SOMETIMES, a poem comes along because I have beckoned it.
I’ve rushed toward it,
skipped some of the ‘sets’
im my rush to set the scene so that you can share it with me,
and I cannot endure to take time to slow down and just do it.

Today, after midnight, before even a crack of dawn,
I found that poem.
I’ll see if I can do it right:

DOGFISH
Some kind of relaxed and beautiful thing
kept flickering in with the tide
and looking around.
Black as a fisherman’s boot
with a white belly.

If you asked for a picture, I would have to draw a smile
under the perfectly round eyes and above the chin,
which was rough
as a thousand sharpened nails.

And you know
what a smile means,
don’t you ?
…………….

I wanted
the past to go away, I wanted
to leave it, like another country, I wanted
my life to close, and open
like a hinge, like a wing, like the part of the song
where it falls
down over the rocks: an explosion, a discovery,
I wanted
to hurry into the work of my life, I wanted to know,
whoever I was, I was

alive
for a little while.
……………………
Also I wanted
to be able to love. And we all know
how that one goes,
don’t we ?

Slowly

the dogfish tore open the soft basins of water.
…………………….

Mostly, I want to be kind.
And nobody, of course, is kind,
or mean,
for a simple reason.

And nobody gets out of it, having to
swim through the fires to stay in
this world.

And look ! look ! look ! I think those little fish
better wake up and dash themselves away
from the hopeless future that is
bulging toward them.

And probably,
if they don’t waste time
looking for an easier world,

they can do it.”

…………….MARY OLIVER

Yes. Well, I did skip some of that long poem, to get to the core, and you know how that is, I will go back and find that what I left out was IMPORTANT.

What is important is I had lost track of my heart, and I am always saved by a poem.

… always with love, Mom/Mimi/Antoinette

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I may never send this on, yet the subject persists:
If I were to copy here only the high-lighted parts of a poem,
would the result be an edited, slimmer version?
Would the last line count as the explanation point?

Could the poet have written that last line so edited?

Let’s try it and see:

“I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.

I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other.

If only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.”

………………….LISEL MUELLER,
excerpts from the poem, “Monet Refuses the Operation”

The poem is 46 lines long, and I have copied 11 lines.
Would I have known it was about the artist Monet? I don’t believe so.

Would I have missed this line:
” that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it ” ?

Yes, my dears, I would have missed so much. My monthly calendar
this year has been made up of prints of paintings by Claude Monet.
So, when I found the whole of this poem in the “PANHALA” email
from Joe Riley, on Sept. 5th, last month, I was enchanted.

Whole poem can be found in “Sixty Years of American Poetry”,
the Academy of American Poetry.

Always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette
(Painting by Katie Kindilien)

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Back at the stand!

What happens when I find myself again with you in the middle of the night, suddenly sharing,
suddenly finding you are here,
just as I thought.

I do have a thoughtful poem sitting here by my computer.

I’m glancing at the power of just WORDS. In this poem my
friend has used the word “fall” to summon the time of year.

Let me share the poem right now:…………………..

” The world of fans and curtains drawn,

Indoor retreats, recede in the face of enticements

We called fall.

No paucity of pigment here, only audacity.

Silent shadows stalk my back

Temporarily restrained by solar infusion.

There is intimacy now, as mother earth begins to disrobe,

An intimacy born of maturity.

If seasons had an astrological sign,

Autumn would be mutable.”

…………..CAROL CURRIER, artist, astrologer, poet and world citizen. September, 2013

The poet has drawn upon so many ways of the turn of a word to bare-bones the splendor of this season
we are in.

I can leave it at that and hope that each line pops out differently each time you glance at this poem again.

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Antoinette/Toni

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I awoke a short time ago, before the dawn, and as I lay there
just thinking, not yet totally ready to leave the trail end of dreaming,
these words came to me:

……………………. The Sturdy Square That Was. …………………….

Without expectation of any kind, these words scrambled up a series of pictures, each more full of ‘juice‘ as ideas produced a world of countries,
surrounding this simple square country that had no pompous generals, no
imperial rulers, no show-offs of any kind.

I imagined that their greatest product was a fibre made up of all the natural
plants and ores, a green gold silvery tan cloth that was simple and sustainable,
soft yet strong. All the surrounding countrys had wavy borders, long lines of mountains and shores, and yet this one central country was happy with it’s straight and stable shape.

That’s pretty much what held me lying there for about an hour.

I will probably leave it there.

The dawn came, and with it my usual room, familiar walls, sounds from I-95 traffic. Yet, I am sharing this with you for the fun that the imagination can bring to our already-always-thinking.

Maybe one of you has already written this story!
If so, please share it with me. ❤

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

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I slept longer than I thought I might, and lo, it is already almost dawn.
We are approaching the traditional celebration of a change of season: labor day weekend.

There is still time this morning to hold on to the mystery of just the change from night to day!
Time enough to listen to a poem?
Let’s try:

T H E P O N D S
Every year
the lilies
are so perfect
I can hardly believe

their lapped light crowding
the black,
mid-summer ponds.
Nobody could count all of them —

the muskrats swimming
among the pads and the grasses
can reach out
their muscular arms and touch

only so many, they are that
rife and wild.
But what in this world
is perfect?

I bend closer and see
how this one is clearly lopsided —
and that one wears an orange blight —
and this one is a glossy cheek

half nibbled away —
and that one is a slumped purse
full of its own
unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled —
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above the difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing —
that the light is everything — that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.

– MARY OLIVER, (from her New & Selected Poems Volume One. 1992)

The sun is turning a gold rim on the horizon, the trees
stil dark and patterned on the sky.
The whole day is before us.

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

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August, the most mysterious month of our year, is also the pause before the next step.

This morning, I got up and chose a book on the seasons, looking for a gesture with which to welcome
the return to the work world shortly ahead.

I found this:

“Any time we make a garden, even a tiny one,
we are in the work of remembering.

Working the soil, cultivating our inner ground,
we have a chance to appreciate and praise
the great gift of life and the earth that sustains us.
We are held
by something so beyond our ken
and so essentially unknowable.
We call it God though no word can
name it.

Humming through us, through the ground,
through all things, it asks us
to be particular, to be living expressions,
to be sons and daughters oF EARTH and to care for life itself.
It asks us to be fruitful—to tend the garden,
to protect the garden, to share the garden,
to be the garden.”

GUNILLA NORRIS, from A Mystic Garden, 2006

There’s just one more line, too good to miss:
“One who plants a garden, plants happiness.””
(old Chinese proverb)

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

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There are some days when I awaken and lie sleepless, and that’s OK.

Something is knocking, trying to tell me
something.

The reason I know it’s OK is I am not feeling anxious, only curious.
OK.
I got up just now and knew that I could find a clue in a poem.

And I have:

ROBERT SCHUMANN
Hardly a day passes I don’t think of him
in the asylum: younger

than I am now, trudging the long road down
through madness to death.

Everywhere in this world his music
explodes out of itself, as he

could not. And now I understand
something so frightening, and wonderful —

how the mind clings to the road it knows, rushing
through crossroads, sticking

like lint to the familiar. So!
Hardly a day passes I don’t

think of him: nineteen, say, and it is
spring in Germany

and he has just met a girl named Clara.
He turns the corner,

he scrapes the dirt from his soles,
he runs up the dark staircase, humming.
MARY OLIVER (New and Selected Poems, Volume One. 1992)

This reading this morning has reminded me of the fine line of art in our spirits. No matter what follows, to trust the impulse from the heart that explodes into art of any sort is true eros.

If that can move me, approaching 95 now, to a place of a common joy, where now in quite another century,
I find I am running up a staircase just as eagerly for the life to be found there, then all is well.

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

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