Thursday, December 31, 2009

"And Now Let Us Welcome the New Year Full of Things That Have Never Been." ~Rilke

Oh, vain Narcissus, you are so eager to be the first flower to bloom that you open in the midst of Winter! I took this photo today of my pretty Narcissus, wet with raindrops.

It's a rainy, overcast New Year's Eve here in Louisiana. No seeing that full blue moon tonight. That's the stump where my tree used to be. I have bulbs planted all around it...mostly Iris's.

I took a walk around my squishy back yard this morning and saw that even my Blueberry bushes are starting to bud. Winter, what winter??? I put out bird seed and stale bread for all of our birds. The Cardinals are magnificent, like blotches of red paint against a sky of gray canvas.

My Chocolate Mint coming up around my Blueberry bushes. It smells divine.

A tangle of Morning Glory seeds on my patio fence just waiting to drop and sprout.

Ray found this old washtub a few years ago in the woods and I planted it full of Strawberries in 2008. They're fast spreading, in spite of the cold.

My one big accomplishment of 2009 was painting this one little wall pink in my laundry room. It took me all of two weeks to paint it, but I did it! Happy New Year, friends!!


I leave you with one of my favorite Mary Oliver poems to contemplate:

The Journey
by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice ---
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!" each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do ---
determined to save
the only life you could save.

(From: "Dream Work")

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Door by Miroslav Holub

"There are things known, and there are things unknown,
And in between are the Doors."- Jim Morrison

'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.' ~Jesus, Revelations 3:20
"Be an opener of doors for such as come after thee, and do not try to make the universe a blind alley." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Door
By Miroslav Holub

Go and open the door.
Maybe outside there's
a tree, or a wood,
a garden,
or a magic city.

Go and open the door.
Maybe a dog's rummaging.
Maybe you'll see a face,
or an eye,
or the picture
of a picture.

Go and open the door.
If there's a fog
it will clear.

Go and open the door.
Even if there's only
the darkness ticking,
even if there's only
the hollow wind,
even if
is there,
go and open the door.

At least
there'll be
a draught.

~translated from the Czech by Ian Milner
From: "Staying Alive, Real Poems for Unreal Times" edited by Neil Astley


I love doors. They're perfect metaphors for art, life, poetry, death, rebirth. I was thinking about the new year coming up and came across the poem above and it spoke to me about new beginnings, a fresh start and hope so I post it here. The past is a door closing and the future is a door not yet opened, but the present is an open door, inviting us in to enjoy the moment and live life to the fullest.

"Spend the day with yourself
Let nothing distract you.
A poem emerges so young and so old
You can't know how long it has lived in you." ~Sophie De Mello Breyner, "Day"

I usually go crazy at the end of the year tossing out junk, old clothes, old ways, but this year I'm feeling moments of great peace---even amidst my physical pain---and nothing has been tossed out. I whittled down my 'stuff' all through the year and by God, I refuse to throw out my skinny jeans. I wish many things for myself this coming year....mainly to live this prayer I found in a book entitled "Saints":

"Saint Mary Magdelene,
teach us to forgive ourselves
and then to forgive others."

Like many women, I have been way to hard on myself. This past year was rough for me, what with so much time to think. I kept playing and replaying my failures as a mother. After my children were grown, they told me things that happened to them as children that I never knew about . . . We all have those horrible regrets and what if's that plague us late at night when we can't sleep. Well, I forgive myself for those things that happened that I had no control over. I'm going to let them go, along with the emotional pain and scars. I found a letter in my purse after we left Chattanooga from my daughter and she said, "Mama, I finally understand how hard it is to be a mother---juggling work, children and husband and I want you to know that I know you and dad did the best you could and that y'all gave us a good childhood even though we were poor and times were often hard..." It was two pages long and after reading it, I felt a heavy load lift from my soul. It was like she had seen into my heart. I'm so thankful for her kindess and compassion in sharing her thoughts with me.

So here's to doors: opening new ones and closing old ones.

Wishing You Love, Blessings & Peace,


Friday, December 18, 2009

Candle Hat by Billy Collins and Goya's Ghosts

Stellan SkarsgÄrd in the movie, "Goya's Ghosts" playing painter Francisco Goya.

Ray and I love art, artists and movies/books about artists, so when I tripped over this poem by Billy Collins, I just had to post it because it paints such a vivid, fun word picture of Goya's unique self-portrait. I discovered the Goya movie while surfing around the 'Net and just ordered it for Ray for Christmas because my sweet sister sent us an Amazon gift certificate for Christmas. It looks like a fabulous movie and has great customer reviews at Amazon.

Ray's favorite artist is Vincent Van Gogh and mine are (tied) Amadeo Modigliani, Hieronymus Bosch and Francisco Goya. I also love Edgar Degas's dancer paintings. Oh, and the amazing Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keefe are also blissfully divine! Well, I really love hundreds of artists, but those are my current top favorites.

I wish you all Love, Blessings & Peace---And please continue to pray for our beautiful Renee......

Who is your favorite artist(s)?

By Billy Collins, "Sailing Alone Around the Room", page 30

In most self-portraits it is the face that dominates:
Cezanne is a pair of eyes swimming in brushstrokes,
Van Gogh stares out of a halo of swirling darkness,
Rembrant looks relieved as if he were taking a breather
from painting The Blinding of Sampson.

But in this one Goya stands well back from the mirror
and is seen posed in the clutter of his studio
addressing a canvas tilted back on a tall easel.

He appears to be smiling out at us as if he knew
we would be amused by the extraordinary hat on his head
which is fitted around the brim with candle holders,
a device that allowed him to work into the night.

You can only wonder what it would be like
to be wearing such a chandelier on your head
as if you were a walking dining room or concert hall.

But once you see this hat there is no need to read
any biography of Goya or to memorize his dates.

To understand Goya you only have to imagine him
lighting the candles one by one, then placing
the hat on his head, ready for a night of work.

Imagine him surprising his wife with his new invention,
the laughing like a birthday cake when she saw the glow.
Imagine him flickering through the rooms of his house
with all the shadows flying across the walls.

Imagine a lost traveler knocking on his door
one dark night in the hill country of Spain.
"Come in, " he would say, "I was just painting myself,"
as he stood in the doorway holding up the wand of a brush,
illuminated in the blaze of his famous candle hat.


"Let me ask you something, what is not art?" ~Author Unknown

"Art is spirituality in drag." ~Jennifer Yane

"Painting is silent poetry." ~Plutarch, Moralia: How to Study Poetry

"Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen." ~Leonardo da Vinci

"Art is the stored honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and travail." ~Theodore Dreiser, Life, Art, and America, 1917

"The artist's world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep." ~Paul Strand

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dharma by Billy Collins

Catfish and Cody, both alpha males...can you tell?

By Billy Collins

The way the dog trots out the front door
every morning
without a hat or an umbrella,
without any money
or the keys to her doghouse
never fails to fill the saucer of my heart
with milky admiration.

Who provides a finer example
of a life without encumbrance—
Thoreau in his curtainless hut
with a single plate, a single spoon?
Gandhi with his staff and his holy diapers?

Off she goes into the material world
with nothing but her brown coat
and her modest blue collar,
following only her wet nose,
the twin portals of her steady breathing,
followed only by the plume of her tail.

If only she did not shove the cat aside
every morning and eat all his food
what a model of self-containment she
would be,
what a paragon of earthly detachment.
If only she were not so eager
for a rub behind the ears,
so acrobatic in her welcomes,
if only I were not her god.


"Any member introducing a dog into the Society's premises shall be liable to a fine of one pound. Any animal leading a blind person shall be deemed to be a cat." ~Oxford Union Society, London, Rule 46

"A cat, after being scolded, goes about its business. A dog slinks off into a corner and pretends to be doing a serious self-reappraisal." ~Robert Brault

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Blessing By Denise Levertov

A Blessing
By Denise Levertov

'Your river is in full flood,' she said,
'Work on---use these weeks well!'
She was leaving, with springy step, a woman
herself renewed, her life risen
up from the root of despair she'd
bent low to touch,
risen empowered. Her work now
could embrace more; she imagined anew
the man's totem tree and its taproot,
the woman's chosen lichen, patiently
composting rock, another's
needful swamp, the tribal migrations---
swaying skeins rotating their leaders,
pace unflagging---and the need
of each threatened thing
to be. She had met
with the council
of all beings.

'You give me
my life,' she said to the just-written poems,
long-legged foals surprised to be standing.

The poet waving farewell
is not so sure of the river.
Is it indeed
strong-flowing, generous? Was there largesse
for alluvial, black, seed-hungry fields?
Or had a flash-flood
swept down these tokens
to be plucked ashore, rescued
only to watch the waters recede
from stones of an arid variety?

But the traveler's words
are leaven. They work in the poet.
The river swiftly
goes on braiding its heavy tresses,
brown and flashing,
as far as the eye can see.

From: "Breathing the Water" by Denise Levertov, pages 6 - 7

"Children and lunatics cut the Gordian knot which the poet spends his life patiently trying to untie." ~Jean Cocteau

"Poets are like magicians, searching for magical phrases to pull rabbits out of people's souls." ~Glade Byron Addams

Friday, December 11, 2009

Guadalupe Day, December 12

Guadalupe day, December 12, is Mexico’s most important religious holiday. On this day people from all over Mexico travel to the chapel Tepayac Hill in Mexico City, where the mother of Jesus is said to have appeared before an Indian peasant named Juan Diego back in 1531.

Mary told Juan to go to the bishop and ask that a church be built on the hill so she could be close to her people. The bishop, needing proof of this vision, asked Juan to have a miracle performed by Mary. Juan returned to Tepayac Hill and found roses growing where there had only been cacti. Juan wrapped the roses in his cape along with a picture of Mary to show the bishop. He was convinced and the chapel was built.

The Virgin of Guadalupe is considered the Patroness of Mexico and the Continental Americas; she is also venerated by Native Americans, on the account of the devotion calling for the conversion of the Americas. Replicas of the tilma can be found in thousands of churches throughout the world, including Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome, and numerous parishes bear her name.

In 1999, Pope John Paul II, in his homily from the Solemn Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, during his third visit to the sanctuary, declared the date of December the 12th as a Liturgical Holy Day for the whole continent.

During the same visit Pope John Paul II entrusted the cause of life to her loving protection, and placed under her motherly care the innocent lives of children, especially those who are in danger of not being born.

*I woke up in the middle of the night and recalled this poem from my book: "Life Prayers from Around the World" and knew it needed to be here on this special day... so I've added it to my post. Enjoy! Blessings-------

Before Jesus Was His Mother
By Alla Bozarth

Before Jesus
was his mother.

Before supper
in the upper room,
breakfast in the barn.

Before the Passover Feast,
a feeding trough.
And here, the altar of Earth,
fair linens of hay and seed.

Before his cry,
her cry.
Before his sweat of blood,
her bleeding and tears.
Before his offering,

Before the breaking of bread and death,
the breaking of her body in birth.

Before the offering of the cup,
the offering of her breast.
Before his blood,
her blood.
And by her body and blood alone,
his body and blood and whole human being.

The wise ones knelt
to hear the woman's word in wonder.
Holding up her sacred child,
her God in the form of a babe,
she said: "Receive and let your hearts be healed
and your lives he filled with love,
for This is my body,
This is my blood."

~Alla Bozarth

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

The Peace of Wild Things
By Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


Your prayer can be poetry, and poetry can be your prayer. ~Noelani Day

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Call by Kim Addonizio

That's a photo of my bedroom where I've been hiding, crying, shaking my fist at god and cursing the motherfucking incompetent surgeon who crippled me---surrounded by my books, cats and dragonflies. My books speak to me and comfort me. My cats purr and comfort me. My dragonflies look down at me and comfort me. My painting of my dead 20 year old cat on the wall comforts me. Ray tucks my blankets under my feet and comforts me. My prayers hit the ceiling and bounce back on my head giving me headaches. I read poetry, cry and adjust my heating pad and add more blankets, drink more water so I can cry more futile tears. I'm a fucking broken fountain in a town with no plumber. I'm reading Kim Addonizio off and on, one of my favorite poets, so hence, her poem below. The pages of her books are now salty and crinkled and water-warped......Life is not always what it seems, no?

By: Kim Addonizio

A man opens a magazine,
women with no clothes,
their eyes blacked out.
He dials a number,
hums a commercial
under his breath. A voice
tells him he can do
anything he wants to her.
He imagines standing her
against a wall, her saying
Oh baby you feel so good.
It's late. The woman
on the phone yawns,
trails the cord to the hall
to look in on her daughter.
She's curled with one
leg off the couch.
The woman shoulders the receiver,
tucks a sheet and
Yes. Do it. Yes.
She goes to the kitchen,
opens another Diet Pepsi, wonders
how long it will take him and where
she can find a cheap winter coat.
Remembering the bills
she flips off the light.
He's still saying Soon,
turning his wheelchair right,
left, right. A tube runs down
his pants leg. Sometime
she thinks he feels something,
stops talking to concentrate
on movement down there.
Hello, the woman says.
You still on?
She rubs a hand over her eyes.
Blue shadow comes off on her fingers.
Over the faint high hiss
of the open line
she hears the wheels knock
from table to wall.
What's that, she says.
Nothing, he tells her,
and they both
listen to it.


When you are sorrowful look again in your heart,
and you shall see that in truth you are weeping
for that which has been your delight. ~Kahlil Gibran

I didn't want my picture taken because I was going to cry. I didn't know why I was going to cry, but I knew that if anybody spoke to me or looked at me too closely the tears would fly out of my eyes and the sobs would fly out of my throat and I'd cry for a week. I could feel the tears brimming and sloshing in me like water in a glass that is unsteady and too full. ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Olena Kalytiak Davis Poem Quote

"Today, I was blind sided. Neither pain, nor its powdered absence. Like most days. I became the kitchen sill. I'm simply saying what I always say: what is lace-winged cannot be strong."

~From Olena Kalytiak Davis's Poem: 'A Few Words For the Visitor in the Parlor' from her amazing book, "And Her Soul Out of Nothing"

I respectfully ask that you not copy my dragonfly photos that I share here. Any others I don't mind sharing, but these are my heart and soul and I'd rather you not copy them. Thank you for respecting my request.



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Thanksgiving Giblet Gravy Story

"When making your roux for your gravy, it must be cooked s-l-o-w-l-y in an iron skillet until dark brown, the color of a pecan shell, before adding your onions, belpepper, etc. And you can't get in a damned hurry or cook it fast...." ~Mama

I'm sharing this true story I wrote several years ago. I hope you enjoy it.

By Marion

Three days before Thanksgiving, I got a phone call from my youngest daughter, Sarah, who was cooking her first holiday meal on her own for her in-laws.

“Mama, this is an emergency. Tell me how to make giblet gravy.”

“Okay, Sarah, get a pen and paper and I’ll try. You know you should have called your Grandma since she’s the one who taught me how to make it.”

“I did call her, Mom, but you know how she tends to leave out important ingredients and never measures anything. She told me to take a big spoonful of shortening and a handful of flour to make the roux for the gravy and flat out refused to even guess a standard of measurement. She said, 'Sarah, you know, the big spoon I use for stirring!'”

I laughed. “This would be SO much easier if I was there to show you. That’s the exact same way she taught me how to make it, but I’ll try to use standard measures.”

“Do you have your giblets?”

“Mom, uhhhhh, what exactly is a giblet?”

Oh, boy, I thought, this is going to be a long telephone conversation…….

“Simply put, it’s that little sack of stuff inside of your turkey.”

“I don’t have a turkey because we’re getting one already fried.”

“Then you have to get you some giblets---which, by the way, are livers, gizzards, and the neck of the bird.”

“Where do you get that?”

“At the grocery store…….Oh, Lord! Listen, do you have some chicken livers, chicken and/or chicken broth? We can do the rush version of this……only you cannot rush the roux. It has to be cooked slowly in an iron skillet for at least 30 minutes to be perfect.”

“I know. I already talked to April (her sister) about that. She told me that gravy was so hard to make like yours that she gave up and let Brian (her husband) make it.”

“I know. I’m the one who taught Brian! April thought you could make it in an aluminum or Teflon skillet in ten minutes. She couldn’t grasp the concept of stirring the roux on low in an iron skillet for a minimum of half an hour until it was pecan colored, but not burnt.”

"Okay, Mom, I have one more important question for you: Why do we put a chopped up boiled egg in the gravy?"

"I have no idea. That's the way Mama taught me how to make it and that's the way your Aunt Mace taught her how to make it and her Mama taught her."

This telephone conversation went on for about an hour and I walked Sarah through her first official skillet of giblet gravy which turned out fabulous. I thought back to my first time. The gravy was lumpy and horrible and my husband said, "It sure doesn't taste like your mother's gravy." It took me many years to get it perfected to where it tasted as good as Mama's....

A few days later, I called my Mama as I was making some cornbread dressing for a dinner at work. Now I know good and well after 35 years of cooking how to make cornbread dressing, but Mama enjoys getting the phone call and bragging to her friends how she still has to help her baby girl make the dressing. And it makes her happy....

"Mama, this is Marion. I'm making the cornbread dressing and I can't remember: Is it more eggs to make it fluffier or less eggs to make it fluffier? And exactly how much chicken broth do I put in it? What do you mean 'keep pouring it in until it's juicy'? And why the hell do we put that boiled egg in the giblet gravy, anyway?"

"Minnie (that's my nickname)," said Mama, "Aunt Mace put the egg in the gravy and my Mama taught her how to make it----and that's just the way we do it!"


I hope you all have a healthy, happy, safe Thanksgiving!



"For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving." ~H.U. Westermayer

"Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone"~G.B. Stern

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice." ~Meister Eckhart

"When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them." ~Chinese Proverb

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Advice to Writers by Billy Collins

Advice To Writers
by Billy Collins

Even if it keeps you up all night,
wash down the walls and scrub the floor
of your study before composing a syllable.

Clean the place as if the Pope were on his way.
Spotlessness is the niece of inspiration.

The more you clean, the more brilliant
your writing will be, so do not hesitate to take
to the open fields to scour the undersides
of rocks or swab in the dark forest
upper branches, nests full of eggs.

When you fiind your way back home
and stow the sponges and brushes under the sink,
you will behold in the light of dawn
the immaculate altar of your desk,
a clean surface in the middle of a clean world.

From a small vase, sparkling blue, lift
a yellow pencil, the sharpest of the bouquet,
and cover pages with tiny sentences
like long rows of devoted ants
that followed you in from the woods.

From: "Sailing Alone Around the Room"


The photo is one of my three holey stones with holes made by water.

Blessings, Love & Peace,


Sunday, November 1, 2009

November, Welcome!

Hey, everyone. Welcome to November in Louisiana. The air is cooler today and the mosquito population is dwindling slightly, but sure to surge after all the rain we had last week. Having had a dry summer, we had no fire ant mounds in the yard. After the rain about 20 mounds appeared overnight...fleas, too. Oh, how nature wants to take our money to kill vermin!

O, the moon-lady tonight is a pure, white bride, dropping her veil which flows like mist over all it touches---until it sighs softly down upon the bejeweled dewy grass. ~Marion, moonstruck yet again......

I've been reading the Tao and some Zen writings and Anne Michaels' poetry. I'll share a few quotes today then I'm back to my couch and reading. It's been a wild week here. All of our cats got sick with diarrhea (TMI, I know) and I was seriously thinking of giving them all away. Then we found out two had tapeworms (TMI, I know) so I had to give them ALL a pill---ONE little pill. Any of you ever tried to give a cat a pill? Well, it's just like every joke you ever read about it. After losing one of those $10 pills, I crumbled them up fine and put them in some tuna for each cat. Two of them gobbled it down and two of them looked up at me like, "Do you really think I'm stupid enough to fall for this dirty trick?" So I put away their dry food and told them (I'm sure they understood, right?) in no uncertain terms that they'll eat that friggin' drugged tuna fish or DIE of starvation!!!! It's just like having hard-headed kids again, except they purr while you're fussing at them to guilt you. I seriously considered joining a monastery for a few days there.

Verse 11 of
Tao Te Ching

Thirty spokes are joined together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole that allows the wheel to function.
We mold clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside that makes the vessel useful.
We fashion wood for a house,
but it is the emptiness inside that makes it livable.
We work with the substantial,
but the emptiness is what we use.

Verse 11 from
"The Tao of Inner Peace"

"Thirty spokes share the wheel's hub;
It is the center hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.

I know Mardi Gras is a long time away, but I found this pattern online and used some of my heavy scrapbook paper to make some easy masks and then I found this synchronistic quote:

"You wear a mask and your face grows to fit it." ~George Orwell, 'Shooting An Elephant'

And this funny photo is my husband trying to teach Catfish to walk on a leash. (This cat really acts like a dog. It's uncanny. He does everything but bark!) It was a cool, quiet day and we heard one of our neighbors exclaim to her mother, "Oh my God, I think he's walking a CAT on a leash!!!" Ha! We're still laughing about it. The experiment didn't work too well. The cat ended up walking him around the yard. LOL!

And a stanza from a poem by Anne Michaels from her amazing poem, "What the Light Teaches":

"Language is how ghosts enter the world.
They twist into awkward positions
to squeeze through the black spaces.
The dead read backwards,
as in a mirror. They gather

in the white field and look up,
waiting for someone
to write their names.

Language remembers.
Out of obscurity, a word takes its place
in history. Even a word so simple
it's translatable: number. Oven.

Because all change is permanent,
we need words to raise ourselves
to new meaning: tea and dacha and river."

~From "Poems" by Anne Michaels, pages 121, 122

If you've never read this amazingly talented Canadian poet, then I highly recommend her books. This one, entitled simply "Poems" includes poetry from three of her books: "The Weight of Oranges", "Miner's Pond" and "Skin Divers". Each poem is like a gift.

Blessings, Peace, Love & Happiness,


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Autumn Poetry

By Robert Frost

The rain to the wind said,
"You push and I'll pelt."
They so smote the garden bed
that the flowers actually knelt,
and lay lodged --- though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

In my young days I never
tasted sorrow. I wanted
to become a famous poet.
I wanted to get ahead
so I pretended to be sad.
Now I am old and have known
the depths of every sorrow,
and I am content to loaf
and enjoy the clear Autumn.

Hsin Ch'i Chi
From: "Life Prayers"

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

I will nurse this autumn carefully,
treat its brittleness gently,
smooth its crumbling edges, its weeping afternoons.

I will rise early and go to it,
wrap it in a soft cloth
and watch its breathing.

I will nurture this Autumn knowing
it is myelf
in a pure and golden form,
and that childlike
soft words will be brought bubbling up
to be recorded in the pattern of leaves
and the low fog coming across the bay...

Wendy Smyer Yu
From: "Life Prayers"

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

By Li Ch'ing Chao

Search. Search. Seek. Seek.
Cold. Cold. Clear. Clear.
Sorrow. Sorrow. Pain. Pain.
Hot flashes. Sudden chills.
Stabbing pains. Slow agonies.
I can find no peace. I drink two cups, then three bowls,
Of clear wine until I can’t
Stand up against a gust of wind.
Wild geese fly over head.
They wrench my heart.
They were our friends in the old days.
Gold chrysanthemums litter
The ground, pile up, faded, dead.
This season I could not bear
To pick them.
All alone,
Motionless at my window,
I watch the gathering shadows.
Fine rain sifts through the wu-t’ung trees,
And drips, drop by drop, through the dusk.
What can I ever do now?
How can I drive off this word —

From: "Life Prayers"

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

By Marion

There are days, hours
when I lust after
the way
I used to lust
after Life.

I hang by a thread,
you know---
the one that holds
the proverbial garment
It droops there, dangling,
that thread,
wanting me to pull
it, begging me
(I worry it with my fingernail---).
My finger itches, twitching
for that first timid tug, then
one firm yank---
it all


~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mary Karr, Memoirist and Poet Extraordinnaire

I own every book that Mary Karr has written and was very fortunate and excited to get an advance reading copy of "Lit", her newest memoir, to review for Amazon. The book is fabulous, just amazing. I just LOVE reading memoirs and this one was particularly compelling for me because she's also a poet. It comes out on November 3, 2009 and below is my review from Her three memoirs in order are: "The Liar's Club", "Cherry", then "Lit". I highly recommend them all, along with her poetry. Love & Blessings ~Marion

I have to admit that Ms. Karr's "The Liars' Club: A Memoir" is one of my favorite books of all time. Memoirs are one of my favorite genres and being able to see behind the scenes in the life of a poet/writer is intriguing. I enjoyed reading "Cherry" and was thrilled when I saw that Ms. Karr had "Lit" coming out, taking up where "Cherry" left off. What I enjoyed most about this book was her lyrical, moving language and her fierce honesty. This couldn't have been an easy book to write because she holds nothing back and is brutally candid about her alcoholism and how it almost destroyed her, but more importantly, how she overcame her inner demons to find sobriety and success. She has several stories about her experiences in AA that had me either rolling with laughter or crying. The story about the woman, the frozen turkey and the vodka was side-splitting funny. I won't share the details because you need to buy the book and read it for yourself. It's overflowing with wit, humor, love, angst and wisdom.

Each chapter begins with a quote, most from poems, (and a few from some literary masterpieces) and I've discovered some amazing new poets from them. I've highlighted and dog-eared pages to refer back to in nearly every chapter. I like that she included a 'Contents' page and titled each of the 45 short chapters. The book is divided into four major sections:

I. Escape From The Tropic of Squalor
II. Flashdance
III. Self Help
IV. Being Who You Are Is Not A Disorder

Ultimately, this is a dazzling tale of redemption, liberation, grace and survival. By all accounts, Mary Karr should not have survived her hardscrabble life, but thank God she did because we are all richer for her life and her stories.

I also highly recommend her books of poetry, "Viper Rum (Poets, Penguin)", Sinners Welcome: Poems", "Abacus", and "The Devil's Tour". Thank you, Ms. Karr, from the bottom of my bookaholic, poet-heart, for having the guts to share your incredible, extraordinary journey with us.

by Mary Karr

Before my first communion, I clung to doubt
as Satan spider-like stalked
the orb of dark surrounding Eden

for a wormhole into paradise.
God had formed me from gel in my mother’s womb,
injected by my dad’s smart shoot.

They swapped sighs until
I came, smaller than a bite of burger.
Quietly, I grew till my lungs were done

then the Lord sailed a soul
like a lit arrow to inhabit me.
Maybe that piercing

made me howl at birth,
or the masked creatures whose scalpel
cut a lightning bolt to free me.

I was hoisted by the heels and swatted, fed
and hauled around. Time-lapse photos show
my fingers grow past crayon outlines,

my feet come to fill spike heels.
Eventually, I lurched out
to kiss the wrong mouths, get stewed,

and sulk around. Christ always stood
to one side with a glass of water.
I swatted the sap away.

When my thirst got great enough to ask,
a clear stream welled up inside,
some jade wave buoyed me forward,

and I found myself upright
in the instant, with a garden
inside my own ribs aflourish.

There, the arbor leafs.
The vines push out plump grapes.
You are loved, someone said. Take that
and eat it.

~From: "Sinner's Welcome", page 6

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Walking at Night By Louise Gluck

by Louise Gluck

Now that she is old,
the young men don't approach her
so the nights are free,
the streets at dusk that were so dangerous
have become as safe as the meadow.

By midnight, the town's quiet.
Moonlight reflects off the stone walls;
on the pavement, you can hear the nervous sounds
of the men rushing home to their wives and mothers; this late,
the doors are locked, the windows darkened.

When they pass, they don't notice her.
She's like a dry blade of grass in a field of grasses.
So her eyes that used never to leave the ground
are free now to go where they like.

When she's tired of the streets, in good weather she walks
in the fields where the town ends.
Sometimes, in summer, she goes as far as the river.

The young people used to gather not far from here
but now the river's grown shallow from lack of rain, so
the bank's deserted—

There were picnics then.
The boys and girls eventually paired off;
after a while, they made their way into the woods
where it's always twilight—

The woods would be empty now—
the naked bodies have found other places to hide.

In the river, there's just enough water for the night sky
to make patterns against the gray stones. The moon's bright,
one stone among many others. And the wind rises;
it blows the small trees that grow at the river's edge.

When you look at a body you see a history.
Once that body isn't seen anymore,
the story it tried to tell gets lost—

On nights like this, she'll walk as far as the bridge
before she turns back.
Everything still smells of summer.
And her body begins to seem again the body she had as a young woman,
glistening under the light summer clothing.

~~from "A Village Life"

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

Phenomenal Woman
By Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

From: "The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou"


I highly recommend all of Maya Angelou's books. She's an absolutely amazing poet, author and human being.

Wishing you all a happy TGIF and a glorious weekend!

Blessings, Love & Peace,


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Denise Levertov's Incredible Poetry

Adam's Complaint
Denise Levertov

Some people,
no matter what you give them,
still want the moon.
The bread, the salt,
white meat and dark,
still hungry.
The marriage bed and the cradle,
still empty arms.
You give them land,
their own earth under their feet,
still they take to the roads.
And water: dig them the deepest well,
still it's not deep enough
to drink the moon from.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ * ~

The Avowal
By Denise Levertov

As swimmers dare
to lie face to the sky
and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air and air
sustains them,
so would I learn to attain
freefall, and float
into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,
knowing no effort earns
that all-surrounding grace.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

By Denise Levertov

While we were visiting David’s grave
I saw at a little distance

a woman hurrying towards another grave
hands outstretched, stumbling

in her haste; who then
fell at the stone she made for

and lay sprawled upon it, sobbing,
sobbing and crying out to it.

She was neatly dressed in a pale coat
and seemed neither old nor young.

I couldn’t see her face, and my friends
seemed not to know she was there.

Not to distress them, I said nothing.
But she was not an apparition.

