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In the black acres of the night, I dream of herbs …

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Parks and ponds are good by day;
I do not delight
In black acres of the night,
Nor my unseasoned step disturbs
The sleeps of trees or dreams of herbs.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1802-1883), Poets of the English Language (Viking Press, 1950), American transcendentalist, essayist, poet and lecturer

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I’ve grown herbs randomly on the properties we’ve owned over the years, not without great joy, but the thing that often lighted the “acres of night” for me was the dream of an herb garden outside our kitchen. The days for that are past – and that’s okay – but still I went today for a short class delivered by two Master Gardeners at San Mateo Arboretum’s Kohl Pump House, which is a part of the park that my apartment cum writing-studio overlooks. It was pure delight.

2014, photos, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; Photos taken with a Moto G smart phone.

That uncaged inspiration … Maya Angelou

AngeloupoemTHAT UNCAGED INSPIRATION, MAYA ANGELOU, has died leaving behind the rich legacy of a well-lived eighty-six years. Her last tweet posted on May 23 was, “Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”

I particularly appreciated her May 11 tweet, “Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, the family and everyone you love and everyone who loves you.”

Bon voyage dear poet …

A little trivia for my San Francisco Bay Area friends: Dr. Angelou broke new ground here even as a young girl. She was SF’s first black female cable car driver.

The photo of Dr. Angelou is in the public domain

Suggested reading:

Maya Angelou celebrates 80 years of pain and joy – USA

there is this …

am i dreamer
or is dream dreaming me

does it matter after all, if i am or i am not

does sun feel the heat of day
does light see its image in the dark
during rain, do fish absorb more water
and would brown bear rather be horse

does it matter after all, the curiosities

when fish and water are one
when light and dark are indistinguishable
when brown bear is neither content nor discontent
when questions cease and ideologies melt
when there is no helping and no taking
. . . there is this


This is my poem offered for Victoria C. Slotto’s Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt today, ekphrasis, or a rhetorical response inspired by artwork.

The artwork here is an ensō, which in Zen Buddhism is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two unrestrained strokes. It is meant to express that moment when the mind is still, allowing for creation. It symbolizes enlightenment. I find it visually and spiritually elegant. I appreciate its spare message and the void it represents, called mu. Those of us from the Abrahamic traditions frequently misunderstand this concept and think it is negative and depressing. It’s not.

The ensō is done as a part of spiritual practice and it is a kind of meditation in the way that all creative efforts are meditation. It is a wonderful example of the Japanese aesthetic, wabi-sabi. In that spirit, I kept the poem simple and included white space in the layout.

Join us HERE at The Bardo Group blog for the details on today’s prompt and to include your own work. We’d love to see you and to have the opportunity to drop by your place and read your work.

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved
Illustration ~ Ensõ , calligraphy by Kanjuro Shibata XX via Jordan Langeller under CC SA 3.0 unported

the beauty is in the walking

gwynthomas0609But the beauty is in the walking — we are betrayed by destinations.” Gwyn Thomas (b. 1936), Welsh poet and former National Poet of Wales, educator

A meditative Sunday walk in San Mateo’s most beautiful “green space,” Central Park, which is in effect “my” garden now.

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© 2014, photographs (taken with a Moto G), Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; Professor Thomas’ photo courtesy of Goodreads.