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

A POLAR ARC

Brrrrrrr ! Which book to warm me up as we go through
single digit temps in this darkness before the sun returns?

It surprised me that I went without forethought to a book that
I’d made a daily practice with two years ago.  Not poetry purely,
but a richness of sketches and journal of her solitary seeking of
herself in the country away from all distraction:

TRUE NATURE An Illustrated
Journal of Four Seasons in Solitude. by Barbara Bash.

Here’s an opening, for sure:

“For years, copying other people, I tried to know myself
From within, I couldn’t decide what to do.
Unable to see, I heard my name being called …

Then I walked outside.
Do you think I know what I’m doing?
That for one breath or half-breath I belong to myself?

As much as the pen knows what it’s writing,
or the ball can guess where it’s going next.”

…..and then these words of Rumi came to her mind:

“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the worlds touch. The door is round and open
Don’t go back to sleep.”
………………………………………………………….

Bash  writes of her sketches:
“I dipped my brush in gallons of sumi ink and pulled it across
yards and yards of paper.”

Yummy!

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

IMG_1105

 

YEARNING

On a single page of poetry:

“it was a clean escape
into oceans of silver beads

it was a muddled day
like pictures
green through morning clouds,
and with steeples
and cypress trees
wrapped around your wrist

you walked with me

you walked with me”

………………KYLIE JOHNSON,
from her book, Count Me the Stars

The ‘yearning’ could be for that which is
just beyond reach, taking us (me) briefly
into a world without walls, a present of
timeless blips of perception.

I particularly love the steeples and cypress
trees. These, like slender arms reaching
up… and up….

then letting out the breath and feeling glad.
………………………………………………………….

I have recently completed the free 21-Day
Retreat of meditations by email, given by
Caroline Temple and Lisa Jacoby from their
upcoming book, “What I Know To Be True”.

I found that each day’s beginning was made
more available if I started my day with the
meditation of that day in the order in which
they were given.

Blips of experience, the set of meditations
is available on Facebook.

Be well.

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

FINDING HER HERE

Where will I find me? I awake in the morning and wonder
who she is, the me for this day, for this task of being human.

Apparently, this is seasonal! After permissive summertime,
the Fall is here and back to reality. Pack away the light colors
of summer clothes and thoughts. Create schedules that work.
Look in the mirror critically in preparation for the day.

This morning I found a poem from 2006 that I had kept for
a reminder, and maybe today is the day to look at it again:

“I am becoming the woman I’ve wanted,
grey at the temples,
soft body, delighted,
cracked up by life
with a laugh that’s known bitter
but, past it, got better,
knows she’s a survivor —
that whatever comes,
she can outlast it.
I am becoming a deep
weathered basket

I am becoming the woman I’ve longed for,
the motherly lover
with arms strong and tender,
the growing up daughter
who blushes surprises,
I am becoming full moons
and sunrises.

I find her becoming,
this woman I’ve wanted,
who knows she’ll encompass
who knows she’s sufficient,
knows where she’s going
and travels with passion.
Who remembers she’s precious,
but knows she’s not scarce —
who knows she is plenty,
plenty to share.

from her book, My First Real Tree.
……………………………………………………………..

That’s the way she woke up on a day that she
then created more.

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

WHAT DO YOU SEE AT DAWN?

The shades at my windows are down right now before the dawn,
all except those over my air conditioning unit where I can see
the trees outside, with glimpses of sky.

I have three schoolroom windows starting at three and a half feet
off the floor all the way to the high ceiling, wonderful, clear space
each day to welcome the sun and the rain, sometimes fog, ice,
snow, all the ways the world greets us when we pull up the shades.

I love the dawn, have loved it for so many years, years in which, at
the first show of light, I would throw on some clothes, step outside
in the coolness and walk lightly for miles. MIne is a safe, residential
neighborhood. However, I have this old, old superstition that will
not permit me to allow leg or arm to hang over my bedside. I do know
that what’s under my bed is whatever I’ve put there, no room for
monsters of dark imagination. Nontheless, this atavistic fear is a real
hang-up!

In like vein, I pull down the shades of these magnificent windows the
minute it gets dark. My apartment is at ground floor. I can stand and
look outside, a comfortable view as I stand head and shoulders above
the sill. That also means that often my family can show up to see me
and all they have to do is stand on tiptoe to knock on my window to
let me know they’re here. At least, that’s the way it’s been for sixteen
years until last week when safety railings were added along the side-
walk just beyond the low bush planting.

My fear has been that anyone can walk right up to my window and
almost look in. If that were to happen, and I suddenly saw ‘them’,
I would be scared out of my wits, to tell the truth, and run to pull down
the shades. If you recall, I began this story with the intention of
pulling up the shades to greet the dawn, that soft, gradual return to
our everyday reality, that has such a timeless beauty of its own.

Thank you, fear, for showing up. Once I see you, the jig is up.

I walked over to the windows just now, and pulled up the shades.
There, right there at 6:36 a.m., is the dawn, it’s real, it’s there, it’s
soft and changing as I stand and take it in. The night is over, and
a new day is here, a pause at the threshold.

As I sat down here at the computer, I heard a noise outside, and
lo and behold, the garbage truck has arrived, it’s lights matching
the glow in the sky, and the day has begun. Such an everyday,
ungainly way to look at the dawn, isn’t it? I promise you another
day to answer your question about dawn, beautiful in all its promise
and assurance of eternal newness.

You asked such a lovely question, and where have I taken us?
I have diverged to that place where the poets say, “It’s the darkest
before the dawn.” Let’s let that contrast speak for itself, and just
enjoy the fact that, yes, it’s dawn, and the day is ours.
………………………………………………………………
POST SCRIPT TO DAWN
On this beautiful beginning of day, here’s a thought:

“Take earth for your large room
and the floor of earth
carpeted with sunlight
and hung round with silver wind
for your dancing place.”

…….MAY SWENSON, courtesy of Panhala this morning.

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

HEY BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE

Hey, Baby, it’s cold outside!
We can say that again, fully expecting a warmer clime by this time.

So, time is doing its own thing. I say, ‘thanks a lot !’, turning to a
voice from another time:

” Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

and summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st,

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”

………………. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE,

as found quoted in a delightful small book called
‘A Dream of Summer, Poems for the Sensuous
Season’, selected by Robert Atwan.
……………………………………………………………………..

I share this as a promise of what’s to be, given a certain
amount of patience and the quirky choice of Nature.
Weekend after next, it’s May !

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette