Making Space for Conversation … Wednesday Writing Prompt, Reaching Across the Divide, an invitation from Michael Watson

dsc03772A lovely late winter morning, the light clear and vibrant on the snow and trees. The day is warm for late February; this entire week will likely be far above normal in temperature, a condition that increasingly seems normative in itself.

Early Saturday morning a crew arrived to install solar panels on our roof. In spite of our best efforts our steep driveway was dangerously icy which resulted in a confab as to whether the work could proceed. Fortunately, the temperature was rapidly rising and the application of more ice-melt soon remedied the situation. Sometime in the next few days the panels will be connected to the grid and our home will begin to generate relatively clean electricity.

Over the weekend my Facebook feed was filled with the idea of resistance. After a month of resistance I’ve decided that even more important than resistance, which remains crucial, is vision. We’ve had many years of resistance by one party or the other here in the US, resistance that has only managed to create ever more division and the very real possibility of massive physical violence. (I imagine people on all sides might agree they have experienced a prolonged period of emotional and spiritual violence.)

Also on the weekend, I got around to reading about a new project from Howlround and SpiderWebShow. Howlround wrote:

Across the much-discussed border, we are exchanging letters; Letters from Canadians and letters from Americans. CdnTimes will publish letters from Americans to hear what it’s like on the ground, now, for theatre artists working in the United States. Meanwhile, HowlRound will be publishing letters from Canadians about what’s affecting our work now. Artists from both countries share warnings, worries, strategies of resistance, generosity, and advocacy—messages of solidarity. What can we learn from each other? —Adrienne Wong and Laurel Green, co-editors at SpiderWebShow’s CdnTimes.

I’ve been wondering how I might bring diverse voices together in this difficult time, and as I read the first letters I became increasingly excited, wondering how the inspiration inherent in that project might be joined with and amplified. I’m still curious. What might those of us who are working for a more equitable, caring, responsive world share with one another that would be useful and mutually supportive? How might I provide an accessible forum for the thoughts and concerns of a diverse group of fellow travelers? What might happen were the conversation to be global!

I envision a gathering of folks in the arts, from around the world, where a conversation might be had about making art in this vexing time. I like the idea of letters as the are usually written, yet may contain photos and artwork. Letters can be thoughtful, personal, and engaging; they are by nature more than sound bites and talking points. Letters might also be created using video and integrating images, words, and sound. Hopefully the conversation would be inclusive, and those in education, the healing arts, and many other vocations would participate. If there is enough interest, I’ll put up a separate website to carry the conversation.

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

I invite you to share your preferred vision for the your life and the world, and how your work feeds that vision. You may leave your response here at The Poet by Day (I’ll read them) or on my site. My expectation is that write-ups here today would be thoughtful, personal, focused on your work, respectful of a wide range of views, and honoring the possibility of reconciliation and mutual care, far beyond North America. Please do let me know what you think of this idea, and whether you might be interested in participating in such a project. My hope is that should I go ahead with the project there would be letters from artists, and others, working in a wide range of disciplines and in many lands, and that conversations and collaborations might arise from the sharing.

© Michael Watson

Michael Watson

Michael Watson

MICHAEL WATSON, LCMHC (Dreaming the World) is a storyteller, artist, educator, Narrative therapist, polio survivor, Native/European, Ph.D., living in many worlds. Michael is also a contributing editor to The BeZine.

Imagining the Divine Feminine…four poems by reader-poets in response to last Wednesday’s Writing Prompt

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These poets responded to last Wednesday’s Writing Prompt, which suggested imagining the divine feminine. 


birther

o god
thou residest betwixt r and t

god s be thy name
birther of us all
mixmistress of galaxies
crecher of clusters
ovulatrix of ylem

thy mother’s care is in the dew
thy admonishment is in the don’t
and when we want to play in the woods of reckless fun
thou respondest “we’ll see”
which almost always means “fat chance”

thy human smartalecks speak of heat death
it is merely a pause
in thy menopause
and soon thou’lt bake us cosmic cookies again

