“WRITING DOWN THE BONES”

IMG_1607I’ve always loved the title of that small Shambala Pocket Classic,
written 30 years ago.  My dog-eared copy shows those years!

The sub-title, “Freeing the Writer Within” is what hooked me in the
beginning, and since then has proven its worth.
Consider this on page 87:
“I say all writers, no matter how fat, thin, or flabby have good figures.
The are always working out. Remember this. They are in tune, toned up,
in rhythm with the hills, the highway and can go for long stretches and
many miles of paper. They  move with grace in and out of many worlds.” ~ Natalie Goldberg

Yes!  tomorrow I may have a poem but this is my ode to urge you to
pick up a pencil or pen and just write your heart out. No erasures,
no crossed out lines, just go for it, and leave it to continue another day.

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

OCCASIONS

PAFA-Image-3
Woman Reading by a Window, 1905 Artist: Gari Melchers

To celebrate the return of the early sun is a kind of wonder.
What do we say to each other?

How about this:

“I wish for you that when you awake

You emulate the leaf and the bird;

That like them, touched with grace, you take

Note of the wind.  You have not heard

Its low-voiced billows yet, nor seen

( Lost in your less elated rest)

The empty light upon the green,

The leaves and tumbling birds that gave

The wind its due, and then redressed

That small excess, each bounding spray

A boat that dances on the wave,

A whip that tingles in the day.”

……………..DANIEL DAVIE, 1922-1995
from an Anthology of the Best Poetry Since 1900,
edited by Michael Schmidt

Very much like the view from my window this April morning.
Celebrate the day.

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

SKIPPING PARAGRAPHS

"for the small, sturdy symbols of inextinguishable hope that encourage us"
“for the small, sturdy symbols of inextinguishable hope that encourage us”

I pick up a poetry book and notice that there are times when a poem looks very long, let’s just skip paragraphs here and there.

So I tried that.

No go.

So, here it is in all its wonder and grace:

 

AT THE TIME OF GREATEST DARKNESS”

“At the time of greatest darkness
there is the greatest felt need
for celebration,

for the flickering illumination
of candles reaching into the world’s
dark places,

for the  ordinary, homely miracles that
stand against disaster, destruction
and despair,

for the small, sturdy symbols
of inextinguishable hope that
encourage us

not to mistrust the strength
of the gentle, the decent,
the comic, the kind,

for ritual words that give shape
to shared memory, carrying with them
believable promise,

for laughter that snuffs out fear,
and for an irrepressible merriment
obliterating darkness.”

………….CAROL A. ARMSTRONG,
from the book, Everything Waits To Be Noticed

Let  this be a good day.
always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette.

First Yoga Lesson

IMG_3731So many returns to each day when I’ve gone back to yoga lessons.

Days  into weeks, and a year has passed.  Actually, sometimes decades.

Always the lure is new and it re-starts as lesson one.

Does this poem feel familiar?

” FIRST YOGA LESSON

“Be a lotus in the pond,” she said, “opening
slowly, no single energy tugging
against another but peacefully,
all together.”

I couldn’t even touch my toes.
“Feel your quadriceps stretching?” she asked.
Well, something was certainly stretching.

Stand impressively upright, she
raised on leg and placed it against
the other, then lifted her arms and
shook her hands like leaves.  “Be a tree,” she said.

I lay on the floor, exhausted.

But to be a lotus in the pond

opening slowly, and very slowly rising—

that I could do.”

………..MARY OLIVER, from her recent book,
Blue Horses, Poems. 2014

My take on that?  It’s worth it.

always with love,
Mom/MimiToni/Antoinette

Choose Your Title

IMG_3729A wind of words came billowing through my email, like birds
celebrating the first warm weather in a giddy mass. This poem
emerged:

“WAKING WONDERFUL WINNIE

Waking wonderful, wacky, Winnie the witch

involved, irksome issues, indubitably

naturally no one nudged nelly til noon

indulged, inebriated inertia, invariably

flopped feebly, a fallen flower

remaining rakish, rarely rising

enjoying exhausting everyone, the expert

dear, darling dame, daring dandies.
Many men mentioned marriage

always after amorous affairs

usually unwilling, she unwittingly

rejected requests. Requiring rather

exact, erroneous, exotic, entreaties;

enamored entourages, eagerly evaporated

nightly, nervously nodding, no-no.
Mollified momentarily, miraculous millie

offered obligingly , odd, original outbursts

rather righteous; she ridiculously ranted

rowdy ruffian, rude romantic rabble

intending, intellectual intensity, instead

supplying, silly superlative, suggestions.”

………..MAUREEN MORRIS, dated 3-12-84
in the archives of her poetry.

Let them be there, gathered in all their glorious gusts of grave departure
from the dowdy, dusty folders, enjoying nothing except their being.
The wonder of words, no single sense of intention, falling all over
each other.

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

We Can Ask

IMG_3344It’s still dark enough to feel very, very early today.
Yesterday I got a ride around our roads to the beach, and found
such surprises springing up suddenly!

