Prayer and Rage

imag2090

What can we give besides our prayers and rage?
And what will that avail?
Send out the story on October winds.
Fling it high, where crows are flying.
Send the message echoing into earth
with every pounding step you take.

Listen.
Let the shells of your ears gather the story.
Reel in the gossamer strands of the tale
and weave them into the veil you wear.
Listen for the stories of those who weep,
those who rage, those who only speak
with the shrug of a shoulder,
with a sigh, with a shudder.

Listen, too, to those who walk right in,
who step into your circle without invitation.
Listen to the voices that are hard to hear.
Offer only the bread that is yours to give.
Be like the old gods, with the raven Wisdom
on one shoulder and Memory on the other,
and Reason perched upon your hat.

Offer what is yours:
your rage,
your prayer,
your watchful quiet heart.

Gratitude List:
1. Rage and prayer
2. Memory and Wisdom
3. Reason
4. Listening deeply. Being listened to deeply.
5. Graphic novels. I know this one is rather out of the context of the others, but the boys and I are really into graphic novels these days: the Amulet series, Zita the Spacegirl, Knights of the Lunch Table, and Mouse Guard. We really love Zita and her poor friend Randy who has a case of the squeaks.

May we walk in Beauty!

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Dreams of Flying

mermaid
During yesterday’s day alone, I took a little time to play with the Dreamscope app. This is younger me as a mermaid.

Gratitude List:
1. Featherbed. The very definition of coziness. (Check out John McCutcheon singing Featherbed.)
2. Yesterday’s solitude. I feel prepared to be back among people.
3. The great-horned owl calling from the bosque.
4. Dreams of flying. In last night’s dream, I wasn’t actually flying, but jumping and gliding. Still, it fulfilled the wild feeling of catching the wind.
5. Stones. Prayers.

May we walk in Beauty!

Making a Circle to Hold a Heart

heartstone
A safe circle for a heart.

Is it cold in the house of the hummingbird,
when raindrops patter softly on the sycamore leaf-roof,

when one small bird has dared the day,
flown upward through sunbeams,
trusting to wings insubstantial as mist?

The other no longer sits more quiet than breath,
but turns her head to the thunder,
hunkers deep into her mattress of cobweb,
waits for her moment to fledge.

Gratitude List:
1. One small hummingbird has dared the day and taken first flight. Safe journeys!
2. Anticipating a weekend and time with friends
3. My wise and earnest colleagues
4. A fine collection of Maine island stones, each with a single white line across, each one a little message about pathways, direction, and destiny, about joining up and making a way where none seems to be
5. English grammar. I happened upon a really fun sentence modeling exercise, which I did with a couple of classes yesterday. One student, who struggles to understand the structure of a complete simple sentence, read out the sentence he’d built, which included carefully placed adverbs and adjectives, two prepositional phrases, an appositive phrase, a subordinate clause, and three absolute phrases. He sounded so elegant and well-spoken, but most delightfully, he sounded proud of himself.  Here is an example of a sentence using all of those pieces: In the classroom, one laid-back teenager, a young man who often has no time for grammar, proudly read an elegant sentence from his writing journal as his delighted teacher listened, the words flowing like water, the ideas sparkling in the air, the class electrified by language.

May we walk in Beauty!

Roses and Honey

Poetry First Song

Here is a revision of a poem I wrote last year. I don’t think it’s quite finished. It was pretty loose and free when I first wrote it, which doesn’t bother me, but I wanted to take it into a more mythic rhythm, if I could. I shaped it into something like a triversen, trying to keep the four-beat rhythm on each line–working with the four beats felt like the Kalevalla, and I want to try working more with that old Scandinavian feel.  I’m not sure yet whether it’s better than the original. I’ll post the original at the end of this post, and you can tell me what you think, if you want to. I’m open to critique–feel free to spill some blood upon the page.

