I am honored to be published in the quarterly on-line journal
Wormwood Press Media
Please follow the link! It is a lovely zine!
They rose like dinosaurs in the landscape. Long necks of hued metal reaching to the sky. Only their stillness speaking. He listened to them. He, the NightWatchman, the one who hears.
When Ray got the job, he celebrated. They went to Maya’s and the family ate their fill laughing, and later, singing together when the band arrived. Ah, that was a good time.
Ray looked at the monsters lined up ready for work in the morning.
That’s what he heard as he listened to them. Moving iron beams into place with ease. Even grace. Ray admired that. Grace.
There were a few small clicks bantering back and forth, here and there.
Ray knew this conversation.
The day was brutal with heat. As sun set and moon rose, the cool of night made its way into cracks and crevasses between plates and screws. And the instruments relaxed from their craft. A release of all they had accomplished.
Ray knew this conversation.
Cranes confessed in relief. Some more bold, almost bragging. Others, simply a sigh.
He welcomes dark
As he moves through his sacred space
Knowing each turn by heart
Flashlight pocketed, ready if needed
The NightWatchman listens
Eavesdropping on the day
That no longer speaks with voices
But is captured in silence
Making room for a deeper hearing
For those things forgotten, ignored,
The NightWatchman honors the
Each creak and crack and skitter
knowing the story they tell
Ray reached for his keys, a ring of wonder.
“Hey, Ray, how do you know the right one?”
He smiles and moves on.
The NightWatchman knows.
. . . . .
Each group of writers brings a wondrous array of gifts. Unique voices. Wisdom. Compassion. Vulnerability. If it is a strong group, always vulnerability.
We wrote from a simple word prompt: eavesdropping.
On my drive to the session I saw a row of cranes near a water plant all lined up in a multitude of colors. Just the necks, like brontosauruses all in a row waiting for a treat. And “night watchmen” from the radio jumped out and tickled my ear. I don’t hear that word much anymore.
And what was birthed came from those three inspirations today and a lot of support and love from the group.
PEACE POETRY POSTCARD MONTH
World Peace Poets
For three years I’ve participated in the World Peace Poets’ annual February Peace Poetry Postcard Month where you sign up and receive the names and addresses of 28 or so poets from around the world who have also opted in. Each day you write a poem about peace on a postcard and send it to the next person on the list.
Last year I decided to do haikus because they fit easily onto the back of the postcards.
This quote below from Michael Mead popped into my Facebook feed and that was my invitation.
“The ancient Irish had a saying: ‘You don’t give a man a weapon until you’ve taught him how to dance.’ In other words, a different kind of learning is required before someone can be truly trusted with social power and potent things like weapons. If a man does not know the wounds of his own soul, he can deny not just his own pain, but also be unmoved by the suffering of other people. More than that, he will tend to put his wound onto others. He may only be able to see the wound that secretly troubles him when he forcefully projects it into someone else, in forms of abuse or violence.
So in the old culture-making idea, in order to properly bear arms a person must first become disarmed, as in becoming vulnerable and connected to something meaningful and supportive of life. The idea of forging the temperament of young men took precedence over the idea of simply giving them weapons at a certain age. The tempering of the souls involved discovering what kind of anger each might carry and learning about the inner line where anger turned into blind rage. Becoming tempered also meant immersing in the sorrow of one’s life and thereby being in touch with the grief of the world.”
– Michael Meade
This month my tankas built off of this quote. It was a deep dive – a lectio divina of sorts – on this passage. There turned out to be an adjustment in participants. Sone left. Some arrived. I just kept all on my list, so there are 32 for this month of February.
And sometimes life calls for breaking from the form. The tankas are not “correct” and I finished the month early. I’m such a little rebel.
“The ancient Irish had a saying: ‘You don’t give a man a weapon until you’ve taught him how to dance…”
Each new day I will
Listen for morning birdsong
Move my stiff old legs
To hear my dreams from night past
To know my imperfections
Prayer, a practice
Of my body where God stands
Disarm myself, opening
To you, a balm for old wounds
Of poetry, a canvas
Blank, a dance of risk
Tempering my soul with words
Painting peace in color and form
I don’t see beyond
The barrier of my soul
I stay within now
I clear my clutter of wrongs
I open to possibility
Grandfather’s clock ticks
Snow dances in its own song
This winter peace, peace
In peace of silent twirling
I hear you, Holy Presence.
Steam rising into form
She at her laundry duty
There is peace in winter’s breath.
In all we do, our soul sings.
He doesn’t know how
He has no room for wonder
He has never danced
Take me by my hand in peace
Feel what love offers all
I must make the room
Dancing requires much spaceThere is peace to know
I move the furniture back
Roll up the rug, clear the way
I’ll listen later
To the closers of the day
Sun down and moon up
I walk opening my heart
Dancing in the peace of night
No, they didn’t, know
They didn’t know how easy
To see what was gone
Deep within a silent pool
To draw into life’s sound
They’re in my pocket
Small and insignificant
Unless you know them
I reach in and find their rough,
Their smooth, their being, their peace
Always good to see
You, pal. Your light. Your space. You
draw me into soft.
That place of peace requiring
room, attention, ya, ya, ya.
She said she would call
You, who knows all the answers
You, Wisdom Keeper
She hears you, gives into You
The sacred space of your peace
Swam some laps last night
Under moon showing a way
Silkflow over me
Moon guiding me in the peace
of you, Moon’s eternal grace
Did she forgot how
to dance, or was it that she
was playing old games
Lines and strokes, pauses and loss,
Compassion calls for patience
It’s not a fault when
Steps are no longer there to
With light hand offering
A lead, one can dance once more.
Ego to sit this one out,
To learn a new step
Open once more, yes, again
And welcome them into dance
In broken heart I
See you now, clearly, absorbed
In old remembering
Break open, release your pride
Acquiesce all to the dance
Maybe we forgot
how to dance without judgement,
without fear, without ego
wanting us to be the best
we forget to make room
I asked my muse to
open my heart, free my soul,
A sacred place to waltz
In the whisper of her breath
Snowflakes keep falling
Winters breath spins dancing sprites
Through her cold frost day
Play in her joy in the peace
Of February’s tango
Dance as if you’re mad
Dance in rain, in snow, fall leaves
Dance until you can’t
Then dance even more till dawn
Come with me, tango
In step counting our heartbeats
As one with the moon
And we will breath in and out
Inviting all to the dance
Teach me how to dance
One peaceful step at a time
Gentle me to you
Let me gloam in your welcome
Let me measure you deeply
Let me bring you to
the dance, fill your heart with
Song. no room for fear.
We will step as One in breath
One in joy, no room for hate.
Let me bring you to
the dance, to empty your heart
Make room for deep peace
Night will turn to dawn and we
Will find each other in Grace
Let me bring you to
The dance, let go of your hurt
I am with you
We are One in this place of
Joy, Make room, make room, make room
Come with me in dance
And we will spin new ways of
Being making room
Hands held tight we twirl shaking
Off all that no longer serves.
And if we dance till
Sun up and down we will have
Little time for fear
And peace will fill our days with
Joy, dance will be our province
No time to fear in
Quickstep. No room for hate in
Tango. Let us dance.
Empty our hearts leave room for
Peace, just dance and dance and dance
Don’t even pick up
The sword, don’t touch the cannon
A marvel awaits
See if you can find it, just
Take off your shoes and dance.
Take off your shoes to
Feel her under your feet
Root down deep to her
And dance as One in her peace
Her arms are open, take hold
She opened her right palm and rested it on the rock, opened to the sky. Her left hand placed two stones inside.
It was a new year, with lots of twos. Twenty twenty. She was two, her own being with one other. He was large and black with eyes that reflected what was inside her, two eyes that glistened, twin stars. Castor and Pollux. And he was her twin. They did everything as one.
They walked here, together, into the trees where the stream flowed small, almost unnoticed. But noticed by those who needed it. She needed it today. The quiet. She was glad to have this space in the middle of a place that housed people on top of people and cars that ran the streets all hours.
But this space was hers right now. His head in her lap.
She curled her fingers around the two stones. She wanted to feel their roughness. She wanted to know their story. Their way to this place, like hers must have been round-about. Or maybe they were always there waiting for her.
Wasn’t that how it was? Someone or something always there waiting. Waiting to be what they were supposed to be for the one they were supposed to be for. So while they waited, they just were. Doing just what they were supposed to do.
The arc of the new bridge
spanned the thoughts of the young one
who knew its power.
Not because of something she was told,
but something she knew deeply within.
She wanted to build bridges.
although she didn’t know that word yet
in her five-year-old existence.
But she knew bridges were strong
and could take you over rough water.
Or over another road going another direction.
Or lift you high enough to see the mountains
and the plains,
if you could look both directions at once.
She knew this.
All of this in her five-year-old existence.
It would take courage
to move Earth to make the mounds.
And big trucks and large shovels.
It was a job for big machines.
But it also took a pencil
and a piece of paper
to draw the lines.
And isn’t that all that matters.
Isn’t that where it all begins,
with a line.
One elegant line
to take you forward or
or above and to the side.
And you are in control.
And you can do it.
And if you make a mistake,
You just continue,
a sort of start over.
Because no one really knows,
and it doesn’t matter anyway.
And you find that,
you create the most elegant
and beautiful life
with twists and turns
and glorious vistas
all with one pencil,
by listening to what
you know deep within,
Make the space
Just who and what you are.
And she marveled
each time they drove over
that took them into town.
She opened her hand and placed the two rocks on the ground.
He sighed and grumbled that he had to move to make way for another of her inventions. But he did. And this time it would be different. She had made the room to listen.
She took her finger and starting at the two rocks side by side, she drew an elegant arc.
Driving to a new writing group this morning I was taken aback by the beauty of a bridge I had crossed over many, many times. The arc it made and the grace it carried in just being took my breath.
Stepping into a new year with 20-20 vision, as one participant described it, gives one a new lens in which to look through.
Agreement has rarely been the mandate for people who love each other.
Pádraig Ó Tuama
They were siblings. He, an innocent bystander between the two.
His leg was sore. When he sat, the hindquarter opened. Not his usual strict attention on a “good” sit. A deep puncture quickly healed over. Just a day ago open. Today, as if nothing happened, today he runs. My Bean, Benny the name he carried to us. I call him Bean, My Bean. He is smart and joyful, pulls me into his world. Me in hesitant agreement.We walk twice a day. He eats, gnaws a chew stick, plays ball, all on his own terms, of course.
Together, in amalgam, we wander.
She is here this morning. Sun behind us.
She, just past full, bright white against light blue veil
rising above houses, trees, soon to exit in Sun’s arrival,
She leads us.
Do you notice, the lights in the sky,
or is your nose tethered to the ground,
scents and sniffs guiding your being?
I walk both above and upon.
Moon rise, Sun set.
Crows and clouds.
Leaves and roots.
Snowflakes drifting and
ice slicked by melt
then frozen through night’s chill.
What do you know?
Who was here…who came and left.
Their essence. Invisible now. You know.
Do you hear ravens?
I know you hear airships.
Rumbling trucks take away
that which no longer serves.
Barks and howls, near and far.
Together we divine our world,
pace ourselves through days of
grizzled knee and tender hindquarter,
“mo sheasamh ort lá na choise tinne”
You are the place where I stand on the day when my feet are sore.
. . . . .
There is magic in community. There is an understanding, agreement not always necessary.
Our Afternoon Writers met this morning. Our prompt from an On Being with Krista Tippett interview with Pádraig Ó Tuama, Belonging Creates and Undoes Us. In an attempt to widen our scope of what and how we write, I’ve been searching for new types of prompts to inspire us. Some of us, myself at the top of the list, kept falling into what we have always written – same style, same characters, same storylines.
Change is difficult.
Today I brought a paragraph from Tippett’s interview:
Pádraig Ó Tuama: Agreement has rarely been the mandate for people who love each other. Maybe on some things, but, actually, when you look at some people who are lovers and friends, you go, actually, they might disagree really deeply on things, but they’re somehow — I like the phrase “the argument of being alive.” Or in Irish, when you talk about trust, there’s a beautiful phrase from West Kerry where you say, “mo sheasamh ort lá na choise tinne” — “You are the place where I stand on the day when my feet are sore.” That is soft and kind language, but it is so robust. That is what we can have with each other.
What surprised me is that several writers wanted the opening sentence. I was aiming for the quote on place.
Our writing stretched us, gave us room to explore something new.
Pleopeltis polypodioides (syn. Polypodium polypodioides),
also known as the resurrection fern, is a species of creeping,
coarse-textured fern native to Africa.
They braided seeds into their hair
not for show, but hidden,
not to be discovered,
bringing homeland with them
boarding ships they knew nothing of
crossing oceans never to return to their Africa.
Memories survive long periods
with just a little telling
to resurrect their life
to grow again through word spoken
to those who never knew
They arrived, some with star maps
from desert skies where once their feet
planted onto homeland
never to return, but remembered
through lines and dots, remembered
through scanning the night
for something familiar.
There is a wisdom,
a knowing in action
a way to preserve that which
would be lost, an honoring
for those to come connecting
those to the past.
I reach back to learn from where
my ancestors came, their
customs, their stories,
ritual, a part of my DNA
I know of
violas and sweet alyssum
bees tended and golden nectar
caravan travel spreading words to heal
salt thrown over a shoulder
My mother heard voices, saw ghosts
they said she was crazy
she didn’t know her homeland
she didn’t know her stories
I wish I could ask her now
I wish I could resurrect her
from the box
inside the marbled floor mausoleum
and our homeland
The resurrection fern gets its name because it can survive long
periods of drought…However, when just a little water is present,
the fern will uncurl and reopen, appearing to “resurrect.”
I am very honored to have my poem, Resurrection Fern, included in The 2019 Poetry Marathon Anthology. It is always a unique experience to write a poem an hour for 24 hours straight.
There are some lovely poems from poets around the world included in this year’s journal. Take a look and join us next year!
Someone who never picked up a pencil to draw or a paintbrush to paint, I found a passion that combined with my new found self.
I liken my new self to sitting on a lovely, perfectly balanced little three legged stool. One leg grounding me in Passage Meditation. The second leg grounding me in shamanic practice. And now, the third leg opening portals on the canvas to move through intention, to weave a red thread to create, and connect.
Below are a few photos of my initiate book. Some friends expressed the wish to purchase it. So it is now set up to explore and purchase, if you are interested, from Blurb.
In the coming months you will see more of my poetry and painting. I will have the originals for sale as well as prints and a card line. I will be offering workshops to spread the beauty within through discernment and discovery using my three legged stool!
Many blessings and much gratitude,