Dedicated to my dear friend who has so graciously allowed others to experience with her how she has processed the religious environment in which she was raised. She is smart and witty and writes so articulately about how she has grown and changed through the years.
I was also raised in this sort of religious environment and can relate on many levels to her story of deconstruction and reconstruction. It is here I find myself in wild-waters, the waters difficult to navigate with grace.
All the stages of grief live in this space of deconstructing and reconstructing—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. They don’t follow a natural progression and sometimes even after I think that acceptance has settled over my bones, denial and anger can revisit.
You know, just for old times sake.
I didn’t follow a prompt today, instead I let my spirit wander over words until they settled into a poem. This poem and life is a process of growth. My only hope is that I continue to grow and change until I take my last breath.
She looked as certain as the sky without a cloud never questioning life, never doubting God. Her life was as settled as her eternity, and she liked it that way— without a glimmer of mystery and brimming with the loveliest of certainties. After all, on what could she rely if not that certainty?
She found out unexpectedly that it wasn’t the destination. it was the journey that mattered most. When the unthinkable happened,. the restorative property of a palliative remedy moderated more than mere words. In the middle of her misgiving, she plucked some half-dead daisies and put them in her favorite vase while she quietly waited for certainty.
She found instead the pull of the undertow was so much stronger than the weight of her will. In the end it was the absence of nothing and everything that was the final blow to her certainty. It seemed the questions came, all at once, wrenching and pulling her apart before slowly reconstructing her heart. All that remained certain was the presence of uncertainty and a lingering regret for years lost.
A “golden shovel” poem is a poem within a poem—like a puzzle or a mystery. Oh and puzzles and mysteries are challenges that I love.
A poem within a poem? How does that even work? I’m so glad you asked.
First I had to choose a poem to “hide” inside my poem. I chose David Whyte’s poem “Enough” because I love it.
You can check out my “golden shovel” like this: first, read my poem as a complete unit. Then read it again using only the last word from each line and you will read David Whyte’s beautiful poem, “Enough”.
After the week (or three) we’ve been experiencing over here I really felt the need for rest because somehow I can never seem to get enough rest.
Trace is walking really well. We are both amazed at how straight her shoulders have become. She can raise both arms straight up high (she hasn’t been able to do that in years) and her shoulders are even and no longer slumped.
Another benefit since surgery is that her CRPS foot pain has subsided a little. She is so grateful for that!
Lizi is still struggling with pain and trapped gas in her body from the surgery. We are praying it is absorbed into her body or released out one way or another. Ev has been staying with her to help with Little E, and she has been really grateful for his help.
The dogs are finally home, and we are continuing on with their training.
As for me…well…
I. Am. Exhausted.
Well, you get the idea.
Perhaps you feel the same?
It’s ok to not be ok.
It’s ok to decide to rest.
I find it enough. moments like these when sounds are few and fewer still are words these moments are enough.
no space for what if or worries about what not to do or say. Yes, in these moments I find soul words, I find space within this time to catch my breath.
if only, if only this time were not just like this life--a fading breath
if only this space for sitting for being here and present in this life of wondrous opening would allow me to receive the joy of living life in the present. we know the places we have said no--where we refused to live again; where we struggle and strive again.
I find it enough until pressures of the now rage against the still; until again I rest in the still now.
One of the great privileges I have enjoyed is travel. Beginning with an opportunity to teach in China when I was in my early twenties, I’ve experienced teaching many different countries and cultures through the years.
On one of those journeys, I made a lifelong friend, a South African girl who was heading to Croatia/Bosnia to do humanitarian work. Through the years, Annelea has travelled and lived all over the world, and we have remained fast friends.
Annelea has been painting for many years. In different countries she has taken classes, made community connections, and grown as an artist. She has finally launched her website and has many beautiful pieces and prints for sale. She’s one of a kind, and her work is as delightful as she is!
This poem highlights one of Annelea’s paintings. I hope you visit her website and enjoy the beauty and movement of her paintings.
They move with the wind heavy feet plodding as dust rises— to them there is no today and there is no tomorrow;
there is only now and grass and eating and digesting. So the days move day to night, only in their dreams they move
beyond the roaring fire, beyond the crystal clear night beyond all the shining stars to the magic of the moon.
I wonder if other worlds like this one exist —- worlds where people and creature alike remain unfettered by time.
The prompt for today challenged me to write a poem that recounts a creation myth and so, I thought I’d let you all in on the secret world of creating poems.
You see, each poem has a unique life form. You might think that I create poems, but actually more often than not, they create themselves, the words falling in to place with rhythm and order and beauty.
Writing poetry is an act of passion—writer and poem must come together in love and single-mindedness. I imagine if there were a mystical story of the creation of a poem, it might go something like this.
in the beginning: the birth of a poem
crisp cadence of sound bytes dancing across the page; marginal moments light momentous mysteries marching on.
letters swirls like atoms forming ionic bonds. how i cannot fathom those molecular fronds marching on.
yet unknown, the story tumbles out in stages; rolling rhymes unfolding, memories outrageous marching on.
ideas shift and shape, pulling without tether yet binding all the same bringing us together marching on.
the joyous pain birthing small words that time sustains; rejecting or rejoicing the simple small refrain marching on.
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was a little complicated. The challenge was to write a “golden shovel” poem. This form was invented by Terrance Hayes in his poem, The Golden Shovel. The last word of each line of Hayes’ poem is a word from Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem We Real Cool (one of my favorite poems). You can read Brooks’ poem by reading the last word of each line of Hayes’ poem.
A poem within a poem. A puzzle. I love a challenge!
I chose David Whyte’s poem “Enough” which you can read by reading the last word of each line in my poem.
I find it enough.
moments like these
when sounds are few
and fewer still are words
these moments are
no space for what if
or worries about what not
to do or say. Yes, in these
moments I find soul words;
I find space within this
time to catch my breath.
if only, if
only this time were not
just like this
life–a fading breath.
if only this
space for sitting,
for being here
and present in this
life of wondrous opening,
would allow me to
joy of living life
in the present. we
know the places we have
said no–where we refused
to live again;
where we struggle and
I find it enough until
pressures of the now
rage against the still; until
again I rest in the still now.
These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again