Once upon a time, Child, when you were caught in the swirling fog–
remember how it held you, how it caught your arms and legs like brambles,
until you saw the wild rose bush beside the pathway in the woods–

remember how the roses dropped their scarlet petals on the ground,
how the tender centers swelled into ripe red berries,
a little sharp, a little sweet, and how they fed you, how they healed you–

remember how the golden bees swarmed around you as you wandered,
how you cried out in fear, how suddenly the wakeful sun
broke through the buzzing cloud: all was golden, all was sweetness–

remember how you heard the howling in the distance, closing in,
how the beast emerged from the wood, all teeth and claw, all hiss and fury,
how you quelled the urge to run, how you looked it in the eye,

how you spoke into its raging, “What is your name?”
I remember now, how you walked that day out of the mists,
a rose in your hair and honey dripping from your fingers.

Gratitude List:
1. Sorting sea glass, stones and shells with Josiah
2. Getting to bed early and only waking up twice before 5
3. Revising: poetry, plans, ideas
4. Wise people
5. Everything is going to be okay

May we walk in Beauty!

***
First Version of the poem:

Once upon a time, Child,
when you were caught in the fog–
remember how it held you, how it
caught at your arms and legs like brambles,
until you saw the rose bush
beside the path in the woods–

remember how the roses
dropped their tender petals on the ground,
how the center swelled
into those ripe red berries,
a little sharp, a little sweet,
and fed you, healed you–

remember how the bees
swarmed around you,
how you cried out in fear,
how the sun broke through the buzzing cloud
and all was golden,
all was sweetness–

remember how you heard the howling
off in the distance and closing in,
how the beast emerged from the wood,
all teeth and claw,
how you quelled the urge to run,
how you looked it in the eye
and said, “What is your name?”

I remember now,
how you walked that day
out of the mists,
a rose in your hair
and honey dripping
from your fingers.

Stones for Memory

Carin

Today’s prompt is to write a poem about memory.

I have always envied others their power of memory.  My own is so fickle, so capricious, unreliable.  My ability to concentrate and memorize poetry or lines for a play in the present moment are, I think, above average.  I’m nowhere close to having a photographic memory, but I feel like I understand the brains of people who do.  This has served me well in the short-term.  I can quickly learn a story, hold a lesson plan, memorize a poem, prepare for a play.  But my powers of remembering in the long-term are, I think, way below the average.  I can remember very few of the teachers in my growing up years.  Even college, even grad school, even my first years of teaching–all are receding, dragged backward out of my memory.  This has always been kind of painful for me.

What I tell myself is that I live in the present so completely, that the butterfly of my personality sits so completely in the now, that I do not take my mind back enough to pull out the pieces of past and examine them, and so they flow out and away.  Perhaps this is not exactly a defect in my personality, but it remains a deep and abiding pain.  I lose the past too utterly, and I do often feel it as a personal deficiency: if only I would get my flightly brain to concentrate more often on what has gone before, perhaps I could keep it, hold on to it.  Still, I cannot make myself hold memory.  My brain is wired for this moment.

I place in the hands of Time these stones:
the story of this day,
the people I have been near to,
the songs the Fates have whispered in my ears,
the colors that haunt me.

See how they turn to mist,
how they glow for a moment–
red, then golden, then blue–
then dissipate like ash blown by a wind
before I can register
that they have lost their substance.

Where does memory go
when it flows out with the tide,
when it slips down the drain,
when it is blown out with the morning fog?

I am still the child in the forest,
walking blind through the swirling mists,
under the shadows of the great trees.
With each forward step on the trail,
a little bird flutters from the pathway behind,
a bread crumb in its beak.

Gratitude List:
1. Memory
2. Longing
3. This moment
4. The shades of dawn
5. Small moments in which to breathe.

May we walk in Beauty!

Prophets in the Street

Gratitude List:
1.The Poetry Spoken Here Tent at York Arts Fest:

The prophets are out in the streets
picking up the threads of the story.
The shamans, the healers,
the truth-tellers all,
singing and howling,
whispering at the top of their lungs.

This is how the wind changes, my people.
This is how the paradigm shifts.

Give my poets a megaphone.

