Sing into your light

 

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Sing into the deep December darkness.

Sing into your light.

Walk, one footstep at a time,

into your heart.

Feel the pulsing beat.

Know that you are alive.

Smile because it’s a gift.

Skip because deep down you

still are a child.

Look up, see the moon, the stars,

the forest, the mountains, and the ocean.

Thank them deeply: they are a part of you.

Embrace all of creation, every being,

every human, and animal.

Soothe your caustic tongue.

Walk deeper and past, out of anger.

Feel the love, the deep appreciation,

the belonging of one and all.

Gratitude Prayer

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Today is one of those sparkling sunny days that makes me feel slightly drunk on life.

It’s also the day before Thanksgiving. Selina and I went grocery shopping this morning. I thought to myself how crazy it was to attempt that the day before the major eating holiday. I also was a bit afraid: of the crowds, of doing this with her, managing stroller, cart, loads of food, etc. But it turned out to be a pleasant experience. I would even venture to say an adventure that we shared together. She ate slices of pear we had brought from home, and pointed at things making that guttural sound that all children who can’t yet yell “I want that”, make… a sound that used to frustrate me. Later we placed the food in the car and went first to the playground by the lake and afterward to the library. As soon as we got there she shouted: “Anna, Anna, Anna”. Anna is her doll, that my friend, by the same name, made for her. I looked around and all I saw was a humongous monkey sitting on top of the bookshelves. I think my child calls all dolls, including huge stuffed animals, Anna. That elicited an ear-stretching smile from my face.

It may be trite to feel an overwhelming dose of gratitude today, but that is the case with me. It hasn’t been an easy year, this first of being a mother. First, going through a difficult birth left me with longtime healing to do while I had an infant to take care of immediately and all the time. It’s only recently that things have begun to shift, to feel smoother, softer, less difficult. I realize how long physical and emotional healing can take. I notice how much being a parent heals me also from ancient wounds. It re-parents me.

I feel gratitude first and foremost for my daughter. She brings a smile to my face every day. She is the hardest and most beautiful thing I have ever been responsible for. There are simply no words for the sentiment I feel for her. Then to my husband Josh, who is always there for us, standing with integrity, compassion, and wisdom. Always. To my mother, Milena with her love and unflinching support. To my many friends, and teachers. To the rest of our family of blood lines and chosen. To my doctor who told me that I have the tools to stand my own ground. To refuse the omnipresent voice of stress, and worry that surrounds our time.

I choose to stand in the light and in the love. I move forward, even in these dark times, toward the solstice, knowing that the light shines within me.

In the words of poet Robert Frost:

The heart can think of no devotion
Greater than being shore to the ocean –
Holding the curve of one position,
Counting an endless repetition.

The happiness I feel when I see Selina

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I feel so happy I could explode. (Sleep is a miracle that works wonders).
The happiness I feel when I see Selina:
Her nose scrunched up in a smile.
The light in her eyes.
Her expression of delight mixed with a touch of roguishness.
One hand pointing: “MMMM” (Gimme that) she shouts.
Back-a, BaBa, DaDa.
A dialogue in many acts.

We nestle and snuggle in the morning, after the long night.
We play and explore in the afternoon.
She splashes in the tub in the evening.
A wave of love connects it all together.
Her heart to mine.
A conversation that spins tapestries of meaning.

Connections woven by her imagination.
She pretends she is drinking from a cup.
The cup on her head becomes a hat.
Her left brain naming, labeling, compiles information, sounds, shapes.
A bus pulling up and lumbering to a halt.
An ambulance wailing by.
A motorcycle puttering.
A plane flying overhead.
Crows cawing.
The bark of a dog in the distance.
Her right brain sings and wallops back to the left in exultation and recognition.
It layers longing, imagination, fondness, attachment, sense of self, and other.

She is beginning to speak. In English and Italian.
She says “No, no Numa, when our cat, Numa, scratches the couch.
“Adie” (for Grazie) when she hands me the cat’s bowl to wash.
Mama, Daddy, Bye, Bow, Ba(ll), (D)Ow (Ciao). Baby.
She sees a flower.
A bee.
A butterfly.
She smells the lavender and rosemary in our garden.
She is careful not to pull flowers off their stem.
She learns to climb the stairs in both directions.
She sucks the butter and jam off her tiny pieces of toast discarding the rest.
She devours salmon skin.
It’s her favorite thing it seems.

