Country Mountains

Country Mountains

Today is my 90th birthday. It might seem confusing since I have been celebrating
this birthday for several days now.

On Saturday, 19 of my family, across three
generations including four great-grandsons, took me out to Tequila Mockingbird for dinner.

Poetry or the lyrics of songs always accompany any occasion in this family of assorted creatives. Just now I pulled out a birthday folder of 2 poems and Lizzie’s comments following each.

 

I intended to share one poem by Pablo Neruda,
closely related to my own art,when I noticed Lizzie’s comment on the first poem:

The first line made me think of you and how often I say to

you that I long for you to fall in love with yourself, to

remember who you are in your startling beauty and passion.

I push this —and this poem made me realize there is no need

to push this. It happens. It happens. We find that love

when we find it — and until then —we are held in our knowing,

held in patient, loving arms, held in our troubled sleep —

held in our darkness — held in the mountains.”
………………………………………………………………………………..

Here is that first poem:

HERE IN THE MOUNTAINS

There is one memory deep inside you,
in the dark country of your life.
It is a small fire burning forever.

Even after all these years
of neglect
the embers of what you have
known rest contented
in their own warmth.

Here in the mountains,
tell me all the things
you have not loved.
Their shadows will tell you
they have not gone,
they became this night
from which you drew away in fear.

Though at the trail’s end,
your heart stammers
with grief and regret
in this
final night
you will lead down at last
and breathe again on the
small campfire of your
only becoming.

And draw about You
the immensity
of the black sky
which loves your fire’s
centrality.

The deep shadow
that forever
takes
you in its arms.

The low song
of the long
and patient night
that holds you
in your sleep

and stitches
faithfully
with that impossible light
the dark blanket
from which you were born.

……………DAVID WHYTE

Lizzie ended with ‘held in the mountains’, the mountains of memory
for us being the Catskill mountains in New York State.

I love the next to last stanza: ‘the low song of the long and patient
night that holds you in your sleep,’ —- recalling the sound sleep of
youth and memories of each annual trip up to the “country mountains”.

Thank you, one and all, who are sharing this journey with me.

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

Delight

Again, I seem to be noticing simple delights more often than not. Such a wonderful story of my life – to be 98 and welcoming a sense of good luck and a lovely decrease in impatience!

Today’s haiku is a playful way of welcoming the sun after days of rain.

Love Always, Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

METAPHORS

Another part of my library shelves contain books that
have been sources of encouragement for dark times.
We all have those. Of course.
So, this morning I found an old book that I’d forgotten
was there~ a book entitled, “What Is An Angel Doing Here?”.

Randomly opening the book, I found this:
IP
“There are acts of Love in the Bible
that you hear metaphorically.
Hear them as fact.
Can human beings move mountains?
If they believe they can.
You created those mountains in the first place.

Can a sea be parted?  Of course.
Was it? Do you dare believe it?
Can a human being be nailed to a cross,
die, be brought down, buried,
and then rise again?’
Fear tells you, “We have to temper this,
adjust it to where it is intellectually acceptable’.

As you try to soften truth,
you bring yourselves farther
and farther away from Home
and the remembering of who You are
so that you walk in your narrow world
looking for proof that there really is a God.

(and the angel asks):

Is truth so particular
that there is only one gate to heaven?
There are no gates.
Heaven is inside you.
You are not even the gatekeeper.”

………..from Emmanuel’s Book III,
‘What Is an Angel Doing Here’, compiled
by Pat Rodegast & Judith Stanton.

Back in the day (1994) when this was first published,
I loved Roland Rodegast’s illustrations for those books.
Light-hearted, simple, fun to accompany such
questions.

I have been accompanied by myriads of gods and goddesses
in my stretch of life so far.  Each day more and more
are showing up.

Welcome, dear ones.

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

UNRAVELING

In Astrology, when a planet goes ‘retrograde’ there is a time of possible
unraveling.  A time of looking again at our actions, our purposes, and
seeing a possibility there that was an underlying current, hitherto unseen.

I could say it’s like unraveling a sweater I have knitted,  that suddenly seems
to have lost its shape.  The material, the yarn perhaps, is still good, just a
little out of place at this moment.

Because I am in the process of looking for an essential way to create
a soulful arrangement of the furniture and things in my apartment,
I’m looking for a poem to align with that purpose.
I have chosen one for today:

AS IF

In the still room where you are waiting,
the vase of wildflowers, day lilies, verbena —

and flowers you can’t recognize —
will draw you to it.  It is so perfectly quiet

you can hear the spaces between flower and leaf.
When Queen Anne’s lace brushes the tabletop

you will hear it.  If you lean over the bouquet
you will find a meadow with so many pathless

sounds you will call it the sigh of summer.  But listen,
listen again to the footsteps of the meadow walker,

the woman who always comes to gather the flowers,
who returns to the still room where you are waiting.”

……………….ANNETTE BASALYGA,
in her book, LIFER, published in 2012

Unraveling takes a great deal of waiting.  Just noting that.

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette
IMG_2944

 

RICH REFLECTION

My friend Barry Guthertz and four other photographers had
an opening yesterday at a Gallery in Norwalk and the beauty
blew my mind.  Figure of speech, but the deep, dramatic color
of our planet’s places call for that.

