Spring Blog

So glad Spring is finally on its way.   Enjoying the crocuses that are pushing up through the tough ground and also the heads of the daffodils and almost blooming hyacinths.   It is a pleasant respite from all the goings on in North Korea, North Dakota and the Anti Gun Control lobby.

I am wondering if these events and key people are all tapping into some kind of Jungian subconcious river, and if you could perhaps draw a comprehensible line from Kim Jong to Bette Grande (with her smiling baby panda brooch) and Senator Mike Lee and his opinion piece on his opposition to background checks for gunowners.

Being a Republican Senator from Utah he is probably also very much in favor of the North Dakota  law.  He would probably be unable to see any kind of dichotomy between his anti-life editorial and his pro-life stance on abortion.  I’ve found that often those who belong to the Republican Party, are part of the ruling Junta in North Korea, and the Moslem Brotherhood for that matter, don’t often see the hypocracies and inconsistancies in their points of view.

Anyway happily back to spring and the bullfrogs!

March Walk

A warm day in March

sets the bullfrogs off like

a symphony with an invisible conductor

that fills the evening with spring sounds,

coming through the transparent blackness

that is just closing its shutters.

Folding us into its dark center.

 

We walk by the pond  

and the frogs stop slowly.

One by one, the horn section

dies, leaving the flutes of

the peepers to carry the melody.

 

We stand on the other side

holding our fingers to our lips

And wait…………………………..

after a few minutes, a reward

as the slow deep harmony resumes.

We creep on quiet feet

towards our driveway,

and smile at each other  

as we hear a single bullfrog

down in the stream by the culvert,

begin once again to blow

his welcome to the spring.

Mary Oliver’s Poem that I love..for the First Day of Passover and my Jewish Friends

In Blackwater Woods
 
Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars
 
of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,
 
the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
 
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
 
nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned
 
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
 
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
 
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
 
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
 
~ Mary Oliver ~
 
(American Primative)
 

 

Mary Oliver’s Poem that I love..for the First Day of Passover and my Jewish Friends

In Blackwater Woods
 
Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars
 
of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,
 
the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
 
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
 
nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned
 
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
 
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
 
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
 
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
 
~ Mary Oliver ~
 
(American Primative)
 

 

Gathered Light

http://threeoclockpress.com/

Gathered Light: The Poetry of Joni Mitchell’s Songs

edited by Lisa and John Sornberger, lyrics edited for this publication by Joni Mitchell

Featuring over fifty contributors (I am one in such venerable company as Wally Lamb smile don’t know how but magic is magic), this landmark publication on the work of a legendary artist is the collection that fans have been waiting for.

release: April 23rd, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-927513-12-5
price: $29.95

Rose – one of the poems in my book A Celestial Guide to Immortality

A rose is a rose

is a riveter

            Rosie the riveter

                        big girl arms

                                    that are strong

                                                            petals of glowing

                                                                        gold that run

into steel white

                                                                                                light, shooting stars

                                                                                                            smell tart, sweet

                                                                                                                        blowsy, loud, crass

                                                                                                            smokey, purple-eyed

                                                                                                lady of the shop floor.

                                                                                    Hips of brown

                                                                        stem, thorns prick

                                                            as they touch thighs

                                                blossoming into pink

                                    and white navel.

                        Petal-shaped breasts

            glow peach from

furnace fires, yellow

eyes reflect blaze

            of welder’s torch        

                         crimson tipped, red

                                    lips part to

                                                show egg-yolk stamens.

                                                            Thunder roll breaks

                                                                        breath of dragon heat,

                                                                                    as water drips

                                                                                                off downy cheek

into full-petalled bloom.

On Sarah’s Birthday March 14th, 2013

FOR MY DAUGHTERS

Image

The Missing Mother

When I look at your faces

I know all the pieces are there

somewhere in my subconscious.

Your first steps, words, thoughts.

I can’t recall them when you ask

for specifics.

They are jumbled in a patchwork

that I keep just below the surface.

It is as if I were absent

when you were born

and I am unable to speak them to you in words.

As I reflect on parenthood I am taken back to the time when my first daughter was conceived, and began to grow inside me into a very small living thing.   I was not one of those women who had thought extensively about being a mother.  I came to the idea late, after my husband and I had been together for six years.  I was a successful professional, and was also in the midst of writing my second novel.

We had miscarried on our first attempt  to create another human being, and I suddenly had to live with the reality that not all wanted pregnancies always came to full term.  My second planned attempt therefore came with the worry that the same thing would happen, and that I would miscarry again.  However after three months, I was able to breath a sign of relief since all seemed to be well. 

I did not feel well during much of my pregnancy owing to a viral condition I had contracted in my early twenties.  It was therefore a struggle to face each day, and yet I persevered without having a sense of how much the child I was carrying would mean to me over the course of her life.  I went around in a daze feeling dizzy and disoriented much of the time.  I was unable to work and my husband decided at that time to re-locate from Santa Barbara to Seattle in order to go back to graduate school.

After we moved, I went to an exercise class and met several women who were also pregnant, and with whom I have remained friends throughout the course of my life.  My daughter was born after two days of labor.  My water broke, but she resolutely refused to come into the world.   In fact I was threatened with a Caesarian after about forty eight hours of labor.  I remember feeling her little feet pushing up into my diaphragm, and taking both of them in my hands, and literally pushing her out, despite the resistance from her that I felt.

