Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tabula Rasa - My Favorite Word Ever

Every day I wake up is tabula rasa---the blank page reminds me of this! ~Marion

Tabula rasa - (Latin: blank slate) refers to the epistemological thesis that individual human beings are born with no built-in mental content, in a word, "blank", and that their entire resource of knowledge is built up gradually from their experiences and sensory perceptions of the outside world.

Fresh start: an opportunity to start over without prejudice.
The idea that the mind comes into this world as a "blank state".

Anything which exists in a pristine state.

It struck me this morning as I was walking around my rain-washed yard that Mother Nature has lots of love for us, as is shown in so many heart-shaped leaves! These are Elephant Ears.

This heart shaped leaf belongs to my night-blooming Moonflower. No flowers yet, but soon.

Oh, the bright sunshine yellow of the beautiful Squash flower! I have one tiny Squash, so far.

A reason to celebrate today? My very FIRST Sunflower bloom! She looks so shy with her petals slowly unfolding in the gentle morning sun---

Yikes, my hair is SO short! I chopped it all off a few weeks ago for Summer. It's already in the 90's here in the deep South and I had to get it off my neck, but I just kept on cutting---I think I was a hairdresser in a past life. That's a peace sign for y'all, not rabbit ears. LOL! Have a wonderful day!!

Here's a poem that I quoted to my daughter yesterday when she asked me how to plant a new Lime tree. (Unless you mulch and compost a new tree, it will never grow properly!) Yes, poetry does teach us more than pretty words and I love this poem!

Leaves Compared with Flowers

A tree's leaves may be ever so good,
So may it's bark, so may it's wood;
But unless you put the right thing to it's root
It never will show much flower or fruit.

But I may be one who does not care
Ever to have tree bloom or bear.
Leaves for smooth and bark for rough,
Leaves and bark may be tree enough.

Some giant trees have bloom so small
They might as well have none at all.
Late in life I have come on fern.
Now lichens are due to have their turn.

I bade men tell me which in brief,
Which is fairer, flower or leaf.
They did not have the wit to say,
Leaves by night and flowers by day.

Leaves and bark, leaves and bark,
To lean against and hear in the dark.
Petals I may have once pursued.
Leaves are all my darker mood.

~*~Robert Frost ~*~

Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday Hodgepodge of Poems I Love

I awoke to another cloudy day and more beautiful red Roses blooming---yesterday's thunder and clouds produced no rain, so I'm soon off to water my gardens.

The poems below were on my mind when I woke up today and are among my favorites of all time---a few I have memorized. Most came from my book, "A Poem A Day", edited by Karen McCosker and Nicholas Albery. It's a fabulous, eclectic anthology that I bought many years ago and have totally worn out from reading! I also picked up my portable Emerson and paged through and share here a few quotes I had underlined.

I wish you Blessings, Peace and Inspiration Today and Every Day! ~*~Marion


"There is a difference between one and another hour of life, in their authority and subsequent effect. Our faith comes in moments; our vice is habitual. Yet there is a depth in those brief moments which constrains us to ascribe more reality to them than to all other experiences." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The Portable Emerson", page 228, 'The Over-Soul'

"St. Augustine described the nature of God as a circle whose center is everywhere and its circumference nowhere." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The Portable Emerson", page 209, 'Circles'


New Every Morning

Every day is a fresh beginning,
Listen my soul to the glad refrain.
And, spite of old sorrows
And older sinning,
Troubles forecasted
And possible pain,
Take heart with the day and begin again.

Susan Coolidge


Come To The Edge

Come to the edge.

We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It's too high!


And they came,
and he pushed,
and they flew.

~Christopher Logue


The Falcon To The Falconer
By: Jonathan Steffen

Unleash me from your hand
And I will lance the light for you
I'll cut a swordblade on the wind
And pennant it with flight for you
To signal I am yours
If you will free me to be true to you

Unleash me from your hand
And I will mock the sky for you
I'll pull the anger from the air
And make the breezes sigh for you
To show that I am yours
If you will free me to be true to you

Unleash me from your hand
And I will jewel it bright for you
I'll hunt the treasures of the wind
And pluck them into sight for you
To show that I am yours
If you will free me to be true to you

O, cast me from your hand
That I may show my love for you
And throw me to the wind
That I may know my need for you
All darkness on your hand
I'm hooded, pinned, and held by you

O, give me back my wings
That they may bring me back to you


All Things Pass
By Timothy Leary, homage to Lao Tzu

All things pass
A sunrise does not last all morning
All things pass

A cloudburst does not last all day
All things pass
Nor a sunset all night

But Earth... sky... thunder...
wind... fire... lake...
mountain... water...
These always change

And if these do not last
Do man’s visions last?
Do man’s illusions ?

During the [meditation] session
Take things as they come
All things pass


Advice to Myself
By Louise Erdrich

Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don't patch the cup.
Don't patch anything. Don't mend. Buy safety pins.
Don't even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don't keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll's tiny shoes in pairs, don't worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don't even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don't sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we're all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don't answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in though the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don't read it, don't read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.

~From: "Original Fire: New and Selected Poems", page 149

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Highway Poem #7 - Instructions Along the Way

Happy Saturday! A few years back I wrote a series of poems I called the 'Highway Series', metaphors of the roads and highways as life. This little one is a favorite because it was so much fun to write. Every time I read it, I get something different out of it and it never fails to make me smile. It's another of those "read between the lines" poems.

Put what you will in the spaces between the words and be entertained.

Peace, Love, Blessings and Poems to YOU on this rainy, overcast day in Louisiana!



Instructions Along the Way
By Marion

One way.
No right turn.
No turn on red.
Curves Ahead.
Soft Shoulder.
Men Working.
Slippery When Wet.
Speed Bump.
May Ice in Cold Weather.
Road Narrows.
Dead End.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sister Cat, This and That---

My lovely, exotic beauty, Sophie, who was a friend of my old cat, Ramone. We rescued her from a flood over eight years ago when she was a tiny baby. She brought to my mind, this morning, the poem below, "Sister Cat" by Frances Mayes. Enjoy, and Blesssings, Peace & Love to You All. ~Marion

Some needs can never be filled, this poem reminds us.

By Frances Mayes

Cat stands at the fridge,
cries loudly for milk.
But I've filled her bowl.
wild cat, I say, Sister,
look, you have milk.
I clink my fingernail
against the rim. Milk.
With down and liver,
a word I know she hears.
Her sad miaow. She runs
to me. She dips
in her whiskers but
doesn't drink. As sometimes
I want the light on
when it is on. Or when
I saw the woman walking
toward my house and
I thought there's Frances.
Then looked in the car mirror
to be sure. She stalks
the room. She wants. Milk
beyond milk. World beyond
this one, she cries.

from Ex Voto, 1995
Lost Roads Publishers, Little Rock, Ark.

This Iris picture is for Delwyn. Doesn't my Iris look a lot like your mystery flower?
Two of my all-time favorite quotes:

Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - chapter 11

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.
Therefore profit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there.


"There is an Indian belief that everyone is a house with four rooms: a physical, a mental, an emotional and a spiritual room. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time, but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not complete."

-- Rumer Godden, House With Four Rooms

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, Poet of the Divine

Jalâluddîn Rumi was born in 1207 in Balkh in what is today Afghanistan. You can look him up anywhere online if you're interested in his amazing, fascinating life. He had the heart of a true poet/seeker and his writing is as fresh today as when he first wrote it. I have the book, "The Essentail Rumi" translated by Coleman Barks and it's dog-eared and worn, a real treasure. I highly recommend it if you want more Rumi.

Read and be washed in the beauty of his words:

"Listen to presences inside poems,
Let them take you where they will.

Follow those private hints
and never leave the premises."
~Rumi, from "The Tent"


~*~Marion, wishing you poems.......


Wean Yourself
by Rumi

Little by little, wean yourself.
This is the gist of what I have to say.

From an embryo, whose nourishment comes in the blood,
move to an infant drinking milk,
to a child on solid food,
to a searcher after wisdom,
to a hunter of more invisible game.

Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo.
You might say, "The world outside is vast and intricate.
There are wheatfields and mountain passes,
and orchards in bloom.

At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight
the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding."
You ask the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up
in the dark with eyes closed.

Listen to the answer.

There is no "other world."
I only know what I've experienced.
You must be hallucinating.


The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness
some momentary awareness
comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~
(The Essential Rumi, versions by Coleman Barks)


Ghazal 947

don't go to sleep this night
one night is worth
a hundred thousand souls

the night is generous
it can give youa gift of the full moon
it can bless your soul

with endless treasure
every night when you feel
the world is unjust
never ending grace
descends from the sky
to soothe your souls
the night is not crowded like the day
the night is filled with eternal love
take this night
tight in your arms
as you hold a sweetheart

remember the water of life
is in the dark caverns
don't be like a big fish
stopping the life's flow
by standing in the mouth of a creek

even Mecca is adorned
with black clothes
showing that the heavens
are ready to grace
the human soul

even one prayer
in the Mecca of a night
is like a hundred
no one can claim
sleep can build
a temple like this

during a night
the blessed prophet
broke all the idols and
God remained alone
to give equally to all
an endless love

Translated by Nader Khalili
Cal-Earth, September 1994


Ghazal 2133


wake up, wake up
this night is gone
wake up

abandon abandon
even your dear self

there is an idiot
in our market place
selling a precious soul

if you doubt my word
get up this moment
and head for the market now

don’t listen to trickery
don’t listen to the witches
don’t wash blood with blood
first turn yourself upside down
empty yourself like a cup of wine
then fill to the brim with the essence

a voice is descending
from the heavens
a healer is coming

if you desire healing
let yourself fall ill
let yourself fall ill

Translated by Nader Khalili
Cal-Earth, September 1994


Cry Out in Your Weakness
By Rumi

A dragon was pulling a bear into its terrible mouth.
A courageous man went and rescued the bear.
There are such helpers in the world, who rush to save
anyone who cries out. Like Mercy itself,
they run toward the screaming.
And they can’t be bought off.
If you were to ask one of those, "Why did you come
so quickly?" he or she would say, "Because I heard
your helplessness."

Where lowland is,
that’s where water goes.
All medicine wants
is pain to cure.
And don’t just ask for one mercy.
Let them flood in. Let the sky open under your feet.
Take the cotton out of your ears, the cotton
of consolations, so you can hear the sphere-music.
Push the hair out of your eyes.
Blow the phlegm from your nose,
and from your brain.

Let the wind breeze through.
Leave no residue in yourself from that bilious fever.
Take the cure for impotence,
that your manhood may shoot forth,
and a hundred new beings come of your coming.

Tear the binding from around the foot
of your soul, and let it race around the track
in front of the crowd. Loosen the knot of greed
so tight on your neck.
Accept your new good luck.

Give your weakness
to one who helps.

Crying out loud and weeping are great resources.
A nursing mother, all she does
is wait to hear her child.

Just a little beginning-whimper,
and she’s there.
God created the child, that is your wanting,
so that it might cry out, so that milk might come.

Cry out! Don’t be stolid and silent
with your pain. Lament! And let the milk
of loving flow into you.
The hard rain and wind
are ways the cloud has
to take care of us.

Be patient.
Respond to every call
that excites your spirit.

Ignore those that make you fearful
and sad, that degrade you
back toward disease and death.

The Essential Rumi. Trans. Coleman Barks

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ms. Ginger Andrews, Cleaning Lady Poet

I took the above photo last Spring, admiring the beautiful shadows of the towels on the fence and the laundry basket. I've converted at least three of my family members back to using clotheslines. (It's a truly BIG money & energy saver and it's also good for the soul).

"Ginger Andrews was born in North Bend, Oregon in 1956. Her poems have appeared in The Hudson Review, Poetry, River Sedge, Fireweed and The American Voice. In 1997, she received the Mary Scheirman Award at the Coos Bay Writers Conference. She cleans houses for a living, and is a janitor and Sunday school teacher at North Bend Church of Christ. " From:

Her two books of poetry are "An Honest Answer" and "Hurricane Sisters". I have them both and highly recommend them. They're both chock full of everyday, enlightening, soul-stirring, inspiring poems. Blessings and Love to you all........ ~Marion

Getting Ready to be Poor
By Ginger Andrews

My sister laughs, says she can eat Ramen noodles
for lunch and dinner, instead of just lunch.
It’s no big deal. She’s been poor before.

No washing whites in hot.
No deodorant, floss, Q-tips, Kotex or Midol.
One-ply toilet paper. No Kleenex. No cotton balls.

No new shoes. No espresso. No Red Bull, or Taco Bell.
No vacation, Lord knows, and no cash for the collection plate.
But, she says, I can take on more cleaning jobs. I can do that.


