Tiny White Flowers

Tiny White Flowers

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Poem

From Poets.org:

Christmas Bells
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
    And wild and sweet
    The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
    Had rolled along
    The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
    A voice, a chime,
    A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
    And with the sound
    The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
    And made forlorn
    The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
    "For hate is strong,
    And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
    The Wrong shall fail,
    The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bare Naked Bones - A Worthwhile Blog

A friend of mine from way back - first grade, it so happens - has a blog called "Bare Naked Bones" which I recommend visiting.  The content is centered around the musings of a woman paying attention to her surroundings on an everyday basis.  It isn't glossed over and beautified.  The author paints a very honest and telling story of life where she lives and walks her dog.  It is sensitive and compassionate.  It is passionate and raw.  This is a writer who isn't afraid to tackle the tough stuff and share it with the rest of us.

Here is an excerpt from one of her posts:

Slowmo Slim Jim

It was like watching someone play Grand Theft Auto in slow motion. He poked and jabbed around the driver's side window with a flattened beer can, muttering, cursing and teetering. He knocked at the frame and tried the door handle several times before noticing me. "Can't find my keys. Heh heh." I smiled and let my dog sniff a nearby tree a bit longer. After another reassuring "Heh heh," he resumed.

The car is an icy blue Jaguar that is always parked in front of a retirement home, on what is rapidly turning into the worst street in the area. It stands out like a diamond in a coal mine. . ."

To read the rest of the post, and others, visit Bare Naked Bones~

Saturday Poem

Today from Poets.org

Christmas Trees
by Robert Frost

A Christmas Circular Letter

The city had withdrawn into itself
And left at last the country to the country;
When between whirls of snow not come to lie
And whirls of foliage not yet laid, there drove
A stranger to our yard, who looked the city,
Yet did in country fashion in that there
He sat and waited till he drew us out
A-buttoning coats to ask him who he was.
He proved to be the city come again
To look for something it had left behind
And could not do without and keep its Christmas.
He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;
My woods—the young fir balsams like a place
Where houses all are churches and have spires.
I hadn't thought of them as Christmas Trees.
I doubt if I was tempted for a moment
To sell them off their feet to go in cars
And leave the slope behind the house all bare,
Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.
I'd hate to have them know it if I was.
Yet more I'd hate to hold my trees except
As others hold theirs or refuse for them,
Beyond the time of profitable growth,
The trial by market everything must come to.
I dallied so much with the thought of selling.
Then whether from mistaken courtesy
And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether
From hope of hearing good of what was mine,
I said, "There aren't enough to be worth while."

"I could soon tell how many they would cut,
You let me look them over."

                                    "You could look.
But don't expect I'm going to let you have them."
Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close
That lop each other of boughs, but not a few
Quite solitary and having equal boughs
All round and round. The latter he nodded "Yes" to,
Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one,
With a buyer's moderation, "That would do."
I thought so too, but wasn't there to say so.
We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over,
And came down on the north.

                                    He said, "A thousand."

"A thousand Christmas trees!—at what apiece?"

He felt some need of softening that to me:
"A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars."

Then I was certain I had never meant
To let him have them. Never show surprise!
But thirty dollars seemed so small beside
The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents
(For that was all they figured out apiece),
Three cents so small beside the dollar friends
I should be writing to within the hour
Would pay in cities for good trees like those,
Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools
Could hang enough on to pick off enough.
A thousand Christmas trees I didn't know I had!
Worth three cents more to give away than sell,
As may be shown by a simple calculation.
Too bad I couldn't lay one in a letter.
I can't help wishing I could send you one,
In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Street

A poem by Leonard Cohen, from the New Yorker, 2 March, 2009

A Street

I used to be your favorite drunk
Good for one more laugh
Then we both ran out of luck
And luck was all we had

You put on a uniform
To fight the Civil War
I tried to join but no one liked
The side I’m fighting for

So let’s drink to when it’s over
And let’s drink to when we meet
I’ll be standing on this corner
Where there used to be a street

You left me with the dishes
And a baby in the bath
And you’re tight with the militias
You wear their camouflage

I guess that makes us equal
But I want to march with you
An extra in the sequel
To the old red-white-and-blue