I sit here and wonder at seeing color so out of one’s usual realm
and can return to see it again in my mind’s eye.  I found this poem
in a book called, “Everything Waits To Be Noticed” and want to
share it with you:

“ARARAT

Still seeking
the tallness of a tree
on which to alight,
the promised olive

emerging from the
vast turbulent waters
of God’s disappointment
slowly, too slowly
receding,

the released bird
of our headlong hope
pierces the air
in its searching flight.

Yet again it returns
exhausted
failing to find footing.

Again we revive it,
tend it,
sing to it of our
yearning for a
long-imagined peace

and with an absurdly
irrational patience
launch it once more
into the blue air,
probing for possibilities.

The rainbow signified
there would be
no more all-cleaning
all-renewing floods

so we shall have
to work piecemeal,
make it on our own,
one dove-delivered
branch at a time.”

……………CAROL A. ARMSTRONG, in her book
of poems, Everything Waits To Be Noticed. 2011

Always love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

Photo by Barry Guthertz. "Valley of the Gods"  http://www.barryguthertz.com/index.html
Photo by Barry Guthertz. “Valley of the Gods”
http://www.barryguthertz.com/index.html

WITHOUT WORDS

THIS MORNING I awoke from a boring dream!

Everything too easy in my dream, and I woke myself up to avoid a sense of having been there, done that.

When I turned on my computer email, I found Joe Riley’s poem for the day.
However, it was the picture accompanying that of an opening book against
a clearing sky that held me captive.  Took my breath away.

Here’s part of the poem entitled Words:

” The world does not need words.  It articulates itself
in sunlight, leaves, and shadows.

And one word transforms it into something less or other …

Yet the  stones remain less real to those who cannot
name them, or read the mute syllables graven in silica.

To name is to know and remember.

The sunlight needs no praise piercing the rainclouds,
painting the rocks and leaves with light, then dissolving
each lucent droplet back into the clouds that engendered it.
The daylight needs no praise, and so we praise it always …
greater than ourselves and all the airy words we summon.”

…………….DANA GIOIA, from the book, Interrogations at Noon.

always love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

the smell of salt air

DOG SONGS

I leapt forward just now.

It’s that time of year when we approach
Daylight Savings Time, and I just moved my watch forward.  The computer
and the T-V have already been forwarded.  Amazing that we can arrange
time that way.

These early morning hours have a mystery of their own.   On the verge of
Spring, I prepare to be bold and brave again:

EVERY DOG’S STORY

I have a bed, my very own.

It’s just my size.

and sometimes I like to sleep alone

with dreams inside my eyes.

But sometimes dreams are dark and wild and creepy

and I wake and am afraid,  though I don’t know  why.

But I’m no longer sleepy

and too slowly the hours go by.

So I climb on the bed where the light of the moon

is shining on your face

and I know it will be morning soon.

Everybody needs a safe place.”

…………MARY OLIVER,
from her book, ‘Dog Songs’, poems.

……………………………………………….

May  your day include a safe place,  dear ones.

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

Art by Lucy Campbell
Art by Lucy Campbell

BRIDGES

I’d already picked up the book, chosen the poem and headed
for the computer when I glanced at the cover of the book:

DAVID WHYTE,
RIVER FLOW
New & Selected Poems
1984-2007

Wow, bridging into a new century and moving along.  As now in
February, 2014, we seem to be bridging into a new time,
at least weather-wise.
Back to the poem:

THE SEVEN STREAMS
“Come down drenched, at the end of May,
with the cold rain so far into your bones
that nothing will warm you
except your own walking
and let the sun come out at the day’s end
by Slievenaglasha with the rainbows doubling
over Mulloch Mor and see your clothes
steaming in the bright air.

Be a provenance
of something gathered, a summation of
previous intuitions, let your vulnerabilities
walking on the cracked, sliding limestone,
be this time, not a weakness, but a faculty
for understanding, what’s about
to happen.

Stand above the Seven Streams,
letting the deep down current surface
around you, then branch and branch
as they do, back into the mountain,
and if you were able for that flow,
say the few necessary words
and walk on, broader and cleansed
for having imagined.”

…………..DAVID WHYTE, from the section of that
book of poems, entitiled “Ireland”.

What stays with me, to begin with, is “nothing will warm you
except your own walking”.  When I begin with that, I know
I will find that flow of my own.

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

Painting by Lenny Moskowitz
Painting by Lenny Moskowitz

WHEN I LEFT

I am about to share a few words from Rumi this morning.
Have you noticed that when quoting Rumi, not much else
is even needed because those words start the journey of
heart and mind without a map.

Heaven only knows where it takes each of us.
So, acknowledging that, here are some Rumi words:

“WHEN I LEFT

For a time, imitating everyone else,
I preferred myself. Unaware,
I only heard my own name.
Because I was in myself,
I did not deserve to know myself.
Not until I left myself, did I see myself.”

……………………………………………………………………..
from the Rumi Daybook, compiled by
Kabir & Camille Helminski, Shambala 2012

When we meet and say hello, I can see my own
reflection in your eyes.. However, I am generally seeking you,
and don’t notice me.

Enough. You know I cannot resist a comment.
Stay with the words I offer you today.

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

"Not until I left myself, did I see myself"
“Not until I left myself, did I see myself”