“I think that the poet can write forcefully, using a different approach from a journalist, about subjects such as climate change, violence, abuse and mental illness and that this is meaningful to others. I very much believe too that poetry is a way of celebrating life. I think it deserves a central place in our world.” Myra Schneider
Plant yourself in the quiet on a familiar floor
or on an uncut summer lawn
and, thinking of seabirds, stretch out your arms,
let them ascend through the unresisting air.
With palms facing upwards, travel your hands
till your fingertips almost meet,
then release your breath, begin to separate yourself
from the weight of all that lies on you.
Allow your mind to open to this moment and your arms
to rise as they lift the palpable blue
high above the crown of your head.
Your wings will fold away
but raise them slowly to the blue again, maybe
a lightness like liquid amber will flow through you.
excerpt with permission from Lifting the Sky (Ward Wood Publishing, 2018)
© 2018, Myra Schneider
Note: Lifting the Sky is an exercise in the Chinese meditation and breathing practice of Qigong
The poetry collection, Lifting the Sky, may be purchased directly from Myra or from Ward Wood Publishing. Myra’s Amazon Page U.S. is HERE. Her Amazon Page U.K. is HERE. Some of Myra’s collections are available through Anne Stewart’s pf poetry.
Myra is a poet and writer, a poetry coach, a teacher at the Poetry School (London), and consultant to Second Light Network of Women Poets (SLN). Myra also teaches a remote (distance learning) class through SLN. Details HERE.
Myra’s poetry collection, Lifting The Sky “explores the theme of survival in many contexts: from the perils facing refugees and survivors of war to the detailed and tender mating ritual of endangered seahorses.
Threats to the environment are balanced by the preservation of delicate objects in ancient burial sites such as Sutton Hoo, which is also a meditation about death.
The narrative sequence Edge is a tour de force, presenting a diary of artistic and emotional breakdown due to depression followed by healing and restored creativity.” Ward Wood Publishing
Myra Schneider said in an interview HERE, that “I believe the role of the poet is to reflect on human experience and the world we live in and to articulate it for oneself and others. Many people who suffer a loss or go through a trauma feel a need for poetry to give voice to their grief and to support them through a difficult time. When an atrocity is committed poems are a potent way of expressing shock and anger, also of bearing witness. I think that the poet can write forcefully, using a different approach from a journalist, about subjects such as climate change, violence, abuse and mental illness and that this is meaningful to others. I very much believe too that poetry is a way of celebrating life. I think it deserves a central place in our world.”
- Distinguished English Poet, Myra Schneider, explores: Why poetry and why is poetry often viewed as a minority art, Myra Schneider, The Poet by Day (originally published in ARTEMISpoetry)
- Dilys Wood’s “Antarctica” … the work of a highly original poet, Myra Schneider, exclusive for The Poet by Day readers
- Anne Stewart’s pf poetry, good resource for poets and poetry lovers, Jamie Dedes, The Poet by Day
- Poet, Teacher and Inspiration, Dilys Wood and the Latter-day Sapphos, Jamie Dedes, The Poet by Day
- The New Sapphos: Challenges for Women Poets, Dilys Wood, The Poet by Day
- Meet Mary MacRae, an interview with Dilys Wood on poet, Mary MacRae, Dilys Wood w/Jamie Dedes, exclusive for The Poet by Day readers
My (Jamie’s) SLN member page is HERE.
For the Anniversary of My Death
Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Like the beam of a lightless star
Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what
© W.S. Merwin estate
WILLIAM STANLEY MERWIN (September 30, 1927 – March 15, 2019) was an esteemed American poet with some fifty books of poems, prose and translation. Merwin was an activist involved in the anti-war movement in the ’60s. He was a student of Buddhist philosophy and a proponent of deep ecology.
W.S. Merwin was born in New York City, grew up in Union City, New Jersey and Scranton, Pennsylvania and died in Maui, Hawaii, where he’d lived for many years and was active in the environmental restoration of rainforests. He was noted for a love of nature and the condemnation of war and industrialization. He had a difficult childhood and youth and words were his escape. He won prestigious awards, including two Pulitzers and stands tall in the pantheon of literary greats. We are grateful to have a few of his collections on our shelf.
Photo credit: The street in Union City, New Jersey, which was renamed for him in 2006 courtesy of Luigi Novi under CC BY 3.0.
If you are reading this post from an email subscription, you will likely have to link through to the site to view this video.
- W.S. Merwin, prize-winning poet who celebrated nature and condemned war, dies at 91, Hillel Italie, Los Angeles Times
- Remembering W.S. Merwin, National Public Radio, Weekend Edition, Saturday
- W.S. Merwin, 1927-2019, Poetry Foundation
- The Ascetic Insight of W.S. Merwin, Don Chiasson, The New Yorker
- W.S. Merwin — Online Poems, Modern American Poetry, University of Illinois
- W.S. Merwin Amazon Page U.S. HERE, U.K HERE
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know.
Okay, it IS St. Patrick’s Day, but the whole green thing, I made up. Why not? Celebrating green: as in the traditional color of St. Patrick’s Day; as in the Emerald Isle with its engaging traditions; as in a sustainable world; as in the lovely green eyes some people have; as in Christmas Trees, front lawns, and forests.
All over the world there are wonderful religious and cultural traditions around this day, which in Ireland is a holy day of obligation for Catholics, meaning attendance at Mass is required.
St. Patrick, a fifth century Roman, went to Ireland to convert its peoples from their pagan* Celtic traditions. He is considered the Apostle of Ireland, equal to the original twelve. He is revered by Lutherans, Anglicans, and the Eastern Rites (Orthodox and Catholic) as well as the Roman Catholic Church. It is a day cheerfully celebrated with long colorful parades and famously or infamously (depending on your view) with a heavy-duty beer-fest, sometimes with beer that is tinted green.
*”Pagan” is often used as a pejorative. I would submit that the pagan path is simply another well leading to the one great Spiritual river. We see evidence on the Earth and in the sky, that the Creative Essence (also known as God) expresses with great diversity. Dishonoring and dismissing other traditions, other mystical expressions of the one Light, is disrespectful and a powerful way manipulative political and religious leaders pit us against one another for their own ends, even to war, torture and genocide. “To connect with the great river we all need a path, but when you get down there there’s only one river.” Matthew Fox The other guy’s religion is sacred, not superstition.
On my nightstand, I keep a copy of Eknath Easwaran’s God Makes the Rivers to Flow, An Anthology of the World’s Sacred Poetry and Prose. Here is St. Patrick’s Prayer shared by Eknath in that small treasure of a volume. Depending on what your tradition or leanings are, you could substitute God, Allah, Being, Mind, Light or some other resonating pointer in place of “Christ” as used here.
ST. PATRICK’S PRAYER
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Christ.
May your salvation, Lord, be ever with us.
© 2019, Jamie Dedes; illustration from Saint Patrick Catholic Church (Junction City, Ohio) – stained glass, Saint Patrick courtesy of Nheyob under CC BY-SA 4.0.; clip art courtesy of Public Domain Clip Art.