thanks for Ever
y
Thing,
maman

© Gary Bowers

unnamed-1GARY BOWERS (One With Clay) Born August 30, 1954, Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital, Inglewood, California. Artist since the age of 2-1/2 (“Portrait of the Artist’s Mother with Ten Snaky Fingers”). Poet since the age of seven (“I was walking on the road./Then I saw a big fat toad./He was big and fat and round./Then he hopped along the ground.”). Limericist since the age of nineteen (“A Chinese chick went to Osaka/To meet up with a dude named Tanaka./He wined her and dined her/Seduced her, reclined her/But she, unimpressed, said ‘You baka [Japanese for “stupid.” My then girlfriend, taking a Japanese class at the University of Arizona, had as part of her homework a sentence to translate into Japanese that went something like “The Chinese girl is traveling to Osaka and will meet with Mr. Tanaka there.” When I saw that probably-unintentional rhyme, the limerick practically wrote itself. I knew a little Japanese from my Japamese-American girlfriend, including ‘baka,’ which she and her siblings called each other frequently].”), and Second-Place Winner of Roger Ebert’s Great Limerick Contest at the age of 55. Performing poet since becoming a “Monsoon Voice” for the Phoenix, Arizona Monsoon Voices event on September 18, 2007. Master of Ceremonies for “Sonora Bard Poetry Night” at Bards Bookstore from 2009 to 2011. Featured poet at Valley events Conspire, Caffeine Corridor, and Poetry at the Puppet Theatre. Creator of blog “One with Clay, Image and Text” which debuted December 3, 2012 and has has well over 1000 posts, usually illustration or poetry or both.

Day jobs have included warehouseman, busboy, dishwasher, receiving clerk, deliveryman, “Helpful Hardware Man, Tournament Office Manager for the Pyrex Tennis Championship, information analyst for Samaria Health Service Patient Financial Services and Scottsdale Healthcare.


Just She

No divine God is she

Nor gospel or ruler

Only a smile from the heart when a smile is needed

A root in the tree of knowledge with branches that reach out to all

The sparkle in crystal clear water that gives us life

A deep breath of air to calm us

The land that gives us solid footing

The beauty of a kind heart who gives love and respect to all who cross her path

She preaches nothing, nor writes down words to be twisted and controlled by man

She is never fear

Only a smidgen of a presence

Your own heart beating with each step that you take

© Dianne Turner

unnamedDIANNE TURNER (Pandamoniumcat’s Blog) lives in Hervey Bay, Queensland in Austraiia. In between studying and woking, she writes. She works in Education and Community Sector. Recently Diane completed a Bachelor of Professional Writing and Publishing with Curtin University. Her writing is inspired by nature and humanity. Her poetry is published in the 2015 Grieve Anthology for Hunters Writer’s Centre, The D’Verse Anthology for D’verse Poets, Freak Anthology for Pure Slush Books and other stories and poems under a previous name Buckman. Dianne has also appeared as a guest poet in The BeZine.


Omnipresence of Life

Her omnipresence is felt in the universe
transcending solar systems unknown
past the galaxy of the milky way
glittering within the aurora borealis

she embraces her duality always complex
orchestrating the life cycle
of a caterpillar from cocoon to butterfly
exquisite of design and beauty

she extends her arms as tree branches
taller than redwoods wider than mighty oaks
contained in the tiniest clover flowers
fragrant as fields of wild roses

she gives birth to both male and female
always with her heart and strength
loving with tender passionate acceptance
the uniqueness of all creation

she laughs in playful abandonment
as dolphins and otters of rivers and oceans
dispersed like a whale song balm
so tempers the opium of fear and hate

she is intertwined in fabrics’ existence
stronger than silk of worm or web of spider
will not be broken or manipulated falsely
without her there would be no life

© Renee Espriu

c796b9e96120fdf0ce6f8637fa73483cRENEE ESPRIU (Renee Just Turtle Flight) I am a daughter, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and seeker of Spiritual Peace and Soul Filled Freedom. I have been to graduate school at Pacific Lutheran University and have a Bachelors Degree in Sociology. I have also been to Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary from which I acquired a Certificate in Theology. I have eclectic beliefs that encompass many faiths and believe Nature to be the basis of everything that is and that everything that is is also a part of Nature.

Due to emergent open heart surgery in 2015 I am now retired and devoting more of my time to writing, which includes the writing of a fiction book and one that is solely poetry. I have a Blog site at reneejustturtleflight where I have been posting my writing since 2011. I have been a guest contributor to The BeZine and participated in The BeZine 2016 100,000 Poets for Change virtual event. I also have a passion for art. I draw and paint.


To Biddy

Scatter radiances of milk
on her icy sod.
Let each brightness warm her earth.

Broadcast flames of oats
on her waters, stoke embers of fish.
Let her waves be ablaze with shoals.

Brush and scrub your home for her visit.
Put her bread and butter on windowsills.
Make her a bed of twigs for her rest.

Waxing light polishes
her crone wrinkles
into maiden’s roundness.

Make her a doll
out of primroses
and snowdrops.

© Paul Brookes

unnamedPAUL BROOKES (The Wombwell Rainbow) was shop assistant, security guard, postman, admin. assistant, lecturer, poetry performer, with “Rats for Love” and his work included in “Rats for Love: The Book”, Bristol Broadsides, 1990. His first chapbook was “The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley”, Dearne Community Arts, 1993. He has read his work on BBC Radio Bristol and had a creative writing workshop for sixth formers broadcast on BBC Radio Five Live. Recently published in Clear Poetry, Nixes Mate, Live Nude Poems and others. Forthcoming in the spring 2017 an illustrated chapbook “The Spermbot Blues”, published by OpPRESS.


51ylkyldh7lThe recommended read for this week is Poems That Make Grown Men Cry: 100 Men on the Words That Move Them compiled by the father and son team, Anthony Holden and Ben Holden. I have to thank my good friend Linda F. for this recommendation. A moving book and a unique perspective. This is a poetry anthology in which 100 men from diverse backgrounds share the poems that they can’t read without being moved to tears and they tell us why.  The poems and poets featured span the centuries and the world. Definitely worthy of our time.

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eve, wild in the night – a poem … and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

angel300-c12182011she’s present
returned to bite through the umbilical of tradition,
to flick her tongue
and cut loose the animus-god of our parents,
like a panther she roams the earth, she is eve wild in the night,
freeing minds from hard shells
and hearts from the confines of their cages,
she’s entwined in the woodlands of our psyches
and offers her silken locks to the sacred forests of our souls ~
naked but for her righteousness,
she stands in primal light,
in the untrammeled river of dreams
the yin to balance yang
the cup of peace to uncross the swords of war ~
through the eons she’s been waiting for her time
her quiet numinosity hiding in the phenomenal world,
in the cyclical renewal of mother earth,
whispering to us in the silver intuition of grandmother moon
watching us as the loving vigilance of a warming sun ~
she, omen of peace birthed out of the dark,
even as tradition tries to block her return,
her power leaps from the cleavage of time

Illustration ~ this lovely watercolor painting by Gretchen Del Rio with its girl-tree, panther and other spirit animals was the perfect inspiration for a poem on the spiritual return of the divine feminine. The real back-story on the painting is just as interesting. Gretchen says, “I painted this for a 14 year old Navaho girl. It is for her protection and her power. She sees auras and is very disturbed by this. She is just amazing. Beauty beyond any words. You can see into the soul of the universe when you look at her eyes. She has no idea. I loved her the moment I saw her. My blessings for her well being are woven into the art.” Such a delightful piece. I purposely posted it full-size so that everyone can enjoy the detail. Bravo, Gretchen, and thank you.

©2016, poem, Jamie Dedes (The Poet by Day), All rights reserved; illustration, Gretchen Del Rio, All rights reserved.


WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT 

Write a poem, a fiction or a creative nonfiction piece telling us how you envision a feminine God or about the feminine side of God.  What might S/he be like?  Does/would such a view change the way you feel about yourself and the world? Would it change the world? How? You don’t need to believe in God or in a feminine aspect of God. This is an exercise in imagination not faith. Have fun with the exercise and if you feel comfortable, share the piece or the link to the piece below so that we might all enjoy.


2015, Kevin Young at Library of Congress National Book Festival September 5, 2015 Washington, DC, by fourandsixty, CC BY SA 2.0

2015, Kevin Young at Library of Congress National Book Festival September 5, 2015 Washington, DC, by fourandsixty, CC BY SA 2.0

The recommended read for this week is The Art of Losing by Kevin Young.  I find this to be an extraordinarily beautiful anthology about grief and recommend it for all those who work with living and dying, clergy of all faiths, hospice workers, physicians and nurses as well as those grieving a lost family member or friend. It was conceived and edited by Kevin Young, a poet in his own right and the editor of four poetry anthologies. His book Jelly Roll: A Blues was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. It won the Paterson Poetry Prize.

51cc7pivgl-_sx329_bo1204203200_By shopping at Amazon through The Word Play Shop or through links in the body of a post, you help to support the maintenance of this site. Thank you!

