Reading “The Search Engine,” a story in Sherman Alexie’s Ten Little Indians, I am fascinated by two powerfully drawn and unique characters who demonstrate the anguish, the calling, the questioning and the imagination of poetry. The world of poetry has many pitfalls, and Alexie highlights the ups and downs in his startling, harsh, fearless and heart wrenching story telling. I am brought to serious reflection about my own journeys in the arena of poetry writing, and I can only hope I have the courage to continue the endeavor and answer the call when it arises.
When I am liberated by silence…
My whole life becomes a prayer.
I still see that light shining around
any object; and I still feel that current,
sometimes so strong I may not
have feet on the ground.
And that space inside grows larger,
like a scary no beginning, no end;
vibrating, vibrating until the silence
is no longer silent.
Gudrun Mouw (c)
July 4, 2017
We remember, and the memories float
like clouds that shape themselves
then dissolve into something else.
We remember, and the past comes to life
as if there is no difference.
We remember how the years pile up
like children’s blocks we try so hard
to keep from crashing down.
We remember and at our best embrace
Gudrun Mouw (c)
May 9, 2017
April 21, 2017
I have been editing a nonfiction manuscript that I wrote before the death of my mother. I just recently took it up again after more than a decade. I began with some optimism and ease, expecting quick completion. (I was eager to move on to new ideas for another project.)
However, as I found myself in the midst of unresolved emotions, my efforts slowed down. Difficulties seemed to arise out of nowhere as judgments threatened. I wished I had never begun. I had to remind myself as a student and teacher of yoga, this situation, most likely, was the perfect opportunity for growth.
Deciding not to reside in emotional turmoil, I rededicated myself to be the neutral witness. I set aside my desire to rework the last chapter, returned to the beginning and am happy, for now on page 16, to pursue ongoing resolution.
April 23, 2017
I have been contemplating the concept that objectivity is not neutral as an extension of my recent return to neutral attention. Still, there is more. I have also been remembering things.
After reading poetry (on a university radio station) with a friend and fellow poet, my friend said to me: “Unfortunately, no one will know what a great writer you are until after you are dead.” This happened in the 1980’s. I also remember a barely concealed sneer by the radio interviewer regarding “women poets writing about their cats.”
Why did he ask us to come on his show? Had he not “read” our proposed selections ahead of time? Having written on the death of our family cat as a metaphor for something else, unfortunately, I allowed this experience to have a dampening effect on my writing life.
Now I write, because it is the song I have to offer. And every once in a while, I am reminded how women have not come as far as we sometimes like to think we have.
Gudrun Mouw (c)
- Tuli Fog
“Life is Difficult”
M. Scott Peck
“That’s swamp fog,” he says, “it collects
in watery crevices
between local hills, especially, after
this wet…wet winter.” I nod, thinking, mysterious,
beautiful and wispy,
thinking of someone who said,
I will drain the swamp; instead,
he empowered swamp monsters
to pollute our air,
2. The Need to Learn
Yesterday, I heard the sound
before the sound.
I remember Opa, ignoring papers
to Auschwitz, Poland,* was forged
in to a hidden man,
a silent man,
inside his clothes.
I need to learn each day as if new,
so everything humane becomes audible.
3. Today’s Mammal
“Look,” he says, “back there! The bobcat!” I remember
crying out as the gopher ate my last butterfly plant,
and bobcat came to grab that offender. Now, we wave,
“Hi, friend, good to see you! It’s been a while!”
He looks at us over his right shoulder; his tail tilts
left. He almost stops, steps forward at his former speed,
not fast, not slow, but casually, self assured.
We have nothing on our offering plate, today, and he knows it.
*From Ashes Into Light, explores dealing with fascism
Swami Sivananda recommended that courage is a good quality to meditate on during the month of March. For me, this has turned out to be difficult to implement.
First of all, there is the task of examining fears regarding the state of the world, regarding the experience of pain, regarding the aging process, regarding traveling loved ones, and so on. However, when fear becomes chronic, I also know that anxiety and other disorders are not far behind. And so it comes down to recognizing the power of choice.
Embracing choice means choosing to acknowledge fear, no doubt, but also transforming the contraction of fear into an expanded awareness where courage can thrive. Now, the month almost over, another storm is expected. Wind rises. Grey clouds stretch out in long lines with hints of light penetrating, and the friend to courage becomes hope.