And when we walked
back to the car in silence

I stood stealthily back and saw she rose
and quieted herself and began slowly

to back away from the grave.
Unlike David, who lives

in our lives, it seemed
whoever she mourned dwelt

there, in the field, under stone.
It seemed the woman

believed whom she loved heard her,
heard her wailing, observed

the nakedness of her anguish,
and would not speak.

~from: “Denise Levertov Poems 1968 - 1972”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Denise Levertov's Books of Poetry

The Double Image (1946)
The Sharks (1952)
Here and Now (1956)
Overland to the Islands (1958)
With Eyes at the Back of Our Heads (1959)
The Jacob's Ladder (1961)
O Taste and See: New Poems (1964)
The Sorrow Dance (1967)
Life At War (1968)
At the Justice Department, November 15, 1969
Relearning the Alphabet (1970)
To Stay Alive (1971)
Footprints (1972)
The Freeing of the Dust (1975)
Life in the Forest (1978)
Wedding-Ring (1978)
Collected Earlier Poems 1940-1960 (1979)
Candles in Babylon (1982)
The May Mornings(1982)
Poems 1960-1967 (1983)
Oblique Prayers: New Poems (1984)
Selected Poems (1986)
Poems 1968-1972 (1987)
Breathing the Water (1987)
A Door in the Hive (1989)
Evening Train (1992)
A Door in the Hive / Evening Train (1993)
The Sands of the Well (1996)
The Life Around Us: Selected Poems on Nature (1997)
The Stream & the Sapphire: Selected Poems on Religious Themes (1997)

Denise Levertov's Books of Prose:

The Poet in the World (1973)
Light Up the Cave (1981)
New & Selected Essays (1992)
Tesserae: Memories & Suppositions (1995)
The Letters of Denise Levertov and William Carlos Williams, edited by Christopher MacGowan (1998).
The Letters of Robert Duncan and Denise Levertov, edited by Robert J. Bertholf & Albert Gelpi. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Autumn Waiting

Autumn Waiting
by Tom Hennen

Cold wind.

The day is waiting for winter
Without a sound.
Everything is waiting—
Broken-down cars in the dead weeds.
The weeds themselves.
Even sunlight
Is in no hurry and stays
For a long time
On each cornstalk.
Blackbirds are silent
And sit in piles.
From a distance
They look like
Spilled on the road.

~from 'Looking into the Weather'.

Photo of tiny red mushroom taken yesterday in my yard.

Blessings, Peace & Love,


"Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter." ~Carol Bishop Hipps

"October gave a party;

The leaves by hundreds came -
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Wind the band." ~George Cooper, "October's Party"

Sunday, October 18, 2009

i like my body by e. e. cummings

Reclining Nude from Back, 1917 by Amedeo Modigliani

i like my body
by e. e. cummings

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling-
firm-smooth ness and which I will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh...And eyes big love-crumbs,
and possibly i like the thrill
of under me you quite so new.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Amadeo Modigliana is one of my favorite artists and his nude painting fits perfectly with one of my favorite poems by e. e. cummings. I first read this poem when I was 16 years old and instantly fell in love with Mr. Cummings. I'm working my way though all 1102 pages of his "Complete Poems 1904 - 1962" and it's been an education in itself.

Peace, Love & Blessings,

~ * ~ Marion ~ * *

A poet looks at the world the way a man looks at a woman. ~Wallace Stevens, Opus Posthumous, 1957

"It is the job of poetry to clean up our word-clogged reality by creating silences around things." ~Stephen Mallarme

"Wanted: a needle swift enough to sew this poem into a blanket." ~Charles Simic

"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for." ~Dead Poet's Society

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dream Job by Sheila Bender

I was reading a magnificent book this past week and came across the essay below. I gasped when I read it because it's my dream job, too, just like the author's! I could have written this myself, but she did such an amazing job of it, I'm posting her essay. I love Sheila Bender's writing and this book in particular which I highly recommend: "Writing Personal Essays: How to Shape Your Life Experiences for the Page". It's helped me a lot in my writing of my memoirs. I'm trying to get down the important stuff for my children and grandchildren and this book has been a huge inspiration and aid. I hope you all have a blessed day and a wonderful, peaceful weekend. Blessings! ~*~Marion~*~

Dream Job: A Day in the Life of a Resident Poet
By Sheila Bender

"I was reminded of a dream….I had years ago. In it, I’d hung a shingle outside my house. Sheila Bender, R.P., it said in black calligraphic letters on a white board. R. P. meant Resident Poet. On the second story of my house, at my desk under the eaves, I would work on my poetry. The many books of poems I knew and loved would surround me on shelves. From time to time I’d hear my doorbell ring.

I’d descend the stairs and let the person in. We would enter my writing room and sit at a small table and have tea. The caller would describe why he or she had come to see me. It might be the grief of losing someone dear, the uncertainty of parenting, the concentration-breaking joy of newfound love, the awkwardness of wanting to talk to an old lover, the loneliness of perceiving differently than one’s family. I would go to my bookshelves, my pharmacy of poems, and I would pull a book down, open it to where I knew the right poem lay. I’d watch my caller read the poem and, watching the muscles of his or her face, I would know the poem was right. I would hand my client a pen and sheets of paper with instructions to copy the poem and the author’s name from the book, word for word. After that, we’d read the work together once and sit a moment more.

