THREE LINES OR SO

Storytelling has become an amiable feature along the coast
lately. Verbally sharing stories of our lives at gatherings where
people actually listen is progress since each of us is a story
walking around on two feet.

To sit down at a table or at a computer and put these stories
together as a book takes another kind of courage and I am
pleased to be encountering a number of people making this
effort.

This morning, I leafed through a poetry book, looking for an
appealing thought, found it, and so here it is for all who are
about to publish:

” E N V O Y

Go, little book,

out of this house and into the world,

carriage made of paper rolling toward town

bearing a single passenger

beyond the reach of this jittery pen,

far from the desk and the nosy gooseneck lamp.

It is time to decamp,
put on a jacket and venture outside,
time to be regarded by other eyes,
bound to be held in foreign hands.

So off you go, infants of the brain,

with a wave and some bits of fatherly advice:

stay out as late as you like,

don’t bother to call or write,

and talk to as many strangers as you can.”

………..BILLY COLLINS, the final poem from
his book, Ballistics (2008)

Dear writers all, my thanks from my heart for your sharing.

with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

LAST LINES

I find myself walking along with a poem, taking it in as if
we’re just strolling. And then, the last line wakes me up!
Try this portion of one on for size:

“GOLDENROD”

“……..
I was just passing by, when the wind flared

and the blossoms rustled,

and the glittering pandemonium

leaned on me.

I was just minding my own business

when I found myself on their straw hillsides,

citron and butter-colored,

and was happy, and why not?

Are not the difficult labors of our lives

full of dark hours?

And what has consciousness come to anyway, so far,

that is better than these light-filled bodies?

All day

on their airy backbones

they toss in the wind,

they bend as though it was natural and godly to bend,

they rise in a stiff sweetness,

in the pure peace of giving

one’s gold away.”

…………MARY OLIVER.
New & Selected Poems, Volume One………………….

… ‘ in the pure peace of giving one’s gold away.’

What lightness of being that brings with it. All struggle
falls away when nothing is held tightly to one’s breast,
protectively. Such abundance of allowing, of generosity.
of plentitude.

I can turn and there is so much more.

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

TRANSITIONS

I am sure we are in transition. Daily, awaking to gray skies,
it’s hard to think any season is present. So, I look ahead
to the remembered time of summer, a summons perhaps,
to warm breezes and sunny days:

“What is the change in summer
of which one expects nothing?
Nature is not reborn,
nor does she perish except
in the streaks of a rare elm
that has outlived itself.
The weather conceals nothing:
the months are temperate,
even in the hardest rains
one may walk without a coat.
The gardens flourish, and bear
without a gardener’s help.

Sitting in windows at night
black cats and their masters
look out on summer; the moon
feeds their yellow visions,
the opened windows cool them.
One learns to smoke a pipe
and is pleased for solitude.
One wants nothing to happen
forever, and thinks of those
who perhaps are ready to die,
except that it is summer
and they are putting it off.”

………………….ROBLEY WILSON,
from the book, A Dream of Summer,
Poems for the Sensuous Season,
selected by Robert Atwan.

Putting it off! What a lovely thought. Time takes on
another way of being that suggests a sense of
‘living like a river flows, carried by the surprise of
its own unfolding’.

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

THE SHAPE OF A WHELK

IN 1955 Anne Morrow Lindbergh (yes, that one, the wife of
‘Lucky Lindy) took a vacation, more like a retreat, to a warm
shore and wrote a thoughtful book which recently was re-
printed. Here is a portion that spoke to me:

“I turn the shell in my hand, gazing into the wide open door

from which the occupant made his exit. Had it become an

encumbrance? Why did he run away? Did he hope to find

a better home, a better mode of living? I too have run away,

I realize. I too have shed the shell of my life, for these few

weeks of vacation.

But his shell — it is simple, it is bare, it is beautiful.

Small, only the size of my thumb, its architecture is perfect,

down to the finest detail. Its shape, swelling like a pear in

the center, winds in a gentle spiral to the pointed apex.

Its color, dull gold, is whitened by a wash of salt from the

sea. Each whorl, each faint knob, each criss-cross vein in

its egg-shell texture, is as clearly defined as on the day of

creation. My eye follows with delight the outer circum-

ference of that diminutive winding staircase up which this

tenant used to travel.

My shell is like this, I think. How untidy it has become:

blurred with moss, knobby with barnacles, its shape is

hardly recognizable any more. Surely, it had a shape

once. It has a shape still in my mind.

What is the shape of my life?”

…………………… From the book, GIFT FROM THE SEA.

I was asked a similar question at the opening of the North
Star Underground Railroad Museum, Ausable Chasm, NY
on Saturday. I found that question to be so deeply personal
that I was stumped for words, and that remains with me.

I am grateful to that questioner, for it is such a good time
now to take a look at that. I’ll keep you posted.

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

VEES ACROSS THE SKIES

On Sunday my friend Diane and I took salad-take-outs to Southport Dock,
where sitting on a bench one can see a huge horizon. Lovely. Suddenly,
silently, some sense said, ‘look up’, and there they were, a long stream in
V-formation, heading north again, the geese.

Breath-taking.

Seeing that affirmation of nature’s order was like turning a calendar page.
Yes, it’s Spring, wild geese time. I honor that by recalling the freedom of
a poem:

W I L D G E E S E

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You have only to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell my about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

………….MARY OLIVER, from New & Selected Poems,
Volume One.

A chance glance, and all seems new.

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette