Looking Inward or Looking Down?

photo of two feet clad in socks with a wintery design

Winter Socks

Been asking myself for a good, interesting blog topic, but kept coming up empty. Well, not exactly empty, but with ideas too “commonplace,” “boring” or “nobody cares about that,” etc. to write about here. So, going beyond that question I asked myself, just how much self-revelation is appropriate in a blog. Then, is a personal blog (vs one about cat care, for instance), just so much navel-gazing, self-applause, etc.? How much me can the average reader stand? The below-average reader? Is there anything at all interesting about my life? (There are many days I don’t think so.) While dead-ended in this particular passage, I decided on my sovereign remedy, caffeine, poured myself a cold cup of coffee, and then started poking around in my notes and papers, hoping to find some ends of threads I’d dropped while getting on with my life. While I was engrossed in sorting the odd bit, the phone rang. It was my old, old friend, a women I’d known since I was 15 years old, to catch me up her latest news and hear mine. We’ve had many such conversations through the years, giving both of us a perspective on our lives that we sometimes were too close to see otherwise. We’d grown up together bouncing off one another, she the brunette, I the blonde, she the classicist, I the lyricist, she the piano, I the snare drum. We’d parted life paths a long time ago, one to academe, the other to high school, but we ended up in the same place: gardens, woods, family, books, pets, and the art of living well. Still much in common, but enough differences to keep the old arguments going (though I am always right). Our conversations can still go on for hours.

An old friend is a blessing. My favorite saying about friends:
“Good friends know where the bodies are buried. True friends helped you put them there.”

She still has her shovel…

Here’s a poem I wrote about us a number of years ago.

For Susan, Wherever She May Find Herself

Let’s get blown away on wine, my friend,
and fill the night with wild talk and laughter.
What do our dreams all mean?

I shall speak of love, and I say
I know not: yet I know.
I tell you, words are nothing, nothing!
My heart was filled with glorious madness.
I hurled myself out in a thousand pieces
and made a mark, by God!
I remember so much. How my face looked
under the streetlight. Rain in the night.
The color of my hair.
Now I write poetry on the back of grocery lists
and stand bemused in the supermarket aisle
while people clatter carts indignantly around me.
I can’t stop smiling, though.
My skin embraces me, and the air that I breathe
slides down my throat like silk.
I move through this world like a goddess.
Disguised in jeans and holey sneakers, freckles
and streaked hair, I lurk waiting
to catch the universe unaware
and know its secrets
as my own.

And you? You booked passage
on a ship of state heading for a civilized shore,
one you had thoughtfully planned on.
Or did you plan at all, beyond that first kiss?
I can see you now, determined to follow the rules
but bold as hell when you really wanted something.
You gave life no quarter
and so it yielded up its treasures to you.
What now? A quiet, restful, orderly life?
My dear, you lack patience.
And you keep coming round curves,
surprised into laughter at what’s next.
Exactly as you planned it long ago,
or did it all just happen?
You never were quite sure which was reality,
which your dreams.

Ah, we were a pair!
Crazy with desire for life not limited
or circumscribed by rules or the lack of them.
We loved life holy then,
And now. Giddy as girls.
Nothing has changed.

©2012 cleoxcat.net

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Action Plan for Poets

Photo of a bare-branched tree outlined against a blue sky with light clouds

Tree and Sky. No more words needed.

Lately I’ve been lacking in inspiration for more than my mundane life, so I turned to one of my favorite authors and explorers of consciousness, Robert Moss. I found just the right message for me and plan to take action starting tonight.

An Action Plan for Poets of Consciousness

Catch your dreams and write them in a journal.

Find a dream partner and tell dreams to each other every day.

Make poetry, art and creative decisions from your dreams.

Navigate by synchronicity; treat everything that enters your field of perception as a personal message from the Divine.

Withhold your consent from other people’s limited definitions of reality.

Avoid negative mantras and self-limiting beliefs.

Commit poetry, every day, in every way.

via Action plan for poets of consciousness – Dream Gates.

Red on a Cold Day

Cardinal in a icy-branched bush

Cardinal

Not so cold today, but colorless: gray sky, gray trees, white land. Reminds me of a poem I wrote twenty years ago. (I am not so romantic now.)

Glory

Toneless light
washes my morning face.
Looking in my mirror and
thinking of you,
I bind up my hair
against the hard edges of the day.

Cold winter morning
sharp against my cheek,
I lock the door, turn the key,
you tucked neatly
in a corner of my mind.
Rich icon confined in a sigh.

Early spring flowers
at my feet spark color
into a monotone world.
As do you.
The depths of your being
fill me with dreams.

My footsteps echo hollow
on frost-etched pavement.
Sparkling brilliance,
rose red petals,
velvet in my mind.
You in the dark places,
singing.

I had never thought
to come to this,
my world of pale yellow boundaries
edged in black.
A child’s coloring book
of circumstance and tradition.
My crayons, as my life
confined within the lines.

Now passion colors what I do.
Defrosting the refrigerator
I thought of Samoa.
And yesterday
I crossed the street
without looking both ways.
No more gold stars.

Your bold, disorderly soul
has turned my thoughts
to glazing pots and being
seventeen with eyes
the color of rain,
reality turning on a single note
sung high beyond my hearing.

I pause, now at the edge
of interleaving myself
with the dull gray sky
seamless where it meets the earth.
Tree branches in black silhouette
forming graceful lines
draw my eye upward.
A lone cardinal bursts into song,
shattering the sameness.

Glory.

3/12/91

Mary Oliver: Online Poems

View through a window frame looking into a snowy woods

Mystery Through my Window

A quiet day today. Very cold with sun and clouds casting light and shadow alternatively into the room where I lay reading. Poetry is a part of my life and this day I found the perfect poem for a New Year beginning. This poem is by Mary Oliver. Other poetry by Mary can be found online by following the link at the bottom of this posting.

The Journey

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice–

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”

each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do–

determined to save

the only life you could save.

via Mary Oliver Poetry.