So let’s drink to when it’s over
And let’s drink to when we meet
I’ll be standing on this corner
Where there used to be a street

I cried for you this morning
And I’ll cry for you again
But I’m not in charge of sorrow
So please don’t ask me when

I know the burden’s heavy
As you bear it through the night
Some people say it’s empty
But that doesn’t mean it’s light

So let’s drink to when it’s over
And let’s drink to when we meet
I’ll be standing on this corner
Where there used to be a street

It’s going to be September now
For many years to come
Every heart adjusting
To that strict September drum

I see the Ghost of Culture
With numbers on his wrist
Salute some new conclusion
Which all of us have missed

So let’s drink to when it’s over
And let’s drink to when we meet
I’ll be standing on this corner
Where there used to be a street

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/poetry/2009/03/02/090302po_poem_cohen#ixzz17jwcQLiq

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Letters From the Emily Dickinson Room


 So, I just joined (finally!) GoodReads, and I'm surprised I didn't get there sooner.  I posted my review of friend Kelli Agodon's newest book of poetry, which is below:

"Agodon is a poet who is masterful with language and word-play. She delves into the world of the here-and-now with skill and honesty, not afraid to tackle such topics as marriage, spirituality, depression and self-discovery in a way that invites the reader in with sensitive intimacy. She leaves no mirror beetle untouched, falls "in love with your free verse of skin," and "presses on" through a landscape that is rich and vibrant, dark and tantalizing. Letters From the Emily Dickinson Room is a book of poetry not to be missed."

To read other reviews of Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, visit Good Reads:


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bristol Palin on 'Shooting with the Stars': Wisconsin man casts lead vote against her dancing

Bristol Palin on 'Shooting with the Stars': Wisconsin man casts lead vote against her dancing


Man Shoots Television over Dancing With the Stars. So, apparently the Palins are waltzing their way to the White House.

A few minutes ago DA called me, in hysterics, because she’d just left a long message on someone’s answering machine about last night’s Dancing fiasco. And while she was doing so, a woman answered the phone, slightly out of breath and saying “I’m here! I just walked in,” only to find out it was a wrong number.

The message would have been something like this: Last night on Dancing with the Stars, when it came time to tally up the call-in votes – who will stay, who will leave the show – Bristol Palin remained in the dance. This announcement came as a shock to all, as contestant and viewer jaws dropped. It seems Bristol’s clumsy moves were glossed over and hyped up by hidden Sarah supporters. Mom attended most of the productions.

Oh, and there was at least one viewer opposed to her lasting as long on the show as she has – a Wisconsin man, angered at her inability to dance, went upstairs to get a gun, returned and shot his television.

The upshot? Could a Sarah as president win come in the same, unforeseen way? One consolation: somewhere, the recipient of a wrong number call is now party to the joke.

Monday, November 15, 2010

sweet reader, flanneled and tulled by Olena Kalytiak Davis : The Poetry Foundation [poem] : Find Poems and Poets. Discover Poetry.

sweet reader, flanneled and tulled by Olena Kalytiak Davis : The Poetry Foundation [poem] : Find Poems and Poets. Discover Poetry.

From the Poetry Foundation~

sweet reader, flanneled and tulled

by Olena Kalytiak Davis

Reader unmov’d and Reader unshaken, Reader unseduc’d
and unterrified, through the long-loud and the sweet-still
I creep toward you. Toward you, I thistle and I climb.

I crawl, Reader, servile and cervine, through this blank
season, counting—I sleep and I sleep. I sleep,
Reader, toward you, loud as a cloud and deaf, Reader, deaf

as a leaf. Reader: Why don’t you turn
pale? and, Why don’t you tremble? Jaded, staid
Reader, You—who can read this and not even

flinch. Bare-faced, flint-hearted, recoilless
Reader, dare you—Rare Reader, listen
and be convinced: Soon, Reader,

soon you will leave me, for an italian mistress:
for her dark hair, and her moon-lit
teeth. For her leopardi and her cavalcanti,

for her lips and clavicles; for what you want
to eat, eat, eat. Art-lover, rector, docent!
Do I smile? I, too, once had a brash artless

feeder: his eye set firm on my slackening
sky. He was true! He was thief! In the celestial sense
he provided some, some, some

