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