coming back

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credit – sonja parfitt

Like many of you, I have been cocooning from public life for many months. It has been hard to figure out what to say. The cross-currents in my head and heart have managed to keep my fingers from the keyboard.

But that is changing, here, now. Time to emerge and start writing. Again. Because this is what I do, and this is what needs to be done. Luckily for me, I have regular gigs writing inside our local women’s prison, which gives me plenty of fodder to jump-start this blog. So here goes – writing done last Thursday to a mixed prompt. You may recognize the first part as being a line from Mary Oliver’s beloved ‘Wild Geese.’ The second part is from Barbara Sher, Refuse to Choose!

Perhaps you, too, have pondered the image of the ‘soft animal of your body’ and considered responding to it in some way. I’d love to see your words.

“Let the soft animal of your body love what it loves… Stick with it. Start now.”

Just who is the soft animal of my body?
Is she the white belly who never sees
light of day, who loves dark chocolate
and feels the quiver of anxiety at the sea change ahead,
that ‘gut brain’ I have come to trust but slowly?

Or is she the soft brain, whose hard shell
holds in protective embrace the myriad thoughts
coursing through the veins of my life, pulsing
alarm while quashing them with the knowing
that I must go on, be strong, reach out, take in.

Perhaps she is the heart of mine that beats
with so much love and compassion for each of you,
for all of us so divided and categorized and walled off
from truth, from feeling, from the very humanity
that will save us all, earth included.

Because my heart does love what she loves
and fiercely – truth, fairness, opportunity,
kindness, compassion, the need to offer my hand
or a hug, to cast beauty
and healing upon these tumultuous times

one circle, one poem, one dream,
one good conversation, one day at a time.

swb
11.10.16

 

 

earthday greetings

'with all of life' by Deborah Koff-Chapin

‘with all of life’ by Deborah Koff-Chapin

Two of my favorite inspirations greeted me this Earth Day morning. First, Mary Oliver’s wonderful poem, thanks to Writer’s Almanac, resonated with me instantly as the only sane way to start the day. Immediately following,  Deborah Koff-Chapin’s hauntingly moving image in honor of the day. I just happened to see both first thing today!

Although I have been absent from this page for weeks, it is not for lack of inspiration; rather, for being awash in it. But the only way out is through – as true with managing inspiration as anything else, it seems. And so, in the spirit of moving forward gently, with presence and as much consciousness as we can muster, may you also begin your day thus.

I HAPPENED TO BE STANDING
by Mary Oliver

I don’t know where prayers go,
or what they do.
Do cats pray, while they sleep
half-asleep in the sun?
Does the opossum pray as it
crosses the street?
The sunflowers? The old black oak
growing older every year?
I know I can walk through the world,
along the shore or under the trees,
with my mind filled with things
of little importance, in full
self-attendance. A condition I can’t really
call being alive.
Is a prayer a gift, or a petition,
or does it matter?
The sunflowers blaze, maybe that’s their way.
Maybe the cats are sound asleep. Maybe not.

While I was thinking this I happened to be standing
just outside my door, with my notebook open,
which is the way I begin every morning.
Then a wren in the privet began to sing.
He was positively drenched in enthusiasm,
I don’t know why. And yet, why not.
I wouldn’t persuade you from whatever you believe
or whatever you don’t. That’s your business.
But I thought, of the wren’s singing, what could this be
if it isn’t a prayer?
So I just listened, my pen in the air.

“I Happened To Be Standing” by Mary Oliver from A Thousand Mornings. © The Penguin Press, 2012.

PS Yes, I know, Earth Day was several days ago. However, it was while attempting to post this entry that I learned my site had been disabled. And it took most of the week to get it back online. Having put the time into this post after so long away, I decided to go ahead and share it with you. Besides — shouldn’t EVERY day be Earth Day?!!!