Did you know there are poetry workshops, not to celebrate
a development as a poet, but to work through personal issues
to find a “way” ? John Fox teaches poetry therapy in California.
His book, POETIC MEDICINE, is 303 pages of stories.

over last weekend, the life and death of Don Hewitt, creator of
’60 Minutes’ on CBS, was celebrated and his message to the
evening news: “Tell me a story.”

I’ll buy that!

Here are the words in Poetic Medicine of Mary K. Turner, M.D., a surgeon
on a trauma unit at a hospital in Indianapolis:

T H E W E L L ………………………

I am a well
ancient, enduring
even in the stark
and arid times
I have never gone
completely dry
Send your bucket down
my deep recesses
have much to give
Send the rain down
my mouth is open
to the gift from the wide sky
Send the storm down
though my weathered mortar
cracks, and the stones shift
I remain standing still

That poem is a metaphor for herself. Her summary of how it
shaped up came from her inner voice, reminding her that she is
more than what she does.

Writing that was her way of coming back to her inward self, saying,
it’s vital if I am to do the work I do and be the woman I am.

… standing … still, as in trust me, I am here.

Yeah, man, I got that.
with love …


I have recently returned to doing the Inner Portraits, and it’s been
a stretch to wander from my focus on my physical therapy to the
personal journeys that accompany each one of you.

Fascinating and wonderful, and at the same time I reach for the
old familiar places, embraces that survive the passage of time.
In the latest edition of POETRY magazine, I found this commentary
that warmed my heart:

” … Poetry isn’t just a way of writing, it’s a way of thinking

and I’ve been thinking that way since at least sixth grade.

At Alexander School IV in Macon,Georgia, MIss Lois Birch,

who seemed as old as God, made us memorize poems.
The two I remember spring to mind as often as the faces of

old friends. I keep them in my head the way you might keep

worry beads in your pocket, reaching reflexively in times of

stress for their meaning, rhythm, sound.

One is by John Masefield: ” I must go down to the sea again,

the lonely sea and the sky, / And all I ask is a tall ship and a

star to steer her by.” The other is by William Wordsworth:

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host of golden daffodils.

Since sixth grade I’ve memorized poem fragments that range

from the wisdom of A.A. Milne (“Where am I going? I don’t

quite know / What does it matter where people go?”) to the

wisdom of Wallace Stevens ( “She says ‘But in contentment

I still feel / The need of some imperishable bliss'”).

………..MARY SCHMICH, Columnist at the Chicago Tribune.

In any one of those lines there could be a quickening of your
heart in sudden recall of all that line once meant to you. It doesn’t
take much to make that time leap, does it.

Pretty cool for the last days of August. I hold on to them, reluctant
to let go of summer. Reluctant to let go of the happiness of recall.

with love …


Sometimes, current words fall short of that arrow straight to the heart.
Current poetry is still in the process of becoming, whereas ancient poetry
has stood the process of time and all that remains is its simplicity.

Sometimes, I am simply looking for permission for joy! Yes … I’ll take
that one! Here’s one for us today:


My Master once entered a phase
That whenever I would see him
He would say,

How did you ever become a pregnant woman?”

And I would reply,

“Dear Attar,
You must be speaking the truth,
But all of what you say is a mystery to me.”

Many months passed by in his blessed company,
But one day I lost my patience
Upon hearing that old refrain
And blurted out,

“Stop calling me a pregnant woman!”

And Attar replied,
“Someday, my sweet Hafiz,
All the nonsense in your brain will dry up
Like a stagnant pool of water
Beneath the sun,

Though if you want to know the Truth
I can clearly see that God has made love with you
And the whole universe is germinating
Inside your belly
And wonderful words,
Such enlightening words,
Will take birth from you

And be cradled against thousands
of hearts.”

from the book: The Gift, Poems by
Hafiz, The Great Sufi Master.
Translation by Daniel Ladinsky

Hafiz has strung those words together so perfectly that I
cannot presume to add comment or explanation.

I just love that generosity of spirit that includes you and me
in those thousands of hearts.

with love …