2. Last night, we discovered a little online program-thing called Noteflight, which I can use to separate the tenor or bass line from a hymn so Ellis can see it by itself to make for easier reading.  Also, yesterday, he got his trombone at school.  After an hour or more of playing our instruments along with the tenor line of Ode to Joy, an exhausted and light-headed boy rhapsodized, “I love this!  I love this program!  I love music!”  May it be ever so.
3. Sandra.  Thank you for folding the laundry.  My goodness.  Thank you for inspiring my boys.  Thank you for being part of our village.
4. Heather Shining Stone Woman.  So good to see you.  Thankyou for the treasures.  My heart is over-flowing.  You gave me so much more than stones. . .
5. Creativity and the Muses.  That Radiolab moment today when they interviewed Elizabeth Gilbert.  I almost needed to park the car by the side of the road so I could get out and jump up and down.

May we all find our voices.

Bowlful of Prayers

EWK 5 001

The stories converge.
The strands on this web meet,
connect, and twist outward again.

This is a bowl of stones, holding prayers:
a shining soul who just received a terrible diagnosis,
another bright spirit who is caring for a suffering loved one,
another, walking the confusing labyrinth of a broken relationship,
a quiet spirit grieving a loss that never seems to heal,
an eager heart aching with loneliness,
a disappointed one,
a tired one,
and you?

A stone for each of these I love,
and also, one for the bright cardinal
who comes with messages of hope,

one for the courage of the activist
climbing high and challenging oppression,

one for hope, one for love, one for tenderness,
one for patient remembering to give yourself time,
to cut yourself a break, to let yourself cry,
to remember your truest, greenest, most powerful self,

and one for the spider who brings all the stories
together in a web, binding us all into one.
One story.

Gratitude List:
1. Change
2. Stability
3. Prayers, stones, and feathers
4. Watchfulness
5. Root beer floats

May we walk in Beauty!

Five Sacred Elements

<Prompt 17: Write an element poem>

I call upon the air,
the breezy inspirations,
the winds that bring ideas,
that cut through the muddle
like a sword of sharp steel.

I call upon the fire,
the passion that ignites,
creative force that excites
the Muse and drives
the enterprise, the energy
that awakens the spirit.

I call upon the water,
deep peace and dream seeking,
realm of the heart, and
keeper of intuitions.
The flow and the flood,
the ocean around us.

I call upon the earth,
the ground of our being,
the rocks and the stones,
the caves, and the bones
of the ancestors.

I call upon center,
great mystery and spirit,
the hub and the wheel,
the home and the fulcrum,
the life-force, the bringer
of balance and union.

Gratitude List:
1.  That lunch.  Wow.  Good friends, never enough time for conversation, food from all over the world.
2.  Lifetime friends.
3.  Good singing
4.  Old Turtle
5.  Feathers.  No, stones.  Both.

May we walk in Beauty.

Nine Stones and a Gratitude List

Nine Stones

I gathered nine white stones when I went
to the sea, that windy threshold where sky meets
water meets land, and all is transmuted
by the fire of the sun.  Nine stones.

One for each of the dogwood trees,
gracious guardians at the entrance
to our own threshold.

One for the toad to grasp
as she sits in contemplation
under the litter of leaves.

One to place
between the clasped hands
of the lovers in their whirling dance.

One to rest at the bee-door
to guide them home from honeying.

One for wildness and courage,
to be the lion’s heart,
the spirit of the wood.

One for the wren
whose story overflows
and trickles over house and fields.

One to place at the cave’s door,
to carry as we walk within.

And one for the falcon
to clutch in her claws,
when she stands in the sky
and sees that singular task
among all that lies in the fields.

 

Gratitude List:
1.  Insomniac child finally fell asleep again at 4.  I counted backward from 100 for him.  Need to remember that one.
2.  Tannenbaum so lovely and the magic of nostalgia for small children: “I remember this ornament!”
3.  Loving cat who licks my ears and tickles my chin.
4.  Advent.  Waiting for the light.  Hush.  Stillness.
5.  Mist.
Namaste.