She follows and lopes after me whenever I come home.
She makes the milk sign and indicates her favorite chair to sit in.
When I see her my heart leaps.
I melt.
In love.

The Sun Shines Yellow in my Soul

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The smell of crushed mint leaves lingers
on my fingers, mixing with sweat
and heat. It’s the heart of summer.
Full moon: one lunar year since
you, my baby, were born.

The sun is beating relentlessly, turning
the grass to burnt gold; the earth a fine powder.
Pine needles crackle under my soles.
The dry air redolent of blackberries, spruce and dust.
There isn’t one cloud above. It hasn’t
rained in months. Trees are dying
in the dry summer heat.
Forests to the east of us are on fire.

You and I are inseparable companions. As I carry you,
sweat pours down my skin bin droplets and streams.
I sing, you coo, and point. One finger
extended from a pink hand. Your face in the shade
of your white sun hat. The sky is so blue it hurts.
My toes painted yellow
like ten winking dandelions. Cut off jeans
any shorter would be a bikini bottom.
Hair tumbling in a waterfall down my spine.

Each day brings us to the lake to get in the water.
We feel its mermaid coolness on our skin:
blue-green with mossy branches on its bottom,
algae afloat, willows stooping over it.
You splash and shout with glee, as I lift you in the air,
and back in the water. Ducks swim
and dive under. A dog barks in the distance.
The sun shines yellow in my soul

When I Write

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When I Write
I write because it is part of me.
I write because it makes me happy.
I write, because when I do, I feel better. On those days it is as though a cloud lifts, and I see the world with brighter colors.
When I write, sometimes – most of the time – I write poetry. I feel images surfacing. I hear words in my head. I need to write them down. To give them a home in black on white. To see the undulating scribble of my handwriting. I hear the juxtapositions of sounds, the sometimes alliteration, the short and the long, the rhythm of waves crashing on the shore, the allegory, and the symbol.
When I write, I hear bells in my head. I watch raindrops fall on mushrooms. I glide under the lid of my own fantasy, hurled into a sky of rolling clouds. I ride a magic carpet on which I am truly me, more than me and also, at times, petulant me. I let the child me roam. She picks wildflowers . She smells them, and plucks petals pitilessly.
When I write, afterwards, I sometimes discover hidden secrets. I find thoughts that were seeking to be expressed, emotions that begged to be unleashed, feelings that hoped to be felt.
When I write, I oscillate between poetry and prose. I let my pen roll in its own ecstasy on the paper. I am transported to faraway lands; sunset in a dusty red desert, full moon in a mossy old growth forest, populated by elfin maidens.
When I write, I see with my ears, touch with my eyes, hear with my heart. I am called into the House of Language by an ancient muse named Synesthesia. I have been courting her since my teenage years. She is a rebel at heart, yet as old as the hills. She carries me to lavender shores, where monkeys drum, butterflies hum, and mostly everyone else dreams
When I write, I am saved by words. I am purified by the emptiness that follows. I let myself lay on the brink of uncertainty, even fear. I walk precariously on a tightrope that I tried to challenge many moons ago for the first time. Now I yearn to each day. It has taught me to take risks. Within it I see the river flowing. Through it I am shown that no moment is ever repeated. No context can be remembered so accurately that the imagination wouldn’t need to be beckoned in as an ally.
When I write, I write in the present. I write in the past. I write in the future. I write from the first person, from the second and third; I write for all the people. I write to pour myself into all my parts, to fill all my pores.
When I write, I feel my heart swell and get bigger.
When I write, I am me.

The apple blossoms pink and white

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The apple blossoms pink and white.
We sit sprawled out on a blanket
that belonged to nonna in our backyard.
You are eight months old.
Your whole body is round and lovely.
You have soft full cheeks and the bluest of eyes.
You play busily, observing the world,
flowers, bees, branches, specks of dirt.

Interspersed into every action
are the looks you steal at me, furtive, gleeful, curious.
There are moments when you laugh
in short staccato ha-has,
your whole face puckered in an impish grin.
I am imbued by a love so wide and deep
words fail to paint its full picture.

I look at the apple blossoms, and wonder
whether we will have apples this year.
There is a serendipitous connection
between my fertile outburst and the trees’.
Life moves in mysterious ways.

You are holding up one of the pieces of the rainbow,
the yellow one, thrusting your arm
back and forth in happy motion.
I look at you, at my life.
I feel complete.

I received a gift of heaven

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I received a gift of heaven
wrapped in glowing light.
Within it breathes in silent wonder.
With each breath it connects me more deeply to mystery.
Waves transport me, dark and warm,
mauve tones of rose,
unfurling with passion
in regions of my soul.

To connect with myself in my heart.
Through my outspread body.
Knowing that I am my higher self.
That I carry a spirit within.
A gift that develops faith
and trust in the process
of continually being in the present.
Being in love.
With myself. With the divine
Being harbored in my womb,
This kernel of pulsating life.
* * *
Stripped
the onion unrolls
its fine pink shell
made of tears.
It sings into the earth
a song of beginnings
and arduous passages.
It harbors small forms
wings of angels.
Arching deep opalescence.
The surrender of
small fish rising from silver waters.
• • •
I look into the big void.
Sometimes there an echo resounds.
Casting names yet unknown.
Shadows foretelling movement.
A stronghold of life.

The smell of rain unfolds around me.
In the stillness: a pounding heartbeat.
Like galloping horses.
African violets continue to bloom.
I think of matter borne into dust.
Particles into particles,
Flesh building in blood simple facets.
A mystery so old
It holds me locked in silent wonder.

* * *
Silver fish spurt in droplets
from sidewalk puddles.
I sit and sift strands of feelings,
from my womb to my heart and back.
I hear an echo.
A mysterious mermaid,
a siren in the still deep.
I listen for its call.
It resonates with the crescent moon.
Alongside still water
a shadow casts its beauty in silhouette.
How can one voice be so pure?
I follow the movement of the heart-opening notes.
Hands united in prayer,
I sing my song to all the goddesses.
To the angel wings, feathering.
To flowers and animal spirits.

In meditation I saw
Deer, wolf, lion and whale.
Each mothering me.
Each showing me the way.

One gentle and fierce nuzzle
at a time.

The Secret Gift

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The foothills of the heart loom large
among shadows deep and purple.
I climb the winding path
through silver sage, and elderberries,
the song of the stream whispering in my ear.
From within a hermetic voice, a friend
I have not listened to in a long time:
timid, yet hoarse.
It speaks the truth, and flies on a winged arc,
glistening in the mystery of the folds.
Uncovering, discovering, recovering.
Flaming leaves rustle in the twilit breeze.
In the palm of my hand I hold a secret gift.
I will carry it to the mountaintop.
There I will bury it, release it, give it new life.

Glistening Lake

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Glistening lake reflects the dusk hour
in lapping waves
of azure, black, and peach.

Sun low on the horizon,
disc of fire
moves faster than flicker.

Sense of open wideness
as I sit on the dock
arms locked around knees.

People walking circles
around the basin of water
exchange words
immersed.

Birds swoop low
to kiss the water,
in one graceful movement
of flapping wings
and singing heart.

Sky tangerine
Vibrates in cellular beauty.
A stillness so sound
it mirrors holiness.

Beneath the willow
I walk on the path.
Unlocked.
Searching gaze.
Intaking.
Breathing.

Tuesday blues on rooftops soars

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Tuesday blues on rooftops soar.
The eye as wild as eagle wings,
spanning the heights of mountain rims.
Connecting knuckles;
curving spine.

A low sound, emitted from within
vibrating of cells
in silent energy.

The boundary lost
of archetypes, hieroglyphs.
Strawberries.
Colors forming geometries of the sacred.

I ventured out into the great beyond.
Holding my shoulders.
A poncho draping
In loose folds.
I held my name, an essence
I can only begin to grasp,
in unity. Between notions
so fractal, they move
in faceted fashion
of fingerling fineness.

Flower of immortality,
nocturnal halo, candles
glowing in darkened candor.

Nymphs sing in perfect
tones of emanated radiance,
flowing essence.
The power to behold fulfills
the nucleus of divine being.

Staggered I fluctuate
on waves of ethereal,
outward and in.
Blending boundaries,
until thinking disappears.
The child enters now,
oscillating from lacelike expansion,
to creviced contraction.
The place where time and space
appear both odd, and more tangible.

Painted with memory, wafting
with scent, it carries me
back in time to mildewy leaves,
in the shade of the mottled tree.
The rainbow shimmer in each apple bough
sage green, white, and dark olive leaves,
purple and russet queen bark.
Veins, buds, opening, closing.
The world is breathing,
one breath.