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Under the Mango Sky, a poem … and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

Painted Turtle by Gretchen Del Rio c 2010, rights reserved

Painted Turtle by Gretchen Del Rio c 2010, rights reserved

our gray skies pass when mango sky comes,
warm with laughter, chanting its gentle way into
the space where turtle speaks in earthy colors,

speaks in that easy way only turtle can, as one who is
at home in herself, between her plastron and carapace,
wisdom in her slow ballet; her introversion, a model

for living well in this grinding war-spun world . . .
turtle is my totem and we live on our turtle island,
she is the everyday re-enchantment of my solitary

cosmos, my solidarity with life, i read her pastoral
letters in green on green, the sweet grasses and seas,
she speaks of connectedness, the basic constituents

of enigma, wizardry, and the madness of the times
and how best to dance the madness into light, she is
essence, the unrushed cure for wretched nature-deficit,

that consuming affliction, the spawn of modern day’s
backlit screens and relentless marketers of every bilk;
turtle healing is simple peace and master lessons in

self-containment, she draws us into our meditations
and back along the first path of Maka Ina, the lost or
forgotten primal path of the earth ways and feminine
energies and the lunar cycles that whirl us heavenward

  • Turtle ~ totem or power animal representing earth in Native American tradition
  • Turtle Island ~ in Iroquois tradition, when the earth was covered over with water, sundry animals attempted  to create land by swimming to the bottom of the ocean and hauling up dirt. Muskrat succeeded. He placed the dirt on the back of  Turtle, which grew into the landmass known today as North America. 
  • Maka Ina ~ Lakota (Sioux) ~ “maka” is earth and “ina” is mother, so Mother Earth. Earth teachings were/are considered a path to wholeness (heaven) by the First Peoples.

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; turtle watercolor courtesy of Gretchen Del Rio. 

WRITING PROMPT

Several years ago I had the rather odd experience of having three shamans, two Native American and one Mexican, tell me out of the blue (I never asked) that my totem is Turtle.  I think these good people had a fine sense of intuition and of the sacred and possibly were good observers. It would not be surprising or illogical for anyone to decide that an obvious introvert is a Turtle.

If you’ve never been given a totem animal, imagine one yourself. Write a poem about your personal totem. HERE is a list of Native American totems and their meanings to help you along.  Take your time. Enjoy! … and if you feel comfortable, leave the poem or a link to it in the comments section below.


This is Paul Brooks’ (thewombwellrainbow) response to the prompt given two weeks ago: Blown Across Timelessness. Bravo, Paul!  🙂

The Need

The need to remember
The never to forget
This list of essential tasks
On mobile, in my head.

Milk, bread, light bulbs, to live,
To bury my Nanna
Beside my Mum, Sister
Lay her casket to rest.

The need to remember
Why this delay, dither
To fulfill my Nannas
Wish to be buried here.

Join daughter, granddaughter.
I have kept her ashes
Stored in my room at home.
Close to their photographs.

I have told myself ‘Do
It!’ and nothing is done.
I cannot, will not let
Go of her. I am done.

Let her and myself down.
Must get hold of myself.
Must call the vicarage.
Must say a last goodbye.

The never to forget
As I shop these shelves
Everything on my list
That needs to be done.

My Nanna, Sister, Mum
Were my bread, milk, light.
My wife, daughter, grand
Kids are essentials now.

The need to remember,
Never to forget
One list to another
An urgent task undone.

© Paul Brooks (a.k.a. dragonwolfpaul)

unnamedPAUL BROOKS was shop assistant, security guard, postman, admin. assistant, lecturer, poetry performer, with Rats for Love and his work included in Rats for Love: The Book, Bristol Broadsides, 1990. His first chapbook was The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, Dearne Community Arts, 1993. He has read his work on BBC Radio Bristol and had a creative writing workshop for sixth formers broadcast on BBC Radio Five Live. Recently published in Clear Poetry, Nixes Mate, Live Nude Poems and others. Forthcoming in the spring 2017 an illustrated chapbook The Spermbot Blues, published by OpPRESS.


The recommended read for this week is Borges’ The Craft of Verse. (One of my faves.) 41-mshkw5pl-_sx331_bo1204203200_These are the famed lost lectures given in English at Harvard University (1967/68) by Jorge Luis Borges that were transcribed (c. 2000) and published in 2002.

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