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Helianthus

Some things makes sense.

A seed
—this seed—
A tiny black teardrop
falling from a ratio
more golden than the rays
that shield your perfect face.

You salute the skies.
Air
and light
Make sugar in your palms.

Every breath that rises
pulls life
—up—
through your grounded dirty feet.

And the finch,
this yellow finch,
clutches that face
Calls to the wind
the same
beat
repeating.

Until she chooses herself
to answer.

By reason she grows
No fanfare.
No expectation.
Just knowing to make life.
To live it.

—Why—
then
do you sing to me
repeating:
“You are everything and all of it”

And then turn your head
As if you had not meant to speak?

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The Ripening

I’ve been wanting to write about how spoiled I feel lately;

and yet, “spoiled” is not at all an appropriate description of how I feel.

I feel cared for.

Protected.

Encouraged.

Validated.

Engaged.

And more than a little luxuriated.

But I’d like to think that these gifts haven’t ripened me past my prime.

I’d like to think, instead, that I am inspired to be a more gracious receiver,

and energized to give more:

To be a better friend/sister/aunt/partner/citizen/human/caretaker.

I’d like to think that my potential is limitless, as is my potential to help, and that in this manner none of us will ever come to think of ourselves as “spoiled,”

rather that we are perpetually budding fruit,

offering ever better things to this world.

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Today I discovered an amusing little activity on the website soulpancake.com.

Soul Pancake is co-created by Rainn Wilson (of Dwight Schrute fame), and is his attempt at a community forum where people can gather to discuss meaningful topics, muse about life and literature, and participate in quaint little creative pursuits like the one I am about to tell you about.

The idea behind Book Spine Poem is to stack your book collection to make a creative sentence or poem. You can then take a photo of your creation or simply assemble the words into a poem and post it on the page. This idea was inspired, or basically taken from, a few other projects already in existence. From these three projects I’ve chosen a few that are my favorites.

Of course, I decided to give it a whirl myself, and found my book collection to be woefully inadequate for the task. I first thought I would be lacking in prepositions, but thanks to the My Book House series I had plenty of those to go around. What I ended up really pining for were pronouns, and contractions. Not many book titles are started with those sorts of things. Here is what I came up with, along with my typed out poems for the sake of adding punctuation.

Boy, in shining armor

going solo

over the hills.

Girl, interrupted

wanderlust through fairy halls.

The earth moved.

I know why the caged bird

Sings Tailchaser’s Song.

Deliverance from the tower window.

Gone with the wind,

Alive.

**********

What do you say, gonna give it a try?

Here are the links if you need some more inspiration…

http://www.ninakatchadourian.com/languagetranslation/sortedbooks-sharkjournal.php

http://www.soulpancake.com/post/1519/book-spine-poem.html

http://100scopenotes.com/2011/04/01/2011-book-spine-poem-gallery/

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I’m too lazy to write a blog tonight. In fact, I’ve been too lazy to do much of anything so far this week. My laptop power cord just fell on the floor but I’m too lazy to reach down from the bed and pick it up. I was supposed to go to yoga, but woke up from my three-hour nap five minutes after the class had already begun. I think I might blame my laziness on the heat.

Anyway, I did find this poem by Shel Silverstein which pretty much exactly captures how I have been feeling and behaving this week. I hope it passes soon, because being lazy is kind of boring.

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I have finally finished reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (review to come soon), and I’m excited to get to move on to some lighter reading. And since one good obsession deserves another, I’m moving from food and farming to…kitties!

I claimed an old paperback copy of Tailchaser’s Song that I found mainly because I was highly amused by the idea of a novel about cats. I didn’t realize I was getting myself into something so serious. Turns out Tailchaser has quite the fan club, and the novel itself is brimming with invented cat mythology, cat language, cat geography,  cat bravado, and funny cat names. It is rumored that it is being made into an animated film. It will be interesting to compare Tailchaser’s Song with Watership Down, which is the only other fictional novel I have read thus far in 2011.

I haven’t gotten into the meat of the story yet (still just starting on the introduction), but I wanted to share a poem from the very first pages of the book that I thought was clever, and indicative of all the things that cat-lovers love about cats.

This poem is written by an 18th century poet named Christopher Smart. Smart reportedly spent a substantial amount of his life in an asylum, after which he spent his last days in debtor’s prison. He wrote under names such as Kitty Smart, Mrs. Mary Midnight, and Ebenezer Pentweazle. This is his tribute to cats:

For I will consider my cat…

For at the first glance of the glory of God

            in the East he worships in his way.

For this is done by wreathing his body seven

            times around with elegant quickness…

For having done duty and received blessing

            he begins to consider himself.

For this he performs in ten degrees.

For first he looks upon his fore-paws to see

            if they are clean.

For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.

For thirdly he works it upon the stretch with

            the fore-paws extended.

For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.

For fifthly he washes himself.

For sixthly he rolls upon wash.

For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may

            not be interrupted on the beat.

For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.

For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.

For tenthly he goes in quest of food…

For when his day’s work is done his business

            more properly begins.

For he keeps the Lord’s watch in the night

            against the adversary.

For he counteracts the powers of darkness by

            his electrical skin and glaring eyes.

For he counteracts the Devil, who is death,

            by brisking about the life.

For in his morning orisons he loves the sun

            and the sun loves him.

For he is of the tribe of Tiger.

For Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel

            Tiger…

For there is nothing sweeter than his peace

            when at rest.

For there is nothing brisker than his life

            when in motion

For God has blessed him in the variety of

            his movements…

For he can tread to all the measures upon the music…

—Christopher Smart

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Henry David Thoreau

Mist

Low-anchored cloud,
Newfoundland air,
Fountain head and source of rivers,
Dew-cloth, dream drapery,
And napkin spread by fays;
Drifting meadow of the air,
Where bloom the dasied banks and violets,
And in whose fenny labyrinth
The bittern booms and heron wades;
Spirit of the lake and seas and rivers,
Bear only purfumes and the scent
Of healing herbs to just men’s fields!

The Rainy Day

Written at the old home in Portland

THE day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains,and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
  And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains,and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
  And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
  Some days must be dark and dreary.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Mists and Rains

by Charles Baudelaire

O ends of autumn, winters, springtimes deep in mud,
Seasons of drowsiness, — my love and gratitude
I give you, that have wrapped with mist my heart and brain
As with a shroud, and shut them in a tomb of rain.

In this wide land when coldly blows the bleak south-west
And weathervanes at night grow hoarse on the house-crest,
Better than in the time when green things bud and grow
My mounting soul spreads wide its black wings of a crow.

The heart filled up with gloom, and to the falling sleet
Long since accustomed, finds no other thing more sweet —
O dismal seasons, queens of our sad climate crowned —

Than to remain always in your pale shadows drowned;
(Unless it be, some dark night, kissing an unseen head,
To rock one’s pain to sleep upon a hazardous bed.)


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In the spirit of simplicity, I have decided to take a week off writing. Instead, I will share seven days’ worth of other people’s hard work and creativity. No commentary or explanation included.

It’s cheating, I know. Enjoy.

If You Forget Me
by Pablo Neruda
I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

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