the ability to love


Cupid and Psyche

Cupid and Psyche (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“If feminism is understood not as a battle in the war between the sexes but rather a movement to transform a world in which both men and women suffer losses that constrain their ability to love, then the story of Cupid and Psyche* is a feminist tale.”

( *a story which reveals that men must hide love and women cannot know what we know)

Carol Gilligan, The Birth of Pleasure, pp. 46-47


from summer 2012 retreat

Tomorrow morning, a new writing circle starts. We will be a full group in our dedicated writing studio; a group of women writing together in a new combination, as it is new each season. Words recycled into new meanings, gathering us to their heart as we gather one another to ours.

As each season starts with a new group – even though every woman in the circle has been there before, never in this configuration, at this time, in this place – it seems an initiation. There is something about that first meeting . . .

Your initial impression of this group may
be uncomfortable – what with the candle and all.
a few weeks in, you’ll be holding
conversations with it. As in, ‘hello, candle
how ya doin’ today?’ This happens
because the candle has become more
than just familiar. It’s become a friend,
a part of routine initiating every circle
we hold together, a way to slow down,
transition from the rest of our lives and move
into our circle space, together.

Why a candle? Other than the obvious —
it gives us something to look at, focus on –
it represents inspiration, the creative fire; speaks
to some of us of silence, reverence, both
of which are ways we choose to open
and conduct our circle.

This signals a kind of personal
initiation as well – an entry into this sacred
circle of evolving women devoted
to telling their stories and exploring their lives
through writing and speaking their words.

Here we create a new community,
one composed of writing hands and listening ears,
of curious minds and open hearts. We share
our stories – sad, tender, funny, outrageous; we
encourage one another onward with our writing;
we let our words spread out into the broader world
so that others may in turn be inspired, perhaps even
initiated, into the sacred circle
of fire and trust.

like a tree in the wind

I’ve been having fun collaborating poetically with Jeannine B. Everett, whom I fortunately met during the April Platform Challenge I’ve mentioned many times previously. She and I have apparently been on a similar journey these days. What first brought up the idea of pair-writing was our respective inquiries into dualities and paradox. As you’ll see, this one relates to being grounded while also being able to flex. And as before, this one follows the form of a pantoum.

Our joint writing prompts and process have been so rich to date, we’ve decided to offer ‘Two Selves Tuesday’ postings from time to time as we explore a variety of ways to write together at a distance. I can already feel a branching out into new forms . . .

Like a tree in the wind
strong-rooted yet lithe
keeping time to life’s music
standing true to myself

Strong-rooted yet lithe
spread my sheltering arms
standing true to myself
with compassion and love

Spread my sheltering arms
my golden leaves dancing.
With compassion and love
I reach towards the sun.

With golden leaves dancing
the drumbeat of my heart,
I reach towards the sun
like a bird on the wing.

The drumbeat of my heart
keeps time to life’s music
like a bird on the wing,
like a tree in the wind.

Words by Jeannine B. Everett and Sarah W. Bartlett

review of the Aurorean


My poem, “Stella O’Oro,” is in this issue.

“Each contributor delves into horticultural ecstasy as they wander the forest in the soft rain, beholding arboreal splendor and hearing bird calls above. An old cynic may smirk at all this but eventually it seduces him. There is something in immersing oneself in nature’s realm that lowers the blood pressure and convinces one that there is a higher immanence in our lives…Each poet of the 76 included vibrates in the same harmonic. They have their individual styles but all fall into this mystic congruence… The Aurorean brings to mind the scent of the forests of the Northeast, their quiet beauties, the poetry of nature itself. A good thing to specialize in and a very rewarding publication.”
–  Arnold Skemer, Editor/Publisher Phrygian Press, for Small Press Review