Gudrun Mouw Posts

After Labor Day

A newsperson previews summer’s end;
this proclamation brings relief
and fear—the intense heat that was,
and a chill about to fall
upon an expanding national concern,

which reminds her of the violent years
that unleashed World War II.
And now, once again, she remembers:
how hard it is, not to hate hatred.

Her prayer escapes: “May I breathe
that divine and universal love,
away from those who whip their rage.
Let me not retreat
to a prison of discouragement.”

Gudrun Mouw (c)
September 6, 2018

A Poem

Friend/Enemy

Dear friend, before you died,
you complained, “I’m doing things so
I can keep doing them.” I did not think
those would be the final words
I heard you speak….

Dear enemy, will my aversion
for the harm you keep committing
bring the world, once more,
towards a common good?

May truth blossom
like rosemary
in the midst of drought.

Gudrun Mouw (c)

A Poem

July Afternoon

A wound up breeze unfurls, dries out
what we’ve healed
with grey water, hoses, tears.
So much shrivels while

a shameless cult leader lies to the world,
and an afternoon in solemn silence
sinks oak roots deep
into the sand.

Gudrun Mouw (c)
July 14, 2018

A Poem

Writing a short story has become the new challenge—something different at a time when individual and national complacency has been shaken up. Perhaps, that is the best time to shift gears, when life changes require adaptations and new avenues of effort.

I’ve been trying to remember the many short story techniques I studied during my college years and since then. I remind myself that lyrical poetry and short stories are similar in the use of concise language that, at best, awakens and moves the reader from beginning to end more quickly than a meandering novel. Perhaps, this is because a novel does well to create a believable sense of truth, in spite of the adage that truth is stranger than fiction.

A short stories’ intensity, like a poem, often surprises, even shocks the reader in order to poke holes in consciousness. There is little time for plot complexities and extensive character developments. Just like poetry, the short story, I believe, uses subtle techniques that require careful, sustained attention by the reader best implemented in one sitting.

On the other hand, one sitting would not be adequate for me to produce either a poem or a short story. Once again I recall something heard at a writer’s luncheon—“I have a policy never to revise anything more than three times.” Wow! All I know is that I do not know when the story “Are You a Holocaust Survivor?” will be finished.

Gudrun Mouw (c)

Journal Entry The Process of Writing

There are times when things just don’t feel right—perhaps a friend, or family member is ill, or troubled in some way. There may be health issues, grief issues, work issues. Sometimes, even the weather will, unexpectedly, get dangerous. Because of adversities, which are out of our control, we may fall behind unable to do those normal, ordinary tasks that help us feel aligned with the world.

Even after dealing appropriately with crisis situations, it may be difficult to commit to the very activities that bring us back to a sense of peace, such as taking time out from stress and the aftermath of stress by getting away from a difficult environment, taking a walk, listening to music, talking to a friend, meditating, practicing yoga, reading a book, or whatever else works for us. Instead, one may sink into paralysis. Such paralysis can create a kind of unconscious self fulfilling prophesy that says how can we relax, or engage in the things that may or may not be helpful, because there is too much left undone.

However, such are exactly the times when we need to give ourselves permission to do whatever it takes to rejuvenate. Then, we can honestly acknowledge and, ultimately, relieve the stress that adversity brings about.

Gudrun Mouw (c)
May 21, 2018

The Spiritual Journey

I was especially drawn to the “Bear River in Danger” article by Clyde Prout in News from Native California because it addresses the meaning of “home.” The writer points out, “We had a house…, but it wasn’t until I was older that I began to understand what [was] truly meant by ‘home.'”

Reading this, I realized how my background—having been categorized by the government as a “Displaced Person” in the 1950s—caused my search for “home” to unfold in painfully disorienting ways. Which is why it has been a blessing, for the last 20 years, to have had easy access to nature and wildlife, which promotes a sense of healing continuity for me.

The deer trail within sight of our home, for example, well used from before my life time, creates delightful and instructive interactions. And so nature freely provides a larger perspective for our journey on this planet. During difficult times, especially, finding ways to move from disconnection to connection seems ever more important.

 

Gudrun Mouw

(c) April/May, 2018

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