Happy Gratitude Day!

Only in art will the lion lie down with the lamb, and the rose grow without the thorn. Martin Amis ... but isn't it wonderful, my friends, that thorns have roses? Jamie Dedes

“Only in art will the lion lie down with the lamb, and the rose grow without the thorn.”  Martin Amis (b. 1945), English novelist

… but isn’t it wonderful that in life thorns have roses? / J.D.

Here in the States we are celebrating Thanksgiving Day, which I have come to call Gratitude Day. “Thanksgiving” as a holy day carries devastating baggage: the European genocide of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.

My thought is also that every day is a day to give thanks, to remind ourselves of the good in our lives and the people around us, and to express our gratitude in whatever way is customary given our own nature, religion or culture.

Today and every day, I am deeply grateful for our poetry community, which crosses all sorts of borders and paves a pathway to understanding of and respect for all people with their varied and beautiful colors, customs, wisdom traditions and languages.

Happy Gratitude Day!








Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”

* The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton

Love and a cough …


My faith
is a great weight
hung on a small wire,
as doth the spider
hang her baby on a thin web,
as doth the vine,
twiggy and wooden,
hold up grapes
like eyeballs,
as many angels
dance on the head of a pin.
God does not need
too much wire to keep Him there,
just a thin vein,
with blood pushing back and forth in it,
and some love.
As it has been said:
Love and a cough
cannot be concealed.
Even a small cough.
Even a small love.
So if you have only a thin wire,
God does not mind.
He will enter your hands
as easily as ten cents used to
bring forth a Coke.

– Anne Sexton from The Complete Poems: Anne Sexton (Mariner Books, 1999)

Too often you’ll see the five lines beginning “As has been said …” left standing alone. Rather sad because the entire poem is just too beautiful.

In a review of The Death Notebooks, Erica Jong wrote of Sexton.” She is an important poet not only because of her courage in dealing with previously forbidden subjects, but because she can make the language sing.”


the mind and love, like two wings

Furious dreams, rivers of bitter certainty,
decisions harder than the dreams of a hammer
flowed into the lovers’ double cup,

until those twins were lifted into balance
on the scale: the mind and love, like two wings.
– So this transparency was built.

– Pablo Neruda
One Hundred Love Sonnets: Cien sonetos de amor (English and Spanish Edition)
translation by Stephen Tapscott

Regarding the flower photograph: As you may have noticed over the past few days, I’ve been experimenting with special effects for flower photographs. This flower photo put me in mind of Neruda’s poem. (Everything he wrote seems to stay in memory.) Originally the photograph wasn’t meant to be blurry but The Bax was pulling me along as I was clicking away and some photos got “ruined.” In the end, I appreciated the misty mysterious quality that the blurring gave this one. Some of the best things happen by accident – or at least partly by accident.

“In politics being deceived is no excuse.” Leszak Kolakowski

Recommended read: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder. Left, right or center – American or not – it’s a must read for our chaotic times … and not just the list of lessons but Prof. Snyder’s commentary on each. This book is a rational enlightening little gem and a powerful wake-up call.

Lesson Five: “Remember Professional Ethics When political leaders set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become more important.  It is hard to subvert a rule–of-law state without lawyers, or to hold show trials without judges. Authoritarians need obedient civil servants, and concentration camp directors seek businessmen interested in cheap labor.”

THE WORDPLAY SHOP: books, tools and supplies for poets, writers and readers

Not Afraid of the Light

FullSizeRender. . . . . .Resting. . .

in that place where endless sky meets ocean wave,
where plump blue berry meets thin green leaf,
where illumination gifts fifty shades of joy.

. . . . . Breathing and breathing and never minding

the house begging for repair, the tree wanting a trim.
Never minding the floors awaiting the broom,
the accounts begging for their balance . . .

. . . . . . Only joy …

from the quiet mind and the still hand,
Joy! dancing on sunbeams and resting
on the limb of a moonlighted tree . . .

. . . . . .Joy! Only joy …

. . . . . . . . . . .in Light!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .more Light

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”  Plato

© 2016, poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved