Step Away from the Gates

Yesterday was perhaps a bit of a let-down day after the high of Luna Moth Day, full of barely maskable crabbiness and low-grade anxiety.  Sigh.  I suppose we can’t always live in the realm of the sublime.  The mundane has lessons aplenty.

Worn out by the anxieties and slog of the day, I lay back in the recliner for an evening catnap, and the first part of this just sort of fluttered into my head.

Don’t sit so close to the gates of Despair, sister.
I don’t need to to tell you how the gates open inward,
suddenly drawing the shuffling masses inside the yawning arches.
I don’t need to tell you how easy it is to be carried along in the wave,
or worse, trampled by feet of those who are eager
to prove their dark visions and those who cannot
relinquish their lifelong addiction to fear.
You know them too well, these shadows.
You’ve been in that land.

Roll up your mat, gather your books,
pick up your bucketful of bright yellow flowers,
and walk twenty paces east of the gateway
to the place where a sapling grows patiently
out of the moss-covered pavements.

From this spot you will hear the faint whisper
of breezes, from faraway places
where courage is dawning.

From this breathable vantage point,
you will hear the distant shushing
of waves on the beaches
where hope will awaken.

I know why you choose your perch,
there, on the doorstep.
I know why you watch them so carefully,
tending the crowd like a garden,
why you believe yourself safe,
you, with your books and your flowers.

I know, too, how you belong there,
in that waiting crowd of restless people,
how some days your flowers turn lifeless and ashen,
how the words in your volumes, on grayest of days,
run down the pages like ink-bled tears.

Pick up your mat, I say, now before the gates open.
Turn your back on that archway.
Follow the pathway of bright white pebbles
that I laid there myself one gray day.


Gratitude List:
1. The way words come together to make meaning
2. The holiness of the everyday
3. Tomato sandwiches
4. Cool summer morning breezes (“. . .blowing through the jasmine in my mind.”
5. This web that we belong to.  And I don’t just mean the www, though that one has its contribution.  Can you feel how the strands connect us, how the energy runs between us?

May we walk in Beauty!


Keeping a youngster on task with homework tonight is taking just about all the psychic energy that I can muster.  I was going to try my hand at a prose poem, inspired by the work of Kristy Bowen in the current BloodLotus, but I’ll just give you the link to that and let you be inspired, too.  I am especially fond of the one about the birds.

Gratitude List:
1.  The Mystery of a tomato seed,
2.  how it contains within its tiny envelope
the blueprint of a jungly tomato plant,
3.  how it waits, still in the cool soil,
for its moment,
4.  then cracks through its little shell
with root always downward
and sprout reaching up and out,
5.  to create its very own fruit and seeds.

May we walk in Beauty!

Palms Filled With Air

(for Bret and Sue, in memory of Eli)

the tiny bird needed
someone with the fierce
and tender heart of Buddha
to scoop green feathers
into cupped palms

someone who knew
–oh, how you knew–
to neither cringe at dying
nor waste hope for living

but only to watch
to feel the quivering heartbeat
to listen for the feeble chirrup
to look into the white-ringed eye
to say I am here
to feel the slide of feathers
as wings took the shape
of your palms
and filled them with air
with a whole world

light as ashes
scattered over sunset

Gratitude List:
1.  How tidy the bank looks after I have mowed
2.  Sweat
3.  Root Beer Floats
4.  Golden tomatoes that look like the sun
5.  Hummingbird

May we walk in Beauty.

Tomato Sandwich!

2011 June 190
This wasn’t today’s sandwich.  I ate that too fast to even think of a photo.  I think that is a Cherokee Purple tomato.

Gratitude List:
1.  The first tomato sandwich!  That crusty, yeasty brown bread and an Iron Lady tomato with sharp cheddar and mayo and salt.  Oh my, oh my, oh my. . .
2.  Was it Andrea who said something at break today about a man who said that when he was a boy he could hear corn growing?  Like a whistling sound, he told her.  I love that so much.
3.  Life force.  That corn up there in #2, and the mung bean sprouts that Ellis grew this week, how they pushed up the lids, and then grew an extra half inch in a hour this morning.
4.  The old, old woman from my dream last night.  Her name is Grafa.  “Sometimes I wake up in the night and fling off the covers,” she tells me.  “I wake up in the middle of the night just to tweak the energy a bit.”  Grafa–writing or drawing?  From Old Norse or Proto-Germanic (according to Wiktionary), means to dig, to bury, to engrave.
5.  The random way that Joss throws words together or sings a word repeatedly while he’s playing, just for the fun of the sounds.  “My teeth are devious!”  “My foot of God.”  “Nairobi, Nairobi, Nairobi!”

May we walk in beauty.

Feed Me

Poem about Nourishment, following Heidi Kindon’s prompt.  I feel like this is part of something I have been working to say for years, and it feels like it still needs a lot of finessing, but I am so grateful for the prompt that caused me to put it down:

Feed me.
Let me savor
the pith and the pulp
of a fresh garden tomato.

You can talk to me
about lycopene
and anti-oxidants,
about minerals
and vitamins,
and that will make me

But the names
have their own kind
of nourishment:
Cosmonaut Volkov
Early Girl
Cherokee Purple
Garden Peach
Indigo Rose
Green Zebra
San Marzano
Mr. Slabaugh
Mountain Princess

Tiny little golden orbs,
and great juicy giants,
crimson and scarlet,
buttery yellow
and deep midnight purple.

Talk to me about
the sun, how each tomato
is born of the light,
how the mother plant
spins those rays
and weaves them,
with raindrops
and the tiny crystals
that it draws from
the earth,
how it weaves them all together
into one magical bundle
to feed me.


Prompt for today (Monday):

I finished last night’s poem this morning, so the prompt is for today.  Stephanie White suggested the theme of Lost and Found.  What do you think?  Care to join me?  I am thinking of a couple of tankas or something similarly terse. . .  We’ll see where it goes.


Gratitude List:
1.  Rich conversations with friends: seeds and secrets, ancestors and our children.  All woven together.
2.  Two boys snuggling with each other on the recliner chair (30 seconds–I’ll take it)
3.  Rain and fog and mist
4.  Desire
5.  Rhythm

May we walk in beauty.