Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Writing Life...

The writing experience is a different journey for each one of us
who embarks upon it. For me, many of my most deeply creative
periods have been in response to the hard times in my life-
challenges, crises, pain, loss...for whatever reason, these trips
into life's valleys have been the places where I have been brought
to a face-to-face confrontation with my fears...my hopes and
dreams...with my innermost, deepest, truest self. And it is there,
in the midst of the maelstrom, that words begin to emerge...
The other greatest creative stimulus is always deep emotion:
awe, gratitude, the overwhelming wonder of life itself...and again,
words emerge...And yet, so often, I find myself writing about the
mundane, the ordinary, the everyday....which perhaps means
that the creative energy is ever-present, just waiting for me
to release it.

This was written on the twentieth anniversary of my son's death.

After the night he died...(twenty years later)
The storm blew flat and hard
Against the windows, shaking
The house- or so it seemed,
The wind roaring in its lion's voice,
Declaring mastery over
The shivering, quivering world.
Branches ripped from
sheltering trees and fell to
earth with the shuddering finality
                                  of Death's closing door.
                                               And I lay burrowed deep
                                               Beneath the down-filled duvet,
                                               Seeking shelter from the
                                               Dreadful storm, the cyclasm
                                               Which threatened to tear me
                                               Limb from limb, shredding me
                                               Like Yesterday's leaves, laying me
                                               Open to the full fury of the storm,
                                               Which would not end its
                                               Relentless destruction




On reading Mary Oliver...
      How awestruck I am at the words
others have put on paper...but none
pierce my heart the way the words
of Mary Oliver do, leaving me
breathless, the respiration suspended
on the intake, my lungs filled with the
life-giving air of her exhaled
language.

  
Wednesday morning
Oh my, the morning is fleeting
and still I sit, my head filled
with to-do lists of errands...
but the fire is warm and the
air outside if cold...the music
surrounding and filling me
is hauntingly beautiful,
women's voices chanting in languages
both foreign and lovely.
Sitting amidst books of poetry
overflowing with words written
by others and held with relish
on my own tongue as I savor
their flavor, I find myself
being fed- though my stomach
rumbles, complaining about
breakfast uneaten, while
a tiny, niggling voice whispers,
"There is work to be done..."
 
A pantoum is a form of poetry which originated in Malaysia in the 15th century
and was brought to the West by Victor Hugo in the 19th century. The lines are
grouped into quatrains with the rhyme scheme of ab ab. For all quatrains
except the first, the first line of the verse repeats the second line of the
preceding quatrain; the third line repeats the fourth line of the preceding
quatrain. Then, in the final quatrain, the second line repeats the third line
of the first quatrain and the last line repeats the first line of the first
quatrain. Sounds complicated but it really isn't. It begins with choosing a
theme and then writing statements on that theme which then are used to
create the poem.
 
 
On aging
The face in the mirror looks vaguely familiar;
The girl I once was peers out from behind an aging woman.
Age spots and wrinkles mark once-lovely hands
And I greet the morning with aching, creaking joints.
 
The girl I once was peers out from behind an aging woman
But the curiosity of the child persists, unabated
And I greet the morning with aching, creaking joints.
The years accumulate, day by day, month by month,
 
But the curiosity of the child persists, unabated.
I smile at the many wonders of each day.
The years accumulate, day by day, month by month;
Spreading my arms, I welcome my life.
 
I smile at the many wonders of each day.
People I meet are gift and glory.
Spreading my arms, I welcome my life;
With each encounter, I stand on Holy Ground.
 
People I meet are gift and glory.
Age spots and wrinkles mark once-lovely hands.
With each encounter, I stand on Holy Ground.
The face in the mirror looks vaguely familiar.
 
meditation on Isaiah 43:1-3
But now thus says the LORD...Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have
called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through waters, I will be
with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you
walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flames shall not consume
you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
 
I have called you by name...
Linda...child of God...beloved...
you are mine.
Linda...child of God...beloved...
When you pass through the waters...
drowning in sorrow, drowning in fears...
I will be with you.
Not alone, never alone, take my hand...
     Precious Lord, take my hand.
And through the rivers...
the relentless flow of aging, the never-ending movement of time...
they shall not overwhelm you...
God, grant me the serenity...the courage...the wisdom...
When you walk through fire...
the flaming agony of loss, of grief, of anger, of shame...
the flames shall not consume you.
Battered, bruised, scarred, but whole, living, ALIVE!
For I am the LORD your God.
Here I am, Lord...Linda, your child...your beloved.
Here I am- and here you are.
 
 
out on a limb...
Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where the fruit is? -FRANK SCULLY
 
Out on a limb- why should that be
a threatening place? Though as the years
have passed, I've spent less time
in trees, I must admit.
The neighbor's weeping willow in my youth
sheltered me in her gently-swaying boughs
on many summer afternoons when
solitude was what I craved...
The oak outside the window of my dorm
drew me often to its strong and certain
branches to read and think and dream...
And even now, my precious Japanese maple
spreads her welcoming arms to this
oft-weary pilgrim, inviting me to climb
yet again...to revel in the heartfelt
link between the tree and me,
her heart and mine united in the very
heart of God.
 

 I am who I am...
Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter
and those who matter don't mind. -DR. SEUSS
 
I am who I am...
and who is that?
A woman, proud and humble
A woman, fearful and courageous
A woman, youthful and aging
A woman, mother and daughter,
        sister, grandmother, friend
A woman, beautiful and beautifully plain
A woman, loved and bereft
A woman, gifted and gifting
A woman, blessed and blessing
A woman, standing on the brink of
         yet another day of life-
               and wondering where it will lead me,
                      thankful for the adventure.
                 
           

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