To catch the awareness of opening flowers and burgeoning trees
I pulled out an old familiar book and found this to share with you:

” L I G H T

Daylight comes earlier now that it’s spring.  Birds sing
even in the dark.  Dormant life stirs in the garden.  Inside,
I am stirring, too, waking up from something sleepy and
inert, something that’s held me quiet in the cold.

After a long winter we may feel a new permission.
Isn’t this when the gardening begins to begin?  It’s time to
raise the blinds and open the windows as well, to let air in,
even if it’s cold.  It’s time for new life to touch our faces
and our inward being.

The light is there.  We can ask now to really be wakened.”

…………….GUNILLA NORRIS, in her book, A Mystic Garden,
Working with Soil, Attending to Soul. (2006)

…so, this morning, I do ask.

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

Really?!

imageI love stories about the animals who lead lives of humans,
who go about their lives in a parallel universe that makes
our lives more fun. Not just for children’s books, we find
ways to simplify being adults in these stories/poems/ books.

So, very early on a Sunday morning, look at how it sometimes works:

“POETRY TEACHER:

The university gave me a new, elegant
classroom to teach in. Only one thing,
they said, You can’t bring your dog.
It’s in my contract, I said. (I had
made sure of that)

We bargained and I moved to an old
classroom in an old building. Propped
the door open. Kept a bowl of water
in the room. I could hear Ben among
other voices barking, howling in the
distance. Then they would all arrive —
Ben, his pals, maybe an unknown dog
or two, all of them thirsty and happy.
They drank, the flung themselves down
among the students. The students loved
it. They all wrote thirsty, happy poems.”

………….MARY OLIVER, from her book, Dog Songs.

I’d say that’s a formula for success.

always love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

I Thought I Knew

imageI picked up a small book that has been hidden among
other books, waiting to be noticed.

I say that with a smile because I have felt unnoticed often in this extraordinary life

I am living.

When I saw the author’s name, I prepared myself for some magic.
Magic, as in poetry, floats me away from a humdrum today. However,
here’s what I found instead:

“We all tend to make zealous judgements, and thereby
close ourselves off from revelation. If we feel we already
know something in its totality, then we fail to keep our ears
and eyes open to that which may expand or even change
that which we so zealously think we know.”

………MADELEINE L’ENGLE, from her book, Walking On Water,
Reflections on Faith & Art. 1980.

On the brink of 2015’s springtime, I cannot believe we are already
fifteen years into a new century. How has that happened?

Well, dear ones, it is through all the leaps, escaping bounds, that
I have zealously embraced as being ‘the truth’, time and time again,
that I can find the freedom of a ‘now’.

Welcome aboard!
always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

 

Smiles

imageI crossed the room to open the computer to share just the greatest idea with you. By the time I had turned on the computer, opened email, and went to share that  greatest idea, I could not imagine why I had chosen that particular one, and I started to turn the page.

Here’s what the page said,
“The smile is the shortest distance between two persons.”

The quote was signed by VICTOR BORGE.

YES!
Can you remember Victor Borge? the minute I read his name,
I started to smile. Borge sat at the piano on TV, and over an ongoing patter
of music, he would tell short stories that made us laugh. I could be
alone in my room and yet each time I would feel as if I had been in tune
with lots of others.

Since I’m smiling to myself at 3:17am, I can wish you a good morning
and go happily back to bed.

I have chosen the right quote.

always love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

Daily Rounds

imageThere is a book of prayers that invites us to become aware

of the prayers we are already praying.

For example:

“D U S T I N G

Time to dust again.
Time to caress my house,
to stroke all its surfaces.
I want to think of it as a kind of love-making
… the chance to appreciate by touch
what I live with and cherish.

The rags come out –old soft pajama legs,
torn undershirts, frayed towels.
They are still of use.
It is precisely because they have exhausted
their original use that they have come
to this honorable task.

Rag in hand, I feel along each piece
of furniture I live with, and the luster returns
to the old sideboard, to the chair legs
and the lamp stands. It is as if by touch
they are revealed and restored to themselves.
Strange that in the dumbness of inanimate things
we can feel so much silent response.
What then of us animate creatures?

We are so many-surfaced: bumpy, smooth,
prickly, rough, silky, hairy, spiny, soft, scaly,
furry, feathery, sharp, and so on and on.
And don’t we all want to be stroked in some way
… to be restored to ourselves by touch
as much as by sight or smell or sound?

I want to be a lover of surfaces all day today.
Let this be the prayer:
that my hands not be ashamed
to give and to receive a passionate exchange
… to luster and to be lustered…
and so come to feel Your inward touch.”

………….GUNILLA NORRIS, from her book of poems,
Being Home ( 1991), illustrated with photos by Greta D. Sibley.

It is easy to be house-bound due to so much wintry snowy weather
here in the north-east. This poem does more than warm the rooms,
it warms my heart.

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette