Author: <span class="vcard">Gudrun</span>

I began a poem about my mother early this morning and titled it, “Mutti.” I was trying (she’s been gone over 17 years) to “retrieve her multitude of unspoken words.”

I glance over at a 9×12 flower painting, separated from its frame, lying on the dining room table where I am sitting. The landscape has just recently been returned to me. I had given it to a friend who yearned to see the blue petals of her European childhood.

I am still grieving this British-born friend, who died just a few months ago. A mutual friend, who returned the painting, had brought up its subject. She thought it was “Edelweiss,” I thought it was cornflowers. We were both wrong. We hadn’t accounted for the yellow/orange centers of the blue flowers. On the back of the painting, I notice “Alpine Forget-Me-Not,” written in my father’s handwriting.

My father, the artist, has been gone over 18 years….And now, it will soon be spring. A rebirth. I can feel the change–that brutal morning cold has abated; the California hills are green and flowers bloom. Perhaps, the poem may yet finish itself.

Gudrun. Mouw (c)

Journal Entry

The day I finished reading, The Sun and Her Flowers, I saw an interview with the 20-something poet and also learned about the international admiration for this book, which has been quickly translated into numerous languages. Apparently, Rupi Kaur’s fame began with a controversial Instagram image.

I like how the author has made the idea of poetry popular, which by itself is an immense achievement.  Born in India, the poet was raised in the west with a multicultural family awareness, which I know something about from my own experience. Overall, the poetry style seems quite innovative.

I was struck by how the poems in The Sun and Her Flowers dramatically expand the possibilities of the genre. Sometimes, the poems are simply short statements; other times, there are italicized summaries at the end (which serve as captions; there are no titles). Often the language seems designed to jolt and surprise. At other times, the poems are quite prosaic. 

In the interview, the poet responded to critics, who have called her too simplistic, by saying she was fine with that, but in the end she wanted the reader’s stomach to turn.  

Though this book is interesting, in the future I would like to see the kind of poetic mastery that could, perhaps, slow down the reader in order to deepen one’s experience, move one towards a rich, intuitive silence and keep the poems from falling flat emotionally.

 

Personal Updates The Process of Writing

 

another massacre, the same excuses,
platitudes and insincerities; a numbness
covers the landscape like a wash of despair.
The brave ones must help us pierce through,
to regain our humanity and the lives of our youth.

 

 

 

Gudrun Mouw (c)
February 16, 2018

A Poem

The pen feels awkward in my hand. I see that the last journal entry was written on Jan. 1. Whereas, the last computer generated “Note” was typed on Jan 23. Is this a trend?

As a writer, creating letters, words and sentences on paper is a different process than striking the keyboard. The kinetic sensation of writing goes beyond subject matter. How I’m holding my pen, or pencil, how different pressures affect what shows up on the page, the immediate and visible presence of ongoing corrections, additions, deletions, even the color of ink used; many such factors impact the writing experience.

In spite of a perfectly sized journal, hard covered, easily mobile, conveniently lined, glaring back at me is something that often seems uncomfortably messy. The computer, on the other hand, efficiently hides the less tidy aspects of the writing process. Still, I remind myself; each approach provides a unique value.

Journal Entry The Process of Writing

The Get Well Bouquet

is beautifully arranged, as I am not….
May I be free of unhelpful ideas.
May I appreciate beauty as it opens,
passes and fades before my eyes.

What am I getting well from?
What am I moving toward? January sunlight
there on our California hillside
is not as warm as it looks; yet,

I’d like to fling myself on tender grass
turning green after rains, which sadly elsewhere
created destruction….Still, this sweet bouquet
makes a fragrant and silent plea.

Gudrun Mouw (c)
January 22, 2018

A Poem

There doesn’t seem to be one definitive answer of how to move through difficult times, such as the misfortunes of 2017. Perhaps, the best approach is to handle one one situation at a time, one step at a time.

For example, we were hit hard by flu this year. Once the worst was over, as part of my recovery work, I began walking again, seeking sun. There was an oblong of light between the forest and garden which beckoned; I followed. One way, I walked through December wind. The other way facing sun, words floated into view, but I did not catch, or try to hold them. This went on for almost an hour, and the sun overhead gave just enough heat to warm through three layers.

And so a moment of peace was gained. Time to slow down. Even a cup of tea is more enjoyable inside the safety of a mind at rest and open to potential.

Gudrun Mouw (c) aka Krishnaprema Jyothi

Personal Updates