Friday, April 27, 2007

If you would be at peace...

It helps to find beauty in simple things.
In daily life is the joy we seek. Here,
in our expanse and not our lessenings,

in the unprotected margins, we are
made whole through our own imperfection.
In daily life, the joy we seek is here:

the lover’s touch, the child’s smile. Connections
weave the cloth of which serenity is
made. Wholly through our own imperfection

we admit the divine - such blessings
with abandon gather. Your faith within
weaves the cloth of which serenity is,

luminous and bright. This is how we begin
to touch the sacred. Heart of God! To love
with abandon, gather your faith. Within

your grasp is grace. Do not rebuff
its help: to find beauty in simple things,
to touch the sacred heart of God, to love
in our expanse and not our lessenings.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Listen: into each life the rains must come.
Death waits for all. Do you not hear
the soft, incessant beating of the drum?

Make something of your time. Not a simulacrum
of conspicuous consumption but a truth to revere.
Listen. Into each life the rains must come

to sprout the seed. May we become
essential as we age – distilled, austere.
The soft, incessant beating of the drum

a call to heart, to action. Returning to some
source of strength, we see: the stories are here.
Listen into each life. The rains must come

and go again, and so shall we. Struck dumb
by death? Perhaps, and yet it is sincere,
this soft, incessant beating. The drum

may stop, but echoes shake the sphere
if you’ve lived well. So do not fear
the soft, incessant beating of the drum.
Listen: into each life the rains must come.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

the not-so-villainous villanelle

The (cato) prompt this week at Poetry Thursday was to write a villanelle. Now, I have *never* tried to follow a poetic form before (except for one fifth-grade haiku) and I was a little apprehensive, given all the comments about how villainous the villanelle can be. To my surprise, I loved it! I felt that the constraints of the form helped me to push myself a little more; that perhaps I wasn't satisfied as quickly as I might otherwise have been. I will be writing more of these and will be trying other forms as well. Stay tuned!

Two notes: Jessica’s piece on villanelles mentioned iambic pentameter; other research I have done suggests that this is not an absolute requirement of the form - so I chose not to do so. Also, I altered one word in each repeat of the second refrain.

I can't WAIT until late tonight when I can link this to PT and see what all the other PTers have to offer.

On Writing Poetry Outside at 5:00 AM

In the quiet of the pre-dawn hour
alchemy awaits me as I wield my pen
Reborn, sustained by Nature's gathering power.

The rushing creek, the birds, the brightening flower
all free my soul of weight. Begin again
in the quiet of the pre-dawn hour

to voice my dreams, my hopes. This verdant bower
cradles me. I am no longer fallen --
Reborn, sustained by Nature's stately power.

I am deluged with thoughts both sweet and sour.
I wait, and watch, and deeply listen
in the quiet of the pre-dawn hour.

The drought of words becomes a building shower.
The gift will come, the transmutation happen
Reborn, sustained by Nature's fearsome power.

The poet in my heart will sing, if I allow her
the time and space to gently reawaken
in the quiet of the pre-dawn hour --
reborn, sustained by Nature's graceful power.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

On Monday

This week's prompt at Poetry Thursday was guerilla poetry and I had every intention of participating. And then the massacre at Virginia Tech occurred. The higher ed world has been turned upside down and I find myself seeking comfort in the familiar and repetitive until I can listen to the news without having to remind myself to breathe. And so my only offering this week is this, raw and unedited, simply how I am feeling at this moment.

On Monday

on monday the storm passed us by
or so i thought
brave daffodils pulsing yellow beating back the snows
the bloodroots lifting their faces to the grey and leaden
sky seeking the warmth, the promise, the kiss of light
april's cruel mercy notwithstanding. flowers are sentient
in their own way, calyx and corolla turning toward the sun
even when there is little sun to be found. for what else
is there, for them and for us, to do? on monday i
picked up my son and danced him around the kitchen, made
him dinner, read him a story. every word, every act, every
breath a litany: make it not so, Lord, make it not so. for
all the mothers, Lord, make it not so.

Monday, April 02, 2007

To Rabindranath Tagore

This week at Poetry Thursday, the (cato) assignment is in two parts: write a poem to, for, or about a poet; and write a letter to a poet. I am both attracted to and humbled by this idea - to speak to those who speak so eloquently to me. I've always been a reader, a voracious consumer of words. I particularly loved the transportative quality of great novels - swallowing me whole and depositing me, hours or days later, in a strange and different place. Surfacing from the words like waking from a long sleep: surprised by the sunlight, a little disoriented, newly aware of my skin.

But - life intervened. Though I still love novels, I don't have room in my life to lose hours that way. When I do succumb to that temptation, I finish feeling a little sick - looking around, seeing forgotten dinner dishes soaking in gelid water, a bit like having a hangover.

Poems, though, are a different story. Reading them doesn't require a large investment of time, and yet they slip inside the pockets of my soul, resonating, slipping into the synapses of memory. A great poem becomes a part of me always - I can take it out and revisit it, stunned as always by its capacity to capture and transform.

Case in point: this excerpt from Rabindranath Tragore's The Gardener:

I am restless. I am athirst for faraway things.
My soul goes out in a longing to touch the skirt of the dim distance.
O Great Beyond, O the keen call of thy flute!
I forget, I ever forget, that I have no wings to fly,
that I am bound in this spot evermore.

Ah, Gurudev, you died 26 years before my birth, and yet you know me.