a day without words


Words…. (Photo credit: jah~)

I want to recall that a day without words
is no kind of day – to miss the lilt, light
and lure, the laugh, the languor
of words flowing over, across lines
words sprouting abundant visions
their flavor unmistakable in hands
that savor, turn, weigh, sniff
both heft and determined breadth
of meaning, shape, form, desire –
their feel and song, unique place
in the parade of words stringing themselves
around each pearled moment,
easing into grateful abundance
for all that came before,
will follow.


drift mobile

courtesy driftwoodshores.com

for my son, far from home

Tides rise and fall, flow through
our western view opened wide
with windows that picture the moving
panorama of light, water, grass.

Floating hypnotically within
a mobile of driftwood assembled
on the eve of your departure for

college, memories of all the growing up
summers of sand and sea where you mooned
the waves, dripped castles and dug
after squirming crabs. All these gathered
gray shapes of memory float and turn,
reverse, revolve, never-ending tales of sea and time
like our beach bereft now of dunes, seasons
having carved new inland walls from sand,
rootless and undefended as the mobile.

How we circle, float, drift, return
tethered from one single thread
that moors us fast with love and grace
to our beginning sense of place.

– swb

both . . . and

Fire & Ice

Fire & Ice (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

Robert Frost’s ‘Fire and Ice’ begins, “Some say the world will end in fire, some say in  ice.” I have been thinking about fire lately. A lot. About the paradox of flame, how quickly it can shift from nurture to destruction.

At the extreme fire becomes the negative of what, in moderation, is its best feature. Which makes me understand better, deeper, again the problem with either/or thinking. ‘If you’re not with me, you are against me’ is a simplistic formula for polarization, leaving no room whatever for the very real shades of gray in which we in fact live.

Just because I may not share your opinion does not mean I am going to take action against you. A great illness in our private attitude and public discourse has, in recent years, arisen from this toxic formula for intolerance. It implies enforced homogeneity, an unsettling dismissal of the very melting pot of difference that has kept us strong, innovative, tolerant.

fire and ice

fire and ice (Photo credit: Jasmic)

The conscious feminine offers a simple antidote by holding the paradox of the both/and. This energy – available to men and women alike – says, ‘there is room for your belief AND room for mine.’ Difference does not equal wrong or bad. Difference is not a square extreme trying to fit into an either/or hole. Difference is just difference. If we could hold mutual respect in our hearts for the fact of difference absent judgment and labels, how much more civil our discourse; how much richer our resources of understanding, compassion, creativity. How much fuller our lives lived from abundant goodwill rather than the scarcity of ‘other is wrong/bad.’

where there’s intention there must be ‘no’

‘intention & choice’

Last night my friend reminded me: “No is the first word we learn and the first we forget.” So simple. Like the life I am trying to craft for myself in the midst of more, faster,  bigger. Though not necessarily better. Turns out she and I share an intention to open more space in our lives for our personal writing. It also turns out we share a life orientation to service, stepping up and in to leadership. Not necessarily because we choose to but because there is a need that chooses us.

Which is where NO comes in.  Another wise mentor has told me, more than once: “Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you NEED to.” This can be a challenging concept to someone with multiple interests, a deep reserve of goodwill and curiosity, boundless creativity and a desire to jump in when needed. Equally challenging is taking a moment to step back, reflect and ask: “Is this how I really want to spend my time? Is this going to serve my best interests and therefore those of the call to which I am responding?”

For some, this fine line of discernment runs the risk of sounding self-absorbed, reluctant, or possibly lazy. However, there comes a time when a simple “NO!” may be the best service you can perform. In setting the boundary on too much, you get to live with enough. And enough is the abundance required for a truly giving life – one that gives first to the self and secondly, to others. A lesson gratefully learned in a circle of wise wording women.

stepping out

Collage and writing done during girls camp 2011 – swb

I’m having fun posting fast-writes from my various writing circles – core semester groups, weekly prison groups, young women’s groups – and hope these quickly-penned poems will touch you in some way. Do let me know what you think!

In the early morning glow of just-dawn
deep canyons emerge dark
into new day, cavernous black depths
filled with nothing but fear
of the unknown to come;

into that void I step, bare of foot
without vision, but with trust
that deep inside the fallow land
new possibility will sprout,
a frond of hope greening the landscape anew

as my spirit animals witness
this step into the new:
the black wolf silent
in winter’s snow-filled crevasses;
the lioness ever-vigilant, watching
intent and intentional as I move toward
the deep; sea turtle oblivious
that she floats in dark air

swims toward  me reassuring
and steady as is her wont.

Risk taking makes me feel alive.
I love this feeling of stepping off cliff
into warm colors of emergent dawn, trusting
new depths to unfold themselves
within and beneath.

I need not know what I am doing,
only that I move from confidence, love,
with passion for what I do, stepping
into dark its own rewards.

–  swb