(much-needed) relief. Reader much-slept with, and Reader I will die
without touching, You, Reader, You: mr. small-
weed, mr. broad-cloth, mr. long-dark-day. And the italian mis-

fortune you will heave me for, for
her dark hair and her moonlit-teeth. You will love her well in-
to three-or-four cities, and then, you will slowly

sink. Reader, I will never forgive you, but not, poor
cock-sure Reader, not, for what you think. O, Reader
Sweet! and Reader Strange! Reader Deaf and Reader

Dear, I understand youyourself may be hard-
pressed to bare this small and un-necessary burden
having only just recently gotten over the clean clean heart-

break of spring. And I, Reader, I am but the daughter
of a tinker. I am not above the use of bucktail spinners,
white grubs, minnow tails. Reader, worms

and sinkers. Thisandthese curtail me
to be brief: Reader, our sex gone
to wildweather. YesReaderYes—that feels much-much

better. (And my new Reader will come to me empty-
handed, with a countenance that roses, lavenders, and cakes.
And my new Reader will be only mildly disappointed.

My new Reader can wait, can wait, can wait.) Light-
minded, snow-blind, nervous, Reader, Reader, troubled, Reader,
what’d ye lack? Importunate, unfortunate, Reader:

You are cold. You are sick. You are silly.
Forgive me, kind Reader, forgive me, I had not intended to step this quickly this far
back. Reader, we had a quiet wedding: he&I, theparson

&theclerk. Would I could, stead-fast, gracilefacile Reader! Last,
good Reader, tarry with me, jessa-mine Reader. Dar-
(jee)ling, bide! Bide, Reader, tired, and stay, stay, stray Reader,

true. R.: I had been secretly hoping this would turn into a love
poem. Disconsolate. Illiterate. Reader,
I have cleared this space for you, for you, for you.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Just one more thing -

Via a Facebook friend, I've been turned on to another blog I think I'll seriously enjoy.  It's called Nerdy Apple Bottom  -  Cop's Wife does not remain silent.

The post that got me there was this:

"My Son is Gay  (post title)

Or he’s not. I don’t care. He is still my son. And he is 5. And I am his mother. And if you have a problem with anything mentioned above, I don’t want to know you.
I have gone back and forth on whether I wanted to post something more in-depth about my sweet boy and his choice of Halloween costume. Or more specifically, the reactions to it. I figure if I’m still irked by it a few days later, I may as well go ahead and post my thoughts.
Here are the facts that lead up to my rant:
  1. My son is 5 and goes to a church preschool.
  2. He has loved Scooby Doo since developing the ability and attention span to sit still long enough to watch it.
  3. Halloween is a holiday and its main focus is wearing a costume.
  4. My son’s school had the kids dress up, do a little parade, and then change out of costumes for the rest of the party.
  5. Boo’s best friend is a little girl
  6. Boo has an older sister
  7. Boo spends most of his time with me.
  8. I am a woman.
  9. I am Boo’s mother, not you."

 To read more of this blog post :

In these days of bullying and working through gender identity, and hoping to find a common ground, I find it good to talk like this.  Openly, and without fear.  With faith that it will be okay in the end.  That discovery is the key to many good things in life.  That a little support along the way from loving people make all the difference in the world.

Prompting Poetry - Where to go to get a jumpstart

Here are some links to poetry prompts to get you going, if you're like me today, and are in need of a little kickstart:

The Journal : http://www.davidrm.com/thejournal/tjresources-exercises.php#poetry

Poetic Asides:  (for Poem A Day prompts): http://blog.writersdigest.com/poeticasides/

From 32 Poems:  http://www.32poems.com/blog/815/poetry-prompts

From PoeWar:  http://www.poewar.com/poetry-prompts/

Writing Forward:  http://www.writingforward.com/category/prompts-2/poetry-prompts

From Tupelo Press:  http://www.tupelopress.org/poetryproj.php

From Book of Kells:  http://ofkells.blogspot.com/2008/04/30-writing-prompts-for-national-poetry.html

There are many more - these are just a few good ones~


How We Get There

How We Get There, originally uploaded by salmonbear7.

Some parts of the journey are clear, others . . .

Dream, Maple Leaves/Seeds

Dream, Maple Leaves/Seeds, originally uploaded by salmonbear7.

What was tough was altering the color of these vibrant maples for the effect of making it more antique. But, worth it, for me.

Ways of Seeing, #2

Ways of Seeing, #2, originally uploaded by salmonbear7.

Water as mirror, as window.

Still Life with Maple Leaves, Water

Water make a good mirror, and gives a different way to seeing a leaf, or a tree.

Degrees of Decay, #2

Degrees of Decay, #2, originally uploaded by salmonbear7.

I love the veins in leaves, how color eventually blends with gravel and dirt, and begins again.

Still Life With Trash, #4

Still Life With Trash, #4, originally uploaded by salmonbear7.

Similarly, with trash, as long as it's biodegradable. My aim was to see if I could make art with the litter I found on my walk.

Degrees of Decay, #3

Degrees of Decay, #3, originally uploaded by salmonbear7.

I love how we can "watch" the way leaves return to the earth, feeding it.

Friday Freewrite, and Photos

How easy it is to give in to distraction.  It is already 5 November, and I've not written a poem yet.  The reason this is troublesome to me is that this is Poem A Day, the half-birthday of NaPoWriMo, which is in April.  I think it's good to have a poetry writing month more than once a year.  So why am I procrastinating?

It seems I spend so much time just looking at "stats," that is, my blog stats, my poetry submission stats, my Facebook stats.  I mean really, how long does this really need to take?  Okay, so some things are necessary, like upgrading to pro on my Flickr account, which I just did.  Now there are more "stats" to keep track of. 

But, the photo thing has helped keep my sanity somewhat tethered.  I might not be writing poems, (though I am determined to write at least one today), I have been creating "eyepoems," as one friend put it.  And why not?  When my creativity isn't coming out in the form of words, then why not in color and textural image? 

I like the word textural.  It describes how I view the world around me.  I love the grooves in tree bark, the skin of poppies, the taste of internal rhyme in the mouth. 

Textural - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Definition of TEXTURE

a : something composed of closely interwoven elements; specifically : a woven cloth b : the structure formed by the threads of a fabric
a : essential part : substance b : identifying quality : character
a : the disposition or manner of union of the particles of a body or substance b : the visual or tactile surface characteristics and appearance of something texture of an oil painting>
a : a composite of the elements of prose or poetry texture impressive and exciting — John Berryman> b : a pattern of musical sound created by tones or lines played or sung together
a : basic scheme or structure b : overall structure
tex·tur·al\-chə-rəl\ adjective
tex·tur·al·ly\-rə-lē\ adverb
tex·tured\-chərd\ adjective
tex·ture·less\-chər-ləs\ adjective
*   *   *
I also like that the word "text" begins the word "texture" and "textural."

So, I'll post some photos from Flickr, and get to the business of actually "writing" a poem.  We'll see how I do~

And you?  How are your poems coming?  I'd love to hear what you're working on these days.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thursday Poem

by Jeffrey Harrison   

It's a gift, this cloudless November morning
warm enough for you to walk without a jacket
along your favorite path. The rhythmic shushing
of your feet through fallen leaves should be
enough to quiet the mind, so it surprises you
when you catch yourself telling off your boss
for a decade of accumulated injustices,
all the things you've never said circling inside you.

It's the rising wind that pulls you out of it,
and you look up to see a cloud of leaves
swirling in sunlight, flickering against the blue
and rising above the treetops, as if the whole day
were sighing, Let it go, let it go,
for this moment at least, let it all go.

From Poets.org today~

Monday, November 1, 2010

Kelli Russell Agodon interview

Martha Silano interviews poet Kelli Russell Agodon on her blog, Blue Positive.  Kelli's newest book, Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room was this year's winner of the White Pine Press Poetry Book Award.  If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it.

Here's a little teaser:

Interstellar (& Very, Very Exclusive) Interview with Kelli Russell Agodon

Kelli Russell Agodon (www.agodon.com) stopped by the other day at Blue Positive to talk about her brand spanking new poetry collection, Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, winner of the White Pine Press Poetry Prize. Kelli's previous books are Small Knots (2004), and the chapbook, Geography, winner of the Floating Bridge Chapbook Award. She lives in the Northwest, where she is an avid mountain biker and the editor of Seattle’s literary journal, Crab Creek Review. Here she reveals process and product secrets, including how a black bra and a black hole collided, resulting in a poem titled "What the Universe Thinks of Lingerie."

For more, please visit:


Whoo hoo! Great job!

Happy Halloween from the Two of Us

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday Poem

From Poets.org today:

The Dead
by Mina Loy

We have flowed out of ourselves   
Beginning on the outside   
That shrivable skin   
Where you leave off   

Of infinite elastic   
Walking the ceiling   
Our eyelashes polish stars   

Curled close in the youngest corpuscle   
Of a descendant   
We spit up our passions in our grand-dams   

Fixing the extension of your reactions   
Our shadow lengthens   
In your fear   

You are so old   
Born in our immortality   
Stuck fast as Life   
In one impalpable   
Omniprevalent Dimension   

We are turned inside out   
Your cities lie digesting in our stomachs   
Street lights footle in our ocular darkness   

Having swallowed your irate hungers   
Satisfied before bread-breaking   
To your dissolution   
We splinter into Wholes   
Stirring the remorses of your tomorrow   
Among the refuse of your unborn centuries   
In our busy ashbins   
Stink the melodies   
Of your   
So easily reducible   

Our tissue is of that which escapes you   
Birth-Breaths and orgasms   
The shattering tremor of the static   
The far-shore of an instant   
The unsurpassable openness of the circle   
Legerdemain of God   

Only in the segregated angles of Lunatic Asylums   
Do those who have strained to exceeding themselves   
Break on our edgeless contours   

The mouthed echoes of what   
has exuded to our companionship   
Is horrible to the ear   
Of the half that is left inside them.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday Evening Poem

(I've Got A Brand New) Track Suit
by John Cooper Clarke

Two-tone stretch nylon yellow stripes on navy blue
I got a brand new track suit
I got the old one too
I got the old one too

I got a new track suit
I wear it every day
Keeps me cool and casual
I wore it yesterday

I got a new track suit
I wear it everywhere
Track me down to the training ground
Maybe I'll be there
Maybe I'll be there

Wearing my brand new track suit
Medicine ball to boot
Knee pads, an airline bag
And the overall smell of Brut
The overall smell of Brut

Expert eyes have scrutinized
And scientists agree
One track suit would suffice
But you're better off with three
You're better off with three

Two-tone stretch nylon yellow stripes on navy blue
I got a new track suit
I got the old one-two
I got the old one-two

John Cooper Clarke - Beasley Street

Good heavens.  DD and I were just talking about Klaus Nomi, which got me thinking about a) Urgh! A Music War, and b) John Cooper Clarke. Slam poet/punk rocker.  What a riot!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Poem

From Poets.org:

Spell for Encanto Creek
by Mark Jarman

Tall blades of tufted grasses, keep on flowing.
Towhees like good ideas, keep on flowing.   

Pooled water, black in shadow, green in sunshine,   
With wild olives bending down to drink,

Those figures coming daily to the bridge
To look at their two shadows on your surface,

Keep them returning, keep them coming back.

Friday, October 8, 2010

My Apple Tree

is the point of entry, rendezvous spot for bear, deer, and countless birds.

Today it was a doe, and our cat Minnie stood guard on the front porch, puffed up to scare the deer away.  Or at least keep it at bay.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Poetry Daily's Featured Poet: Kelli Russell Agodon

Poetry Daily's Featured Poet: Kelli Russell Agodon

And here is a poem from Kelli's book, Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, entitled:

If I Ever Mistake You For a Poem~

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

When Emily Dickinson has a party. . .

My friend and wonderful poet, Kelli Russell Agodon, just had her book, Letters From the Emily Dickinson Room, published by White Pine Press.  It just came out, and is a very beautiful production.

To celebration this occasion, Kelli threw a party, inviting us to come as our own interpretation of Emily, which was great in itself.  Spending the week wondering how I would pull this off. . . I had no idea!

On the day of the party, I was quite busy.  My daughter was here from college for the weekend, and I had booked a haircut appt. for her in Seattle at Vain.  And while that was happening, my son and his friend were at the Seattle Center for Brick Con - the Lego convention.  Having time on our hands before the hair appt., DD and I browsed the Doc Martin store, to get my first (finally, after all these years) pair of Docs.  And, I was able to get a spur-of-the-moment haircut at Vain, as well.  Bash was my hair stylist, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  Just our conversation about his travels was treat enough.

So, now armed with new hair and new boots, I knew what *my* Emily was all about.

The party was wonderful.  After a tasty dinner buffet, we were all given images of Emily to cut out and decorate to our liking, and here are some of our ways of saying "Emily."

Thank you, Kelli, for a wonderful evening.  And, check out her book, too!

Tuesday Poem

From Poets.org:

After Apple-Picking  
by Robert Frost

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Psalm 91

This version of Psalm 91 was sent to me in the morning of the day the bear arrived at our house.

 *   *   *

Dearly Beloved,

Grace and Peace to you.

                  Psalm 91

If you totally trust God,
          you're already in heaven.
You're inside God,
         and nobody can take you out.

God stands between you and what scares you,
         between you and all the dangers.
Like a mother bear,
         she's got your back,
something serious.
         Don't worry.
Spend no fear on the terrorist from afar
         or the cancer from within,
the fretting that wakes you in the night,
         or the bridge you know will collapse.

Yes, suffering closes in around you at times,
         and tragedy walks your neighborhood.
But this is not the title of your story,
         not your end.
Learn to see with clear eyes
         how love never loses.
When you live inside the Beloved,
         and the world is a house that is God,
evil can't define you, can't change you,
         can't find you at all.

The Creator of the world fills it
         with those who bear her love to you.
They hold you in their invisible arms,
         they secretly catch you when you fall.

So stand up to what overpowers,
         don't flinch from what scares you.
You will meet monsters, learn their names
         and tame them with love.

Love says, “Here. Come settle in my heart.
         Nothing can take you from me.
When your soul cries out, don't worry—
         I'm already holding you.
In your worst trouble, I'm with you.
         I set you free. I honor you.
I give you the joy of life lived deeply.
         You will shine in me forever.”

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

Word Association

  1. Return ::  to a state of normalcy; to a child for a day
  2. Alarms :: bread in the toaster, still in the toaster
  3. State ::  Anxious
  4. Picture frame ::  Shell waiting
  5. Wreath ::  Blanket
  6. Arrest ::  Those who run bear farms
  7. Sincere ::    Well-wishers
  8. Nathan ::  a friend of my son
  9. Bag :: ball and chain; a necessity
  10. Arched ::  A spine out of imprint
Word Association, from : Unconscious Mutterings

So, the words are provided weekly from the above site, and the reactions are mine.  Each week 10 words are given for you to "answer."

    My Visitor, the Bear

    Last Friday, as I was reaching for a cookbook to make a cake for a birthday, three days late, this visitor came to eat my apples.

    Bear Thoughts

    So, my themes for right now coincide, themes of grief and the Bear.  These next few posts will simply share different views of bears, and maybe of grief, too.

    The first is a powerful poem by poet Galway Kinnell.  This was shared with me several years ago, and it sticks with me to this day.

    The Bear

    In late winter
    I sometimes glimpse bits of steam
    coming up from
    some fault in the old snow
    and bend close and see it is lung-colored
    and put down my nose
    and know
    the chilly, enduring odor of bear.

    I take a wolf's rib and whittle
    it sharp at both ends
    and coil it up
    and freeze it in blubber and place it out
    on the fairway of the bears.

    And when it has vanished
    I move out on the bear tracks,
    roaming in circles
    until I come to the first, tentative, dark
    splash on the earth.

    And I set out
    running, following the splashes
    of blood wandering over the world.
    At the cut, gashed resting places
    I stop and rest,
    at the crawl-marks
    where he lay out on his belly
    to overpass some stretch of bauchy ice
    I lie out
    dragging myself forward with bear-knives in my fists.

    On the third day I begin to starve,
    at nightfall I bend down as I knew I would
    at a turd sopped in blood,
    and hesitate, and pick it up,
    and thrust it in my mouth, and gnash it down,
    and rise
    and go on running.

    On the seventh day,
    living by now on bear blood alone,
    I can see his upturned carcass far out ahead, a scraggled,
    steamy hulk,
    the heavy fur riffling in the wind.

    I come up to him
    and stare at the narrow-spaced, petty eyes,
    the dismayed
    face laid back on the shoulder, the nostrils
    flared, catching
    perhaps the first taint of me as he

    I hack
    a ravine in his thigh, and eat and drink,
    and tear him down his whole length
    and open him and climb in
    and close him up after me, against the wind,
    and sleep.

    And dream
    of lumbering flatfooted
    over the tundra,
    stabbed twice from within,
    splattering a trail behind me,
    splattering it out no matter which way I lurch,
    no matter which parabola of bear-transcendence,
    which dance of solitude I attempt,
    which gravity-clutched leap,
    which trudge, which groan.

    Until one day I totter and fall --
    fall on this
    stomach that has tried so hard to keep up,
    to digest the blood as it leaked in,
    to break up
    and digest the bone itself: and now the breeze
    blows over me, blows off
    the hideous belches of ill-digested bear blood
    and rotted stomach
    and the ordinary, wretched odor of bear,

    blows across
    my sore, lolled tongue a song
    or screech, until I think I must rise up
    and dance. And I lie still.

    I awaken I think. Marshlights
    reappear, geese
    come trailing again up the flyway.
    In her ravine under old snow the dam-bear
    lies, licking
    lumps of smeared fur
    and drizzly eyes into shapes
    with her tongue. And one
    hairy-soled trudge stuck out before me,
    the next groaned out,
    the next,
    the next,
    the rest of my days I spend
    wandering: wondering
    what, anyway,
    was that sticky infusion, that rank flavor of blood, that
    poetry, by which I lived?

    from Body Rags, Galway Kinnell (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1967).

    Tuesday Poem

    Today's poem on Poets.org:

    9773 Comanche Ave.
    by David Trinidad   

    In color photographs, my childhood house looks
    fresh as an uncut sheet cake—
    pale yellow buttercream, ribbons of white trim

    squeezed from the grooved tip of a pastry tube.
    Whose dream was this confection?
    This suburb of identical, pillow-mint homes?

    The sky, too, is pastel. Children roller skate
    down the new sidewalk. Fathers stake young trees.
    Mothers plan baby showers and Tupperware parties.
    The Avon Lady treks door to door.

    Six or seven years old, I stand on the front porch,
    hand on the decorative cast-iron trellis that frames it,
    squinting in California sunlight,
    striped short-sleeved shirt buttoned at the neck.

    I sit in the backyard (this picture's black-and-white),
    my Flintstones playset spread out on the grass.
    I arrange each plastic character, each dinosaur,
    each palm tree and round "granite" house.

    Half a century later, I barely recognize it
    when I search the address on Google Maps
    and, via "Street view," find myself face to face—

    foliage overgrown, facade remodeled and painted
    a drab brown. I click to zoom: light hits
    one of the windows. I can almost see what's inside.

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    Paper Cranes

    Paper Cranes [30/07/09], originally uploaded by KayVee.INC.

    I'm looking up images tagged with the word leukemia, which is what my dad has.

    Photo note:

    "Art by: Nanami Cowdroy
    Tattoo by: Rian (Cold Steel America)

    Tsuru: The Japanese Crane

    Throughout history, birds have been viewed as animals of special value and have been endowed with meanings often drawn from legends and stories that have endured over many generations.

    For the Japanese, the crane—or tsuru—is considered a national treasure, appearing in art, literature, and folklore. The Japanese regard the crane as a symbol of good fortune and longevity because of its fabled life span of a thousand years. It also represents fidelity, as Japanese cranes are known to mate for life. Over time, the crane has also evolved as a favorite subject of the Japanese tradition of paper folding—origami—as children and adults attempt to master this art.

    Shortly after the end of World War II, the folded origami cranes came to symbolize a hope for peace through Sadako Sasaki and her unforgettable story of perseverance. Diagnosed with leukemia after being exposed to radiation after the bombing of Hiroshima, Sadako became determined to reach a goal of folding 1,000 cranes in hopes of being rewarded with health, happiness, and a world of eternal peace. Although she died before reaching her goal, the tradition of sending origami cranes to the Hiroshima memorial has endured as a symbol of the Japan’s ongoing wish for nuclear disarmament and world peace.

    Yay [explore - Jul 30, 2009 #81]"

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Tree by Richard Jones

    Tree by Richard Jones


    When the sun goes down
    I have my first drink
    standing in the yard,
    talking to my neighbor
    about the alder tree
    rising between our houses,
    a lowly tree that prospered
    from our steady inattention
    and shot up quick as a weed
    to tower over our rooftops,
    where it now brandishes
    a rich, luxuriant crown.
    Should we cut it down?
    Neither of us wants to --
    we agree that we like
    the flourishing branches,
    shade like thick woods.
    We don't say it,
    studying our tree in silence,
    but we know that if the roots
    get into the foundations
    we've got real trouble.
    John goes back inside.
    Nothing to be done in summer --
    not to those heavy branches.
    I balance my empty glass
    on top of a fence post.
    In the quiet early dark,
    those peaceful minutes
    before dinner, I bend down
    to the flower beds I love
    and pull a few weeds --
    something I've meant to do
    all day.

    Richard Jones

    Saturday, September 11, 2010


    Let us remember today, nine years later, with mutual respect for the wonderful diversity that makes us who we are, and with a true sense of shared connectedness. Let us realise globally that we truly need each other, regardless of color, creed, and persuasion.

    Verse Daily: Letter to the End of the Year by Susan Rich

    Today's poem on verse daily is by Susan Rich, and it is wonderful. Great job, Susan!

    Below is the link to Verse Daily, and Susan's poem:

    Verse Daily: Letter to the End of the Year by Susan Rich

    Friday, September 10, 2010

    Amazing Grace History/"Amazing Grace" By Wintley Phipps

    Today has been a good day for music discoveries.

    Understand that it really doesn't matter what color, religion, persuasion we are, this is just good, inclusive stuff, and it just goes directly to the heart.


    Johnny Cash - Nine Inch Nails - "Hurt"

    I've been surfing music this morning. First, it was the song "I Shall Not Walk Alone," sung by the Blind Boys of Alabama. And, as my daughter and her friend were playing my Johnny Cash CD Hurt, I did a little more digging around, listening to the Nine Inch Nails (original) as well, and also found this note:

    *   *   *  

    This is from Songfacts:

    "Trent Reznor has confessed that originally he was angry that Johnny Cash had covered this, as it was such a personal song to him. However, once he heard Cash's heart-wrenching version and saw the poignant video, he changed his tune.
    Reznor recalled to The Sun Newspaper August 1st 2008: "The Cash thing was a couple of years into being clean I was very unsure of myself. Did I have anything to say? Could I still write music? Did anyone still care? I'd been out of the limelight for a while. I'd put the brakes on everything to try to get my life in order, to try to get healthy and stay alive. I'd been friends with Rick Rubin for several years. He called me to ask how I'd feel if Johnny Cash covered Hurt. I said I'd be very flattered but was given no indication it would actually be recorded. Two weeks went by. Then I got a CD in the post. I listened to it and it was very strange. It was this other person inhabiting my most personal song. I'd known where I was when I wrote it. I know what I was thinking about. I know how I felt. Hearing it was like someone kissing your girlfriend. It felt invasive."
    It was when Reznor finally saw the video that his attitude changed. He continued: "It really, really made sense and I thought what a powerful piece of art. I never got to meet Johnny but I'm happy I contributed the way I did. It felt like a warm hug. For anyone who hasn't seen it, I highly recommend checking it out. I have goose bumps right now thinking about it." "

    *   *   *

    So, from an artistic standpoint, I find both of these versions intriguing, and disturbing.  And yes, deeply personal.  There are several versions on Youtube of the Nine Inch Nails, two having many more views than the one I chose.  I'm posting this one, because it is one that was used in concert, with images chosen by them.  And that, to me, makes it all the more compelling.

    Blind Boys of Alabama - I shall not walk alone

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    This Week's Poem on Linebreak

    Linebreak :: Original Poetry, Updated Weekly

    She Buys Old Furniture


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