
5. Kindness.

May we walk in Beauty!

Out in the Wind

Here was the prompt for a borrowed poem:  Because today is 3/11/13, I decided to go to a book near at hand, turn to page 13, scan down to the 3rd line, and choose eleven words to use in some form in a poem.  I sort of cheated, by looking through four books until I found one that I could work with.  This was Barbara Walker’s Feminist Fairy Tales, from the tale of Princess Questa.  I chose the phrase, “. . .went out to walk the dunes in the wintry wind, weeping. . .”  The final poem is perhaps a little overwrought, but it was cathartic to run with it, to see where it took me.  (This was to be March Monday Morning, but I seem to have trouble posting poems in the mornings).

Out you went in the wintry wind
to walk the dunes, weeping
with only a scattering of sandpipers
to witness, and a scuttling crab.

The wind tore the tattered foam from the waves,
sent shreds of lather scudding like sailboats
over the sands, and wrenched your voice from you.

You keened your word
into the force of the gale
a wail, like a siren.

The wind snatched it up with such unholy force
it sucked the breath right out of you.

But your word was carried like a seed pod
in the womb of the wind, to break open
high above all our fields, releasing
a thousand seeds to fall to earth
as the wind itself grew ragged
and shattered into calmer breezes.

We felt them fall, like a net upon us,
and now we wait, our breathing bated
to see what will grow.

Gratitude List:
1.  The perfect hexagonal symmetry of a purple crocus in the lawn, three petals curving inward, three curling out.  No wonder the bees find themselves at home in there.
2.  Sorted Legos.  That seems a little OCD, but something about having them all sorted into piles of color shifted the boys’ attention, and their play become more focused and cooperative for a time.
3.  Tiny green things poking up their heads in the greenhouse.  The way onions come up folded like laundry and then gently unfold into the sun.
4.  Corn casserole–yay for last summer’s frozen bounty!
5.  Courage for the difficult conversations.


One way to keep the cats from actually sitting on the counter. . .

2013 March 025