 I think this marked the person she is today.  While she grasps her life with both hands and lives it to the fullest, she is also stubborn and her own person, and has never wanted to do things on other people’s time line!

When she was born we called her Yoda because she had a pointed head, and looked like the little gnome that was so popular at the time from Star Wars.  I remember thinking that she was the most beautiful and complex thing I had ever seen or experienced.  I had no idea how to be a mother, and when we took her home, it was the beginning of an adventure and a life-long learning experience for me.  

She slept next to our bed in a Moses reed basket, and I remember being scared that when I couldn’t hear her little sighs and grunts, that she had stopped breathing.   After several nights of non-sleep however, we moved her out into the corridor of our one room, student-housing apartment, and I would get up in the night several times and breast feed her. 

She was always an internally driven person.  She was not a smiler, and would often close her eyes in order to regain control of her external environment.  She would lie in my arms, occasionally moving her lips with her eyes closed, and I would marvel at how tiny her lips were and at the blue tint of the skin that covered her eyes.  I would examine each finger and toe nail carefully while she breast fed, and which looked to me like the delicate, translucent shells to be found on Caribbean beaches. 

She didn’t want us to leave the room until she went to sleep at night, and my husband spent many long nights rocking her in his arms and singing to her until she quieted down, and dropped her soft, downy head heavily against his strong shoulders.

The wonder of her is that she was who she is today when she was born.  She has always wanted to find her own path, even if it is the most difficult one up the mountain.   She has never been conventional, and when she was a teenager this played itself out in all kinds of interesting ways.   I wrote this poem for her when she was  fifteen, and it still says so much to me about who she is, even now she is twice that age, and I am still learning with great joy about who and what she is becoming.

 

 

 

Nefertite

Honey-dipped in dusty peachglow.

Lithe runner, basketball would-be.

Little girl in a woman’s body

whose eyes betray newfound intelligence

amidst the knowledge of Egyptian queens.

 

As you lie, long lashes across flushed cheeks,

lace bras and silk camisoles scattered

on the floor of a room, that has layers

of gum-wrappers, magazines, old tissues,

T-shirts, and piles of those white atheletic socks.

 

Your innocent breathing hardly moves the sheets.

Yet I know you are entangled in wild dreams

of tall, thin gangly boys who ride

snowboards, skateboards and adolescence

as if it were a tidal wave they could conquer!

Dreams too of girls who blush and giggle,

awkward in their power as woman.

Baby femme-fatales, rose-bud witches.

 

As you turn and sigh in your sleep

I feel you once again pushing up under my heart.

A unique knowledge I will carry my whole life,

and always welcome its edge of pain.

 

 

I wish you safe rite-of-passage girl child.

Tall, exotic dream-dancer, spinning inexorably

toward the destiny that will take you away from me.

………………………………………………………………..

My second daughter was born exactly four and a half years after Sarah.  We named her Alexandra, and she came into the world smiling and was objectively quite beautiful. 

From the moment she came into all of our lives, she brought a lightness and so much laughter.  Once again I did not have an easy pregnancy, but this time I knew what waited for us at the end of it all.

Star Captain

Passionate, sturdy girl,

freckle-faced animal lover.

You who empathize with all god’s creatures.

You who feel for us and

nurture us in your sweet child’s dreams,

only striking out now and again

with willful moods, like March winds.

 

You have always grasped your life with both hands,

and you will be the one to steer it.

 

Bold, chestnut-haired captain

charting a clear course

under an infinity of stars.

You are my gift, my joy, my love.

Alexandra is the glue that holds our family together.  We all love her; even Sarah who at four and a half years old felt displaced as our only child!   Though she and her sister often fought through their childhood, there was an invisible cord that bound them together, and that has survived strongly into adulthood. 

Recently her older sister has created magic for them both; she has reached deeply into her extraordinary imagination, started a company, and forged a path that they have eagerly set out on together.  I am so grateful for their mutual support and love, and as their mother I could have asked for nothing more.

I have often compared parenthood to being sucked dry by a gorgeous vampire whom you willingly give yourself to.  Even though there have been times when I have said “no more”,  I cannot give anymore to them, not one more drop of my blood; somehow I have found the strength to drag myself over the bumps that keep coming up in this winding, and unexpected parental road.

Vampires posing as Daughters

 

My garden holds the secret of zen.

Worms slither under my hands.

Flowers grow into my veins.

Trees root in my mind.

Birds calm me.

Even my angry, demanding

Adolescent daughters

Can’t take my blood today,

As it slowly seeps out

Of those tiny puncture holes

In my neck.

 

A year ago Alexandra, my brave and courageous daughter gave a kidney to my husband when her elder sister and, I for health reasons, could not.  She knew he was dying, and despite her fear and misgivings, she reached deep inside of herself and gave us the gift of his life.  A gift we had given to her twenty six years before. 

Our family will always be grateful to her as we greet each new day and our words cannot adequately capture what this extraordinary young woman has so graciously bestowed, falling like the gentle rain from heaven, upon our family.