December 1st, 2005

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I open Anne Lamott's book "Plan B - Further Thoughts on Faith," and there, at the beginning is a poem by Lisel Mueller that says it all for me.

monet refuses the operation


Doctor, you say there are no halos

around the streetlights in Paris

and what I see is an aberration

caused by old age, an affliction.

I tell you it has taken all my life

to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,

to soften and blur and finally banish

the edges you regret I don’t see,

to learn that the line I call the horizon

does not exist and sky and water,

so long apart, are the same state of being.

Fifty-four years before I could see

Rouen cathedral is built

of parallel shafts of sun,

and now you want to restore

my youthful errors: fixed

notions of top and bottom,

the illusion of three-dimensional space,

wisteria separate

from the bridge it covers.

What can I say to convince you

the Houses of Parliament dissolve

night after night to become

the fluid dream of the Thames?

I will not return to a universe

of objects that don’t know each other,

as if islands were not the lost children

of one great continent.  The world

is flux, and light becomes what it touches,

becomes water, lilies on water,

above and below water,

becomes lilac and mauve and yellow

and white and cerulean lamps,

small fists passing sunlight

so quickly to one another

that it would take long streaming hair

inside my brush to catch it.

To paint the speed of light!

Our weighted shapes, these verticals,

burn to mix with air

and change our bones, skin, clothes

to gases.  Doctor,

if only you could see

how heaven pulls earth into its arms

and how infinitely the heart expands

to claim this world, blue vapor without end.  



by Lisel Mueller



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White blood cells -

Jeff, the literalist, informs me that white blood cells are actually clear. I read now that they are clear round cells bigger than red blood cells. Hmmmm! I look at a photo on-line, and it looks like the flower of those onions that bloom by the road in spring, that soft, fluffy purpleness, but, of course, if they showed the cell as clear, it would not show up. I wanted to put the photo here, but the computer sort of seized up with the attempt, so just imagine a fluffy, friendly-looking guy, or continue to imagine as you have been doing, or check it out on-line yourself.
I am thinking now, maybe I will envision them as soft, squishy urchins and sea anemones. Anyway, reading of them as transparent reminded me of this poem, which gave me even another image to play with,  the clear, transparent stream. 
Which now reminds me that with the rain coming down like this, Redwood Creek in Muir Woods is filling, and soon the salmon will swarm upstream to breed.  On the solstice, luminaria are placed along the path, and you can enter the woods at night.  It is a wondrous way to welcome the return of the light.  

And so this poem:


    When all thoughts
     Are exhausted
     I slip into the woods
     And gather
     A pile of shepherd's purse.

     Like the little stream
     Making its way
     Through the mossy crevices
     I, too, quietly
     Turn clear and transparent.

            -- Ryokan,
        translated by John Stevens

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Morning Flow!

Welcome to December!!

Here is my morning flow in response to the wind and the rain.

Winter Storm

No begin or end,
rain, creek, stream, pond, ocean bowl,
fish, earth, mammal, land.  


Slowing Down

Now that I know white blood cells are clear,
they move in my visualization,
from joyful balls of snow,
to bubbles.
Bubbles float up and down through me,
lifting and pacing,
like the feet,
of the sea.


Energy in the Air

The wind shouts, “I’m here,”
The clapping rain and bouncing trees
    launch what’s borne inside
    when winter light is seed


I light a candle
so the rain knows I’m here,
to receive. 

Swing on haloed light,
like a chalice of incense
heaven born.
Connect with ribbons,
the earth we birth,
when we wiggle inside,
where cushions,
like continents,


In the beginning,
the heart was round
until it swelled from so much love,
it formed a little tip
on which to stand
and balance.
Then, it dipped
in prayer
for wings to form,
and they did,
and that’s where we live,
freshly borne  -  


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Circus Time!

This morning I told Jane I was going to Cirque du Soleil this afternoon. It will be my last big public event for awhile as I didn't realize when I made the reservations that I am supposed to avoid public places as much as possible. Anyway, I am very excited as you might well imagine, and so Jane sprung off that thought with her poem this morning. Don't you just feel yourself there, and here, and now? There are angels flinging through the air at Cirque du Soleil this year!


Of them all,
the spangled flier
dangling from her
ropes and swing
held only by the spotlight
or the silent clown
who plays his own
common eccentricity
for our amusement
or the contortionist
thin as straw
or the gymnast
sinewed as a stallion,
the jugglers and the teeter board
are what move me.

The group of them
in tune like insects
ants along a food trail
bees to purple flower
the fastening of eyes and energies
the connection to the NOW,
yes....we all agree, it's NOW,
and then the bodies flung through space
magical and real
graceful without wings
as whales breeching
as angels.