My caller would take the poem home to memorize. To whisper at night, to belt out under the sun, to recite while driving. Poems require looking past anger and hate and irritation, loneliness and grief. Though many a poem is planted in the soil of such emotions, a poem bursts through that soil and flowers. It is, to paraphrase William Wordsworth, one person’s insides speaking to another’s and so it provides the intimate contact we need for healing and for growth, for knowing what is human in our lives.

There are feelings and longings we understand and accept in ourselves only when we recognize them in someone else’s words, words that would never have been ours to speak until we saw them written out of someone else’s life. Words come from another’s experience in a place and in a time that miraculously match our experience in our own place and time.

As my callers would leave, they would place payment in a white porcelain bowl on the post at the bottom of my staircase. With the money, I’d buy more poetry books and the time to read them."

~Sheila Bender, “Writing Personal Essays: How to Shape Your Life Experiences for the Page”, page 154

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that
I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Alive by J. Stone - For Renee

By J. Stone

The most visible creators I know of
are those artists whose medium
is life itself.

The ones who express
the inexpressible---
without brush, hammer, clay, or
They neither paint nor sculpt---
their medium is being.

Whatever their presence touches
has increased life.
They see and don't have to draw.
They are the artists of being

J. Stone, from "Bedside Prayers", edited by June Cotner


My friend Renee is the most alive person I know on the planet. When I read this awesome little poem this morning, her name immediately popped into my head. Renee, you are a warrior, an angel and a true friend. Thank you for being you and for sharing your beautiful warrior spirit with all of us. I love you!

Blessings, Peace, Love & Healing,


Here's Renee's blog address:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Artificial Light by Marion and Entrance by Rainer Maria Rilke


Whoever you are: in the evening step out
of your room, where you know everything;
yours is the last house before the far-off:
whoever you are.
With your eyes, which in their weariness
barely free themselves from the worn-out threshold,
you lift very slowly one black tree
and place it against the sky: slender, alone.
And you have made the world. And it is huge
and like a word which grows ripe in silence.
And as your will seizes on its meaning,
tenderly your eyes let go. . . .

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~


"Every exit is an entrance somewhere else." ~Tom Stoppard


Artificial Light
By Marion

The dawn creeps into my window,
a willing thief of the night;
I wrap my arms around myself
and tremble at the onslaught of light.

Is ink to paper the real thing
or merely an illusion?
Is the cursor on the computer screen
reality or a wild delusion?

Cloudy, dark, rainy day
driving home one afternoon
bright lights in my rearview mirror
shone like the sun at noon.

Which is reality,
the headlights or the sun?
Does it really matter in the end
when a life has finally begun?

Moonlight, sunlight,
flowers in the rain,
their heads bowed as if in prayer
drooped, as if in pain. . .

Beseeching the gods of morning
to help them raise their heads. . .
They only live one single day
by afternoon, they’re dead.

The question is how to live
your one solitary life.
By the sunlight or the shadows
or by artificial light.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dust If You Must......

Dust if you must . . .

Dust if you must, but wouldn't it be better
to paint a picture, or write a letter,
bake a cake, or plant a seed;
ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there's not much time
with rivers to swim, and mountains to climb;
music to hear, and books to read;
friends to cherish, and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world's out there,
with the sun in your eyes, and the wind in your hair;
a flutter of snow, a shower of rain,
this day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
old age will come and it's not kind.
And when you go (and go you must)
you, yourself, will make more dust.

~Author Unknown~

"Besides the noble art of getting things done,
there is the noble art of leaving things undone.
The wisdom of life consists
in the elimination of nonessentials."

~ Lin Yu Tang

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Late Fragment by Raymond Carver

By Raymond Carver

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.


Those are two of my kitties, Catfish and Little Debbie, asleep like yin and yang.

Blessings, Love & Peace,


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Mystery of Grace by Charles De Lint

Charles De Lint is the master of fastasy fiction. I found this book on the 'New Book' shelf at the library and was attracted by the cover. I'm in the midst of it right now, but had to recommend it. It's a wonderful, beautifully written, amazing book unlike any other book I've ever read. I have to get back to it......I just wanted to recommend it.

Here's the blurb from Amazon:

"Grace Quintero works at Sanchez Motor Works, customizing hot rods. Her whole world consists of her apartment building, the grocery store, the library, the record shop, and the local music hall. She misses her grandfather, the only person she was close to. She meets John at the music hall one night and has a feeling that they might have a relationship, not just a hookup. But there’s one problem. Grace is dead and trying to adjust to her “life” as a ghost. De Lint’s skillful depiction of people trying to resolve unfinished business, develop the courage to let some things go, and distinguish between the two draws the reader into a world that is neither life nor death. We agonize, in the classic sense, along with Grace and root for her resolution. This is a stand-alone work, unconnected to anything else de Lint has done before, but it should please his regular readers, and perhaps fantasy fans in general."