Everyday Sinners
By Ginger Andrews

Blessed be the Pop Tart eaters,
the Mountain Dew drinkers,
the smokers, jokers, and self-centered
whiners married to slovenly mates
and old hippies
who haven’t been stoned since
Black Sabbath concerts in the 70’s,
who hope their children’s faith
is in the new Youth Minister
instead of good old Mom and Dad
who pray for strength and forgiveness
every evening, in their closets, on their knees,
or during pet food commercials with their eyes open,
and their hearts on fire.


How to Write a Poem
By Ginger Andrews

It helps if you drink
espresso, take B vitamins,
and believe in God.
Live in a small mill town.
Marry a man with a big heart,
a big truck, a strong back,
and a chainsaw.
Have four children,
one bathroom,
and wood heat.
Chop kindling.
Love rain.
Eat meatloaf.
Call your sisters every day.
Listen, at least once,
to an all-black congregation
singing I’ll Fly Away.
Live by the sea,
Love those who curse you.
Read Ecclesiastes and Billy Collins.
Attend writers’ workshops
if they’re catered.
Vacation only in Arkansas.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Poet Tom Andrews and a Farewell to Marilyn French

I'm introducing you to the poet, Tom Andrews, today. I love his poetry. In this second wise and passionate book, "The Hemophiliac's Motorcycle", Tom Andrews explores illness as a major theme, avoiding sentimentality without being merely confessional. He advances his considerable talent with great strength and forcefulness. The poems are buoyant with humor and mindful of larger mysteries even as they investigate very personal issues. There is an urgency that is compelling; the work is immersed in the private grief of the speaker without excluding the reader. There is real and hard-won wisdom and intelligence in the poems, offering genuine surprises and delight; their attractive humility is not a pose..."


By Tom Andrews

To disappear into the right words
and to be their meanings...

October dusk.
Pink scraps of clouds, a plum-colored sky.
The sycamore tree spills a few leaves.
The cold focuses like a lens...

Now night falls, its hair
caught in the lake's eye.
Such clarity of things. Already
I've said too much...

language must happen to you
the way this black pane of water,
chipped and blistered with stars,
happens to me.

From: "The Hemophiliac's Motorcycle"

I learned late last week that one of my favorite authors from the 1970's died: Marilyn French. Her book, "The Women's Room" was life changing for me when I read it at the tender age of 23. I'd never before read a novel by a woman which so eloquently described the life of a suburban housewife of the 50's and her friends and their journey to Feminism. If you haven't read this book, then do yourself a favor and find it. It was a ground-breaking book in it's day and is still relevant today.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Favorite Poem Friday - Lucille Clifton and a Haiku by Me

I went out late yesterday afternoon to water my flowers and strawberries and saw a dead leaf on my trash tree. I went to pluck it off and realized that it wasn't a leaf at all, but a beautiful surprise from Mother Nature. I used to pray a prayer I'd read years ago daily: "Lord, let me see something today which I've never seen before..." and seeing this moth made me recall it. Now I'm back at it. I've taken spectacular pictures of the pink Sphinx Moth and the brown Tobacco Moth which are attracted to my Moonflowers, but I'd never, ever seen this beautiful species (which I'm still researching for her true name) of moth. I even wrote her a Haiku, after much trial and error and counting of words.

I share the photos below. Isn't she beautiful????

A leaf from last year
Floating on the Spring breeze----no!
Yellow and brown moth.

The picture below is when I first spotted her, camoflaged perfectly as a dead leaf next to my windchimes. I highly recommend that you always keep your camera in your pocket when walking around your yard. You never know what you'll see!

The photo below I took from her underside with the setting sun shining on her wings. I was amazed at the perfect symmetry on both sides of her wings.

And lastly, I share this favorite poem by Lucille Clifton. It's a keeper.
Blessings, ~*~Marion~*~

by Lucille Clifton

who would believe them winged
who would believe they could be

beautiful who would believe
they could fall so in love with mortals

that they would attach themselves
as scars attach and ride the skin

sometimes we hear them in our dreams
rattling their skulls clicking

their bony fingers
they have heard me beseeching

as i whispered into my own
cupped hands enough not me again

but who can distinguish
one human voice

amid such choruses
of desire