Such love does
the sky now pour,
that whenever I stand in a field,
I have to wring out the light
When I get
home.

and…

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.
– St. Francis of Assisi

 

 

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I just finished Barry’s awesome book, Syllabus – Notes from an Accidental Professor. Should I call it a book? It’s a unique compilation of her notes. The library had it in the Graphic Novel section.

Read this! It’s so compelling. Where do images come from?
Lynda_Barry_Syllabus
I think this comment applies to poetry as well, right? “What happens to a poem because of what we think?” Nothing!

I love that she made her students memorize a couple of Emily Dickinson poems like this one:

The Lost Thought
I felt a cleaving in my mind
As if my brain had split;
I tried to match it, seam by seam,
But could not make them fit.

The thought behind I strove to join
Unto the thought before,
But sequence ravelled out of reach
Like balls upon a floor.

“Ravelled.” Don’t you love that?

An Anthem Against Silence Play this to remind yourself.  Play this to motivate yourself instead of just ranting against you-know-who (my apologies to Lord Voldemort).

Thanks to Maria Popova and Brainpickings.org

 

PROTEST

To sin by silence, when we should protest,
Makes cowards out of men. The human race
Has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised
Against injustice, ignorance, and lust,
The inquisition yet would serve the law,
And guillotines decide our least disputes.
The few who dare, must speak and speak again
To right the wrongs of many. Speech, thank God,
No vested power in this great day and land
Can gag or throttle. Press and voice may cry
Loud disapproval of existing ills;
May criticise oppression and condemn
The lawlessness of wealth-protecting laws
That let the children and childbearers toil
To purchase ease for idle millionaires.

Therefore I do protest against the boast
Of independence in this mighty land.
Call no chain strong, which holds one rusted link.
Call no land free, that holds one fettered slave.
Until the manacled slim wrists of babes
Are loosed to toss in childish sport and glee,
Until the mother bears no burden, save
The precious one beneath her heart, until
God’s soil is rescued from the clutch of greed
And given back to labor, let no man
Call this the land of freedom.

I spent this afternoon writing poetry annotations for a non-fiction book I’m working on.  It has been enlightening.

Somehow my self-talk got to admonishing myself to trust myself.

I thought of this Najumi quote:

najumi_quote

I have a corollary to that idea.

trust

“The woman who trusts herself is the safest person on the planet.” – Pat Edwards, November 6, 2016

Yep.

I am a Great Aunt again (and I am the best of the great aunts, to be sure).

I wrote this poem for new person, Duke, my niece’s new son. You expect that the parents would respond immediately with love, but to feel strongly as an aunt, thousands of miles away, immediately?? That amazes me.

 

duke

There wasn’t even a hole there.
But now you fill it.
I didn’t know I was missing you.
But now you’re here.
I knew love was infinite.
But now I’ve felt its stretch.

You’re the breath I didn’t know I was holding.
You’re the beat my heart didn’t know it was missing.

You are now a part of this:
a cloud forming to hold the rain
a bud leaning into the light
a bird gliding toward the branch
a wave skimming the shore.

Welcome.

 

I’ve created some short poems to use at the end of my morning walks as a walking meditation.  I’ve found they’re good when I’m spazzing out a bit, too.  They’re excellent to shut the voices down and foster deep, slow breaths.  I’ve used them at work, too.  No one seems to mind (or notice, even) that I’m slow walking a hallway, talking to myself.

This first one is direct from Thich Nhat Hanh, (Tay) the Buddhist Teacher.

“I have arrived; I am home
in the here, in the now.
I am solid; I am free,
in the ultimate I dwell.”

 The second one I created as part of a Third Step.

“I decide, again today
I turn over my will; I turn over my self
to love, to love.
What shall I do then, as love?”

This last one I wrote based on a quote from Tay and a much longer poem by Dr. Barbara De Angelis, “Soften Your Heart.”  It’s a great poem, but too long for me to remember on a walk.  I love the rhythm Tay has set.  I’m happy I build on it.

“Feelings come; feelings go
like clouds in a windy sky.
My breath is my anchor.
I soften; I soften and let love arise.”

 

I read Auden’s last book, “Thank You, Fog”.  The second poem in there, Aubade (meaning a poem for the dawn or early morning) is a perfect representation of connectivity.  I referenced in my post on http://dayswithoutpirateattack.com/2016/03/18/ripples-out/

“I know that I am and will,
I am willing and knowing,
I will to be and to know,
facing in four directions,
outwards and inwards in Space,
observing and reflecting,
backwards and forwards through Time,
recalling and forecasting.”
– W.H. Auden, Aubade

Two new members have joined my writers’ group (Tuesdays With Story) recently and one is a very good poet, so we have upped our poetry quotient significantly .  More poetry makes me happy!  I found this quote while I was editing the group’s newsletter for this month.

That applies to other creative outlets as well, right?

If you cannot be an artist, be the art.

If you cannot be a dancer, be the dance.

If you cannot be a musician, be the music.

If you cannot be a quilter, be the quilt.

If you cannot be a chef, be the meal.

. . . I could go on. . .

less_travelled

*no apologies to Mr. Frost, just an additional perspective.

My Witness Tree

With credit to Bob Hicok, in whose poem, “What I Know for Sure” I first read the term

 

I only heard these words together
for the first time last week: witness trees.
So I looked them up
and found their stories, both romantic and tragic.

There are Cherokee arborglyphs,
where they carved a record of their trails.
You can drive your wagon through a sequoia named
‘Wawona’ if you’re traveling down the Yosemite Valley.

There’s the Buddha’s banyan,
where he sat sheltered for years
and was eventually enlightened.

Newton napped under an apple tree,
Washington chopped a cherry,
and Shakespeare planted a mulberry.

Andrew Jackson has a prayer oak,
Pickett a black walnut,
and marking the graves of Union prisoners
is the Andersonville Magnolia.

My father planted a sugar maple in our front yard
the year we moved into the house on Hartford Drive
and that summer, when it was late, but still really light,
we played Red Rover at the Frasers’ across the street.
It felt like every kid in the neighborhood
stood in one of those two lines,
and we whooped and hollered
until Mom turned the porch light on.

Of course, Neil’s team won,
because he was the biggest and
could lock arms really tight,
no matter who came over.
At least, this is how I remember it.
I don’t know what the tree remembers.