Gudrun Mouw Posts

 

Reading the Wife of the House Proof


I meet myself some 30 years ago,
so many sharp edges
and plain language
familiar as a blank page
about to tell what has been hidden.

I don't know whether to be
astonished or ashamed
of who I imagined I had been.

The ash tree rains leaves
ten days to the end
of yet another month waiting
for the slightest shower....
I jubilate when a damp, night fog
feeds gratitude

after the sudden death
of delusion,
and as deer pluck the garden
back to the heart of green,
I am glad to help.



Gudrun


 

A Poem

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During the time I was working on the poems for Wife of the House, I wrote an article for the Premier Edition of the PRACTICAL MYSTIC called “Poetry as a Spiritual Journey.” The article still CroppedRiver90seems current. Certain excerpts make me smile, because I am surprised that I knew these things then. It’s a bit like a parent suddenly thinking, wow, when did my child become a thoughtful and conscious being. Here is a quote from the article:

The concept of a spiritual quest didn’t occur to me in the beginning. All I knew was that, through the reading and writing of poetry, I experienced a joyful, creative energy such as I hardly knew existed. I wanted to develop this heightened state of consciousness….Spiritual teachers who subsequently came into my life showed me the possibility of achieving greater mental clarity [through…the] process of quiet observation and meditation.

…I often like to write poems beginning with [an area of concern] or a lack of comprehension and depict [a] clarification which is discovered by the end of the poem.

An example of such a poem in Wife of the House is “Full Moon,” which begins with:

She sits hungry
for something
she cannot eat…

and ends:

Fruit suspended
on the tree
will ripen and break loose

 

This search for discovery depends on an attitude that the poem itself is guiding me. Consequently, I work as a scribe, and the voice of the poem is a gift of higher consciousness from everything around me. If a poem is faulty…, it is because I’m not a pure instrument; I don’t always hear or see, unhindered by old programming.

Also, I don’t always know what a poem’s gift is; sometimes, it takes years. Just recently, looking at the first poem in Wife of the House as something I might want to read to an audience, I was shocked to see something I had never wanted to acknowledge before. “A Young Girl’s Dream” is about a dream that had haunted me for many years. The last stanza,

She tries and tries
to keep from going bare
blossoms dropping
to her feet

 

I understood, at last, is about the aging process. The dream was prescient, and finally I am able to admit, though blossoms may fall away, each age has its own special beauty. Going bare can also be about feeling free to be transparent.

Gudrun

The Process of Writing

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Click on Paradise Canyon to watch a reading Gudrun did from her new book at her book release party.

 

 

A Video

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Wife of the House is a book of poetry I wrote during a time when it wasn’t cool, in reply to the question, “What do you do?” to say, “I’m a housewife.” The poems became, at times, a defiant response to the blank expressions that sometimes greeted me when I gave such an answer. I am happy to see the women’s movement has evolved to the point that a person’s individual choice to work outside the home as a young mother, or to work at home is considered to be a matter not to be pre-judged by others.housewife2

The book’s title poem, “Wife of the House,” depicts the kind of prejudice in the market place against the so-called “unemployed” wife that is thankfully less prevalent in today’s plastic money age. On the other hand, such a poem can also serve as a reminder that there are still a number of areas where change is needed in order to promote fairness and equality for women.

There are modern family issues reflected in the Wife of the House poems that continue to be negotiated in every new generation. There are issues of personal freedom within family structures, the yearning for creative expression and solitude, or how one can transition from ideas to manifestation. I am still processing some of these issues of self-realization, and by being willing to continue the work I began so many years ago have uncovered a renewed optimism and enthusiasm.

Gudrun

The Process of Writing

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The earliest poems in Wife of the House were written 30 years ago when I was a young wife, IMG_2327stay-at-home mother and stepmother. The poems helped me work through being, at times, overwhelmed and frustrated in the process of trying to balance personal and spiritual needs with the needs of my family. Even though a number of the poems have been individually published previously, when Raincloud Press asked to bring the book out, I hesitated and thought, why go back?

Editing the book created an emotional impact that was surprisingly strong. I am now a raja yoga, meditation and hatha yoga instructor, and my current lifestyle does not easily mingle with some of the raw struggles depicted in Wife of the House. For example, when faced with the fierceness of a poem such as “An Unwanted Visitor” (especially when the unwanted visitor, in this case, was anger), my current self was at first somewhat shocked, even embarrassed.

I have been reminded, once again, in preparing Wife of the House for publication, that my quest flowerfor love, peace, harmony, is a continuing journey. I remind myself not to be complacent. Wisdom practice asks me to be willing to face all aspects of my humanity, so that it seems foolish to be ashamed of who I am or have been, because every experience is potential fodder for growth.

 Gudrun

Forthcoming Work

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